Friday, 12 October 2012

Kleilat Gooi

My youth was spent (or perhaps misspent) in the vicinity of a number of goldmine dumps and two small dams. The dams were fed by a combination of water pumped from mine dewatering operations and rainwater runoff, neither of which was very healthy I suspect. We didn’t care whether the water was good for us or not and played and swam many long summers away in the one dam or the other. The upper dam was known by us as the “Blue” dam while the lower dam was the “Brown” dam. The major difference between the two was that the “Blue” dam had sticky yellow clay deposits along its shoreline and we spent many happy hours making war by hurling clay balls at one another using short sticks cut from the blue gum trees. The idea is simplicity itself. First you cut a 600 to 700 millimetre long blue gum stick of about 15 to 20 millimetre diameter. Then you gather a huge lump of the yellow clay and knead it until it’s nice and plastic. Then you mould a lump of clay the size of a golf ball on to one end of the stick and holding the other end firmly in your hand, you swing the stick in a 90 degree arc starting from a horizontal position and stopping abruptly at the vertical position. This action has the effect of releasing the lump of clay from the tip of the stick and turning it into a projectile that, with practice can be accurately aimed at a target and delivered with painful consequences if the target happens to be human.

Many a bloodless battle was thus fought between two opposing armies and the most serious injuries that I can recall were some lumps and a few multi coloured bruises.


Daar onder by die Bloudam
Was die klei so taai en geel
En elke dag was dit onspret
Om kleilat te gaan speel

Gepaste lat van bloekomboom
Brei klont stewig op sy spits
Lanseer die skoot op volle vaart
Die vyande goed te klits
 Dis ek en Bob teen Boet en Jan
Elkeen het hope klei
Staan dan gereed, oorlog begin
Die klonte gons verby
Jan tref vir Bob hier langs sy kop
ʼn prima skoot voorwaar
dis twee teen een tot hy herstel
ek gooi net aanmekaar
Boet tref my skielik teen die bors
Dit pyn maar ek moet veg
Ek korrel goed en brand weer los
Jan snik en vryf dan aan sy nek
Die stryd woed voort met onopthoud
Tot laat sons ondergaan
En more kry ons weer die kans
Ons vyand te verslaan

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