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Cecilia Steyn’s Children:
“Little” Andries

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When I had first met Cecilia, she only had her son living with her, who was about five years old at the time. He was the cutest little boy. He could only speak Afrikaans, so it was somewhat hard for me to relate to him because I couldn’t really understand Afrikaans that well at the time. He always wanted to talk to me, but I couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying. But, at least as time went on, between the two of us, he started to learn English, and my Afrikaans also began to start developing quite substantially.  I became quite fluent in Afrikaans eventually, not just because of Cecilia’s son but also because of Cecilia, herself, and everyone I was surrounded by, at that point, spoke Afrikaans a lot. I ended up understanding the majority of what was said.

Cecilia didn’t have the time of day for her son. She had no patience for him. She continuously chased him away, shouted at him, ridiculed him, and mocked him. I had seen this little boy cry so many times, and for such stupid things that Cecilia would say to him. He was only a child, and for the four years that I had known little Andries, this carried on continuously. Cecilia did not want him near her. Cecilia even went as far as claiming that little Andries was not her son, and that he was Akesiha’s son. To Cecilia, she felt justified in treating little Andries like this because he was not her son.

Little Andries constantly wanted to be around his mother, Cecilia; to have her attention, to have her approval, like any child would.

In the beginning stages of being in Cecilia’s flat, I had felt very lost. I didn’t know what to do. This was a whole new ballgame. It was new territory. I was trying to figure things out, so I had never even thought of trying to initiate any kind of conversation or interaction with anyone else around me. My thoughts were too busy trying to figure out what was going on in Cecilia’s life. But from day one of me meeting little Andries, he just wanted my attention. I had never approached him, nor had I initiated any interaction with him at all to begin with. He did what all kids do around me, he immediately ran up to me and wanted my full attention. I seemed to be the only one who ever gave him attention, so eventually he started to forget about the other people around him. He was around me so much, that Cecilia even started mocking little Andries, saying that he’s got a crush on me and that I’m his girlfriend. She did this in front of him in order to embarrass him. But I just played along because I didn’t want little Andries to feel any more rejection than he was already being subjected to by his mother. Cecilia had already so clearly made this little boy feel like he was worthless. It felt like it was Cecilia’s daily mission to take little Andries’ self-worth and squash it through the ground, shattering it completely. So, when Cecilia would tease little Andries about me, I didn’t want to portray any awkward looks or stares, or anything of the sort, because then it would just make him feel even more worthless. And, in all honesty if he did actually have a crush on me, then so what? He’s a little boy. Little Andries was a wonderful little boy. I adored him completely.

One day, Cecilia and I had been sitting in her bedroom and little Andries was playing in his bedroom. While we were busy talking, we heard a massive amount of glass shattering. Surprisingly, Cecilia jumped up to go see what had happened. Little Andries had been jumping on his bed and, accidentally, then jumped on his bedside table, which was completely made of glass. The bedside table had completely shattered. Cecilia did stop to check if little Andries had gotten hurt or if he was okay. All she did was shout and scream at him for having broken the glass, which then proceeded to her, yet again, ridiculing him and breaking him even more. She was not concerned at all about little Andries; she was concerned about furniture. Objects were more important to Cecilia, than her son was.