Tag Archives: Living in New Zealand

Which “South Africa” do you live in?

People sometimes ask me, ‘Don’t you miss South Africa?’ ‘No,’ I reply – but in the same heartbeat that  answer is given comes my silent question, which South Africa? ‘You’re criticising South Africa Rod, the country you grew up in, that fed and clothed you, gave you an education, everything you have. Not cool.’ The same question rises….which…

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Sacredness, antiphons and transplanting a lemon tree

A certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house…   The silence is all-consuming as I work with spade and hands. As if from far away, I hear my own breath deep in my body, deep in the caves of woodland braided with the smell of sea. Waves nearly splash on their shadows. I…

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For the anally correct and the politically retentive

To my impish mind the human bottom with its neat, vulnerable, curved groove looks like a huge smile. Think of the proverbial plumber in his too tight jeans, on his knees sweating over a drain pipe: he always has a smile from behind, sometimes a little hairy. Half-exposed bottoms cause giggles and bring us down…

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White privilege: The more things change…

I gaped at the size of the property. I stood with the owner, Peter, on a side balcony of their spacious, slightly dilapidated home. Down below, the tennis courts were dwarfed by the ring of woods surrounding its fence. Some were sagging from the cascade of trees pushing through wires or pressing down the horizontal,…

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Why ‘freedom’ sells

Having lived in China for seven years I have my own kind of sorrow, mixed with the tenderness of memory when I see a small Christian community deep inside China harassed for their faith. The leader, pastor Zhang, was imprisoned for 12 years and his family was in danger of losing their lives before making…

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Trying to describe South Africa without ‘overkill’

The novel I am writing has its opening scene in Cape Town on the day Mandela was released from prison. This manuscript is my project for the masters degree in creative writing programme at Auckland University in New Zealand. My protagonist, Ruth, is a young South African, and Chinese in appearance. She does not know, among…

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Queers and men with blunt instruments

So I read the very short “Queer” by Courtney Bassett and was drawn to the “idea” of it, best expressed — I thought — through prim lips:   People tell me how lucky I am It was not forty years ago I was being declared Mentally unfit Never mind the lobotomy I would rather have…

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Turning 50…and full of bubbles

It amazes me how we give meaning with structures that have no intrinsic meaning. Take the idea of reflecting on the significant events of a millennium or poignantly reflecting on your life around the time of a “fiftieth” birthday. One thousand or fifty … mere multiples of ten. Why not have similar reflections on 857…

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