The Granite Koppie

There’s just no point in beating around the koppie. The word koppie is about as Sauff-êfrikan as a braai and a bossie. A Kopbossean is an older countryman whose head still turns to seek out those mean communists that were hiding behind the bossies during the early days of the previous regime. Somewhere around the late 1980’s, driving a Kombi-Syncro sponsored by Volkswagen, I find myself near Springbok surrounded by large rounded koppies. At a nearby farm, I walk up to the farmer with a windgat swagger and swoon —- “Jjrrrr’, but you’ve got lekker koppies, ek sê. Could I drive to the top of the highest one?” He contemplates here and there, you know, like wizened old farmers do. Then he lights his pipe, you know, like farmers do after there’s been rain on the veld. “Go and sleep up there —- it’s Godly beautiful on the top when evening comes. And here, Boet —- take some hardwood along for a fire”. Arriving at the base of the rounded granite colossus — my windgatheid (No appropriate English word) had all but evaporated, leaving just a little bit of daredevil stupidity. Actually and honestly, not to beat around the koppie, I was scared starkers when I looked up the slope. I once saw a 4×4 program where these okes drive up these steep gradients. JJrrrr. Anything over 45° is considered crazy. When I finally reached the top I had to winch up my heart that was still pounding halfway down the slope. Late afternoon spread into the most spectacular twilight and sunset imaginable. Soon, a beauty of a fire was aflame, sending sparks spiralling towards the stars that twinkled all over the heavens. If this was now I would have done a selfie, but it was back then, so I didn’t. I unpacked my camping table, chair and a gourmet selection of food and wine to toast the spectacular scene. You know —– man alone on the top of a mountain stuff. Then, at around 10:30pm, there was this God almighty, horrific explosion. Glasses, plates, chair and a table tumbled down the koppie, the Syncro rocked on its wheels and my mind disintegrated as shock waves rumbled out over the distance. So what-what-what-what happened??!!. “Oh gatta —-“ said the farmer the following morning. “ The granite cooled with the evening, then was unevenly heated by your fire, till it exploded —– Boooooom”. Then he lit his pipe and smirked, you know, like farmers do when the sheep are all fat after the spring rains.

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