He said the bigger ones were under the bamboo, I said you mean kelp, he said yes bamboo. We were both looking down his hand line at the fish in the water. I asked him his name, he said Domingo but everyone calls him Jood. He fishes off the wall from 7 am until the last train leaves Kalk Bay station in the evening.
The name Domingo shot a memory in my head, I was certain I had heard it many years before here in Kalk Bay. He pulled out three pictures, one was an old 70’s faded photo and the other two weathered photocopies. The photo was of his father and the copies were his grandfather. His grandmother was a white Dutch lady who married the black man Domingo and had 4 kids. This was scandalous back then.
They were all fisherman. His grandmother made blood lines for her husband. I asked what are blood lines, he said he doesn’t know.
The day’s catch was paid in gold. Jood said because there was no wine they bought land with their proceeds. There must have been wine, there’s always wine, I thought he was underestimating his grandfather’s acumen for putting his gold in the right places.
When Jan Smuts’s United Party was caught on the back foot in 1948, the family land was lost to the new Apartheid laws that came into being with the National Party winning the election. I realized then when I had heard the name Domingo.
It was the afternoon after the infamous Rubicon speech delivered by the then president PW Botha on the 15 August 1985. The world tuned in to what was going to be the speech that would surely dismantle Apartheid. It didn’t happen, and I found myself sitting in the lounge of another Domingo who was the go-to guy within the Kalk Bay fishing community. I was there doing research for a project I was trying to get off the ground. He was resentful about what had happened the night before, and being white I got the brunt of the anger. I pushed on and I could see he wanted to get rid of me and the only way was to curb the frustration and answer my, in those circumstances, irrelevant and mostly stupid questions.
I told Jood I may have met his family. He said no, that was another Domingo. A bit relieved I asked can I take a picture?