“People often wonder about us,” Gertruida says thoughtfully, as she puts down her beer. “They can’t seem to understand how it is possible for us to live in peace with each other.”
“Well, we don’t have television, for starters. We have to actually talk to each other. I think people find that scary.” Boggel is on his crate, enjoying the talk at the counter. “That little box killed a lot of things.”
“Romance, too,” Precilla adds. “Couples in the cities don’t cuddle up and say sweet nothings to each other any more. And the movies they show! The checkout girl in Upington told me the other day – blood and gore and vampires. Nobody can do some old-fashioned necking while the man in the picture runs about with blood spurting from his chest.”
“And we have Oudoom, remember? I know we poke fun at him sometimes, but his heart is in the right place. He cares for his little flock.” Vetfaan sighs as her remembers how the old man took time to visit him on the farm after Fanny’s letter arrived. They prayed together, and although it didn’t change the situation, he felt much better afterwards.
“Well, lets not forget our gracious host, you guys. Without Boggel, Rolbos would have been rather boring.” Servaas is in a surprisingly good mood. “I think every town should have a bar like this. We can sort out all our problems here, that’s why we don’t need some local authority or council to do it for us. You can actually say we’re drinking for free – the money we would have spent on a municipality, simply gets recycled to Boggel’s Place.
“Yes, many many people frown on the use of alcohol.” Kleinpiet raises a glass. “I still say it is the best social lubricant ever.”
Rolbos is rather unique in many ways – and yet it could have been a town near you. The personalities of the patrons in Boggel’s Place overlap with people you know. In this town, you’ll hear kind words, even though life can be harsh in the Kalahari. You’ll find respect, despite differences. And you’ll find that a smile is the best way to end a dispute.
Why do other towns not do this?
The answer is simple.
We’ve forgotten how to listen to each other. And if we don’t listen, we don’t understand. That’s the origin of conflict. It’s the art of good old-fashioned communication that’s gone astray – we’ve become so involved with our TV sets, the electronic media and the cellphones, that we forget a simple rule: we all need to love and be loved.
Such a pity…