Die lot van blankes in Afrika

Deel op

sweedsedeur Leon Lemmer

Die Skandinawiese lande was bekend as die grootste ondersteuners van die terreurveldtogte van die ANC en PAC teen die blankes tydens apartheid. Dit was hulle manier om hulle liberalistiese en humanistiese oortuigings uit te leef. Die Skandinawiese lande het vryer as ander Europese lande gevoel om barbaarsheid te ondersteun omdat hulle nie ‘n koloniale verlede het en met die instroming van immigrante uit Derdewêreldse lande te make gehad het nie. Skandinawiërs was salig onbewus van die groot etniese en kulturele verskille wat daar in die mensdom aangetref word. Hulle het van die standpunt uitgegaan dat alle mense wesenlik eenders is. “Ons almal bloei rooi,” soos die Amerikaners graag sê; iets wat ook van baie diersoorte gesê kan word.

Dit is dus interessant as ‘n mens ‘n geval teëkom waar Skandinawiërs die uitsonderlike ding gedoen het om hulle oorverligte oortuigings aan die harde werklikheid te toets. So ‘n geval word beskryf in Gunilla Fagerholm se boek, Blue-Eyed in Luhya land (2nd edition, 2010, 468p; Amazon Kindle $4.99). Die outeur en haar tweede man, Bertil Lindström, het Kenia in 1995 en 1996 besoek en besluit om hulle daar te vestig. As middeljariges wou hulle hulle saai daaglikse lewe in Swede met avontuur en uitdagings in ‘n warmer klimaat vervang. Bowenal wou hulle goed vir hulle nuwe landgenote wees. “Everywhere on the globe, people were suffering. We wanted to help them” (Kindle 295). Albei was deurtrek van ubuntu, oftewel medemenslikheid, wat Russel Botman die geskenk van Afrika aan die mensdom noem. Afrika het nog geskenke vir hierdie goeie Swede gehad, soos ontnugtering en wanhoop.

Die Fagerholms het hulle beroepe verlaat en hulle huis in Täby, Swede, verkoop en in Desember 1996 in Kenia aangekom. Hulle het ‘n kleinhoewe van 20 000 vk meter in die verre weste van Kenia, naby die Victoria-meer en die Ugandese grens, op die Wit Hooglande by Wausiva gekoop. In die vorige eeu was hierdie plato die tuiste van baie blanke boere; ook Afrikaners in veral die omgewing van Eldoret, sowat ‘n honderd kilometer van waar die Fagerholms hulle gevestig het. Met onafhanklikheid in 1963, toe die Mau Mau-terreurgroep beheer van die land oorgeneem het, het die “Land Resettlement”-projek die blankes verplig om van hulle plase afstand te doen en het hulle die land op groot skaal verlaat. Die Fagerholms se nuwe tuiste was 22 kilometers noord van die ewenaar met Kakamega as die naaste groot dorp. Net suid van die ewenaar is daar ‘n groter dorp, Kisumu, wat ‘n lughawe het en die hoofstad van die Nyanza-provinsie is. Die boektitel verwys na die Luhya-inboorlingstam en -taal wat in hierdie gebied aangetref word.

fagerholm_blue-eyedToe hulle emigreer, het die Fagerholm-egpaar hulle hond, Rufus, saamgeneem. In Swede was daar baie formaliteite wat nagekom moes word voordat die Fagerholms seker gevoel het dat die hond sonder probleme in Kenia toegelaat sou word. Op Nairobi se lughawe is hulle met die hond en die dokumentasie, soos veeartssertifikate, na die doeane. “The two Customs officials were talking to each other, their backs turned on us” (163). Na ‘n lang wag het hulle uiteindelik een van die beamptes se aandag getrek en hy het bloot gesê: “Go through” (163). Later moes hulle die 500 kilometers na Nairobi terugry om hulle toelatingspermitte in orde te kry. “Most of our first week in Nairobi was dedicated to waiting for people who didn’t show up at the agreed time” (394).”Days were spent on a never-ending back and forth. The hopelessly corrupt administration made the issue even more difficult for us” (398). “People said Kenyan corruption was ranked number three in the world and, at the same time, they joked Kenya had paid bribes to get that high ranking” (4698).

In Nairobi het hulle soms met hulle Land Rover die verkeerde afdraai geneem. “We ended up in the slum areas. What we saw there was awful. People starving, dying; deformed bodies, crippled children, street urchins intoxicated by sniffing glue or solvents … It was more than I could bear; I walked with tears in my eyes. A horrid stench emanated from the garbage heaps where people rummaged about looking for food. It was all so inhuman. A jarring contrast with the world of the well fed and clad Africans we’d seen at the airport” (195).

