Nowhere boyman

Collateral Damage

“Het tannie nie asseblief vir my ‘n sigaret nie?” (Have you got a cigarette for me aunty?)

He’s about 20, hair a knotted, blond heap piled on his head. He’s wearing several layers of clothing. The elastic waistband of a track suit visible underneath a too large pair of pinstriped, threadbare suit pants. A tattered hoodie over a tissue-thin, green T-shirt. A paper painter’s mask dangles from his neck like a piece of street jewellery. On his head he is wearing a plastic shopping bag, which he removes respectfully (like a gentleman from another age wearing a Homburg or a Fedora) when he asks for the cigarette.

“Wat is jou naam?” (What is your name?)

“Adri Marthinus tannie.”

“En hoekom is jy op straat?” (And why are you on the street?)

“Toe ek klaar gemaak het met skool, daar op De Grendel, het ek huistoe gegaan…

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