Long long ago, in a land far far away, there lived a group of young girls, led by a smart woman who was a role model as charismatic as Sheryl Sandberg, and teaching us immensely more than Lean-In skills. With her we swam in raging rivers, slept on open beaches, camped in pouring rain, and prayed on mountaintops. At the foot of a majestic mountain we sang serenades under oak trees before sunrise. Weekends at her home on the edge of primeval forests our nights were immersed in poetry and prose. There she would read to us, recite poems to our eager minds, enrich our lives with wisdom and whit.
When I became a mother a decade after school, she sent me a very precious gift, a tape (i.e. analog cassettes with side A and side B, allowing home recording and sharing with snail mail…) – an hour long voice recording of her poetry readings. Through the years I listened, absorbed, recited… to never let go. The magnetic recording became worn out, and after digitizing the tape awhile back, I now uploaded it to SoundCloud, to listen to this recording when and wherever I feel inclined to. I am honored to share this snippet – poems by two great South African brothers, WEG Louw and NP Van Wyk Louw – poets whose words I can now recall at will. The poems are in Afrikaans, and even if you are not familiar with the language, listen to the rhythm, enjoy the emotion in the voice. Here’s to Este and all she meant to us.
Na al die kophou en koershou en die klein bende pikkewyne was ‘Salute!’ nog nooit meer gepas.