My Durban friend of Eastern Cape extraction tells me they speak four languages in this neck of the woods: English (of a sort), Afrikaans (of a sort), isiXhosa (of a sort), and Lower Albany. This turned out to be true, so I reached out to young Allister Gordon-Peter in desperation for translation services, but he was unreachable. So I struggled on alone among the boets and the swaers that inhabit this strange country.
Turns out he was doing the Pondo Plod from Port Edward to Mtentu, Mkambathi and beyond, shuffling southwards from shebeen to shebeen along the beach in the teeth of a howling Westerly, pretending he was having fun.
The only part sounding like fun was that some shebeens now have Black Label beer in 1l (one THOUSAND millilitre!) ‘quart’ bottles, so that helped.
Him and his ilk (all older’n me, much older – months!) can only do the blerrie hike thanks to frequent copious ingestion of strong drugs. These fools have done this trudging many times, suffering as they do from perseveration. When they paddle a river or hike a mountain or shoot a rhebuck, they do it over and over, year after year.
They have even done some hikes unsupported, camping rough, though nowadays as they age and grow decrepit they more often engage in ‘slackpacking,’ aka ‘limping,’ using motorised transport to carry their swag, sleep in four-poster featherbeds en route, and get tucked into bed by kind Pondo mamas. I’ve heard.
Rumour has it their drugs of choice include, but may not be limited to, Black Label, anti-inflammatories and an occasional puff of boom.
Eventually Alli phoned me, apologising for being out of blue teeth and off the line for the last week, and advised me to backtrack to Hogsback for some beautiful scenery and beer.
Which advice I followed, only to find the pub here doesn’t have 1l Black Label bottles. It was fake news. I’m having to drink milk stout and Old Brown.
Footnote: I’m told the specific brand of boom they rook in the Eesin Kyp is called ‘Pondoland Cabbage’ and just one amateur-rolled spliff gets you speaking fluent Lower Albany; slowly in lo-ong sentences with many words repeated. Look, boet, this is what I’m told hey.