My mother was born in the Overberg town of Caledon, South Africa in 1953. She was the only girl in her last year of high school in Riviersonderend where her nickname was 'White Rat'. At 19, she married my father, giving up her teacher training at Stellenbosch University, the bastion of Calvinist Afrikaner Nationalism.
Today, at 69, the former potter and equestrian battles the physical and psychological effects of Lupus, an autoimmune disease causing the body to attack its own organs. When first encountered in the 13th century, it was thought the accompanying facial lesions, spread across the cheeks like the wings of a Lepidoptera [butterfly or moth], resembled the bite marks of a wolf. Difficult to treat, its exact cause remains unknown.
As the parent of two daughters, who call me 'Wolf', I am only lately beginning to comprehend some of her sacrifice, dependence, bitterness, doubt, regeneration, and relentless spiritual pursuit as a partner, mother, grandparent, and most ultimately, a womxn.