I had met up with Adam Kok for one of our weekly meetings, expecting him to tell me about an “ugly sister” he had met, called Poppie.
Instead he got so carried away about the Unity Accord and his preposterous suggestion that Africa’s greatest enemy was democracy, that he never got round to telling it to me.
I did find out about Poppie a few days later. I was sitting at home in my study, working on something when the phone rang. It was Adam.
“Yes, Comrade, hoe’s ‘it? I’m pooped out, man. Can I come round? Have you got any of the stuff?”
I told him I was out of whiskey but if he didn’t mind a glass of wine.
Adam interrupted me: “Keep that for your women friends, jack. By the way, do you have any? I mean women friends . . . except for my wife that is?”
That stopped me in my tracks. I had never hidden my admiration for his wife, Rudo. “Yes, actually I do, but I don’t make a big thing out of it like you.”
“Maybe it isn’t a big thing — or is it? I’ve never seen you in the shower.”
“Cut the crap, Adam. Just come over and bring something that will satisfy your male chauvinist tendencies.” Really, that guy can be the limit.
That’s when eventually I heard all — well, not all, but the main points — about Adam’s “ugly sister”, Poppie. He definitely did look worn out when he came round. His first comment as he sat down explained it. “I tell you, in the whole wide world, there’s nothing like a Griqua woman!”
In case you get the wrong idea, let me hasten to reassure you that Adam will do a lot of things other people wouldn’t, but he was not sleeping with his sister.
“How’s Poppie?” I said, fishing.
“She’s gone — back to Kokstad. Not a moment too soon. That woman would have disembowelled me if she’d stayed a day longer.”
“So, Adam, get a move on. What’s the story with this ‘ugly sister’ of yours?”
He took a long sluk from his whiskey and began. “You know, comrade, they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, ne?” When Adam had a good story, he liked to spin it out and keep you waiting. “Well, it all depends what that eye is used to seeing. You know that comrade who’s studying at the UZ — ouTsedi? Well, when he first came here — like a lot of the comrades — the Harare ausis did not impress him at all.
In fact, he called them ‘sculptures’. A few months later I saw him sitting in the Students’ Union with exactly such a ‘sculpture’ and he looked hooked. ‘Jy, comrade, you don’t seem to mind the sculptures now?’ I said to him — he was embarrassed, but then he recovered and said: ‘Ah, but you see, comrade, this one’s a very beautiful sculpture’ — and gave his sculpture a lovesick hug.
“So, it’s the same thing with us, Griquas, comrade. I know people round here think I’m ugly. No, don’t be a hypocrite. You know they do. But lucky for me I’ve got that kind of ugliness which women find irresistible. Anyway, the other day I met this sister from back home — a real Griqua like me. And was she gorgeous! A beautiful Griqua woman would win no prizes in the Miss World beauty contest or in the Face of Africa competition, comrade. But, I assure you, she’s got everything a man could ever dream of. By the way, you know what I used to call that Face of Africa farce, jack?”
“No, what?” I asked. “The bones of Africa!”
This is one thing Adam and I saw eye to eye on. The only beauty competition I was ever impressed with was Miss Malaika.
“Ja, comrade, nyani! The very truth — now that was a woman! Brita Masalethulini! Gracious, full-bodied, a real African queen.”
“Rudo’s not bad,” I ventured.
Adam laughed. “You know, comrade, if you weren’t a comrade, the way you love that woman, you would have tried to capsize me long ago! But you are right. Rudo’s a stunner. But what do you expect — she’s Adam Kok’s wife!”
“Jy! you’re mad, Adam. But, anyway, what about Poppie?”
On that note, you can leave Adam and me enjoying this unforgettable bottle of Macallan Single Malt whiskey— eat your hearts out, you whiskey drinkers and you non-whiskey drinkers, get a life! You can join us for the story of Jock Mopani next week — but unfortunately not for the whiskey!
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