It was sombre, the trip from my hometown Ladysmith to Mbabane in Swaziland. My lovely dad was silent for a very large part of it. He muttered under his breath when we reached Newcastle, and then said nothing until we passed a sign that announced the turnoff to Daggakraal, north of Volksrust, south of Amersfoort. At first the sounds coming from my father were indistinguishable. I knew better than to ask him to repeat himself or cluck my tongue sympathetically, or even nod. I sat quietly in the passenger seat, tucked into my seatbelt in that 1973 Mercedes Benz, 280SE sedan.

I hadn’t wanted to come on this trip. I was home on a university break and certainly didn’t want to spend one of my precious holiday days in a hot car. My lovely dad didn’t want me along either. I’ll be back by nightfall, he said, but my mother insisted. You’re very angry, she told my father sternly, then corrected herself: We’re very angry. She said something about him losing concentration on the road; how h...

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