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3.30 in the morning at Jan Smuts Airport.

EVA & THE ISLAND

VLUG 138 NA KAAPSTAD SAL NOU VERTREK.

Veli, Lebo, wake up! The plane is about to leave!

One week before their school holidays, Lebo, Veli and Thandi receive a letter from their friend Nomsa. In the letter Nomsa asks her friends to come and spend their holidays with her. And at the back of the letter there’s a gift from George - three air tickets to Cape Town! Go through Gate 3. Enjoy your flight.

I hope nothing goes wrong with this plane.

I was just thinking the same thing.

Please fasten your seatbelts, we are about to take off.

Brrr.... it’s cold!

Aaaah, nyaqwaja! This thing is safer than a Zola Budd any day!

There’s our plane.

I can’t wait to Veli is going to see Nomsa and uncle Cape Town to see his George again. true love. Ghaaa!

What’s wrong with Veli?

He’s gone as pale as a ghost!


Hugghhhhh...

That’s my brother, Veli. My name is Lebo.

Aaaa, Cape Town is my home, but I have been away for many years. Now I am coming back - with my son Amandla.

But when the police started arresting some of my pals, I knew the time had come to leave.

Are your family meeting you at the airport? No.

My name is Aubrey Pieterse. Are you from Cape Town?

Your friend doesn’t seem to like flying very much.

We are about to land. Please fasten your seatbelts.

When did you leave?

Where did you go?

Groaann...

No, we live in Hillbrow. We are going to spend our school holidays in Cape Town.

Thirty one years ago...

I was just a laaitjie mos, at university. I was studying law part time and fighting apartheid full time!

First I went to Zambia. After that... ag, Amandla and I have lived all over the world. Exiles can never stay in one place for long.

For thirty years my father waited for me, but then he grew tired. He died last year without ever seeing his grandchild.


Amandla, we are home now, man. Take off those *#/%&@ glasses!

On the bus to Cape Town.

Wow, man! Now that’s a mountain with attitude.

That’s not just a mountain, it’s mos a symbol of hope for all South Africans everywhere. The mountain looks like it’s got a tablecloth on.

Many years ago a wicked old bandit called Van der Hunks went up on the mountain to escape his wife and to smoke his pipe.

When the mountain is covered in clouds like today, the people say...

You know, the old people used to tell a story about the clouds on Table Mountain.

There he met a strange man who challenged him to a smoking competition.

... Van der Hunks is smoking like hell to save his soul!

What he did not know was that he was smoking with the Devil himself. S’true!

Look! There’s Nomsa!


EPISODE 2 The story so far...

Let’s go to the flat first. It’s not far from here. Leila is making breakfast for us all.

Who’s Leila? Leila is my very best friend in Cape Town. Her father is a fisherman.

How is your grandfather?

Look at this place. It must be very old.

Rubbish! Van Riebeeck lived in a fort.

Uncle George is very well. He is now playing at a jazz club at the harbour. We can go and hear him play tomorrow night.

Aaahh! What’s that? It’s only a squirrel.

I bet that was Van Riebeeck’s house.

Are you still interested in history?

My project is about a Khoikhoi girl called Krotoa, who went to live with the Van Riebeecks... as a spy!

For sure. At the moment my class is studying the Khoikhoi; the people who were living in the Cape before Van Riebeeck arrived.

A spy?! In the house of Van Riebeeck!

But that ancient history is so boring.

Look, there’s Leila waving from our flat.


That evening...

Why don’t we go to the disco?

I would like to hear more about that girl who lived in Van Riebeeck’s house.

Not tonight. I’m feeling very tired.

Krotoa was a young girl sent by her uncle to live with the Dutch after Van Riebeeck arrived in the Cape in 1652...

Krotoa ended up living with Van Riebeeck and his wife Maria. They gave her a new name, Eva. Maria made her wear European dresses and read to her from the bible. Soon Eva could speak Dutch fluently.

The Dutch needed many cattle to supply the passing ships. Van Riebeeck often used Eva to interpret for him.

Oh no! Not another history lesson.