Die Fagerholms het aanvanklik in een van die twee bestaande kleihutte op hulle grond gewoon en ‘n houtafdak met ‘n puttoilet en stort gebou. ‘n Deel van die erf is omhein en hulle het wagte (“askaris”) aangestel om hulle eiendom dag en nag te patrolleer. Spoedig is daar gate in die omheining geknip wat die wagte oënskynlik nie raakgesien het nie. Later het die Swede agtergekom dat gesteelde goed binne hulle erf naby die heining versteek word, sodat dit maklik van buite die erf ingepalm kon word. “Sometimes I wondered if there were any honest people at all around us” (1393). Vir die wagte is ook ‘n afdak gebou, asook een vir die kragopwekker. Aan ‘n ander swarte het hulle geld geleen sodat hy sy skuld by die hospitaal kon betaal en daarna die lyk van sy vrou by die dodehuis kon opeis. Hy sou vir hulle tuinwerk doen om die geld terug te betaal. “Why was he so lazy when it came to his own home? Why didn’t he plant bananas and avocado on his own land?” (511).

Een van die wagte, Jim, het klere van die Fagerholms gesteel en dit openlik gedra. “He’d put part of our day workers’ salaries into his own pocket … he’d been demanding money from people for delivering messages to us and … he’d been threatening the ones refusing to pay” (1197). Hy is ontslaan. “He’d threatened to come back and shoot us all” (1210). ‘n Ander wag, Mark, het kort-kort nuwe batterye kom vra vir die flits waarmee hy sy patrolleerwerk in die nag gedoen het. Hulle kom toe agter dat hy die nuwe batterye in sy radio sit en die oues in sy flits. Voortaan het hulle die flits se nuwe batterye met ‘n handtekening en datum gemerk.

Mettertyd het hulle agtergekom dat hulle die getuigskrifte van kandidate vir werk nie kon vertrou nie. Wat die swartes doen, is om bv in die geval van ‘n aspirantkok ‘n blanko briefhoof by ‘n hotel te steel en dan daarop ‘n gloeiende aanbeveling aan te bring. ‘n Ander probleem was die gereelde diensonderbrekings van werkers om begrafnisse by te woon. ‘n Enkele begrafnis kon 14 dae duur. “People disappeared from work for weeks on end to attend a funeral. Once they were back at work, some other relative or friend died and they disappear again” (4360).

“Others wanted us to employ them or wanted us to pay the school fees for their children. They expected both this and that from us, because white people were rich” (468). ‘n Swarte, Makuso, wat hulle leer ken het toe hulle eiendom gesoek het om te koop, “wrote us a letter, asking when he could fetch the matatu [minibus] we’d promised him. We answered we’d never either promised or talked to him about a matatu” (540). Later het Gunilla te hore gekom dat hy haar dood wou hê. Hoekom? “Makuso wants your land and he’s planning that if you die, then Bertil could marry one of his daughters. Then they’ll murder Bertil and Masuko and his family can take over the land” (554).

Hoewel die Fagerholms hulle eiendom wettig gekoop en betaal het, het hulle ‘n vorige bewoner, Patrick, aanvanklik toegelaat om in een van die oorspronklike twee hutte aan te bly. Hy en die vorige eienaars het opgetree asof die eiendom steeds aan hulle behoort. Daar was voortdurend ‘n toeloop van swartes, bv om voorvaders te huldig. “During a couple of days lots of people lived in that banda [hut]; dancing and singing all night long. Daytime everybody walked around as if they owned the compound. And we ourselves felt like intruders” (598). Patrick het dieselfde soort kans as Makuso met hulle gevat. “Ma’m, I’ve come to fetch the school-fees and I also need a new school uniform … You’ve actually promised me that” (584). “No, we’ve never done that and you know that very well … you’re actually neither our child nor our problem” (602). Die goeie Swede het die geld betaal wat Patrick geëis het, maar in ruil daarvoor hom van hulle grond af gekry en die hut gesloop omdat hulle daar wou bou.

