Koos Kombuis

Another column about women

2011-08-15 06:45
Here’s another column about women! In case you didn’t know, National Women's Day (which happened on the 9th of this month) may be over, but South Africans are celebrating a whole Women’s Month this August. And no, I hate to disappoint you, but this has absolutely nothing to do with National Cleavage Day. Women’s Month celebrates the dignity of women, and not just their sexual allure. Which is why all my columns so far this month have focused on the dignity of women! The first one was about the joys of chick lit , whereas the second one was an ode to my mother-in-law!

Now, all this may sound very noble, but first of all I have a confession to make. You see, I did something horribly wrong on Women's Day.

I happened to tweet (in a fit of pro-feminist abandon) the following on the morning of the 9th: "To my favorite women in the world: my wife, my mother-in-law, and my dog, Griet! I love you guys! You provide meaning to my chaos!"

After having pushed the "tweet" button, I realized that I had completely forgotten to mention my mother. It bothered me for a moment, because I really love my mother. But then I thought: Aag, my mother doesn’t read Twitter, there’s no way she will ever know about this indiscretion…

As fate would have it, of course, the next day all the national Afrikaans dailies carried a page of famous local celebrities tweeting about Women's Day, with my tweet prominently displayed!

I was shaking with embarrassment. My mother may be over ninety years old, but she has a razor-sharp mind. And though she might not do social media, she certainly reads the local Afrikaans dailies.


That set me thinking: I should phone my mother. I should phone her more often, in fact. Not just because I love her, but because she is every bit as cool as my mother-in-law, and that says a lot, because my mother-in-law is coolness personified. My mother might not have boogied with the head-banging crowd in the front row of an Oppikoppi concert like my mother-in-law did, but she once gatecrashed at a Michelle Shocked concert just to see me. Yes! That happened shortly before her 90th birthday, in fact!

You see, Michelle Shocked was doing a tour of South Africa (not her latest one, which ended this week, but the previous one), and she was booked to do a gig at Café Barcelona in Pretoria, where I was hanging out backstage because I happened to be friends with her South African bass player, Schalk Joubert. Now Michelle Shocked is a high profile international rock star, but that did not perturb my mother! She brought along one of the heavies that live with her in the old age home flats where she stayed, and together, she and this other tannie weaved their way through the thronging crowds waiting for Michelle Shocked until she barged into the tiny grimy little backstage room where Schalk and I were sitting and having some drinks, also waiting for Michelle’s performance.

Actually, that was the first time I had seen my mother in a few years, it was the meeting that got us reconciled after some time of awkward mutual silences and neglect. And all because she was prepared to break the boundaries, leave her comfort zone and storm into a Michelle Shocked concert!

Was that cool or what!?

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