Sunday, 22 May 2011

The modern suburban tribe and their way of life: Khoisan Vagrants




The modern suburban tribe and their way of life: Khoisan Vagrants

Franz the vagrant came past my house as usual and greeted in good spirits. Every morning he collected a cup of hot coffee and few empty bottles for deposit. One day I asked him how he can endure to stay a vagrant and to live such a desperate life.
He smiled at me and said” Boss before the Settlers landed here my ancestors roamed this very land as nomads. We learned their ways but the untouched wild turned into your cities and deprived us from our normal way of life. We adjusted ourselves to survive in these modern times and still try to continue our tradition you call a homeless way of life” 
 Franz spoke authoritatively and with a slight Professor frown and said” Let me give you a basic understanding of how organised we really are”
1 When you start your life as a vagrant on the street find membership with a local vagrant community.
2 Find you a wife and marry her at the local Magistrate court at no charge. Shoplifting for a custom jewellery ring is acceptable or a key ring will also do nicely. The tie you can purchase for a few rands at the Salvation army store.  
3 The community or suburban tribe consist of at least four married couples and a leader with his list of house rules that is unquestionable and strictly complied with. Failure to comply can get you an Okapi knife in your back and an unmarked municipality grave close to the sewerage yard
4 The rules are mainly about sharing and dividing the day’s takings and the duties to upkeep their daily domestic routines and chores. 
5 The couples start their day before the sun comes up and even earlier when the garbage trucks is scheduled to collect bins.
6 Each couple owns a trolley they snatched from the supermarket and they customised it with bells, streamers and even a registration plate for the sake of creativity and individual expression. Woolworth’s trolleys are the best in that they are moulded out of recycled durable plastic and are lightweight.
7 Each couple is assigned daily to a designated area for inspection and collection of cartons, plastics and glass.
8 One of the reasons for marrying was that he/she assists with the loading and the meticulous separation of the specified waste.
9 With the trolley filled to the brim the couple depart for the recycle yard where the load is weighed in and the amount usually does not exceed twenty rands in remuneration.
10 The money is used to purchase uncut Boxer tobacco and a litre of mark down cellar cask wine. This is the minimum requirement to prolong your stay in the community.     
11 Begging is used to acquire food, second hand bedding and clothing for the community.
12 The day’s takings in drink, tobacco and other stuff is put together and divided between the couples according their seniority in the group.
13 An open fire is made in the Jan Burger recreational park and the woman will busy themselves with cooking a meal out of the morsels they collected.
14 The men will run to get the 19h00 park sprinklers open and take a shower splash with their children. The chuckling laughs can be heard from far away as the children plays in the sprinklers.
15 Drinking will commence and tobacco will be rolled into a cigarette and the sheet will be newspaper.
16 Heated discussions will start about last week news in the paper and old Khoisan songs will be sung by the woman that further entertain the men with a special dance called the “ash foot dance”
17 Heated and flustered with the drink in their bodies they will remove their bedding out of concealed places in the park.
18 The insulation will be cartons on the hard earth and plastic around their blankets to prevent moisture during the night.
19 Lying all in their beds the vagrant captain will says the Lord’s Prayer and ask for tomorrows blessing.      

Finishing his cup of coffee Franz said “Got to go Boss, early bird catches the worm”.

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