Remembering heritage

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Last Sunday, over a light and impromptu lunch with Michele, the mother of my god-boy Cameron, talk turned to Heritage Day, and my Cameron (aka Haggis), who is eight years old, asked: ‘What’s heritage mean?’

So, as usual there were the long, excessively punctuated sentences about the present being a mixture of events that have shaped us, of rituals that solidified into traditions – through
no fault of their own – of how people behaved, what they believed, and what they did, and how it all morphed into some giant unfinished algorithm that occasionally would trigger some visceral response in people within that matrix to make them say, ‘Yes, I belong’, or ‘I am part of this’, or simply, ‘Let’s braai!’

I added that heritage is about what we remember of what we’ve done, what we do, and what needs to be done (if we chose to do it).

Today – Heritage Day – taking him to his judo competition at a school in Plumstead, I asked if he recalled our conversation about heritage.

‘Yes,’ he said. ‘It’s about remembering who you are.’

I took a wrong turn. Something in my eye, perhaps. We drove maniacally through backstreets where his only comment was: ‘We’ll probably be late. And there a re a lot of bergies on these streets.’

We got to the judo venue on time. He weighed in at 30.7kg.

School competitions challenge all the conforms of chaos theory. They are beyond chaotic. Stephen Hawking could not fathom it. I was stricken dumb. (OK, for you pedants and sticklers for accuracy – stricken dumber.) Parents do this kind of thing every weekend. I have no idea why so little alcohol is drunk by parents of children between the ages of six and 12, who have to attend judo championships, chess championships, etc.

Cameron has that scary, calm, one thousand blue miles stare. His opponent couldn’t even see it coming. Two perfect throws and Cameron walked away with a gold medal. They didn’t even bother to put any one else up against him.

That’s a moment I’ll remember. And you could say it added to our heritage, but I’m not too fussed about that.

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