Kitsch and Keepsakes

The divide between kitsch and keepsakes is as tiny as it is unfathomable. A blink ago, in the days when housework was a thing of mythology and terror, every home seemed to have a kist – Or chest? Kists and chests might look the same, but they are almost polar opposites.

A kist is for treasures, a chest is for the mundane. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

W I t h o u t P r e j u d I c e
Is this article politically correct? Not really. Is it reactionary? For sure. Is it reactive? You bet. Is it responsible? Far from it. 
But here’s why I don’t care. 
In the “civilised” world they blame drug dealers, pubs and cigarette companies for addiction, guns for mass shootings, disempowered teachers for lack of discipline, and are now trying to suggest that WORDS, the basis of all communication, are offensive weapons. 
The moment you preclude people from hearing certain words you rob them of all power. But worse, the moment you are not allowed to use certain words yourself, you are being denied your own truth, and become part of the machine. Part of a soft, insincere, amorphous, non-progressive, faceless mass. 

Don Clarke –

Kiss the Kist

Is (or was) your kist imbuia ball and claw style? Or like ours? Camphor, carved and Chinese. As I look at the filing and other clutter in my lounge – part of my latest attempt at decluttering – I feel a real sense of loss and deprivation. It is embarrassing that these raw emotions are rooted in the basic fact that right now – I miss my kist.

Chess Chests

Life is a dangerous game which requires a solid chest to keep things safe. A toolbox designed to protect our treasures, and keep our surroundings neat in messy and chaotic times.

They say that words are dangerous. Well, the moment I assume responsibility for someone else’s weakness by modifying what I say, I not only weaken myself, but prevent them from ever getting stronger. 
Freedom of speech is, in my opinion, the very last component of true freedom. It represents the only harmless individualism we have. Teach us how to conform, teach us how to behave, teach us how to be morally decent, but the moment you teach us exactly what not to SAY, we’re doomed to an uncomfortable, vacuous, pointless, silence. In the dark ages people were put to death for what they SAID. Heaven forbid we go back there.

Don Clarke –

Just for today ….I miss both of my kists. The family camphor one of my youth, and the imbuia, ball and claw one that I left behind in South Africa with a friend.

The first one is probably in a sister’s lounge. I know the second one turned to ashes when my buddy’s house burnt down. Loss is subjective.


Most African scatterlings know the feeling of loss, nostalgia and sweet retrospect. It’s a recipe that requires relocation, adaptation, change, good intentions, a dash of age held together with kitsch and keepsakes. We never created the emotion, but we did take it mainstream.

The rest of the world is catching up. These days of mass migration, globalisation, confused ideas of nationalism, patriotism and all the other isms we must conform to in order be a good citizen of the world just do not combine well with housework. Scatterlings have lived with this crazed reality for years. Fortunately, it is for the best, isn’t it? Changes brought freedom and equality – So we are all in it together. Aren’t we?

How is it that entire populations across all demographics seem to flee freedom once it’s won? Why do freedom and unity seem to flower in the Diaspora rather than at home? Oh, hang on … The washing needs pegging on the line. This is another thought that will remain incomplete – Like my kist-less attempt at getting organised.

Millennium Muse

These 1999 coins were struck just as the millennium ended. I couldn’t transport my kist, but there’s always space for a bit of kitsch. These now contribute to the clutter that just cannot be cleared in a kist-less world.

South African Coins 1999

Seriously Now

Tragically, far too many things have been struck since these coins were made. Forget those. People have been struck, brutally hurt, maimed and murdered. A recent post by the Drakonteur reminded me of just how deeply depraved reality is. Solutions are even more endangered than most of our wildlife.

Don’s following discussion piece is not a sweet read about sweet memories, kists and kitsch.


Punitive Incarceration is a post rooted in all the Scatterling stuff, without the convenience that distance offers as a reward for uprooting. It attracted my attention because of the emotion and the burning drive that tells him that there simply MUST be some way forward that can start rebalancing the crazed whirlwind of terror and injustice that has turned man into ….. What? Could we possibly be turning into mankind?

It’s important. The world is not the place it once was and few things can be taken for granted. Just like the scattering triggered by the so-called Winds of Change has become an almost worldwide phenomenon due to global and political changes, the social and criminal chaos is sure to follow. The time for thought and discussion is running out. It must start somewhere. Hard situations must be addressed. Whether it’s crime, social disorder, unrest we cannot dodge choices. Children born to Isis brides (just one of many examples) are growing up while leaders cough politely and try to pass the buck by revoking citizenship. I fear we are going to learn that issues like this are just not solved that easily.

Some quotes follow. Follow the link for the full post.

Last week 30-year-old Megan Cremer, a small, slim, beautiful young lady at the very threshold of her adult life was hijacked when leaving a farm, and murdered by 3 young men. It matters not that Megan was white, and the culprits coloured; what matters is that an innocent young lady had her life taken for nothing. And the only reward these young men got for taking that life was to ride around in her stolen car for a few hours before being arrested at a roadblock.

Think about that for a minute.

I have heard many calls for the reinstatement of the Death Penalty, but I’m not sure even that would be a solution for these 3 utterly disenfranchised souls. Because in order for a legal sentence of death to be effective, you need to HAVE a life to begin with. From what I can see, if these 3 guys found it so easy to extinguish the life of an innocent young stranger, then their own lives have to be even less worthy. 

So the question arises; would it not be too kind to them to simply take away their lives?

But what other options are there?

Well, sadly, the only other option is incarceration in a prison for a long period of time; which is almost certainly what will happen.
But is this enough? To answer that, let’s examine what this entails in South Africa and many other Third World countries.

Sure, you may argue that prisoners are supposed to be REHABILITATED in prison, but how many of you actually believe this? And how much proof is there that this rehabilitation really occurs. Is prison rehabilitation not a bit like putting an Ebola patient into a crowded Ebola Ward to cure them?

With all this in mind, and a heavy heart, I lay awake the other night pondering, and the only thing my angry mind could take me to were the words APPROPRIATE PUNISHMENT. Of course, in that state of mind, it’s far too easy to latch onto images of stocks in public squares, public floggings, public hangings and all the things which were part of a very barbaric time that nobody really wants to go back to.

But then it hit me.
What about a system of PUNITIVE INCARCERATION?
What if there was a prison system devised that TRULY fits the crime?
A system NOT based on: “Well you’ve been a bad boy, so we’re going to remove you from society and house you in a facility where we will try to expunge the evil within you by feeding you, clothing you, educating you(?), exposing you to religion, and keeping you safe and warm while at the same time ensuring that you only keep the company of hundreds of others as evil as you.”
Instead, what about a system which systematically ensures that prisoners who have committed entirely evil deeds, like the 3 young men who took Megan’s life, are exposed, for a fixed period of time, to PHYSICAL DISCOMFORT, PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA, and CONTROLLED DEPRIVATION & LACK OF PRIVELEGE? This in order to completely break them down to a psychological state of emptiness wherein their ONLY understanding is that they are suffering the consequence of a deed so vile and wrong that they should NEVER do it again.

Under these conditions the prisoner will have only two clear options. Use the treadmill to obtain some light, or lie in pitch darkness and complete silence in uncomfortable temperatures, listening only to their own heart.
The prisoner’s physical health will be monitored at all times, externally via implanted probes, but the prisoner will never come into contact with medical personnel unless an emergency arises.

I can almost guarantee that if systems of controlled Punitive Incarceration were in place, they would be enough of a deterrent to stop even the most hardened criminals in their tracks.
Let’s spare a thought for Meghan Cremer again. She had one true privilege in life, and that was LIFE itself. But this, her most basic privilege, was taken from her after only 30 years…..for NOTHING. I ask this. What privilege will those who took her life lose in return?
Meghan Cremer’s family, and all who loved her, were DEPRIVED by her unnecessary murder. Utterly, completely and permanently deprived. I ask this. Of what will those who took her life be deprived?
Are there any of you who believe that a life sentence, which will almost certainly be commuted to 20 years, in a comfortable prison will change the evil which lies in the minds of those who killed Meghan? 
I don’t.

If you think this article reflects badly on me, please understand that it is only the product of my CREATIVE mind, and not a measure of my character. One cannot assume that Stephen King is an inherently evil man just because he writes such powerful horror stories.
I am only an observer watching with horror as our country sinks into a state of anarchy, either because life has become so cheap amongst the desperate and disenfranchised, or because there is no longer any TRUE consequence for the actions of criminals, no matter how evil.

Consider this. Last weekend in the Cape Flats alone 47 people were murdered. This while the police AND the army were patrolling! Does this suggest that our current systems of punishment are effective? One must remember that traditional forms of imprisonment, which have been in place for hundreds of years, revolve around the principle of depriving someone of their freedom by removing them from society and the outside world in general. But in the modern world, many people live their lives through the screens of TVs, tablets and smart phones anyway, so how much deprivation does incarceration in a comfortable prison actually represent?

In short, hardened criminals out there no longer think that they can get away with murder.
They KNOW they can.
The question is this. What type of punishment will stop them?

Ultimately, this article is designed to stimulate debate. 
Is PUNITIVE INCARCERATION an effective means of psychological reconditioning, or just revenge? 
You tell me.

A quotes credited to Don Carke

Don Clarke – The Drakonteur – Full Artice

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