MY BITTER SWEET MEMORIES BY: LOUISA JOHANNA LAYTERS

Posted on November 10, 2020 · Posted in History
Daniels Family

We lived in Kommetjie for decades.  We were a family consisting of twelve children (Japie Daniels, Joy Daniels, Freddy Daniels, John Daniels, Jane Williams, Katherine Simon, Lillian Daniels, Johanna Williams, Louisa Layters, Anne Botha, Elizabeth Davis and Sadia Ahmed) who were lovingly raised by my mother, Louisa Daniels and father Jacob Daniels.

My father was the caretaker of the water pumps and he used to maintain the electricity of the surrounding buildings by switching it on in the morning and off at night. As children we used to follow him all over and he was a very wise man with knowledge about everything that required maintenance as well as about farming and the fishing industry.  My father used to grow his own vegetable garden from scratch and we benefited from it by selling the fresh produce to the white neighbours.  Fresh fruit and vegetables were also sold to holiday makers. Our father also had a horse cart and he used to go to Sunnydale butchery and all the surrounding neighbours gave their lists of things that he had to buy for them. As children this was the highlight of the week to go on this joy ride.

We had a fountain a little distance from where we lived and this pit produced fresh, crisp, clear and clean water that we used for drinking water as well as for bathing and cooking. We had no electricity and used paraffin lamps and candles for light at night.  To cook, my siblings and I went into the bush to chop wood for our coal stove for my mother to cook meals. 

 At the back of our house were huge dams and during winter they filled up and we used to make boats from zinc, iron and plank boards.  Our carefree days were spent in the fields surrounding our house and we picked wild flowers such as Heaths, Afrikaners, Pypies, Sierrings, Sewe Jaartjies and many others.  The white people loved those flowers so much and they use to pay us for them.  Using that money we bought Penny, Tickey and Six Pence sweets such as black balls, scenecentjies, sharp toffees, pink stars, funny faces, name sweets and liquorice drops, to name but a few.

A favourite delicacy for us as well as everyone in the vicinity was when my father slaughtered one of his many pigs or chickens. Although we were very poor those years, it was by far the best years of our lives as we were loved unconditionally by our parents and we were raised as well-disciplined and respectable human beings.

My mother use to char twice a week at the Kommetjie Hotel. As children we played at Longbeach and climbed the sand dunes.  We went for long walks to the shipwreck, Kakapo, and spent hours on the rocks taking off mussels and all sorts of seafood for the pot.  We also used to hike up the mountain to a place called Cobra Camp where the military canons were kept and the remains are still there today.

Our mother used to fondly remember and tell us of how the shipwreck (Kakapo) came ashore in the year 1900 and the sailors gave all their non-perishable groceries and clothing items to them. She also had vivid memories of World War II. She said during those years they had to cover all the windows with blankets so the place could be in darkness as the aeroplanes would just fire bombs at the sign of any light or life. The war ships also patrolled around the beach front and our parents used to always be on the lookout for any danger that may have lurked.

We were  never allowed to swim in the Kom or in the pool, or walk on the walls as it was reserved for Whites Only. There also was a dairy where everyone had to bring their own bottle for milk. Us Coloureds had to wait until last as it was based on Whites first and not first come, first served.  Although we lived in the apartheid years, those were by far the best years of our lives. My parents were God fearing people and used to read every evening out of the Bible and we prayed every night without fail before we went to bed. We walked to school called Annie Gedenk Skool in Slangkop now known as Ocean View. One of the class rooms was also used for church on a Sunday.

On Saturday nights the Tea Terrace Lounge situated next to the Café was joyful and festive with music and the white people used to dance and they were very happy and had loads of fun. We could watch from a distance but could not go nearby as the party-goers chased us away.

It was a devastating, traumatic and very awful day when we all had to be moved due to the Forced Removal Act. My parents were very saddened by this and although trying their best, they eventually both passed on in Ocean View due to grieving and longing for their home in Kommetjie. 

Psalm 91:1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

PRAYER: Lord, I choose to live, dwell and permanently stay within the shelter that You provide for me. Fill my heart, mind and spirit with the peace that comes from knowing that You are near. Amen.

We are raising funds for two mosaic benches to mark the forced removal of three families from Kommetjie during the apartheid forced removals. Find out about the fundraiser here: https://www.kommetjie.org/2020/11/were-raising-funds-for-two-mosaic-benches-to-mark-the-forced-removal/

Forced Removals: https://www.kommetjie.org/2020/11/forced-removals-from-kommetjie/