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dc.contributor.advisorMoolman, Jacobus Philippus.
dc.creatorBohmer, Liesel.
dc.date.accessioned2010-08-17T04:49:10Z
dc.date.available2010-08-17T04:49:10Z
dc.date.created2010
dc.date.issued2010
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10413/116
dc.descriptionThesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2010.en_US
dc.description.abstractIt is evening. Anna and her Großmutti are watching the first star rise over the Wortmanns’ sugarcane fields. They sit on the stoep of the house Anna and her daughter share with her grandparents. The house is on the same property as their family business, the Wartburger Hotel. There is a comfortable silence between Anna and her Großmutti, suspended in the evening air, along with black ash and the smell of smoke. The Wortmanns have been burning their fields today. Anna looks towards the Wortmanns’ farm. She scans the fields from the road separating the hotel property and the Wortmanns’ farm, to the Blinkwater mountains on the horizon. There is no sign of a motorbike, or of a streak of dust twisting through the fields. She’s longing for a glimpse of Michael Wortmann on his motorbike, but she knows her search is pointless. Michael is far away, in Germany. At the horizon, the evening air is red and heavy with the dying light. Anna blinks away the sadness welling up in her eyes. She tries to focus on the blanket over Großmutti’s knees instead. Großmutti loves that blanket. Her mother knitted it for her, many years ago. Großmutti says that the blanket makes her feel homesick for her childhood. There is something in Großmutti’s eyes that makes it easy for Anna to imagine her as a little girl, climbing the highest tree on the hotel’s property, and feeling the freedom of being higher than everyone else in Wartburg. Almost like flying. The church bells strike six. Großmutti taps her walking stick against the stoep’s tiles. Großmutti doesn’t need a walking stick, actually, but she likes to use one – mainly in moments like these, to draw attention to herself. “Isn’t there anybody to serve me here?” Großmutti calls, loudly. Großmutti never says anything softly. “No,” Anna says, her voice heavy. She gets up. “Oh good, we aren’t having a drought after all!” Großmutti coughs, and catches Anna’s eye, finally managing to force a smile from her. Anna returns to the stoep, carrying a tray of drinks. Cane and Coke for her grandmother, who loyally supports the sugar farmers. Großmutti’s family used to own three of the biggest sugar farms in the area – but Großmutti’s Onkel Hermann had been more interested in drinking away his money than in farming, which meant that most of the land now belonged to other families. Luckily, the hotel was still in the family, Großmutti often said. Anna put two glasses of Wartburger Hotel home-brewed beers for Großvater and herself on the stoep table, and a cup of Großmutti’s special lemon juice for Emma, Anna’s daughter. “Großvater and Emma are on their way,” Anna explains. “Großvater’s speaking to Philani, you know, the painter – Philani’s saying something about Großvater not paying him, but Großvater says he did.” It is evening. Anna and her Großmutti are watching the first star rise over the Wortmanns’ sugarcane fields. They sit on the stoep of the house Anna and her daughter share with her grandparents. The house is on the same property as their family business, the Wartburger Hotel. There is a comfortable silence between Anna and her Großmutti, suspended in the evening air, along with black ash and the smell of smoke. The Wortmanns have been burning their fields today. Anna looks towards the Wortmanns’ farm. She scans the fields from the road separating the hotel property and the Wortmanns’ farm, to the Blinkwater mountains on the horizon. There is no sign of a motorbike, or of a streak of dust twisting through the fields. She’s longing for a glimpse of Michael Wortmann on his motorbike, but she knows her search is pointless. Michael is far away, in Germany. At the horizon, the evening air is red and heavy with the dying light. Anna blinks away the sadness welling up in her eyes. She tries to focus on the blanket over Großmutti’s knees instead. Großmutti loves that blanket. Her mother knitted it for her, many years ago. Großmutti says that the blanket makes her feel homesick for her childhood. There is something in Großmutti’s eyes that makes it easy for Anna to imagine her as a little girl, climbing the highest tree on the hotel’s property, and feeling the freedom of being higher than everyone else in Wartburg. Almost like flying. The church bells strike six. Großmutti taps her walking stick against the stoep’s tiles. Großmutti doesn’t need a walking stick, actually, but she likes to use one – mainly in moments like these, to draw attention to herself. “Isn’t there anybody to serve me here?” Großmutti calls, loudly. Großmutti never says anything softly. “No,” Anna says, her voice heavy. She gets up. “Oh good, we aren’t having a drought after all!” Großmutti coughs, and catches Anna’s eye, finally managing to force a smile from her. Anna returns to the stoep, carrying a tray of drinks. Cane and Coke for her grandmother, who loyally supports the sugar farmers. Großmutti’s family used to own three of the biggest sugar farms in the area – but Großmutti’s Onkel Hermann had been more interested in drinking away his money than in farming, which meant that most of the land now belonged to other families. Luckily, the hotel was still in the family, Großmutti often said. Anna put two glasses of Wartburger