A poor girls romance

It’s a crisp autumn Saturday. As usual, I’m teetering on the edge of broke, financial anxiety and blowing my last Rands away and dealing with the consequences later. But the sun is shining, the sky is blue , it’s a Saturday and I don’t have to wear my teacher clothes. it’s a dress up opportunity.

I have a performance job confirmed for next week, but I have learned the hard way, never to spend money before it belongs to me. Fine. So what are my options?

I wrack my brain. My guy has a car, a full tank and a very serious love for the open road. As always, I have packed some padkos: some fruit, some crackers, a bag of chips, a bit of last night’s supper, a bottle of water, oh and hummus.

We get dressed and ready to drive away into the day. I make a promise to myself – “I will only use the money in my wallet, cash only.” –  No card otherwise I won’t have fuel for the end of the month. Lucky for me, my Thur and Fri dance classes were well attended, my wallet has a fair amount of cash in it.

He drives, I think. We bounce along to Stanton warriors. I think. He’s already finished his half of the padkos, we haven’t even been driving for 20mins, sigh. The sea is on our right,  sand dunes and the Cape Flats stretch far to our left. We are heading towards Stellenbosch.

…..My partner and I are in a mixed race ( black, white) relationship. It is not often that we go on a date without being made to feel a little uncomfortable by the staff or other people in our venue of choice. So I have learnt to think long and hard about where we go for fun. Stellenbosch would not have been my first, natural choice…..

We end up at Spier, a beautiful wine farm just outside of Stellenbosch. Spier has incredible open fields filled with lush trees and hidden lovers’ coves. And it is free. You are not allowed to take your own food, but….. You know.

Hand in hand we find a little lovers’ nook, close to the edge of the dam, in the sun. It’s a date. I buy a bottle of bubbles and hire two cute little classes. He pours and I toast to the elegance of my kind of poverty. Sigh.

I lie back and take in the surroundings. As a black woman, the first thing that jumps out to me is how many people of colour there are here, enjoying the sun and crisp Autumn Saturday. As a woman in a mixed-couple relationship, I also notice how many mixed couples there are cuddled up in their own lovers’ coves.

I can not be sure if it was the sun or the bubbles or my lover’s lips on my face, or just the feeling of truly being able to feel a part of something in this country, I don’t know, but I felt warm, in love and beautiful. Seeing people like me, women like me, also smuggling their own padkos, also buying their own bubbles, also owning their own space and race. It felt natural and free and comforting.

We were happy in our love bubble,  I was happy even after I shouted at the Chinese tourists who felt that they had a right to take photos of us. Quite literally standing on the edge of our picnic blanket with cameras bigger and longer than my thigh. I felt happy in my country, happy in my financial status, happy in my skin, happy and truly free to be me, to be us.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not about to suggest that you spend your life drinking racial issues away. No! Instead, I am going to congratulate wine farms on their manner and charm. Going for a wine tasting does not often cost more than R 60. You can spend a day in a beautiful garden, slowly sipping what amounts to 1 glass of wine. Spier  presented me with a racial diversity that one does not see often in Cape Town. All types of people, young and old, all being treated like royalty, having space and freedom to truly feel like royalty.

If you are a poor girl, like me , and you want to do something fun or romantic, if this is what you might find fun or romantic, give it a try. Dress up, or down, find a friend or many and head to a wine farm for an experience that will melt your Cape-Town-grown defences.





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