Ma Zwiers and Hermien

Seven has meaning and is important; it is THE number for me. I was born at
7pm. on the 7th of July in the 1950s in the hospital of the little town called Bedford in the southeast of the Republic of South Africa. I officially became an adult on the 7th of the 7th in the ’70s.

Bedford had a tarred main street, a cinema where I saw a movie most Saturdays, a library, a shop across from our house where I could buy candy for 1 cent, put in newspaper that was rolled up like a funnel, a church, an Afrikaans school and a convent.

My birth went really well, my mother told me and she breastfed me for three months. All this was very much because of the support from midwife Anna. I slept in my mother’s room for the first few months and then she fell pregnant again. When the new baby brother was there I turned to my new mummy at night, my sister Henrica. She changed my nappy, took me into her bed when I cried, washed my hair and generally looked after me. Being only 13, some of those days were times of resentment for her.

From left to right: Greta, Evert, Hermien and Willem in front

Memories of the past flash through my mind:
When I was little, I dreamt that I could fly and also that I was rolled up in a carpet filled with spiders, one dream of exhilaration, the other of sheer panic. I ate sand. I walked in my sleep.

To be continued …

The above will be continued in my blog “ THE EARLY DAYS…. The 1950s–1970s, THE BEDFORD-GRAHAMSTOWN YEARS”. Written by me when I was young, in Afrikaans, and later translated by me. Almost all original names have been changed to protect people.

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