Why I stopped singing “areme boere”

Spent my lunch wondering in 1987 when I got chased for a distance of about 170-200 mitres by a soldier that had jumped off a moving apartheid hippo (aka mellow yellow).


This is one memorable moment I wouldn’t forget, probably the highest adrenalin rush I’ve ever had too. Poor soldier had a reason to be angry at me, I sang “areme boere” at him after hearing people sing “areme boere” the night before at a *toitoi and yep I was there running in the frontline singing until my uncle spotted me (it was easy to be spotted, I was this tiny little boy running in front of everyone). Eish my uncle gave me a good hiding and sent me home (glad he didn’t walk me home or tell my parents otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to lie about where I was and why I looked like I had cried). On arrival I made sure my mom didn’t know that I was toitoing that night but got a hiding for not arriving before sunset, had she known where I was, I would have had to endure more corporal punishment (eina).


The following day about less than 200 mitres away from home, I spotted a hippo or mellow yellow as it was also known as, just when it went pass me I saw its door was open and it was full of soldiers (with a few blacks amongst them), I started singing last night’s song “areme boere” clearly one of the soldiers was not impressed as he was jumping off the mellow yellow, I had already sprinted home for cover. I ran passed my mother (who was busy washing clothes outside the house) into the house and hid under the bed, and this wasn’t the best hiding place but the safest. The soldier located me as he was pulling me from under the bed my mother screamed (nee nee nee loss my kind) as she saw him chasing me into the house and could clearly hear my hysterical screams too as he was pulling me from under the bed.


Needless to say after hearing my mother’s begging and apology the guy left but not before giving my mother a piece of his mind hey. I still wonder even today,

What would have happened had he caught me during the chase or if my mother was not around to yell (nee nee nee loss my kind asseblief).


  • Toi Toi is an act of dance / song that has ritualistic roots and that distinctively characterises the nature of protest in a South African demonstration.

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