Kommandantlewe tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog 1899 – 1902

deur Fransjohan Pretorius, Human & Rousseau, 1991

Ofskoon menige burger dus in die geloof van oordeel was dat alles, ook die dood, die wil van God is, en dat hulle vir die hiernamaals gereed gemaak word, het andere tog in onderlinge gesprekke en geskrifte vrae oor die sin van die oorlog gevra. Waarom moet sekere persone in die slag bly en ander vryspring? Wat is die gespaardes nou beter as die ongelukkiges? Waarom moet dit alles nodig wees? Kan internasionale geskille dan nie anders as langs die weg van bloedvergieting besleg word nie? Sal die tyd dan nie spoedig aanbreek dat oorlog uitgeskakel word nie? Hoe is dit moontlik dat mense mekaar kan doodmaak – en nog gruweliker moordwapens kan ontwerp? Waarom moet die wetenskappe diensbaar gemaak word om helse vernietigingswerke te vervaardig, en dan noem hulle dit beskawing? Waarom moet twee blanke volke hul uiterste bes doen om mekaar uit te roei en dan voortgaan om mekaar se wonde te verbind en mekaar genesende middels aan te bied – is dit nie tegelyk barbaars en absurd nie? Hierdie en ander vrae het voortdurend opgeduik.

By Anonymous: Can a Writer Escape Vulnerability?

by Maria Bustillos, The New Yorker, November 18, 2013

One kind of writer, at least, is immune to the lure of fame: the anonymous writer. No Name, no literary glory. What would possess someone to go to all the trouble of writing a book and then take no credit for having done so? What compulsion drives this strangest of artists? Anonymous is more than a pseudonym. It is a stark declaration of intent: a wall explicitly thrown up, not only between writer and reader, but between the writer’s work and his life. His book is one thing, and his “real” life another; and the latter is entirely off limits, not only to you, the reader, but presumably to almost everybody. Sometimes he has written about something too intimate, too scary, too real, for him to bear public scrutiny. Once the connection is known, what he has written will mark his ordinary life ineradicably.

Die Eindelose Avontuur, ʼn Venster op die wêreldletterkunde

deur Audrey Blignaut, uit die voorwoord Omdat ek loof, deur Hennie Aucamp, Tafelberg, 1993

Skrywers wat met die Bybel en met mitologieë grootword, het volgens my die allerbeste skoling wat ʼn skrywer maar kan hoop om te hê. Hy maak van meet af aan met verhewigde lewe kennis; met karakters wat groter as lewensgroot is. En nooit sal hy weer tevrede wees met mak verhale nie. Sy fantasie is gevorm deur die groot, opruiende gebaar; sy rolmodelle is die helde van Hellas, die Simsons en Dawids van die Ou Testament.

Creators, From Chaucer to Walt Disney

by Paul Johnson, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2006

Linked to Shakespeare’s practicality were his distrust for the abstract and his dislike of theory. He was in no sense an intellectual, that is, someone who believes ideas are more important than people. His plays are essentially about people, not ideas. He was not, in the eyes of intellectuals like Ben Johnson, an educated man; and though he knew a lot, it had all been picked up by word of mouth – listening to people talk about what they knew well – and by private reading. He had no whiff of the university, no ‘system,’ whether from the medieval scholars or the ancient Greek philosophers. He was not trying to deliver a new ‘message’.

Dark Star Safari, Overland from Cairo to Cape Town

by Paul Theroux, Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Books, 2002

After a few days I became attuned to the accent, which in its twanging, swallowed way seemed both assertive and friendly. Johannesburg was ‘Janiceberg’ or ‘Jozi’, and busy was ‘buzzy,’ congested ‘congisted,’ ‘Waist’ West, and said ‘sid.’ There was no shortage of glottal stops, and a distinct Scottishness crept into some expressions, for example, a military build-up was a ‘mulatree buldup.’ Nearly everyone had a tendency to use Afrikaans words in ordinary speech, such as dorp, bakkie, takkies, naartjies, and dagga, but these words had percolated throughout Central Africa long ago and I knew from having lived in Malawi that they meant town, pick-up truck, sneakers, tangerines, and marijuana. If there was a pronunciation problem it was that for dagga or Gauteng you needed to use the soft deep throat-clearing and gargled ‘g’ of the Dutch.