“I realized that our African adventure wasn’t the first challenge I’d accepted in my life” (263). Wat hulle nie toe al geweet het nie, is dat die stamhoofde in die omgewing gewed het dat hulle nie ‘n jaar daar sou uithou nie. Die Fagerholms het op groot skaal werkers aangestel en mettertyd drie nuwe hutte met twee slaapkamers elk as blyplek vir gaste en ‘n restaurant gebou, met toilet- en badgeriewe, en uiteindelik ook nuwe woonkwartiere vir hulleself. Vir die personeel is vier wooneenhede met twee kamers elk gebou, asook ‘n toilet en waskamer. Die bou van die septiese tenk het ook baie tyd en geld geverg. Sonpanele het elektrisiteit verskaf. Die vrugbare grond is ontwikkel met pragtige vrugte- en ander bome en struike en ‘n groentetuin.

Hieruit moet nie afgelei word dat die arbeiders vinnig gewerk het nie. Oor die fondament vir die eerste gastehut skryf Gunilla: “That work had been going on for ten days instead of one” (1030). Wat die goeie Swede toe nog nie geweet het nie, is dat die arbeiders kyk hoe lank hulle die bouproses kan uitrek, want hulle word per dag vergoed. Moontlik is dit waarom dit so lank duur om bv ‘n kragstasie in Suid-Afrika te voltooi.

Aan die begin het die Fagerholms gekamp. Hulle besittings het uiteindelik uit Swede in ‘n skeepsvraghouer opgedaag. “Among it were also lots of things for the poor villagers, since we’d asked our community in Sweden to give us children clothes they were no longer using” (793). “While we were unpacking some of the boxes after the arrival of the container, everybody kept asking if they could take home empty boxes to use for insulation in their bandas” (1343). Op hierdie manier het die Fagerholms ‘n televisiestel verloor. “We’d been such idiots. We’d given all those helping us with our household articles a splendid tool to use for carrying stolen items out of the compound without being seen. Lots of our things were missing. We hadn’t thought of telling them to fold the boxes, before taking them away” (1347).

Afrikane lewe anders as Swede. “Some young boys were driving the family cows and goats to their bandas, sadly with stabs and blows … they didn’t treat animals well” (502). Mense word nie noodwendig beter behandel nie. “One mother … had poured kerosene [lampolie] over one of her children and then set him on fire. The reason for doing it was that the hungry child had stolen some ‘ugali’ – maize porridge – just before dinnertime” (565). “While in Sweden, we’d never ever imagined violence was so common in rural parts of Kenya” (979). “There was no limit to violence” (4847). Teen die einde van 1998 “Father Samuel had stopped Midnight Mass; he no longer regarded it safe outdoors at night” (4851). Saans “as a protective measure, I checked that the panga was under the bed and the torch below the pillow” (4863). Later: “It wasn’t very funny to sleep with a machete each under the bed and the air pistol between us” (5174).

In die reënseisoen het die Fagerholms genoeg water opgevang, maar in die droë seisoen was hulle van ‘n fontein en spruit aan die onderpunt van hulle eiendom afhanklik. Hulle het ‘n pomp geïnstalleer, maar dit is gesteel. Hulle het die owerheid vir die aanlê van water betaal, maar daarvan het feitlik niks gekom nie. Later het hulle op eie koste die sloot vir die waterpype laat grawe. “They’d only pretended to work and cheated us with the digging” (652). Die Fagerholms het gesukkel om die nodige waterpype uit die ministerie van waterwese te kry. “Suddenly a farmer living alongside the road … claimed we’d have to pay him for the land close to the road [road reserve] where the ditch was dug” (652). Voordat die pypleiding hulle kleinhoewe bereik het, is van die waterpype gesteel. Ten einde raad het die goeie Swede self die pype gekoop. Daarna wou die waterfiskaal dikwels nie water aan hulle voorsien nie, al betaal hulle daarvoor. Hy het ekstra geld geëis omdat hy glo eers diesel vir die pomp moet koop. Onwettige wateraansluitings is van die pyp af deur talle nie-betalers gemaak, sodat bitter min water die Fagerholms, wie se eiendom aan die eindpunt was, bereik het.

Lykshuis in Swede waar liggame uitgeken moet word, soms uit die derde wêreld
Lykshuis in Swede waar liggame uitgeken moet word, soms uit die derde wêreld

Weens korrupsie was dit moeilik om ‘n telefoon te bekom. Wanneer daar ‘n diensonderbreking was, kon dit weke duur voordat die verbinding herstel word, bv wanneer bome op die kabels geval het of die lyn opsetlik gesaboteer is. “A thief stole thirty meters of telephone wire in the middle of the day” (4946). “No telephone company workers worked other than on Sundays, getting double salary that day. Then they turned out, preferably ten men on a job where only one was needed, and asked for bribes” (665). “It was common in Kenya that telephone company employees used client telephone numbers to make private calls” (4702).

