A feast, and a challenge …

Early evening in the Sondagskloof. There is excited chatter about as Skoonma and Kaalvoet Meisie work together to prepare a celebratory feast in the farmhouse kitchen. But not everyone is impressed …

“Yoh,” says Kaalvoet Meisie as she looks out over the vineyards. “Such a beautiful sunset. It looks like something Pierneef could have painted.”

Skoonma nods patiently. “Except that Pierneef was more into the bosveld. And the Vrystaatse vlaktes and so on. Not vineyards.”

“Ag, Skoonma, you know what I mean,” Kaalvoet Meisie laughs. “Besides, my focus is on the food. Swartskaap deserves a lekker feesmaal after his great day at Die Markie.”

Skoonma nods in agreement as she stirs the big pot. “I heard some people took videos of his song. And that it’s already going biral!”

Kaalvoet Meisie chuckles. “Now who is teaching whom? It’s viral, not biral!”

Before Skoonma can quip back, they hear a deep, velvety voice from a dark corner of the kitchen.

“I saw that video,” the voice quips in a sophisticated drawl.

Kaalvoet Meisie is surprised. “Kat? How long have you been sitting there?”

The elegant female figure of Kat steps forward, out of the shadows. She grins. “Long enough to hear you praising Swartskaap as if he’s won some sort of kompetisie.”

“It wasn’t a competition,” says Skoonma, sternly. “But he made up a new song, on the spot! We should all be proud of him.”

Kat scoffs, with a teasing tone: “Sure, the people liked it. Sure, Kleinboet jumped onto a tafel. But Swartskaap has much to learn. Especially in the delicate art of singing … while dancing!”

Kaalvoet Meisie and Skoonma share an uncertain look – not sure if Kat has a point.

Just then, Swartskaap enters the kitchen, beaming. “Hallo, mense! Don’t worry, I won’t forget you now that I’m becoming famous en alles!”

He laughs, but quickly notes the uncomfortable silence. Then, he sees Kat. Swartskaap’s eyes narrow.

Out of nowhere, haunting flute music starts playing, as if straight from a Western Cowboy film.  

Swartskaap turns to the entrance. “Bloos! Can you please practise your flute somewhere else? We’re in the middle of something!”

Bloos blushes, and rushes off.

“That was mean,” Skoonma says. “You know Bloos is shy about her music.”

“Kat is the one being mean,” Swartskaap retorts. “I can tell from her look. She’s about to reject my sukses. To say that it doesn’t mean anything at all.”

Kat chuckles, lights a cigar and takes a deep drag from it. She blows the smoke out – the elegant aromas of starfruit and dragonfruit, as well as the undertones of tropical fruit from her tabacco fill the room. “Nothing of the sort, Swartskaap. I want you to improve. To dance along with your singing. But for you to really prove you can do what is nodig, it will have to be in a situation with lots of pressure.”

Swartskaap gulps. “What do you mean, Kat?”

“I mean,” she says, letting a short silence build the tension, “we have a dance-off. Tonight, after the feast.”

Swartskaap looks around, sees the expectant gazes of Skoonma and Kaalvoet Meisie. Even Bloos has popped back in – too curious to miss this.

Swartskaap inhales, turns back to Kat. “Bloos,” he says, “You can play that ominous, fight-erige fluitmusiek now.”

Kat grins as she locks eyes with Swartskaap. Bloos musters courage, puts her lips on the flute:

“Toodle-doodle-doo,” the notes ring out …



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