Pat Pughe-Parry

 

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Ducking the Tsunami

I was walking along one of the piers jutting out into the sea off Durban’s beach front. To my right coming from the Bluff was an enormous wave making its way towards me and the hundreds of others who were enjoying a Sunday afternoon stroll. I vividly remember the spray making rainbows as the wave grew from a couple metres to what seemed to be more than 20 metres.

People started to shout and run but I was rooted to the spot in fascination. After what seemed like ages I leapt over the side of the pier and silently sank to the ocean floor. Next to me was a woman who urged me to keep calm. Strangely we didn’t have any trouble breathing or talking under water.

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An unconventional friendship

Yesterday we finally did it. After almost a year of trying to get our respective acts together we did it. Jax and I met for coffee, cake and catch-up. It nearly didn't happen, because as she was walking out the door she received a phone call asking her to fetch her sick child from school. Forty-five minutes later than arranged, she blew in like a whirlwind and it was so good to see her at last.

We live less than 10km apart so why is it so difficult for us to get together more regularly? More importantly why is this not a problem for either of us?

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Linguistic Failure

This morning I was listening to the Media Show on SAFM Radio. One of the guests, Muzi Kuzwayo, had the most beautiful English speaking voice I have ever heard. The perfect relaxed tone of someone who is comfortable with public speaking yet no sign or arrogance.

Muzi is a Black gentleman and I doubt that English is his home language. Once again I was filled with shame at my inability to communicate even vaguely competently in any language other than English. I was born lucky that English is an international language and that I have not been forced to deviate from my mother tongue in order to survive.

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It is time to look in the mirror

It was only a few years ago that I realised just how seldom I look in a mirror. I and my five sisters were brought up in a no- nonsense household. Vanity was not tolerated, money was scarce and using our brains were all that mattered.

Being number 5 in the food chain meant that hand-me-downs were obligatory and fit and fashion were of secondary concern. Haircuts were pretty much the pudding bowl plonked on your head and the balance snipped off.

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