Katarak


A documentary on Cape Winelands labor, South Africa


Featured by World Press Photo


We did not speak of the struggle to unionize. But of naked feet thawing in the warm stream of a donkey's piss. The death of your son in Stellenbosch. Waiting over a year for a proper inquest. We did not speak of evictions. But shuddered at the sound of Karoo thunder. Rain lashing the corrugated iron roof of the storeroom.

We did not speak of fetal alcohol syndrome or the 'dop sisteem'. But of your wish to become a doctor. To be an example to your child. About those with power having only one eye. Playing center. The lack of an ear. We did not speak of a minimum wage. But of how giving is more important to you than what you receive. How the roots go in search of sustenance. Of how the vine falls asleep after it has shed its leaves. And how it wakes with tears at the first pruning. One eye telling the other it is time to wake.

We did not speak of the lack of basic sanitary facilities for harvesters. But your marriage in '78. Selling wood over weekends. Fishing for black bass. And youth education. Singing 'As Jesus kom, wat sal jou antwoord wees?' on a warm Cederberg night. We spoke in Afrikaans. But not of marginalization. Of previous disadvantage. Or 'agtergeblewenes'.

Instead, we spoke of dreams. Before we fell silent.

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