South Africans (especially the ‘privileged’ part of the society) are used to complain about staff and contractors (builders, plumbers, etc.) who don’t do their work properly. We had our share of it and brings back in memory the hot water flush of the toilet, shower cabin installed upside down, etc., etc. It’s easy to complain and you can’t blame people who never got the opportunity for ‘privileged’ education because of lack of funds and who are even in the present ‘New South Africa’ continuously humiliated by the ‘better off’. But there are wonderful exceptions. We just experienced one.
Before our move to Napier a friend of us told us about a Denzel Siegelaar from Bredasdorp, a woodworker and a handyman. After trying to contact the local ‘master builder’ who never responded to his voicemail and another local builder who promised to quote for a few jobs but never came back our friend reminded us once more of the existence of Denzil. “Why don’t you give him a try”, she said, “and see what he can do”. And so we did. Denzil originates from Montagu and was for several years apprentice of artist/woodworker Jannie Uitlander. Then he moved to Bredasdorp 5 years ago and set up his own small business; making small pieces of furniture that became bigger and bigger. Besides the furniture making he also got more and more involved in small building projects for which he uses the best ‘specialists’ from his own community. Denzil does not have an own car but where ever he is asked he arranges transport. That also happened on a Sunday, a few weeks ago. He was driven from Bredasdorp to Napier (17 km) by a real Afrikaner ‘auntie (to say it in Afrikaans: ‘regtige Afrikaner tannie’) from Bredasdorp. She pointed her finger at me and said “Ons ondersteun hom” (“We support him”). Well what better recommendation can a person from a location (‘township’) get in the New South Africa?
Denzil and his ‘handlanger’ (labourer) Pieter did a few excellent jobs. First he underpinned and re-inforced the sewage tank and re-arranged the drainage alongside our house; followed by putting a ‘new’ wooden floor in the kitchen to be. He went all the way without shortcuts, excuses or whatever. In fact he also went the extra mile. What more could we wish?