Postscript, Hedley Twidle


As the hike progressed, our evening seminars fell entirely silent – we were too tired to muster the explicitness that academic discussion requires. The knowledge was being registered in our bodies: in our skin that began to burn or darken; in calf muscles that began to work all morning; in livers and kidneys that were being squeezed and torqued and squeezed and torqued all day. In eyes that were focusing on things farther away than screens. In hair (mine) that I took pleasure in wiping sticky and sweaty hands through.



Back home after the hike, I talk with Tyler through the kitchen window. He speaks about his planned trip back to the Eastern Cape, how his wife went to buy an Intercape ticket but the Shoprite was too busy. He will only take buses, because at least there are two drivers, while the taxis just shuttle up and down the N2, solo pilot.

            ‘I pray to God before I go, I believe in the Big Man up there’.

            ‘Bawo Thixo Somandla’, I say.

He recognises the song and we begin singing to each other through the burglar bars.


No such thing as writer’s block: just give an objective account of the difficulties you are facing.

            My difficulty is that I don’t know what horse to back. Throw my energy behind personal writing, narrative essays, or academic work. All at the same time? I feel scrambled and my attention span is corroded. I am not reading enough, certainly not in my ‘specialization’. My friends are all having children; my car’s paintwork is atrocious. My deactivation of Facebook lasted all of one morning.

            I want to dive into something, submerge myself entirely. But what? In the absence of knowing that I just dive into water.