My child, learn to speak their language. We must find out what they plan to do.

Some Saldanhars have arrived with cattle, but there’s no one to interpret. Eva can interpret for us.

That child is too eager to please Van Riebeeck. She is giving away our secrets.

But she also gives us information.

But she is a woman, and she is so young. Her Dutch is good and I trust her.

Mark my words, she will betray our people.


Robben Island? Was it a prison in those days?

And they lived on Robben Island. As time went by Krotoa became more and more attached to the Dutch. She spent less and less time with her own people. After Van Riebeeck went back to Holland Krotoa carried on living in the fort. A year later she married a Dutchman called Van Meerhof.

Two years later Van Meerhof was killed in an expedition. Krotoa went back to Cape Town. But she was not liked by the Dutch and her own people had been chased out of Cape Town. Krotoa turned to drink.

Eva was drunk again last night.

Skande! She is not a fitting mother for Dutch children.

We must take the children away from her!

No!

Sometimes she would be allowed to return to Cape Town. Then she would wander around cursing the Dutch for what they had done to her and her people.

Krotoa’s children were taken away from her and she returned to Robben Island as a prisoner.

She died a few years later. She was 31 years old.

Yes, even then it was a prison, and Van Meerhof was the superintendent.

Poor Krotoa, what a sad story.

Yes, she was caught between two worlds...

I don’t feel sorry for her! She betrayed her people.


EPISODE 3 The story so far...

Oooh, look at the seals.

This is an old dock, the big ships stay out there.

Haai! They look like big sea dogs.

You know a lot about ships and the sea.

You see those fishing boats over there?

Yes.

My family have been fishing for hundreds of years.

My father has a boat like that. It’s named District Six after the place where my mother was born.

Later...

George Pahlane and the Dazzlers will be back shortly.

Where is your father’s boat? It’s in another harbour called Kalk Bay. I wish I could sail on the sea.

I think that man is so handsome. Hee hee!

Well, come home with me on Sunday, then we can go on my father’s boat. Viva!

This jazz is boring. I’m going for a walk.


Nomsa and Thandi must be looking for me.

Die kinders! Die kinders!

I’ll sneak up behind them...

Hey! What do you want? LET ME GO!

Die kinders sterf op die eiland! Ons moet hulle red!

Die kinders! Die kinders!

No! HELP!

Run! That old woman’s mad!

Two days later...

Look, there’s Aubrey and Amandla.

What old woman?

She’s gone! But she was right there, I tell you.

I had a terrible nightmare last night.


I dreamed I was in a boat with that old woman, then she pushed me into the water.

She kept on saying, “Our children are dying on the island, we must save them.”

Every time I tried to get back into the boat she would push me away.

You must have been seeing things. Maybe it was a djin, an evil spirit!

But Veli, we never saw any old woman at the harbour.

There are such things in Kalk Bay. Sometimes you’ll be walking and someone will throw stones at you. But when you turn around there’s no one there!

Let’s go for a swim!

Nomsa, you know that story you told me about Krotoa - the girl who lived with Van Riebeeck?

I tell you, she was as real as this hand!

This is nca!

You said that before she died she would walk beside the sea shouting and screaming? Ya, that’s right.

Well, I think the old woman who attacked me was the ghost of Krotoa!


EPISODE 4 The story so far...

You didn’t see any ghost! And I wish you would stop talking about Krotoa!

Leila, why do you get so upset when we talk about Krotoa?

You weren’t there. I know what I saw! Jaaaa! The ghost of Krotoa has got you!

She was a traitor! I don’t like talking about traitors.

Leila! What’s wrong?

Leave me alone!

But can’t you see that she was also a victim?

A little while later...

I’m sorry I acted like that. The thing is Krotoa reminds me of my lost grandmother.

You see that flat? When I was a child, Pappa and I stayed there with Granny Eve. We were so happy.

Then one day Pappa came home and said that there was talk that the fishermen would have to move out - to make way for white people. Just like Sophiatown!

What do you mean lost? Pappa said we should find a house inland. He wasn’t going to wait for the Whites to come and move us.

