One word can cause big trouble

A couple of weeks ago I lampooned blacks for demanding Krismas boxes from our white compatriots and for labelling whites as racists if they did not hand them over.

A couple of weeks ago I lampooned blacks for demanding Krismas boxes from our white compatriots and for labelling whites as racists if they did not hand them over.

Someone - obviously a white person - read the piece, misunderstood the essence of it all and had a rush of blood to the head. He or she posted it on some rabidly racist website I will not promote here, and the heavens caved in.

Overnight I was enemy number one of the volk, with people virtually calling for me to be crucified. One even suggested something unmentionable here should be done to me using a sharp stick.

I had thought blacks, if anyone at all, would be mad. But no, some dimwit mlungu decided I had insulted the "superior" race.

For the vitriol they spewed you could have thought I had said, "one settler, one bullet." Or, worse still, Zulu King Dingane's famous bulalani abathakathi.

In some ghoulish way it felt good and I swelled with pride at my rapid infamy. It is fulfilling to anger morons, all because they refuse to think. Trust me, I am going to rankle them again one day soon, if only so I can laugh my blood pressure down.

Words ...

I once got the shellacking of my life from one hefty big mama teacher named MaSlaaits, all because I had unwittingly used the wrong word.

My friend Butiki Motaung had bunked class. He and I left the school yard together but I was running an errand for a teacher. We split (that word!) a few blocks away and Butiki vanished. Where to I never did get to know.

Back at school MaSlaaits asked me what happened to Butiki as he had been seen leaving the yard with me. I stupidly said we had "crossed" on the way.

The following day Butiki was in trouble. Somewhere in his explanation he said he had left the yard with me, which was true.

No, said MaSlaaits. Charles, the good boy, "crossed" paths with you somewhere outside the school yard.

I was called in to repeat my story. Only this time I explained in the vernacular and it supported Butiki's version.

"But you said you had crossed on the way!"

I stuttered an attempted correction but before I could finish it, the big mama was all over me. She beat me so badly I later told my friends she hit me like I had stolen her husband. Someone told her that and this time she called my father in to do the honours.

He got on to his bicycle and rode to my school. His temper and wrath were well known in the area, and as he entered the school yard the school buzzed in anticipation like a massive swarm of bees: "Z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z."

I was called into the staff room. As I walked in, MaSlaaits said to him: "Meneer, Charles is beginning to surprise us ..."

No questions asked, no explanation sought. My old man grabbed me like a rag doll, threw me on to the table, took a cane that was lying around and gave me the works.

All because of a wrong word.

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