There is an old song, back in the eighties when I had hair and was much thinner (thank you to all the PT Instructors in the Police College and later at the Maleoskop Counter Insurgency Training Base) called It's Raining Again. Yeah by Supertramp and I am sure, have we known what they looked like in real life, the song would have been banned for that alone. Nevertheless, we liked the old song and it is stuck in my head now.
Quite a lot of songs were banned then as well as movies. The Beatles for instance came very very close being banned for saying they are more popular than God (they were not, not even close). The movie "Black Beauty" was banned since nothing black could ever be beautiful - the idiotic sensors apparently did not know it was based on a book about a horse. This became one of the most popular deriding jokes of the era though I am not sure it actually happened. But a lot of things were strange then. For instance, any relationship across the colour line was strictly forbidden by law and to be caught with a black girl was as much a disgrace as being gay. There are, after all, no such things in the animal world and the Bible very clear on gays in any case. Hence, millions of hours were spent chasing such "criminals" down.
Luckily, since 1994, the gays and mixed relationship individuals are left alone (sort off, corrective female rape still happens all the time) though it must be said, it is not common and frowned upon. Why I would not know. They don't bother me and I really don't believe my ass is pretty enough for any man to want to look at. I have no gay tendencies anyway and never will. Therefore I was astonished when a reader wrote to say my latest fiction book is almost a chick book with the two main characters hugging and crying quite often. Of course, this is said tongue in cheek before someone accuses me of stating that straight, middle age men cannot write love stories if they wish to do so.
I was startled though. Before my late wife burst on the scene I did not consider myself to be someone with much sensitivity or even emotions. For instance I don't even close my eyes when kissing and don't make animal noises at other times either. Why should I? I want to see what is happening behind her and in the dark, who cares? She is not wearing night vision to see what I my eyes are doing and if she asks I have to wonder how she knows. It is a rather brilliant system if you think about it (not according to her but anyway). Emotions are weaknesses in my world and to be ignored. I was wrong but then I am often wrong. Just ask my ex-wife. She will tell you in great detail about my failures in life but that is also expected. I am not perfect. No first attempt can be.
Someone asked me the other day if I would have a problem if my lad, now 11 years old, has gay tendencies (he does not, just saying). The answer is yes. I will have a problem from a religious viewpoint on gays but not as a man or legal scholar. In the end it is his life and not mine and for him to make his own choices and live with it. The same with a mixed relationship, if the girl is his soul and good for him, I don't care. That is the problem with souls by the way. You have no idea where she might be, what colour or what nationality. And believe me when I say this...there is nothing in this world able to keep souls apart. They will find each other and then there will be sparks. It is written.
As I sit here it is raining outside which a big deal in Africa. We don't have enough water, pure and simple. The water we have we often waste but that is another story. Fact remains, rain is a big deal and even poems are written of the raindrops dancing in the dust. I have experience on that subject. At school we learned poetry by heart to recite in front of the class much to our disgust and the delight of our enemies. And I remember when I lived in the Caprivi Zipveldt, you would see the rainstorms approaching from Zambia (another country) and then across the mighty Zambezi River which was at times, more than one mile across. You could actually see the water turn white as the raindrops hit it and then when halfway across you would run like hell for cover.
It was a strange place, the Caprivi. There were no stones in that area (still nothing today). No stones, just sand, wild snakes, wild crocodiles and wild hippopotamus. At school we could touch a stone one enterprising teacher had in his office. That is if you were under the top three students in the class which I obviously was. It was as big as a golf ball. I do remember the bastard (all teachers are sincerely disliked by me) would not allow us to throw it around or shoot it with our ketties (African, sling shot) at each other. No, we had to use marbles bought at great expense at the Portuguese oom (Afrikaans, uncle) who had the only shop in town until one night the terrorists blew it up. Because marbles were so expensive we never missed and soon upgraded to powerful pellet guns (we pumped them many times more than recommended) which we used with terrifying accuracy.
The place was an armed camp with many soldiers and policemen around hunting terrorists. Of the two we feared the policemen far more. They were older, harder and each had a vicious looking moustache (me too, later years when I enlisted). We knew they were the ones who had the kills and the most experience having served in the Rhodesian Bush War for a decade before the Army woke up. Not that the Army lads were not dangerous. Their driving skills (top speed) in Unimogs and Bedford trucks made my dad swore many times that they should never ever appear in his court as he has a legal presumption against them which would bode very ill for them. It took me another nine years to understand what he meant and I have to agree, they would have been found guilty without even hearing their story. But then, there was a strong conviction, wrongly, that speed will enable a vehicle to miss a landmine. Unless you are going at the speed of sound that may not work out but these lads tried their best. Strangely the policemen drove much more sedately with their old Hyena Armoured vehicles which were built on a Ford F250 chassis. They knew it would tip over if driven faster causing them much paperwork. This was before the Casspirs came on the scene and then nothing could stop them from upholding their nickname of a "Kalahari Ferrari." A name I intensely dislike by the way.
So my friends take the time to listen to the rain falling and take a sip of your coffee and be grateful for memories. That is what life is about, memories, either to make them or to remember them. Life is too short for nonsense.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a practicing commercial law attorney for eight years. He also wrote several books on business, law, counter terrorism and security issues. He is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.