I clearly remember going with my mom to get a ‘pass’ for our maid. At the time I didn’t know what it was for. Now I understand that it was pure humiliation. A law that I don’t agree with.
However. It was a law. Something that could be regulated. Often not enforced the way it should be but it was a law that people knew about and could live their lives in such a manner that they would hopefully not break it
…even if it broke them.
We were raised in a very proper home. I can’t remember politics being a big thing. My parents would mention it once in a while or maybe when we weren’t in their presence but whatever they discussed, we weren’t the typical Afrikaners. We treated everybody with respect. Regardless of who you were.
This is something I am hugely thankful for especially if I listen to the conversation between Tommie and our friend tonight. Tommie was raised on a farm. Regte boer as I always say. Kolie was raised very much Afrikaans as well. They went in circles, we never did. They experienced things we only read about.
There was another ‘law’. A very much non-official, yet totally acceptable ‘law’. If you didn’t like the way your black laborer worked, you had the right to dish out corporal punishment. In such a way that if you killed him….you would most probably get away with it.
Of course I knew things like this happened but I didn’t know details. Maybe didn’t want to know details. Tonight I heard about a local business man that actually lived across the street from us at one stage, that killed one of his workers. He hit him until the poor man said “Baas, asb jy is besig om my dood te slaan” (Boss, you are busy killing me) To this day there has not even been one case made against him.
Many more stories like this and even now in our democratic country, it still happens that laborers get hit and kicked when their work is not up to ‘standard’.
It’s sad. It’s not right.