Hotel home-brewed beers for Großvater and herself on the stoep table, and a cup of Großmutti’s special lemon juice for Emma, Anna’s daughter. “Großvater and Emma are on their way,” Anna explains. “Großvater’s speaking to Philani, you know, the painter – Philani’s saying something about Großvater not paying him, but Großvater says he did.” “He did pay him, I was there,” Großmutti says. “Philani seemed quite angry, but Großvater managed to get rid of him in the end,” Anna says, yawning. “Are you tired, Schatzi?” Großmutti asks. “You’ve been rushing around all day.” “ So have you. A 76 year-old should be sitting around resting more. Like this.” “It’s rude to talk about someone’s age. Guck lieber den schönen Stern an,” Großmutti retorts, pointing at the evening star. The star is directly above what Großmutti calls her tree – just to the right of the stoep, an old jacaranda in full bloom. Anna hardly notices the star. She hopes Großmutti won’t realize she’s not paying attention. All she can think of is the news she heard that morning. Anna and Michael are sitting underneath the jacaranda tree, eating red grape ice lollies. They are five years old, and they’ve just met. Anna’s parents have sent her to Wartburg to spend the summer holidays with her grandparents. “I think we should get married,” Michael says, taking Anna’s sticky ice lolly hand into his, which is equally sticky. “Now?” “No, I think we can wait a while.” “Ok,” Anna says, giggling. She pulls her hand away. She drops her ice-lolly’s wooden stick, and starts running. “Hey, Michael, bet you can’t catch me!” Großmutti is already halfway through her Cane and Coke, and Anna hasn’t touched her beer yet. “You’re thinking of him, aren’t you? I heard the news, too.” Anna ignores her. But Großmutti never lets herself be ignored. “Don’t dwell on it, Schatz. First boyfriends normally don’t work out. And you’ve been coping without him for years now.” Anna looks away. Großmutti moves closer to Anna. “My first boyfriend,” Großmutti whispers dramatically, “was the Swiss poet.” “I know, Großmutti. I’ve met him. Christian. Wasn’t his poetry quite bad? Großvater says so.” “He’s just jealous. Ok, I admit there was a bit too much about the mountains and birds and how he feels when he looks at them in his poems. But I liked them.”’ This is one of Großmutti’s favourite stories. Anna has already heard it, more than once. Großmutti’s favourite part of the story is the beginning part, where she speaks at length about her looks. Großmutti likes to exaggerate. But Anna knows that when it comes to speaking about her looks, Großmutti is telling the truth. Anna has seen photos, and her grandmother had really been beautiful as a young woman. “Sie hat die Schönheit in die Familie gebracht,” Großvater likes to say. Anna just hopes Großmutti hadn’t spent so much time speaking about her looks back then. Vanity is easier to handle in an old person. In fact, Großmutti’s vanity is quite charming. “You know, mein Schatz, I was also beautiful once. I looked a bit like you—just prettier. Same blue eyes, dark hair, and good figure. My complexion, people used to say, was the best in the whole of Wartburg. And the men … they were just crazy about me. As I’ve noticed they are about you, too. Ja, die Männer!” At this she giggles, and blushes, and puts a stray strand of hair behind her ears. Anna knows exactly what Großmutti is going to say next. “The first time the Swiss poet kissed me was right there under that tree.” “Does Großvater know this story? I’ve noticed you never tell it when he’s around. He’ll be here any second …” “You know, I was still getting to the point of the story. But you young people… you just don’t have any patience. When you’re 80 years old, like me, you won’t like to be interrupted either,” Großmutti twirls her walking stick around, as if to emphasize her age. Anna wants to mention that she’s heard this story, many times, and that actually, Großmutti is only turning 76 this year. “What I want to tell you, Anna, if you let me finish my story, is what the Swiss poet taught me…” “Großmutti, I don’t really want to talk about Christian.” “You just don’t want to talk about his grandson. What’s the grandson’s name again…” “It’s such a beautiful evening, isn’t it?” Anna says, pointing at the sky full of streaks of evening-red light. “What’s his name again?” Großmutti persists. “You see, I really am getting old... I never used to forget things.” “His name’s Luka. And another thing you keep ‘forgetting’ is that I really don’t want you to even mention him.” “I told you to be careful of Luka, didn’t I?” Anna blushes and looks away. “What do you want to tell me about then, Großmutti? Do you want to tell me that Christian taught you how to kiss? Because you’ve explained that to me before, in detail, And some only hear noise. That is their choice. But I hope that you won’t choose noise. And then, you will realise that not only is there music all around you, there is music inside you, too. The music has been there – inside you, around you, since before you were born. You just need to learn to listen, mein Schatz – listen before you sing.” Anna looks towards the mountains at the horizon, and tries to listen. All she can hear is the sound of night settling over Wartburg, and she wishes that there were a moon tonight.en_US
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.subjectCreative writing.en_US
dc.subjectSouth African fiction (English)en_US
dc.subjectTheses--English.en_US
dc.titleAnna's song: the music of stories.en_US
dc.typeThesisen_US


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