An incident with a truck.

The big fight with the truck.

A never ending excuse.

One of the very few times I had a stand up fight with my indigenous farm manager and why.

Now I have all ready penned one epistle on my indigenous farm manager, so decided to do another one on another incident. One also has to understand the scale of the farm it is not your normal small holding. From the house on the farm where I lived and the barns there was ten kilometres to the barns and house where my manager lived and then a further three kilometres to the barns, and house where my parents lived. So I decided to give my manager a truck (or bakkie), to help him get around. Now here’s the deal.

Micah (managers name), this truck is for farm use only. If you want to use it for personal use, then you must ask me first. Sometimes, I will say yes and sometimes I will say, no.
He agreed to the terms. Now there came a time when the mileage he was using just didn’t add up, so I decided to try something. I told him I was going to play golf on a Saturday afternoon and he must look after the farm seeing that it was his week-end duty,on, as well. Except I didn’t go to golf, and here is what ensued.

So around two o’clock I decided to visit all my barns. Lo and behold, the manager could not be found. None of the staff knew where he was either and so I searched the whole farm with frequent return trips to the barns. But he could not be found. You also have to understand that because of the scale of things and the uncertain times we lived in. Every household and every truck had direct radio communication. Even with repeated radio calls I could not find him. At around 6 o’clock I finally found him at one set of barns. Understandably angry I said,”now where in hades have you been?”

The reply, “please Sir, I have not been anywhere, I just went to Selous.” A small village about ten or fifteen kilometres away and in his accent pronounced ‘Seloose’.

Racism rears its ugly head again

So I reminded him of the terms of use of the truck, and furthermore how many times had I ever said, no, when he asked to use it for personal use? He agreed that I had never said no, but then came up with this gem.

” That the only way I was talking with him like this was because I was racist.”

Livid with rage, I then asked, “how do you come up with that one then?”

His reply, “that if he was a white manager I wouldn’t be questioning him like this?”

I said, ” you know something that is the problem with all you people. You all have the perfect fall back excuse don’t you? As it turns out I have given you more leeway than I would have ever given a white manager. The major difference being that he could never then fall back and accuse me of being a racist?”

I further added. ” You see these barns here? They were the first things my Dad built when he first came to this farm. It would be pretty pointless growing a tobacco crop without any barns to cure it in, now wouldn’t it? Secondly the next thing he built was this grading shed along the same premise, that it would be pretty pointless after curing your crop without having somewhere to store it? At this time he moved his family to live in the bottom end of the grading shed. We had no electricity, no toilet, kitchen or bath facilities. At no time did any of us feel hard done by any of this. Then he started to build the house, because whereas everybody loves a house there would hardly be any point in building it first, where you couldn’t cure your tobacco or store it, now would there? So I have cherished memories of that house. Furthermore, it was the very first house my wife and I lived in as newly weds. We had no electricity, we had no borehole water. We brought water up in a scotch cart from the river or dam, depending on which had water in it at which time of the year. I see you are now living in that house. I see that it has electricity, I also see it has ‘pristine’ borehole water piped into it. I see that you have a cook, I also see that you have a gardener. All of this paid for by me. I also see you have a truck who’s oil, diesel, maintenance, and a myriad other things. Also paid for by me. But you are so hard done by aren’t you? And if you ever, ever, ever, talk to me like that again. You are gone. And I don’t care about your bloody useless unions, and I care even less about your even more useless government. They took a beautiful little country and systematically ruined it. And you know this as well as I do.
You understand?”

Now feck off and go and check the barns, instead of going nowhere like just down to Selous. Good gosh, golly gumdrops, jeepers creepers.

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About spookmoor

I'm a 61 year old happily married man with three grown up children. I lost all my hearing as an eighteen year old whilst doing National Service and then had a Cochlear Ear Implant twenty years later. I love trying to explain these things to people and bits about my life. I never thought so at the time, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Thus one gets Random ramblings from a man who has seen a lot with a touch of humour underlying all.
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17 Responses to An incident with a truck.

  1. Paul Bentley says:

    Spook, I am now farming in Glendale and the senior foreman is a fellow named Wonder who learnt his trade with a farmer named Don Magee – I seem to recall he was from your neck of the woods ? The other day I gave a couple of locals a lift to Glendale and my cellphone was stolen by the fellow who sat in the front of the bakkie with me ! Wonder’s response …… Bwana, never put a black man in the front of your car !!!

  2. frankiekay says:

    We tried to regulate the use of our motorbike by our manager – so we only gave him a certain amount of oil….we stupidly thought he would only use the bike while it had oil in it!
    My father in law lent his tractor to the soccer team….in about 1946 – the driver got drunk and drove it into a tree! And so, when asked we would say “you can’t borrow the tractor, remember the last time someone borrowed it…”

  3. George Azevedo says:

    You should’ve just sacked him,on the spot,ungrateful bastard.
    Probably scrounging for a meal as we speak.

  4. Iris Papadopoulo says:

    I bet ol’ Micah (and all Micahs for that matter) wishes you were still there so he could have his comfy life and job, but above all that he could have a fair, direct, no nonsense employer to work for.

  5. msasa13 says:

    You are so right about the unjustified sense of entitlement, and the fall-back position of racism. Not condoning it at all, but I think the paternalistic attitude of the white folk is partly to blame. So much was provided, schools, hospitals and so on, with the aim of improving people’s lives. Then when these same people were asked to contribute for further benefit, the idea was totally alien. Always saddened me during the war years that the first things destroyed were schools and cattle dips. Who did that benefit? Same all over though, when there are riots anywhere it’s usually the local facilities that are destroyed first.

  6. Simon says:

    Well done Spook When was this all happening Also I have looked at racist from a different angle I now call it respect If I cannot respect a person then I really dont have the time of day for them There are very very few indigenous Africans that I respect so does this make me a racist

  7. Simon Shee says:

    Spook, I don’t think that you are a racist. For a start a racist would never have given him a job as farm manager. You actually gave him another chance instead of beating the crap out of him as many guys would have done. I have just spent three months travelling in southern and Eastern Africa and visited seven countries. It is obvious that a sense of entitlement still pervades the mindset of the inhabitants and in my opinion this is being perpetuated by charities and NGO’s doing the tasks and taking on the responsibilities that should rightfully be done by the indigenous inhabitants. Keep up the good work.

    • spookmoor says:

      Thank you Simon, I had a feeling you would deliver. I guess it boils down to people standing up for what they believe in? You are also quite right about the charities and NGO’s. Shame hey? But it’s all the whites fault? Which of course all these charities are run by. Strange world we now live in?

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