Operation Oysterhood: 20 January

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

Bittersweet was our return to Solms Delta. The farm is a husk of its former glorious self. But Sanna was there with her generous hugs and eyes smiling above her mask, and her presence was enough to make the visit completely worthwhile. We – five Brinks – were the only guests at Fyndraai (still serving delicious food) and the Museum van de Caab (the main exhibits still there, yet the space feels gutted), but we did see four other people arrive when we were leaving. Despite obvious farm activities all around us, the place felt strangely empty. Apart from the ghosts, who were all there. And our links to the farm’s history remain undeniable. Philida … All those horrific and brave stories. I brought a few bottles of the old wine back home and look forward to seeing what their memories will taste like.

‘No one makes music on the farm any more,’ Sanna said, and that broke my heart.

Driving back to Cape Town on the Old Elephant Path, like always, I kept thinking of Philida and her resistance to injustice, and felt inspired. The third recipient of the annual Philida Literary Award will be announced on 6 February.

And I thought of my own writing, a form of resistance to injustice on a different level, and the fact that I was meeting my editor Danél that afternoon felt like serendipity.

We haven’t seen each other in ages and it was simply wonderful to catch up on the gorgeous stoep of the Vineyard Hotel. Incidentally, one of Lady Anne Barnard’s sketches inspired the artwork that features on the Afrikaans edition of Philida, among so many other connections between the two places – Solma Delta and the Vineyard Hotel – for me. I gifted the cover artwork to the first of André’s grandchildren to get married two years ago. May Philida continue to inspire many more women to forge our own paths.

The amazing day ended with a meal with my love at our HARU. The place was full of people last night. And that was really good to see after everything that they have been through during the lockdown. I can’t wait until that moment when one will have to book in advance again to get into HARU :)

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please. Live.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


1 thought on “Operation Oysterhood: 20 January

  1. Annora Eksteen

    I read Philida in December and could see your gentle, strong character in her. An ode to love or a debt to love as Mark Gevisser wrote in his book I am currently reading: The Pink Line – Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers. Yes – to walk barefoot, get those calluses and deep cuts and live life fuller, and deeper than any self-help motivational book or video ever written or seen. Some of the landscape descriptions were written so extremely well that I reread them many times and yet tonight I can only think of brave little KleinKat. Long live dear Philida. Long live little KleinKat. Long, very long live our own André P Brink.


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