Isipingo Beach – Līgo Haībun Challenge

AnElephant has written too many words for this weeks Līgo Haībun Challenge, courtesy of the wonderful Nightlake, ably assisted by Penny and The Pirate.

The prompt is ‘Lost Moments‘.

This is a recollection from a time when the earth was young, but not necessarily innocent.
My family had just moved to South Africa.
The terminology used is that of the time.
I apologise for any offence caused.
I use the word ikhaya, which I recall as being pronounced key-ah, to refer to the ”servant’s quarters”.

Isipingo Beach

The village is idyllic, a sun-blessed paradise, maybe a dozen miles south of Durban, overlooking the Indian Ocean.
We live in one of four company apartments in perhaps two acres of ground surrounded by high hedges.
This is our home for many years, from when I am seven years old until I am in my early
teens, when we return to Scotland.
We listen carefully to my father’s words.
We are allowed to run free, almost wild, wherever we choose, throughout the village.
We may go to the beach, or down through the woods to the playing fields at the foot of the hill.
We may go anywhere except to the ikhaya, where the servants stay.
This is where the four native girls go to sleep.
We may not go there ever, under any circumstances.
They are situated in the bottom corner of the garden, fifty or sixty yards from the houses, where the grass is almost waist high.
As soon as my father leaves for work my older brother and I head for the ikhaya.
They are empty, of course, because the girls are working in the apartments.
They comprise a once-whitewashed block about eight feet high and deep and almost thirty feet long.
We creep to the first door and peer carefully through.
We see a room, six feet by six feet, containing a single bed and a small table on which sits a candle and a Bible.
I look at my brother.
He looks at me.
We are ashamed, of ourselves, of our parents, of everyone.
At seven years old I know apartheid is wrong.

and yet we say
we are all
Jock Tamson’s bairns

This entry was posted in Haibun and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Isipingo Beach – Līgo Haībun Challenge

  1. Didi says:

    I’m always fascinated by the sharp eye and pure heart of a child’s mind.
    Thanks for sharing this with me.
    I will surely begin to follow!
    This is a response to the comment posted under this post –


  2. emmylgant says:

    Masterly crafted. The wake up call and the way the children take on the shame for the adults is immensely powerful.


  3. Sarah Ann says:

    Loved this insight into AnElephant’s past – out of the mouths of babes.


  4. twoscamps says:

    Oh to be 7 again and saying it like it is! Loved this post.


  5. Steph says:

    This is wonderful. Beautiful recollection and the haiku is exceptional. Really nice!


  6. This is a moving story, very beautifully written


  7. A wonderful tale.. and a living proof that reality beats fiction


  8. nightlake says:

    A seven-year old understands what the adults fail to see. The first sentence was deeply thought-provoking, ‘This is a recollection from a time when the earth was young, but not necessarily innocent..’ The earth has probably long ceased to be open-minded or innocent.. And you have written a first-person narrative this time;) a lovely haibun:)


  9. Penny L Howe says:

    It is exquisitely, richly and completely all that a haibun should be, including the excellent haiku!


  10. Gabriella says:

    An excellent and atmospheric contribution to the prompt. I enjoy how you convey the contracts between your carefree childhood and what you discovered.


  11. summerstommy2 says:

    This very good. An aspect of life most of us never got to see much of.


  12. Jayde-Ashe says:

    Wonderful. I love it!


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