The Bring and Braai Paradox

Bring /Carry or accompany to a place/
Braai/an outdoor meal or party at which food is grilled over a charcoal fire/
Paradox/a statement that sounds absurd or seems to contradict itself, but may in fact be true/
*n.b. See Oxford Paperback Dictionary Thesaurus & Wordpower Guide.


We were walking through row after row in the market place. The alphanumericalverse had rendered a summer morning with clouds shying away from each other to give the sky big pools of blue hues. It felt formidably warm. Luckily all the vendors had been thrown into a mega dome that was surprisingly cool. But the chorus of sellers and buyers bidding prices to and fro buzzed the dome into a hive. Welcome to the food market! Mockingly announced my master. He was wearing a pink sweeter and yellow linen trousers, his feet were shoved into green shoes. Colour blocking, I snickered at this display of showiness especially for an old man. But the Jotmaster refuses to match his age, repeatedly he insists on being ageless.                 

You like? He asked me earlier on aboard Theta with a bow and outstretched arms, legs drawn in a capital T. At that time, I must admit, the dramatic gesture drew attention to the intense colours of his garb. I silently joked that the only missing item was a bowler hat which, has it been acquired and thrown into this outfit culinary it would’ve have shot it up the rank to clown buffoonery scoring. I don’t think these intense colours were meant for matured people like yourself, master, came my reply as I held his gaze. He laughed uncontrollably which left me very concerned that he was finally loosing it. We will see. I said to myself as I joined him in the bridge taking my seat in the second command. Theta grumbled once and took off. You’ll see. He reiterated as if he had been reading my mind. I shook my sideways gaze away from his narrow figure in the main controls.

As theta cruised between the alpha and numerical belts, keeping a steady flight and as it was her will, at random she collected letters into her catchment CPU, which as a second in command, I was supposed to decode and make sense of what word they formed. It was with great fortune that I realised that there were two words that persisted in the present alpha belt beam, for that was the only feed that I got as I tried to textually construct what was going on in order to build a text. The adjacent numerical belt remained dormant. But I knew it could activate at free will for the two were polarized, each simultaneously producing an invisible negative and positive current charge that kept the entire lexical galaxy in balance and for our convenience Theta afloat. I beamed the words ‘bring’ and ‘braai’ to the Jotmaster who through ah’s and uhm’s synthesised them and began juxtaposing the words into incomplete syntactic constructions which he threw back to me as

…bring and braai…



…paradox… braai… bring… the

He later inverted the textual construction into

The Bring and Braai Paradox.

And threw it back to me with an affirmative exclamation that this ought to be what the Alpha belt had communicated to Theta our hover craft. To which I responded that I could not have agreed with him all the more considering the present syntactic construction for prior to its inversion the sentence did not make sense in the conventional sense of speaking. However I did cautioned that that initial non-sense syntactic construction can be isolated and preserved in the quarantine bay of the synthesizer for later scrutiny especially as far as poetic gesture is concerned as: paradox braai bring the!
Of course my young apprentice, poetry is your concern. None of mine. He responded dryly. However where we are going, he paused to point at the syntactic construction,

The Bring and Braai Paradox (except for the conjunction first letters were capitalised)

He swung on his chair to look at me. And continued: Our work is cut out. They’ll expect us to bring some eats – especially Steak, Boerewors and Chicken. Charcoal will be provided for. He winked devilishly. Just in that instant Moje’kJoe Papapaa slid in. Glad in silver grey jump suit and Holding a digital slate. I will hold the fort while the two of you go gallivanting. Soft spoken as always. Thank you number one, I am glad you are able to take care of theta while we penetrate the paradox! Exclaimed my master swinging away from his bi-grid keyboard and extending a handshake of confidence to Moje’kJoe Papapaa. The other shook him vigorously defying the soft speech that protruded from his lips as he continued. Luckily the market is cool and full of colourful characters. He was looking at me punctuating the effect my master’s costume will have at the market as I nodded my head slightly sideways to where he stood. Stepping away the Jotmaster waved that remark away. Oh well speaks a man without a sense of adventure. The apprentice?…it is time. He deviated from the silent mockery on his costume and motioned for me to join him in the textportation paddock from whence Moje’kJoe Papapaa emerged moments earlier. Art is an adventure in itself, said number two through gritted teeth as I passed him.
We had long ago left the numerical belt and alpha belt respectively and were riding the synthesised textual construction. Theta was embraced by words: the, bring, and, braai, paradox. And she began to hum exquisitely into a lull. And as the words outside flatten, textportation paddock door closed and superimposed the words into the inside, enveloping us, until they exploded into a brilliant overwhelming white light as my master’s form broke into a thousand jargoned letters.