Die posdiens was onbetroubaar. “Some parcels got lost. Envelopes containing seed bags were, as it seemed, predestined to disappear … They were probably mistaken for envelopes containing money or drugs” (4714). “The spare parts for the converter … had disappeared in Customs” (5693).

“We, being Swedes, actually had a lot of false ideas about the country” (686). Die Fagerholms het gedroom van ‘n skool en koshuis wat hulle wou bou en ook van ‘n kliniek. Naby hulle was ‘n skool met twee klaskamers maar sonder skoolboeke. Hulle het toe gereël dat daar geld vir hierdie skool in Swede ingesamel word. Die kliniek sou op dieselfde manier befonds word, maar daar is van die plaaslike gemeenskap verwag om ook by te dra, bv met arbeid. Toe die mure ‘n meter hoog was, is die werk aan die kliniek gestaak omdat die plaaslikes, aangestig deur die stamhoof, nie hulle beloftes nagekom het nie.

Daar word verwys na ‘n vrou “only eighteen years old but already had five children” (2157). Dit is waarom baie meisie nie hulle skoolloopbaan kan voltooi nie. “It was very common with twelve-year old girls giving birth … We’d always believed that all the small girls carrying around infants were taking care of their smaller siblings but now we understood that in many cases it was actually their own babies” (2174). “The infants were often found in ditches, in the rainforest or in the sugarcane fields, abandoned by their mothers” (5596).

Vir die goudmyn by Sotanini het Bertel ‘n lugpomp ontwerp en gebou. Hierdie vertilasiestelsel het die mynwerkers in staat stel om langer ondergronds te bly. Die Fagerholms het ook met die verbouing van sampioene geëksperimenteer en was so suksesvol dat hulle talle mense in die gemeenskap opgelei het om dieselfde te doen. “We wanted to develop this project into a full-scale aid project for the region” (5426).

“The roads could hardly be called roads any longer and it was often better to drive at the side of them” (1449). Toe Gunilla se 81-jarige pa kom kuier het, het hy ‘n kilometer van die openbare pad na hulle kleinhoewe toe op sy koste herstel. Die Fagerholms later “renovated the whole road from Wushiye to us in Wuasiva” (4468). “A lot of people along the road, who had sold us stones and concrete, were now probably rather well-off … the villagers had stolen the stones, dug out at the roadside by us, and sold them back to us” (4473). “Gratitude didn’t exist. It went without saying that we, white people, should help everyone” (3097).

Wanneer die Fagerholms met hulle voertuig na ‘n ander dorp of na Nairobi of terug gery het, was daar dikwels swartes wat verniet saamgekarwei is. Toe hulle voertuig op ‘n keer ses kilometers van hulle huis gaan staan het, wou hulle van die swartes se vervoer gebruik maak. “Since we were white, they asked us for almost seven times that amount each” (1206). Ubuntu-onthalwe sou hulle dus sewe keer meer as swartes moet betaal. Hulle het eerder geloop. Op ‘n keer het hulle ‘n sekere soort plant gesoek. ‘n Swarte het beweer hy weet waar hulle dit kon koop. Hulle het daarheen gery, maar daar was glad nie sulke plante beskikbaar nie. Hulle kom toe agter dat hulle belieg is, dat die swarte bloot gratis vervoer na daardie plek verlang het.

Vir die busdiens van Nairobi af moet vooraf bespreek en betaal word sodat die busmaatskappy die geld kry. Sodra die pad gevat word, word enigeen wat waai opgelaai en staanplek op die bus gegee, tot vyftig mense met bv lewendige hoenders. Staande passasiers is egter verbode. Die bus word gevolglik deur die polisie voorgekeer. “When the police officers had received their bribes, they let us continue” (3553).

‘n Ruk lank het die restaurant en gastekamers gefunksioneer. Op ‘n keer het hulle gaste vir middagete verwag, maar hulle het nie opgedaag nie. Die kok vra toe “if the staff could have a little of the stew for lunch … I answered that it was OK” (1407). Die gaste het eers die middag teen vier-uur opgedaag. Die plan was toe om die stoofgereg die aand te bedien. Die kok sê toe: “There’s no stew left. You told us we could have it for lunch. It’s finished.” Gunilla: “The three of you have finished a stew with three kilos of fillet steak and I don’t know how many vegetables” (1416). Sy merk toe hoe vet die kok geword het sedert sy daar diens aanvaar het.

