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