Hamba Kahle, Brian Shalkoff


The senseless murder of Brian Shalkoff, mine witty host at Gramadoelas, has robbed boerekos of one of its bravest exponents. Together for 45 years with partner Eduan Naudé, Brian was one half of Gramadoelas, that dusty oasis of peace in the rubbishy Market Precinct of Johannesburg. How many lunches did we eat there, paid for by the French taxpayer under the auspices of the French Institute who would bring countertenors out to SA to sponsor earnest cultural exchanges?

gram1 300x147 Hamba Kahle, Brian Shalkoff

Gramadoelas was well named, for it means wasteland. Allée Bleue showed me their wines there, one time. Do you remember, François Theunissen?

How many boboties did we rush to be shouted at in the theatres, seated in the utmost discomfort. Escaping at interval for koeksusters and brandies. With the restaurant closing and the staff now all retrenched, what will happen to the stuffed animal heads? Who will polish the copper pots? Does anyone care? Well I do. And while Dylan Thomas may have refused to mourn the death by fire of a child in London, I do mourn Brian “and I must enter again the round/ Zion of the water bead/ And the synagogue of the ear of corn.”