That’s when the fighting started. Granny Eve had a white ID book. She stayed behind when we moved. Pappa called her a traitor and we never saw her again. Don’t you know what happened to her?

When we moved back to Kalk Bay she had gone. I don’t know if she is dead or alive.


Welcome aboard!

Oh, I hope we go close to Robben Island.

Why do you have to go so far? Aren’t there any snoek around here?

We have a long way to travel to reach the place where the snoek are. Tonight we have to go around Cape Point and past Robben Island.

When I was mos a laaitjie, great shoals of snoek would come past Kalk Bay, more than people could catch. But not any more.

Haaai! It is beautiful to be on the sea.

GOOI LOS!

Where are your nets?

We catch snoek with lines. The nets are used to catch sardines and mackarel.

That night...

A bietjie kreef vir die laaitjies?

I wish the boat would stop rocking! No thanks.

Aaaah!

Not hungry? They’ll get used to it.


At dawn the next day...

I didn’t know it was so big.

Wake up! We’re passing Robben Island!

Ja, it’s even got a supermarket, you know. And did Krotoa dream the same dream more than three hundred years ago?

To think that people like Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu spent more than twenty years on that place.

I wonder what they thought when they looked across Table Bay? Did they dream of going home?

Later, far beyond Robben Island... There’s a storm on the way! We must head back to Hout Bay.

We won’t make it to Hout Bay. I’m going to radio Cape Town harbour.

As the boat nears Robben Island... Look, there’s someone on the jetty. Veli, look through the binoculars.

It’s the old woman who attacked me at the harbour!

I saw her too... could it really be the ghost of Krotoa?


Are you sure you don’t want to come to Hout Bay?

EPISODE 5 The story so far...

No thanks, Pappa.

Let’s get some fish and chips.

Why is the ground rolling?

Don’t talk to me about eating fish! Hey! Let me look at that picture!

Hey! I’m still eating! There’s a picture of the old woman from the harbour!

What does it say?

Who is she?

She isn’t Krotoa. Her name is... no, was Meena. She is dead now. What else does it say?

Poor woman. Her story is not very different to Krotoa’s.

It says her body was found in the harbour a few days ago.

How many days ago? Before or after that night when Veli saw her?

It doesn’t say.

I’ll never know whether I saw a ghost or a real person.


Meena Abrahams is being buried tomorrow in Athlone.

I want to go to her funeral.

I feel very close to that woman.

We’ll all go. We can catch the bus to Athlone.

Hey!

The next day...

Look, It’s Aubrey and Amandla. I wonder if Aubrey knew Meena Abrahams?

I need some water. I’ll see you outside.

I’m sorry to give you such a fright.

I hope Amandla takes off his earphones to show respect!

AAARGGGHH!! Stay away from me!!

Oh, I thought you were a ghost!

I will be dead soon, but I’m still alive now.

Young man, I want to ask you a question...


Did you know Mrs Abrahams?

After the service...

Ja, Meena and I were at school together.

Nomsa, Leila. I want you to meet Mr Pieterse and his son Amandla.

It was mos a beautiful service. She was a wonderful woman, you know.

GRANNY EVE!

After your father left I felt very lonely.

Leila?

Leila, come with me, I want you to meet someone.

I’ve missed you so much all these years!

When Ma Abrahams lost her son, I moved to Athlone to look after her.

Why did you leave Kalk Bay?

Look everyone! It’s Granny Eve!


What do you call this music?

You want to hear some real South African music? Well, listen to this!

It’s the same old story that’s been repeated from the start; of people losing their land, of families torn apart.

It’s time to stop repeating the past, it’s time to start again.

Mbaqanga.

From the time of Van Riebeeck when Krotoa was around.

Baclanga?

There’s been sadness in this country, there’s been blood on the ground.

It’s the story of Krotoa, Meena, Granny Eve and Aubrey too; It’s the story of South Africa, it’s the story of me and you!

Well, enough is enough! We’ve seen too much sorrow and pain.

We need to find a brand new story!

Yeah, this baclanga music sure is funky!


99 SHARP ST Eva & the Island Comic Story