We had lots of adventures.
One day my old foreman Hombile Booi and I were rattling along the track in the veld in my old lorry taking a load of freshly cut imizi back home to be spread out in a paddock for drying. We had cut a number of loads the previous day and this was the last load.
We had left the women at home to nurse their aching backs, sore feet, hurt feelings at having to work so hard…. Anyone would have thought they hadn’t been paid for their toil and that they weren’t the people who would use the dried rushes to make hangings and baskets and so make a living!
To get back to my story, we were following the track across the veld when I noticed what looked like a walking stick standing upright in the middle of the track made by the wheels of vehicles driving over the veld. Seemed very odd.
As we approached the stick seemed to be weaving back and forth.
At this point Hombile noticed the stick and turned pale with fright. He was adamant that we should not approach any further. It was a snake so venomous that if it bit us we would be dead before sundown. I mentioned that we couldn’t sit and wait until the snake decided to leave. As we drove closer, slowly, I might tell you, that snake stared straight at us. It was huge and it wasn’t going anywhere. I decided on scare tactics. Took the lorry out of gear, foot on the accelerator and hand on the hooter. The snake decided that we were bigger and much noisier than he was and disappeared into the long grass. Poor Hombile never said a word all the way home.
Robyn Taylor do you know the Xhosa name for the snake . Jimmy has forgotten.