Tuesday, 05 September 2017 16:50

Metrorail Diaries - In a Pinch Featured

Written by Theo Jonker
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The taxi is an old Toyota Hiace. The seats pinch and sting your butt.
When brakes are applied, it shakes like a junkie in need of a fix.
Alles vibrate… My tanne klap effentjies tien mekaa… My oë traan…  Ek’s wakker nou…


As we enter the station’s parking area, the train appears in the distance. The taxi turns into a nervous wreck as it attempts to stop. The seat gives my butt one final pinch... like a good luck gesture.
The sliding door only opens from the outside… and there's no-one on the outside. The train is fast approaching.
Eventually a Samaritan comes along… The door opens with a grinding squeaking sound.
I leap out of this metal cage and I set off to catch the train.
Only Usain Bolt can outrun me now.


My jacket maak ’n bol innie wind. My broekpype fladder soes John Travolta s'n in Saturday Night Fever.
20 steps down on the staircase… turn left... the man with the accordion can't play yet. His fingers are still stiff and his sunglasses are too misty.
Turn right then 20 steps up... I run like a hare... The train has stopped already.
Please don't blow the whistle on me yet, I think.


I quickly glance at my watch. It says 7:15. What is it doing 5 minutes early and 5 minutes late at the same time?
“Scuse me! Scuse me!” I shout as I approach the turnstiles.
I will show my ticket twice at Saltriver station or when I get back tonight.
“eyhooo boootie ezaaapa wenaaaaa….” The ticket collector shouts back at me as the whistle blows.


A guy standing in the door dressed in blue overall pants, a baseball cap and a windbreaker sees my Saturday Night Fever broekspype en bol-innie-wind baadjie. He keeps the door open as the train creeps out of the station with a loud metallic thump.
I'm one step away. My tong hang ampe yt. Our eyes meet for a second. He stands firm… keeping the door ajar.
I get my rhythm and timing synchronised… and then I leap for glory.
I'm flying through the air... completely free for a second... then I land inside the carriage... sliding… almost out of control... another guy in blue gets hold of me and breaks my momentum. He’s quite strong.


I feel like I’ve just completed a 1OOm sprint race in the Olympics.
As I catch my breath and compose myself I look up to thank the guy in blue... only to stare right into the 5star badge of a police officer.
“Thank you officer… and thank you guy”, I just about manage to utter.
“Plesier jongman, maar jy moet maar versigtig wees met daai stunt van jou” says the officer. “Ek sien jy kom met ’n stink spoed aan” he jibes. “Dankie vir die dienslewering… to protect and serve” I reply.
Ek voel nog hoe die drade van daai Hiace se seats my butt knyp en stiek…

Urban Dictionary

tanne           The Afrikaaps for the Afrikaans word "tande" which means "teeth".
effentjies     An Afrikaans word meaning "slightly" or "a little bit".
yt         The Afrikaaps for the Afrikaans word "uit" which means "out".

“My tanne klap effentjies tien mekaa… My oë traan…  Ek’s wakker nou…”     
“My teeth are slightly clattering against each other… My eyes are tearing… I'm awake now…”

“My jacket maak n bol innie wind”
“The wind causes my jacket to swell out like a ball”

“My broekpype fladder”     
"My trouser legs are flapping (in the wind)"

“My tong hang ampe yt"    
"My tongue is almost hanging out"

“’n stink spoed "    
"A stinking speed" (Extremely fast)


Metrorail Diaries has finally returned to Bruinou.com with the kind permission of Theo Jonker & FunDza who are now the official publishers of Theo Jonker's series of short stories (Edited by Ryan Swano) which now bear the title Metrorail Mondays on FunDza.

Click Here to visit FunDza for more stories by various South African authors.


Take ‘Funda’ the isiXhosa word for ‘to read’ or ‘to learn’.
Add a ‘Z’ for our beautiful country: Za

That’s what FunDza is all about: getting teens and young adult South Africans reading for pleasure – and loving it!

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