Come my young apprentice said my master as we found ourselves in the market. A scene introduced earlier to the reader. I was so happy he was in colour blocking otherwise it would’ve been difficult to find him in the overcrowded dome. Like a little boy he was all over the place. First we made a stop before a grinning man who repeatedly spun smiles as he waved at his corn. My master selected two Mielies from him. We then stopped at a plumb Chinese woman who sold mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus and such. My interest, my rounded butterfly, lies in your fungus. He said pointing successively at four giant mushrooms. And at the cheese man who was rather tall and bended like the hook of an umbrella when turned upright when the rain leaves nothing but wetness behind it. Morena dear sir cheddar is in order, he said to the hook man. As we marveled at the kaleidoscope of cheeses as a substantial size of cheddar cheese got wrapped behind a pinstriped denim apron. After the hook man hooked us up with some cheese we flowed to the butcher. And I mean literary we flowed there. There my master proceeded rapidly to buy two chunks of braai meat, four pieces of chicken and a spiral of Boerewors. We then proceeded to the till to get the staff ranged. Here he put the basket on the scanner and all items were scanned and tallied automatically. Your palm sir, said the machine and my master showed it and we were charged. Why, I did not think about that, he breathed. I figured why not since everybody is selling in the dome and you don’t need to pay each individual after purchasing from them it makes doubly sense to pay for everything all at once. Came Theta’s communication onto our ear pieces. Of course your credit is wired into your palm in this situation, added Theta. Well let’s see how you deal with the next scene then my precious metal. My master responded to theta with a smile and as I looked at him he dissolved into millions and millions of tiny alphabets and odd numbers. I knew that I was undergoing a similar process.

Uninvited guests

We materialised in a park. Hilariously it was named ‘Bring and Braai Rendezvous. Wherever my eyes touched there seem to be a braai stand. At either side the park sloped down into a gentle stream. There were several signs that begged the visitor To keep the place clean. They warned that the Rendezvous Sheriffs would not take it kindly to anyone who messes around and litters the lake or the park. Splendid, exclaimed my master hands at the back and leading the way. I carried the freshly acquired supplies after him. All we need is to find a group that we can join. He added as he led the way. We went past several groups of people some fussing over the meat being brayed on braai stands while others amongst them lazily rested under the tree shades or big umbrellas on camp chairs, occasionally nursing a beer or a juice or water or whatever drink they fancied on that cool afternoon. Against such a tableau, one’s mind forgot that it was a rendering and not real.
Hi guys, began my master addressing a group that was not that different in setting from the groups that we have passed by. His respondent, a jolly man with a silver beard who wore an apron that said ‘braai master’. Me and my apprentice here were wondering if we could join in on the fun. Said the Jotmaster to the man, chucking a thumb at me. There were kids amidst this group and except for one woman who sat alone giggling at the kids playing all others sat as couples nursing drinks.
Well bokkie listen to this. This old toppie and his (he sized me up) laitie would like to join us. He bellowed to the lonesome woman. She gave a silent nod. You’re lucky my dame is in a good mood today. He said to us cracking a smile. But just so that you know, he continued, I run a difficult stand. You moegoes will have the last heat. As he spoke he turned the breasts and the well cut steaks around. They looked ready. Come, he said and we went to his preparatory table. He freed our supply from my hands, poured them on the fold up table that served as his mixing deck and pored over them. With tenacious hands he started spicing them up.

Since you guys are in a desert you will have to make do with what we’ve got. He said as he put the boerewors wheel, steaks chunks and chicken breasts on a tray, he left the cheese, the mushroom and the corn behind (‘that’s for later’ he wheezed). My master, with hands folded behind his back enquired as we followed the man back to the braai stand. Dear braaimaster do tell us how does the bring and braai affair work. What? (the so labelled braai master asked quizzically) You know an occasion like this where everyone bring meat with the hope of having a jolly good time with others through a braai, expanded my master winking a knowing eye at the man. The braai master looked incredulously at my masters costume as if he suddenly had placed the little man he saw before him in the rung of society. He then tossed the meat on the coals and the scotching began. Well if you ask me the bring and braai get together was invented by selfish people in the pretence of a friendly spirit of coming together. I mean what about the guy who brings small portions? At least your stuff is quite sizeable. He said as he turned the meat around.
That guy who attends the bring and braai thingy with his family or his madam they’ll not find enjoyment in their food, they’ll be busy being too shy to eat for fear of being looked down at because the meat is not prime. Look at us, what do you see huh? Here we’re a closely knit family having a lil’ jol get together in the valley. Yah we moes have our differences but at times like this we put them aside for our own good to remember who we are.(he looked up and swung his head from side to side) this crazy world is too big to go through it alone. As he said this I saw a mixture of emotions and pride cloud his face. And I could almost see primitive men in their cave shortly after discovering fire thousands and thousands of years ago, camped around it while meat and roots roasted gently. As archaic as their culture could have been and as crude as their philosophy could have been at that stage, they shared a common interest rooted in a camaraderie spirit, and not in competition or exposition of who is well off. They shared sustenance of the land.

Theta we are done, suddenly commanded my master to the bridge. I have been following very closely Jot’, came the response from Moje’kJoe Papapaa. Moje’kJoe Papapaa – I believe we now understand the contextual background of our expression: The Bring and Braai Paradox. Yes we do, command Theta to initiate texportation immediately. Added my master as the scenery around us went into a slow motion and then an abrupt halt. As I cast my gaze at the valley and its various warning signs I saw it burst into a thousand V’s and S’s and B’s and odd and even numbers. The sky crashed to the ground into a gazillion S’s and C’s and the braai master as well as the people with frozen smiles and colourful clothes near and afar burst into micro million variants of letters and numbers and as this brilliancy exploded into infinity all around us a white overpowering flash blinded me instantly and we were back at the textportation paddock, my master and I.

Mid Summer

20 February

© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2013