Daar was heelwat plae, soos krieke, kakkerlakke, spinnekoppe, malariamuskiete, muise, rotte en slange. “We even offered a reward for each snake killed. It wasn’t until recently we understood we’d been cheated out of a rather large amount of money. The staff used the same snake skin several times over. So now we gave the order that the offending reptile must be chopped into pieces in Bertil’s presence before we’d pay any more rewards” (1503). ‘n Swarte van elders het ‘n kolossale lewendige slang daar aangebring en vergoeding geëis. ‘n Soortgelyke verneukspul is gepleeg met plante wat hulle van kinders gekoop het. “The children’s father was the person who originally sold us the plants. Later on, he’d sent his children to dig up the plants and sell them to us once more” (4302).

Die polisie kon glad nie vertrou word nie. As iemand op sy fiets heeltemal onskuldig omgery word, lê die polisie beslag op die fiets en moet die slagoffer omkoopgeld opdok om sy fiets terug te kry. ‘n Nuwe regulasie het in werking getree waarvolgens elke voertuig ‘n groen etiket moes hê wat sertifiseer dat dit padwaardig is. Die Fagerholms moes ‘n lang lys foute binne enkele weke aan die Land Rover herstel te midde van ‘n inflasiekoers van 40%. Hulle het agtergekom dat hulle werktuigkundige hulle uit baie geld verneuk het. By sy vorige werkgewer het hy ‘n kwitansieboek en ‘n stempel gesteel. “He’d filled in the sums we should pay for all the faked car repairs” (2082).

Terwyl hulle gery het, het ‘n geestesversteurde ‘n klip deur hulle voertuig se voorruit gegooi. Van die omstanders het die skuldige aangekeer en wou betaling daarvoor hê. Toe die Fagerholms weier, het hulle die man vrygelaat. Hulle moes vinnig vlug omdat klippe na hulle gegooi is. Toe hulle die saak by ‘n polisieman aanmeld “he thought we should catch the villain ourselves” (3777). “I said we’d most certainly be lynched if we, as whites, captured an African” (3782). “The police officers weren’t in the least interested” (3791). Bertil: “I really wonder why we came to this place” (3808). Gunilla: “It felt as if each day only brought new sorrows. I had nightmares every night. In them, I saw threatening faces expressing hatred and stones flying towards me. I was suddenly afraid of people … Bertil and I were in no way whatsoever racists. We’d come to Kenya to help, then why were people so racist towards us?” (3831).

Dit val op dat hierdie Swede sosiaal eerder met blankes en Oosterlinge as met Afrikane verkeer het. Verskeie kere word na “nice Indians” verwys (bv 1740, 1861). Op ‘n keer het hulle ‘n kok in diens geneem wat haarself belangrik geag het. “She … said that she should of course also sit at table with us and be served ‘as the lady she was’. When she didn’t get it her way, she slammed the doors and stormed out. At that exact moment, her time with us came to an end” (3197).

Die groot sambrele wat gaste teen die son beskerm het en die olielampe wat die eiendom saans verlig het, is dikwels gesteel. “It seemed irrelevant that no other employees in the district were treated as well as ours. We paid them the double minimum wage and they had lots of benefits” (1795). “I still didn’t fully understand these beautiful, hospitable and cheerful people. I could understand if they stole because they were poor and hungry. But stealing as a hobby was incomprehensible to me. They didn’t even seem to be embarrassed when they were shown up. We were generous to others and, when necessary, were happy to give away blankets, food or sometimes money. But they still stole. Why? Was it only because we were white?” (2274). Bertil het op ‘n keer na nog ‘n teleurstelling gesê: “I’m so sick and tired of us always being so kind” (3618).

Hulle moes hofsittings bywoon en getuig wanneer diewe wat eens vir hulle gewerk het weens diefstal verhoor word. Die swartes in die hof het haat teen hulle uitgestraal. “I felt quite sick having them so close” (4189). Personeel wat ontslaan is, het kwaad teen hulle in die gemeenskap gestook. “During the four years we’d lived here, we’d hired more than sixty persons and had fired fifty-four of them for dishonesty” (5183). Die probleme met onbetroubare personeel, watertoevoer en die telefoon wat dikwels buite werking was, het hulle genoop om hulle gastehuis vir besoekers te sluit. “I just wanted to pull a blanket over my head and wake up in some other place” (4207).

