by Heinrich Böhmke

The Woeful Wayfarer

Travelling through all these one-horse towns, I realise that I have become a character in the kind of books I like. I am the lonely wayfarer waking Innkeepers up. I am the stagecoach passenger on missions undivulged. With my bill picked up by the largest employer in town, interest in my purpose is sharp but displaced into inquisitive welcomes. Some commotion attends my arrival. Verily, aprons are smoothed, doors flung open, eggs and meat slapped into pans, rooms shown (‘the best view, sir’, or even better, ‘the usual spot Mr. Heinrich?’). My bags are carried and if I resist I’m escorted up stairs and down passages by blokes with...
By Heinrich Bohmke | April 1, 2019 | Fiction, Uncategorized

Suspending Disbelief in the Age of Digital Wonders

On the TV in my landlady’s lounge, I saw a handsome cop in a car. He radioed his partner back at HQ to let his wife know he’d be late for dinner. ‘That’s rude,’ I mumbled, ‘… text her yourself.’ The shot widened and, from the shape of the car, I saw it was the 1970s. My landlady snorted. “OK then,” said I, placing the rent money on a table. She pointed the remote and the volume went up as I edged out the door. Narrative depends on the suspension of disbelief. Authors want readers immersed in their story, caring about the characters as if they were real. Plot...
By Heinrich Bohmke | February 28, 2017 | Fiction, Reviews & Articles, Uncategorized

Van der Walt

originally published in Le Monde Diplomatique, October 2013 I stood on the side of a street with a new name.  Van der Walt has become Lillian Ngoyi; a veldkornet erased for a comrade.  Sleek busses drone by.  A taxi double-parks without couth. Dark-green shade-cloth ripples up and down in puffs of air over scaffolding twenty stories high.  Below, pedestrians politely side-step each other. The Soil’s song Inkomo, clogs the intersection.  Winter hurries everyone up just a little bit. Inner city Pretoria has a pleasant human press about it at home time. Office-workers, soldiers and shoppers scurry past fruit and vegetable stalls, past take-aways, weave and dread salons, curtain and linen...
By Heinrich Bohmke | August 24, 2013 | Fiction


originally in Botsotso, no. 16 Velislav Milov started his own religion on the first day of March. Of course he never planned such a preposterous thing. It happened in a fit of pique.  Nevertheless, the signs were there to see. A stomach bug two days earlier all but forced a fast upon Milov. The night before that, there’d been a truly terrible storm, his dogs pissing themselves as thunder banged and rolled. Sitting on his balcony on the first day of March, the wood still soggy after the deluge, Milov pondered the state of his life. He was sixty-six and the first year of his retirement was a disappointment. His...
By Heinrich Bohmke | April 30, 2013 | Fiction

The Life And Times Of Tsietsi (Part 1)

A Portrait of Greatness Beginnings and Antecedents Was Tsietsi born in 1954 as tradition has it, or in 1963 as contemporary scholars maintain? Howard Missy, his most recent biographer, suggests 1954.  The fact is Tsietsi must have increased his age by a few years, either from vanity or to add to his prestige.  It is certain he was born at Zeerust, the son of Sese kaModise and his wife, Cecilia; that from his earliest childhood he showed a leaning towards politics and that, at the age of eight, he was sent with his older brother Tefo to an uncle, to receive political education from a Sharpeville veteran. The two...
By Heinrich Bohmke | April 27, 2013 | Fiction


He had impeccable credentials.  Impeccable even though he missed Seattle but that was for meningitis.  He was in the front ranks at Genoa shedding blood with a hundred militants, deported with a bandage still seeping.  In the camps in the forests preparing for Berlin he fashioned affinities with twenty-four other comrades.  They came up with an anti-authoritarian tactic that was Gandhi 2.0.  With arms taped to their sides, they threw their bodies at the police and Black Bloc equally, receiving rather bluer bruises from the latter.  In between these excitements he traipsed between squats, lent money to teenage hackers, wrote pamphlets misleading the cops, cooked collectively and had sex...
By Heinrich Bohmke | April 27, 2013 | Fiction
By Heinrich Bohmke | February 21, 2013 | Fiction, Media


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