VLIEëRS (Kites)

Vlieërs is the Afrikaans term for Kites and I devoted a great deal of my youth to making and flying kites.  No two kites that I made were ever identical in performance and I was fascinated by the diversity of personalities they displayed.  Some were aggressive in flight while others were completely docile.  Some took their role very seriously while others were playful.  However they behaved, the basic construction materials were always the same and consisted of bamboo strips, tissue paper, strong cotton and glue.

On the day described below, my friends and I wanted to make a few kites but had no bamboo and no money to buy some from the farmer who sold it to us for a penny a length.  After some discussion, the solution seemed obvious – we would simply help ourselves to a few lengths.  All we had to do was not get caught.  That part of the plan didn’t work too well and I had to take a hiding stoically since I couldn’t tell my parents what had happened.  To confess my crime would doubtless have generated another hiding – this time from my father.

VLIEëRS

Op ʼn dag wil ons toe vlieërs maak
Maar bamboes het ons nie
Die ou boer by Langlaagte het
Maar hy vra daarvoor ʼn pennie
 
G’n een het geld, wat sal ons maak
Maar wag! Louis het ʼn plan
Daar is gevaar maar ons is jonk
Kom ons gaan steel daarvan
 
So gesê so gedaan
En kort kort is ons daar
Stilletjies kap ons bamboes af
Niemand moet ons gewaar
 
Skielik skreeu ʼn stem hardop
“Haai wat maak jul daar?”
Dit is die boer, hy’t ons gesien
Vandag kry ons pakslae
 
Die oubaas en twee outas
Kom vinnig aangedraf
En voor hul hol vier honde
Met skrikwekkende geblaf
 
Elkeen laat sy bamboes val
En kies ʼn wegkom pad
Ons spat in alle rigtings uit
En vrees gee bene vaart
 
Ek hardloop deur die bloekombos
Maar struikel oor ʼn tak
Ek val my stom, my wind is uit
Meteens is ek betrap
 
Die outas hou my stewig vas
Ek pleit en tjank en ruk
Dit help my niks, pak gaan ek kry
Hul maak my vooroor buk
 
Die oubaas slaan my pienk en pers
Met sy renostervel sambok
Die pyn is erg my boude brand
Ek soebat “Hou tog op!”
 
Skielik word ek los gelaat
Dit is my wegkom kans
Hul gryp na my maar ek is weg
So vinnig soos ʼn haas
 
By die huis gaan dit maar ewe swaar
Want Ma wil weet hoekom
Ek nie wil sit, bly liewers staan
“Wat’s fout, toe sê nou jong?”
 
“Ek het perd gery en afgeval
Op sitvlak hard beland”
Of sy my glo kan ek nie sê
En ek’s vroeg bed toe die aand
 
 
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