I’ve been seeking excuses to stay away from stalls overflowing with items discarded by their owners.
Over the years, I’ve been seeking excuses to stay away from stalls overflowing with items discarded by their owners. In the SA context, giving them junk status.
My pal Theo was not so lucky. No sport on TV, with only burning tyres, funerals, Zondo and Zuma filling the screen. So, no excuse, to the flea market he and Marietjie go – together with hordes of others.
They leave early without having breakfast as parking space at the venue limited. Not a good start with a growling tummy.
They had hardly begun down the first of many Scavenger Aisles, when Marietjie is attracted to a stall lit up with jewellery. There’s nothing like fake stones sparkling in the sun’s morning rays.
“Oo, look at these earrings – they’ll match my sky blue necklace” (handed down from her great grandmother and too heavy to wear and nothing with which to match it – until now, that is).
Theo says the design of the ear pieces resembles upside down locusts, the wings of which must’ve put painful pressure on many a wearer’s collar bone.
“And probably drew blood when smooching too vigorously”, he says, giggling. (Evidently their daughters laughed hysterically at the sight of their mom showing off what they described as “springkaan-ore”).
Theo spots a stall festooned with flags from all over the world. One flag stands out – that of Nelson Mandela’s profile with endearing smile.
It takes him back to that brief period when Madiba was president and South Africans, of all persuasions and colour, had high hopes the country would at last move forward, leaving ugly racial divisions behind and a clean government taking care of the poor.
The moment was short-lived. The rest is history. Theo buys the flag.
“The only joyous memory we have of a magic moment,” he recalls with a faraway look. Time to find scoff. One thing about flea markets, there’s always an abundance of food stalls.
The couple find Ben’s Bountiful Breakfast Bin and lay into bacon, eggs, pork and beef sausages, salami, tomatoes, cheese and toast.
They leave the market with Marietjie swinging her shiny locusts and Theo waving his historic flag.
And both tummies rumbling with healthy cholesterol-filled protein.
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