Friday, 14 September 2012

Klein Duimpie

The words “Klein Duimpie” are the Afrikaans equivalent of “Tom Thumb” which was, of course the story of a very small person. When I was growing up we had our own small person in the figure of a little black man who stood no higher than the average eight year old child but was clearly an adult because he rode an adult bicycle (albeit with some difficulty). He did not appear to have any deformity and he certainly wasn’t a dwarf in the normally accepted meaning of that descriptor. He was simply a very short person that was extremely agile and could perform all manner of acrobatic movements to entertain us. This he did on the tar surface of the street and in return for his performance he expected not only our applause but a few pennies as well.

We knew not his name, where he came from, where he went to nor when he would return because, you see, he spoke a language that we didn’t understand and he didn’t understand the language we spoke. He would simply arrive and park his bicycle (which was highly decorated with chrome doodads and multi coloured lights) and send the first available child to call the rest. When he had what he considered an audience of sufficient size, the show would begin. He did forward and backward somersaults, flick-flacks and cartwheels, all the time making these amazing feats look so easy. Notwithstanding the fact that he wasn’t a dwarf, we always referred to him as “Dwergie” the Afrikaans word for dwarf.

Klein Duimpie

Die Dwergie kom! Die Dwergie kom!
Die boodskap word versprei
Van straat tot straat en huis tot huis
“Kom kyk die jolery!”

Die mannetjie kom so af en toe
Ons kinders te vermaak
Met bolmakiesies en tuimeltoere
Op die teerblad in die straat

Forsgebou die Kleine Duimpie
Op sy versierde ysterperd
Wat glinster met blink chroomdele
En menig liggies kop en stert

Kommunikasie is wel minimaal
Sy taal kan ons nie praat
Slegs handeklappe en ʼn paar ou lappe
Beloon hierdie bobaas akrobaat

Kort voor lank vertrek hy
Waarheen sal ons nie weet
Tot ʼn ander dag “Die Dwergie Kom!”
Weerklink as bykomskreet

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