Yasantha Naidoo from the Sunday Times asked if I would write a column about a childhood memory….it’s no secret, I have not lived a charmed life…well not always anyway. Memories of those years came flooding back. It was a tough article to write but it was necessary. This is not by any means a name and shame blog…it’s about me, my hurt, my experiences and how all of this has shaped me. While discussing this column over the phone (she is based in Durban, you see), I shared this story with her and now, I will share it with you….
The Summer of 1986…Cindi Lauper’s ‘True Colours’ was blasting on the radio, and even when it wasn’t the song stuck in my head like an ear worm. I arrived home from school to find our possessions tossed carelessly on the driveway. The rent had not been paid again. Armed with black rubbish bags and cardboard boxes, we began to pack up our possessions. Neighbours and family arrived, not to help but to stare at our misfortune which was placed under the community microscope.
As the sun began to fade, the dread set in, the beady eyed scavengers appeared, looking greedily for the spoils of eviction. We spent the night at my aunt’s house and returned the next day to find people ‘shopping’ though our possessions. Cutlery, crockery, appliances, and even clothing. But there was something that was taken from my mom that tormented me for years….Her Breyani Pot! She bought it at a party and got a tongue lashing for doing so. After a lengthy period of scrimping and saving to pay for the pot, it arrived one day in a box so large that it was surely going to start-up another wave of grumbling and tirades. My dad insisted that the pot would be used to prepare a celebratory meal at this funeral.
The Breyani pot found a new home – it was hijacked by an aunt and it stood proudly in her kitchen. It was never spoken off and became the invisible cookware unit. Whenever her friends commented on it, I would feel my blood pressure rising. The pot stood on her counter. It mocked and taunted me to say something and every time I saw it, memories of the day we lost our home and my family broke flooded back. In those days, you were allowed to cry if you were bleeding. You were allowed to cry if your parents were around to protect you….I was without both so I cried on the inside. I cried silently for my mom, my family, my home and the protection that a united family had to offer. The aunt would also dish out a few ‘klaps’ (she didn’t do it with my other cousins, it was just me and sometimes my brother) and it made me feel ashamed of having a broken home. For the record, the aunt’s Breyani never tasted good and it probably never will! For my really fabulous lamb breyani recipe, click here: http://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/07/26/ready-set-spice-feast-of-eid/
Everyone in our community knew about the eviction, it was not the first time it happened. My brother and I were the black sheep of the family. We were often ridiculed and mocked – family members were the harshest and I often wondered why. It made no sense to me then and it still doesn’t. I don’t regret it, not in the least – it was the constant driver in my life and pushed me to achieve the goals I had set.
I got married in 1999 (round number one) and expected my aunt to arrive with the pot. She arrived with a set of cheapies she purchased at Hyperama for R300. It finally hit home, the pot would never be returned and it would never be returned. It was no longer our family heirloom…it would be a part of someone else’s legacy and not mine. My mom’s most extravagant purchase, the highlight of her shopping career was lost forever. It symbolized so much – my mom, her journey in life, the hand she was dealt and the struggle she faced.
After years of mourning my emotional losses and material ones, I hit the ‘jackpot’ (no pun intended) in 2011 when I was appointed the AMC brand ambassador. I work with a great team or should I call it a family? Chris Koekemoer (the boss), Kaye Cox and Nariman Arnold (my other bosses) have been a delight to work with. I was gifted with every cookware unit I could wish for – big, small, short, tall, electric and even custom ones made especially for me. It’s really remarkable, that a beautiful team working together at a company in Cape Town, have healed my childhood aches by sharing more love and good cheer than I could have wished for.
I would love to share my AMC love with you. One lucky reader will win this AMC paella pan worth over R3000. You too could win the AMC jackpot like I did….post a comment on this blog and give me some feedback. Maybe it will make a difference to you or someone you know….maybe it will give someone a little hope to keep fighting the fight. Most importantly, let’s talk about it, let’s talk about you!!!!
My mom and I still chat about it but no longer with a heavy heart. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry but we will never forget the 14th February 1986. I grew up a fighter, promising myself that I would make it and I did just that!
I will continue on my cooking adventures with this motto tattooed on my heart, AMC – ‘Cookware for Life’. Thanks to the AMC team for taking away my childhood heartache!
*Competition closes: 15 December 2013
South African entries only. Please supply your email address to ensure that the winner can be notified. If the prize is not claimed within 14 days, a new winner will be drawn.