The Bullet – Epilogue

10Rolbos has never aimed at being controversial. It’s a blog about goodness, kindness and love. It’s about forgiving and getting on with Life.

That’s why the response to The Bullet Series was a bit surprising. It was read across a broad spectrum of society, which (I believe) included most races, religions and cultures. The comments on the blog are there for everyone to see, but on Facebook, and in my inbox and e-mail I received other comments worth noting.

  • Generally, most readers had sympathy for Ben while some thought he was the architect of his own demise.
  • Some found his locked up state hard to understand
  • Some expats wrote to tell me I’m a liberal sh*t, and I must stop living in cloud cuckoo land
  • Others found the idea of a honourable Himba far-fetched.
  • Most favourable comment came from guys who were conscripted in the war. These ex-troops remember the hardship and the danger. They also remember the difficulty of re-entering ‘normal’ society.
  • One lady said she never knew men had such feelings (Ben, the Himba, Sakkie)
  • Several readers queried the authenticity of the story – thinking it to be a factual account of real people and events.

The comments with overt racial and political overtones upset me, as it always does. Are we living in a world where ego is more important than getting on with the people we share Life with? Will we forever emphasise differences, ignoring the simple fact that we’ll only survive when we reach out to each other?

That we are a diverse society, is a fact. We don’t all think the same. We have cultural, religious, social differences…and that’s okay. But to become so self-centered that we absolutely refuse the sun to shine on others, is the beginning of xenophobia and even genocide.

That’s why Rolbos won’t buckle under the criticism of being tagged as ‘liberal’. These stories will continue to attempt to build bridges. Gertruida and company live in these fictional stories to remind us all how important communication is – in Life as well as in Love. The feeling in Boggel’s Place is that the world will only change once we insist on bringing kindness back in our words and actions.

So, to all those who felt uncomfortable with Ben &Co, I raise my hat. It means that you thought about the story – and not only browsed through it. As for the rest of the regular readers, those who ‘get’ what Rolbos is all about: come on in, Boggel is serving a round on the House as a big thank you for following the antics of his patrons. He just loves a good debate and actually said the critics are welcome to join, provided they do so with an open mind.

After all – without readers, Rolbos has no meaning, no message. Let’s keep the flag flying…


24 thoughts on “The Bullet – Epilogue

  1. Chantal Lazenby

    Please don’t stop the stories. Alot of South Africans(including expats),like you said, don’t and won’t allow the sun to shine on anybody else.there are good people in all societies and cultures around the world and there are the bad ones. Pitty most of the bad ones are leaders, thus our problems in the world.
    But anycase, thank you for the great stories, keep them coming. You are a amazing story teller, and I can’t wait for the next one.
    Don’t worry about those snub nosed people, they are only harming themselves,in the end.

  2. Salome Hunt

    Amos, I am shocked and slightly saddened to hear that you had some negative feedback on this story. It was captivating. I forwarded it to a friend, who couldn’t wait for the “next instalment”. The humanity and honesty that you write with has inspired me … and made me think again about the integrity of the land that I left behind 24 years ago. I love South Africa, but I have found the changes hard geet used to. As someone that absolutely believed that “all men are equal before God”, and abhorred inhumane treatment of another human being, I found this story heart warming and indeed it brought a tar to my eyes.
    Thank you for writing it. It is very clear that you are a human being with a keen insight into mankind and I salute you!

  3. geogypsy2u

    Your stories always share some of the best in people and the values that should really matter. If it upsets some maybe that’s good and will make them rethink their closed minded values. These values should be universal.

  4. Christo

    Been in the army, experienced the struggle of the border soldiers to get back into ‘normal’ society, have family that still have nightmares about events on the border. Loved the story and all the Rolbos stories. Thank you very much for writing, please keep going, I can’t wait to read them every morning.

  5. bridgebuilder7

    Hey Amos,my story teller, akin to Charles Herman Bosman, what would the world be without a little bit of controversy, I am truly amazed that anyone would take offence at your “stories”; fiction, fact, faction or whatever. I am sure from your vantage point, questions, thoughts and dialogue are always welcome. However truthfully, unless you have walked in any of the shoes of these wonderful characters that you portray, how can anyone make a judgement. One simply can only marvel, at the indomitable spirit of the human being. The resilience to withstand, and yes some people handle trauma and crisis better than others, this odes not make them better, greater or anything suchlike, thats just the way it is. Thankfully in this one our Himba man, returned to assist on the healing of Ben’s soul. My part in the Angola/ Border, was meant to be, “we were never there”, no returning parade, no acknowledgement, no stories of what went on, and never heard of PTSD, and truthfully today some 37 years later, still no need. at the time to the common public, life simply carried on unaware of their young sons in a foreign part of Africa. None of it my own doing, just a soldier following orders, doing my national service. All this to say keep writing my friend as your heart leads you and perhaps some of your writings will bring, laughter, joy, sadness and even healing to some. Blessings.

      1. bridgebuilder7

        That would be great, it would have to wait until I am able to visit the sunny shores of South Africa. Unless you head to the frozen north for whatever reason. hamba kahle

  6. Lynne Isaacs

    Dear Amos

    I used to live in a dream world where things were good. Then came the Internet and “comments” sections under articles. As your most recent post highlights, there are so many opinions. And I was shaken out of my happy world into the harsh world of cold reality.

    I love Rolbos. I love the closeness of the community. I love that each character has depth. I found the happy world I had lost in your stories and, for a minute, could escape.

    Now, the harsh & ugliness of reality has peeked through and my heart goes out to you, as the author. I am so naive. Of course you are going to have “comments”, opinions & feedback. Your response was wonderful. You have a real understanding of human nature, both good and bad. People can be good, bad or many levels in between, but we are all just trying to survive in a complicated world.

    Please, please continue your amazing stories and shield yourself from the negativity. Even basic psychology shows that ugly souls are usually souls that have deep personal issues. Bullies are usually victims of bullying etc. It has taken me all my life to understand why people are mean & nasty. Please don’t let them get to you. Your stories are your legacy and are little life lessons we all need – however uncomfortable they might be. My Dad always said: “when you open your mouth, your mind goes on show, so be very careful what you say”. I hope with this email, I show you some of my heart too.

    Thank you so very, very much for your stories. I love each and every one. Keep up the great work and don’t let small, petty minds bring you down.

    In sincere appreciation Lynne

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Amos van der Merwe Post author

      Hi Lynne. Thank you for a lovely comment/letter, and yoor support. No, they won’t get to me, that’s for sure. I’ve lived long enough (and collected enough scars) to know that it takes all kinds. Maybe the one reason why I wrote the epilogue in the way I did, was to contrast the ‘feeling of Rolbos’ to the ‘feeling of the world-out-there’. I love to think there is a Rolbos somewhere, even if it is located in the hearts of kind readers such as yourself. And yes, I hope some readers think about the stories, looking a bit deeper, and end up asking questions about why things are the way they are. Even if one single reader sits back with a knowing smile (or a sad tear), it makes the writing worthwhile. Sooo, tonight we kick off with another controversial subject – hopefully with a bit of humour thrown in! Thank you once again..

  7. Bridge Builder

    Life is about being able to endure the tensions. It is not easy. It does not just take good will and love. There is a lot of injustice happening this very moment. Stories are meant to inspire people. The world must change, not the story teller. I’ve seen enough pain. I do enjoy a story with a happy ending.


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