Rough Diamonds

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Chapter 28

Jako Retief

Jako was his usual self, sitting quietly on the school bus. He and Mike usually biked to school, as they only lived a couple of kilometres away, but on that day they had decided to catch the bus. The forecast on the bush radio had said the country was experiencing a severe flood and once again, it was raining heavily that morning.

That afternoon, the bus was full of white children, both English and Afrikaans speakers, and they were making a racket.

They passed beside some black boys on their way home. Koos looked at them and said: “Let’s throw these oranges at them.” So, he and most of his friends launched a violent attack on the black boys.

Jako was shocked. From his seat, he looked at Koos, who was in the row in front of him, and gave him a look that said: Don’t do that again.

But Koos and the other guys continued.

Jako grabbed Koos (who was larger than Jako) and got stuck into him. Koos was taken aback by Jako’s outburst of aggression and, turning around, retaliated. Mike saw the altercation and tried to stop them.

Upon noticing what was happening, the bus driver immediately brought the bus to a halt and headed down towards the back of the bus.

“Fight, fight, fight!” the boys chanted excitedly. The Afrikaans boys matched them with cries of: “Moer hom! Hit him!”

The driver had trouble separating the pair and he found himself on the receiving end of a punch or two, but he eventually prised them apart.

“Stop!” the driver instructed.” You’ll be reported to the school headmaster tomorrow.”

Jako and Koos looked at each other with ferocity and hatred.

Koos viciously declared: “You’re a [ital.]Kaffir boetie! [ital.]” (Kaffir-brother).

Jako bit his tongue and didn’t respond. He looked on furiously.

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