Oom Schalk explains why mampoer not what it used to be…

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OWNING THE STAGE: Actor David Muller performing Heathcote Williams’ ‘Sacred Elephant’ in a packed St Peter’s hall

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CAKE CREW: David Hall-Green with the gracious ladies who served guests with tea and coffee and scrumptious carrot cake at interval

Please accept my apologies: On March 14, I performed in the quaint and intimate hall of St Peter’s Church in Plettenberg Bay. Fortunately, it was the night before our dear president made the ruling that no more than 100 people could get together.

What with the good women who made tea, coffee, carrot cake and more for the patrons, we were well over 100 pax. But there is something else that needs addressing.

That evening during the last Bosman story, ‘Willem Prinsloo’s Peach Brandy’, as Oom Schalk Lourens I hand out a few tots of said brandy (viz: mampoer) to the front row, warning the guests that they drink this at their own risk.

It is normally over 50% alcohol - strong enough to run your motor vehicle. Because I would not perform up to scratch if I drank any amount of this alcohol, I always fill my tot glass with water, for it’s the same colour.

This is my first confession, which would not have come about, had not the second confession been necessary.

I have two children, one aged 22 and the other 16, and a beautiful partner, the mother of these two beloved kids.

After the show, Stuart Palmer - who runs Lunchbox Theatre, and for whom I was fundraising - asked to share some of the mampoer. This time I drank some. It tasted as if it had been watered down for it was bland, to say the least.

And this is where my apology comes in. I am sorry for those who drank this watered down mampoer; you were supposed to taste the real thing.

I don’t know what to say - how can I make it up to you all? I WhatsApped my family immediately to asked who watered down my mampoer. Unfortunately, because of predictive text they read: Who watered down my manpower?

Luckily I have children who know when to own up and one of them did, feeling very remorseful about it. As punishment we have agreed to spend the next few weeks doing four hours per week of pencil sketching.

I am now trying to work out just how many editors I need to write to, asking them to let their readers know that they were conned into believing Oom Schalk was giving them the real thing.

When did my child steal the peach brandy?

Either way, a big thank you is due to Stuart and all the good folk who turned up to enjoy both the Sacred Elephant and delightful Herman Charles Bosman stories.

And thank you to the Palmers for hosting me in their gorgeous and peaceful home. I hope to come back and tell some more of Bosman’s great stories.

David Muller, Cape Town