Andre and William’s story: “You live by the sea; you die by the sea”

Painting: Kenneth Shandu, Brotherhood, 2021 (Oil on Canvas)

You see we can’t live inland with the rest of the people. We go and live outside on the beach. That’s how we survive and what we can do. People come here for a week; they can’t survive like we survive. Because they have to have breakfast, lunch, and everything in between. But we’re used to eating different hours; different eating habits. It doesn’t matter if you’re not getting much fish, but there’s always fish to eat. I can’t go and stand on the road and beg for money, I can’t. I’ve never done that in my life. I’d rather look for something to eat on the rocks. There’s a lot of things you can eat, mussels, anything from the rocks – crabs, anything you can chow, you can survive. There’s always something to catch and eat, and maybe make a little bit of money for yourself to survive and buy maybe bread and things to eat for the possie, like onions, potatoes and oil, and get your gas bottle filled. We smaak our curry spices. You take a fish, put your curry spices, fry it in deep oil and eat it with bread and butter. Or even pap, even mielie meal (Laughter). That’s how we survive. You don’t steal from anybody and no one steals from people here. All our families live together. Like if something goes wrong, then you speak to that person. If you can’t handle it then you get the SAP or security to come and sort it out. But we’ve never ever had problems. I’ve been staying her for thirty-one years. 

I’ve been through a Tsunami, twice there was a Tsunami here when all the water came and washed all the road. I was here. I was stuck here until half past nine in the morning until the water went low before we could get out here, because the water was about seven metres high. Just the two of us were on the top here, and there was nobody else around. I was not scared, you know, if you live by the sea; you die by the sea. I always believe in the sea. What I take from the sea, I take from the sea. I don’t mind if the sea takes me because it’s my living. And I always take from the sea no matter what. We’re living on the beach. This is where we’re going to live and this is where we’re going to make our living. My dream has always been just staying here, just living off the sea. That is my dream. I just want to hear the sea when I wake up in the morning, I wake up to the sea. At night I sleep with the sea, I listen to the waves. That’s what I love so much about the sea. It keeps me going all the time, it keeps me busy. 

Share our stories: