Andrea Petersen



Andrea Petersen is from Scottsvile, a working class neighbourhood in the Western Cape. She is a postgraduate student in the English Departement at the University of the Western Cape. Andrea has been a part of the Creative Writing group at UWC for two years and through this she came in contact with the Taking Liberties project. She writes mostly poetry and short stories.




CREATIVE WORK                                            

‘n Huldeblyk

My mother removes

her beige pumps.

They smell like

cheap plastic, and

reveal her worn-out

feet decorated with

callouses that look like

red pins placed on maps

on countries you’ve

visited and countries you

wish to see.


My mother’s feet have

walked. Walked across

borders and cities.

Walked to my principal’s

office when my dad didn’t

pay my school fees and

I couldn’t attend my metric ball.

Her feet have walked to Shoprite

on Saturday mornings and

walked back with bags full of

chocolate, and rusks, and

Joko tea.


They’ve walked across an

aisle to offer her life to a

man that looked like her

dead father who watched her

while she slept.


My mother smells sharp;

like acetone.

If you stand too close

For too long she

becomes nauseating.


My mother smells of

too much.

Her Red Door is always

applied too severely, an

overdose of desperation.


My mother smells like

cheap plastic.

Plastic that’s been


Thrown away.

Used to wrap up leftovers.


My mother smells heavy.


Heavy like the air on a

winter morning when the

clouds are preparing to

burst with rain.

My mother will burst and

break and suffocate under the weight

of her callouses.



Writing for Liberty, to me, is an opportunity to be honest and forthcoming, without any pretence. ‘n Huldeblyk is a poem honouring my mother, just as she is. Her feet and the image of her walking becomes an important image in the poem. I tried to juxtapose the image of her walking, which to me has associations with freedom and adventure, with images of hardship and struggle. Through the poem I wanted to depict the possibilities, the possibilities of visiting countries and crossing borders. These possibilities are contrasted against images of desperation and poverty. I wanted to be honest. I wanted to be honest about who she is, who she is to me and who she is to herself. In that honesty I find my own personal freedom. And I am able to provide this character of ‘my mother’ the freedom to be just as she is.


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