Ouma tieties

Candice Nolan / May 12, 2019

Ouma tieties


I played it for Aunty Thelma. For the first time, she heard what actually happened to her parental home all those years ago. The true story about how her late father was robbed of his legacy.

Her face was animated. At times she got really sad. Other times she jived along to the township music. But mostly she was sad. Aunty Thelma is nearing her centenary. When she was growing up, adults never spoke about such things.

She was a young woman starting a family, back when her siblings were forced to sell their parental home. Its a move that split the family up, with her sister and brother relocating to Cape Town. I guess it was too painful to stay.

If nobody ever hears the story of Albertville and what happened to my people, that’s okay. I had my reward in her eyes. She was so grateful. So proud. “You did so much research, my child!”. It made me proud.

That’s what is sad for me. I didn’t have to do much digging to unearth her late father’s estate file, and fill in all the gaps. It’s all there at the National Archives in Pretoria. The power of apartheid was in the secrecy. They hid their atrocities in plain sight.

On second thoughts, it’s not okay if you don’t hear the story of Albertville.

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