carine hartman 2021

By Carine Hartman

Chief sub-editor


The dashing of a lovely boy’s dreams

Where do we get these papers that will put a lovely boy on a course for life? He’s a dreamer.


The English have a saying about dirty linen. Afrikaners tell you to not let your petticoat hang out. It’s a lesson I’ve not learnt. And, I want to say, fortunately so.

Being a heart-on-the-sleeve girl has always served me well. Honesty disarms people; alienates them like death – they don’t know how to handle it and they certainly don’t know what to say. Open like a book, I am.

But sometimes, just sometimes, you have to be honest with yourself. No mouthing off – just my inner honesty. And that’s a smoking gun I hide under that petticoat.

I know a boy. A lovely boy. He lost his dad in matric and fell through the cracks as estates were wound up. He said little. I never heard about his pain; desolation; lack of purpose.

But two years after The Death I realised I had a fabulous inventor. He designed a pocket amplifier that blew your mind when you plugged it in between your headphones and your cellphone. Bose quality. I tried: nondisclosure agreements were signed with developers but it went nowhere.

China has it, nowadays for a dollar or two. So the lovely boy needs to study. He chooses electrical engineering – only problem, instead of science he lost himself in drama for the last three years of private schooling.

No problem: government has colleges where he can pass matric with science – they just neglected to tell us that his “portfolio” expired – sorry – and he needed 100% to pass. The crack widened.

He’s good with his hands – helps a guy building kitchens for the rich; breaks his back to make an internationally renowned artist’s woodwork visions come true.

His sun never shines. He’s always the disposable; the cheap labour. He sees the cracks. Like me. He’s good with welding, woodwork – but especially building “stuff out of crap” because there never is money: speakers; strobe lights doing weird stuff, remotes that track cars.

We talk about “getting papers” – welding; woodwork; electrician “but I draw the line at toilets”.

Where? Where do we get these papers that will put a lovely boy on a course for life? He’s a dreamer. But he just turned 30…

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