The Afrikaners were among the poorest and worked for the Railways or the Post Office, most often in menial, lowly paid jobs while the Lebanese (or “Lebs” as they were more commonly referred to) worked for themselves running shebeens, selling liquor after hours and weed at all hours. They also did a little illegal gambling on the side and were available as “muscle” to settle disputes. The following poem describes an incident to which I was witness aged about ten or eleven at the time.
Mayhem in MayfairThat fateful Saturday in Mayfair was, to all purpose and intent
No different from any other that routinely came and then went There was simply not an inkling of the violence that would come To scar so many folks before this sad day was finally done Two young girls played with their dolls beneath a poplar tree
Play that should have come to naught but that was not to be For they began to wrangle as children frequently do And in this act the makings of a feud began to brew An older brother intervened and smacked the little friend
Who’s brother then came running, his sibling to defend And thus it escalated with members from both clans Trying to kill their neighbours with flailing boots and hands
One side sent for reinforcements that lived not far away And were willing to defend their kin in just such an affray Soon five cars screeched up and spewed out twenty men Who stormed the Strydom semi and when they left again
The furniture was kindling, the people bruised and bleeding Who knew that this was where a kiddies spat was leading? The vanquished left soon after with no forwarding address Perhaps it was simpler to move than to clean up the mess?