Hulle het besluit om hulle eiendom te verkoop en te vertrek voordat hulle weer moet sukkel om hulle besoekerspermitte hernu te kry. “At night, I dreamed about Sweden” (4355). ‘n Dokter het stres by Gunilla gediagnoseer. “The best medicine for my health would be to leave Kenya” (4465). “I only had one thing … in my head … Would we soon be able to leave?” (4807). “Regardless of how much good we did, helping the village and the villagers, we always got stabbed in the back instead of being thanked” (4294). “We decided to pack an emergency suitcase” (5179). “I wished we’d never heard about Kenya” (5303, 5762). Later skryf sy van “this godforsaken country” (5987). “Why couldn’t they see the human being in us and not only our white skin? Why didn’t they understand that we wished them all the good things in the world and wanted to help? The only thing they cared about was stealing and destroying; in fact, in the long run, spoiling things for themselves. What they exposes us to was sheer racism” (5766).

Terwyl die Fagerholms gewag het om ‘n koper vir hulle eiendom te kry, het hulle besluit om twee maande in Swede vakansie te gaan hou. Voor dit het elkeen van hulle net ‘n kort besoek aan Swede gebring vir die begrafnis van ‘n ouer. Terug in Kenya was hulle verbaas oor hoe baie geld namens hulle tydens hulle afwesigheid bestee is. Hulle werknemers “bought petrol corresponding to twenty drives to Nairobi and back; the food costs were preposterous and there were lots of strange out-of-pocket expenses without receipts … All expenses were astronomical and lots of income entries were missing” (5349). “The boys, Fred and Willy, had taken turns in using our bedroom, taking girls there” (5361). “The boys had also been driving around in all directions in our car” (5366). “My Suzuki had been used as a taxi” (5370). “Where was the driver’s log Fred had promised to keep updated?” (5379).

Noah “told us Fred and Willy had contacted him, while we were in Sweden last year, and asked him if he wanted to buy an electric welding set. They told him that they also had a petrol operated water pump and a video camera for sale. The boys had been driving around in my Suzuki, offering our things for sale” (5807).”We’d actually been like one big happy family. How could they?” (5370). Van die laaste dinge wat die Fagerholms in Kenia gedoen het, was om in hierdie diefstalsaak te getuig. “The police didn’t seem to have done their job at all. Several persons and witnesses had never been contracted, in spite of us reminding them time after time” (5922). Die saak sou sonder die Fagerholms voortgesit word, indien wel.

Ten einde raad het hulle hulle eiendom teen meer as 60% afslag,”a ridiculously low price,” te koop aangebied (5709). ‘n Kerkgenootskap kon nie meer as 9% as deposito aanbied nie. “We hoped we’d one day be paid more” (5931). Hulle het gevoel hulle lewens word weens haat in die gemeenskap bedreig. “This constant fear was tearing me apart. I couldn’t stand it any longer” (5991). Hulle het in Mei 2001 besluit om met net een tas elk uit Kenia terug na Swede te vlug. “The rest of our belongings remained at Riverdale Gardens, our Kenyan home” (102). “At the gate, I turned around and had a last long look at our home that we were now leaving forever. What a paradise – unfortunately with a touch of hell” (6013). Toe hulle in die vliegtuig is: “Tears ran down my cheeks. ‘Thank God, we’re alive!'” (85). “I wanted a normal life again” (106). “We’re probably the most blue-eyed people in the universe. Bertil, why can’t we ever learn?” (115).

In 2006 skryf Gunilla: “After five years of depression and nightmares, I now feel as if I have gone through an internal cleansing” (6017). Die skryf van hierdie boek was haar terapie. “Sometimes, I have cried lakes of tears; sometimes been blaspheming so that my office has been reeking of sulphur, but now I am through it and I feel like a new person” (6022). Haar webtuiste is: www.medialib.se Daar kan verdere inligting verkry en foto’s en video’s besigtig word. Bertil het in 2007 ‘n beroerte gehad.

Die boek het ‘n duidelike boodskap. Sou die Fagerholms dit voortaan in hulle persoonlike hoedanigheid in Swede uitdra, of sou hulle liewer aansluiting by die populêre plaaslike mening soek? Die antwoord is te vinde in die boek se voorwoord: “I want to emphasize that we love Kenya and the Kenyan people and that we have never regretted our adventure, once we’d come to terms with the shocking departure” (40). Ek sal maar hulle eie vraag herhaal: “Can’t we ever learn?” (115).

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