Robert, passed by his old home where his family once resided, and couldn’t help feel a sadness overcome him. After the death of his brother, his parents had tried to resume their lives, but the loss had affected them deeply. When Robert turned eighteen, they decided to leave, far away from the memories they held dear. They had hoped Robert would join them, but he had refused. They said their goodbyes and departed. Robert moved in with his Uncle Oom who lived near the harbor.
“Robert, my boy,” General van Rooyen, came walking out his house, which stood on the other side of his abandon family home. “Haven’t seen you in a while. How have you been?”
“I’ve been good, General,” Robert coyly said. He always admired the General and had hoped to be under his command if the day ever came to that.
“Have you heard from your parents?” General inquired.
“Yes, they write to me frequently,” Robert said.
“I hope is all good news?” The General asked with a straight face.
“It is General,” Robert said. “They settled up North where my mother’s sister lives. I was just on my way to mail them this letter I wrote to them.”
“I sure miss them,” The General said, “give them my regards.”
“I will, General.”
“Before, I forget,” the General said, “I saw Eliza by the river yesterday. I don’t know if that matters to you.”
“How did she appear?” Robert was curious about his old friend.
“The same as the last time I saw her,” the General said. “I left a pair of shoes on her doorstep, hoping she would wear them. But, she was out wandering by the river barefoot. Her father, Zachariah, use to go there to meditate with his old black book… such a shame, Zachariah is not with us anymore, he was a good man, a good soldier. He was under my command during the First War. He save me and my man more times than I could count. It was hard to say goodbye.”
Many had mourned Zachariah’s passing. Robert remembered walking up the steps of his home where everybody had gathered to say their last goodbyes. His closed coffin had been set in the living room, all the chairs had been taken by the elderly and the women, while everybody else stood. He hadn’t seen where Eliza was, he never got the chance to give her his condolences.
“He kept this town together,” General said. “I must be going now. I’ll see you around.”
Robert nodded. He couldn’t help, but realize that Zachariah, was known to have a deep love for his people. A love so deep that he warned his people to keep united that there will forces that will tear the community apart, and embed an evil that will tear them from their roots of their culture and traditions. They were to stay as it had been in the old days.
Zacharia had said many things, but not to everyone, General Rooyen was one of his confidants as well as the Mayor Malan, who had tried desperately to find the old black book Zachariah always carried.
Unbeknowest to Robert, after the death of Dr. Verwoerd, a second war had broken out, and Robert would soon be under the command of General Rooyen. Though, many men of the town will die hard, their spirits would not be broken and their freedom would be regained once more. Years later, when the dust has settled and peace came over, General Rooyen would die peacefully in his sleep at the age of seventy-six.