Voetsek meant bugger-off all over Southern Africa, and was regarded as impolite. Forbidden words sometimes slipped into conversation. Kaffir was the worst, koelie (‘coolie’ for Indian) not far behind, and so was bushies (for coloreds, mixed-race people). Piccanin was one vulgar word for African children, but there were others. When a white high court judge, perhaps believing himself to be affectionate, described some African children with the diminutive klein kaffirtjies (‘little niggerlings’), he was suspended from his judicial duties. Afrikaans was nothing if not picturesque, though some slang words had etymologies that needed explanation, such as moffie for homosexual, which derived from moffiskaep, a castrated sheep.

Bannelinge oor die oseaan, Boerekrygsgevangenes 1899 – 1902

deur Coen Groenewald, J.P. van der Walt en Seun, 1992

Onvergeetlik is die streke van die harlekyn, Mot Smit, geklee in ʼn nou, wit broek, ʼn swart manel, ʼn hardebolkeiltjie en ʼn oogglas voor die een oog. Met sy onbedwingbare streke en grapmakery was hy meer in die tronk as daarbuite.

Hy laat byvoorbeeld sy kop kaal skeer. Toe hy sy keil afhaal en voor ʼn Britse offisier buig, is die Transvaalse wapen duidelik op sy kop afgeteken. Word hy aangesê om ʼn groentetuin te skoffel, dan skoffel hy die groente uit en laat die onkruid. Word hy aangesê om plantjies te plant, dan plant hy dit onderstebo met die wortels na bo.

Toe die kampkommandant reël dat hy ondersoek word om te sien of hy geestelik versteur is, gaan hy hardop aan die lag en sê dit is die kampkommandant self wat van lotjie getik is.

Whose standards will Democrats embrace?

by Nancy Gibbs, Time, April 15, 2019

We all learned back on the playground that whoever makes the rules of the game stands a better chance of winning it. It’s an uncomfortable lesson, one that requires us to accept that norms are fluid, that expectations shift, that people’s actions are not judged as right or wrong, but are also measured against the depravity or valor of their peers.

Penkoppe van die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog 1899 – 1902

deur Pets Marais, J.P. van der Walt, Pretoria, 1993

Die penkoppe het gou geleer dat die lewe op kommando nie alles rosegeur en maneskyn was nie. Wanneer ʼn geveg aan die gang was, is daar geen voorsiening vir kos of water gemaak voor die geveg geëindig het nie. Die burgers was feitlik permanent uitgehonger. E. J. Weeber vertel in Op die Natalse Front byvoorbeeld van ʼn keer dat hulle in 14 dae van gevegte in Natal slegs tien maaltye gekry het. Hierdie maaltye het ook bestaan uit droë beskuit of brood sonder enige bygereg en met water in plaas van koffie as enigste drankie. Die omstandighede is gedeel deur die penkoppe wat teenwoordig was, soos Weeber ook noem.

A Dream of Passion

by Lee Strasberg, Little Brown and Company, Boston, 1987

The real problem for the actor, therefore, is how to create in each performance the same believable experiences and behavior, and yet include what Stanislavsky called “the illusion of the first time.” Diderot was aware that the man whom nature stamps as actor cannot reach the topmost height until the fury of the passions is subdued. Until the head is cool and the heart is under control. This coincided exactly with Francois Joseph Talma’s basic definition of acting, “a warm heart and a cool mind,” an epigram widely accepted as a correct formula for the actor’s talent. But the central problem remained: How do you stimulate the heart to be warm? Shakespeare had expressed the difficulty of this task in the challenge to the actor to “force his soul so to his own conceit.” Wordsworth had described the same difficulty (this time applying it to the poet’s task) in his proclamation of the true voice of feeling: “emotion recollected in tranquility.”

Facts still exist

by Jennifer Egan, Time, December 24 – 31, 2018

Authoritative lying debases the truth. The resulting confusion of fantasy and reality is the definition of psychosis, a perilously vulnerable mental state.