“There are two theories for this,” he will tell you.“One is there was a spring outside the village and it had a merry little voice. And, of course, the people around here have always loved singing. Especially when there is a concertina lying around. So, yeah, Lekkersing.”
As if to really illustrate the point, Stoffel might break into song:
“I think of my Lord, rest your soul, your God is come.” Full of plaintive chords and the soft raindrop clicks of the Nama tongue, to hear Koos Stoffel in full cry is actually worth the long drive to Lekkersing.
If Koos has the time and the inclination, he will take you around this dusty little village deep in the Richtersveld and introduce you to his mates: Oom Andries Isak, Tannie Magrieta Cloete, Tannie Johanna Diergaardt and Ouma Lena Joseph, the chief bonnet-maker of Lekkersing.
They’ll show you how a matjieshut (reed hut) is put together. It’s an ingenious igloo that is the most mobile dwelling you can imagine. In fact, the white farming families of 150 years ago used to pack up their belongings onto wagons when they went on holiday to the coast – and set up matjieshut housing for themselves on the beach. They learnt from the Namas.
Stoffel will take you up to the Lekkersing Slate Mine, and show you pieces of slate that bear the most incredible mineral designs – some of them look like the work of a fine artist.
And then, while you’re up there in the hills, you will learn about the herbs that keeps Lekkersing healthy: Jantjie Berend for tummy troubles, Jan Twakblaar for the fevers.
At the end of your day with Oom Stoffel and his friends, you will probably have a very soft spot for the village of Lekkersing.
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