Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Alarm Clocks of a Human Kind (Then) continued

Excerpt no 2: Africa Will Always Break Your Heart

...That this lifestyle was of course totally contrary to Christianity, a façade, oh so very important to keep up did not matter to the folks. A hedonistic lifestyle was what they wanted and what they lived.
Sundays were, on the contrary, a totally different matter. Every single one of us had to go to church. Dad said so. It was probably the most boring hours of my entire life. I practiced my own form of shorthand trying to keep track of what the preacher said. The poor man realised too late in life that he had no calling as a man of the cloth in the ordinary society. To save his family from starvation he promptly became a military chaplain. His sermons were truly mind-numbing exercises.
The Dutch Reformed Church was the prevailing religion. The pulpit was used as much for advocating the fight against communism as it was used to preach the word of God. Songs praising the Good Lord were dreary and stretched out affairs. Hymns and psalms were mumbled out, accompanied by an organist who always seemed to be a few bars ahead of the pathetic congregation. Only the few really tone-deaf as well as the musically talented dared to raise their voices above a whisper. Unfortunately, the former outnumbered the latter by far. If God was ever present during any of these dreary meetings I would be very surprised. Even though it was ghastly we were Christians and practised our religion with fervour — twice every Sunday. I was even a Sunday school teacher while completing High School.
Double standards became the norm rather than the exception. One can get used to almost anything.
“Do as I tell you and not as I do!” was one of my father’s favourite sayings. He had quite a selection of these little snippets of wisdom that he shared with us ad infinitum. Another one that always used to pop up after a few drinks was:
“I’m not a racist, I do not hate kaffers more than what is absolutely necessary.”

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