Rose Cam

Born: Not given

Natal, South Africa

Date of interview: 20th July 2006

Map showing where Rose Cam came from

Could you tell me a bit more about your family in South Africa and growing up in South Africa?

I was the second of perhaps you could say five children, but the first two before me were twins so my mum had five pregnancies but had six children. And unfortunately they didn't really live long. The girl, because it was a boy and a girl; the girl died in its infancy and the boy died when he was three years old and he broke a leg. Those days there were no hospital things and the people, the local medicine men, did the best they could, but it never healed and then really it just got infection and gangrenous and he died of poisoning, of blood poisoning. He was three years old. Then there's me and then my sister, my brother and then my two ... the baby who was two weeks old when my mum died of septicaemia. He died when he was three as well, so, so, it was hard, so really this is the reason why I was a carer.

My dad did marry again, but during the time my mum died, before my dad got married, we had to go and live with my grandmother in the country and that were the best days of my life because it really was open country, and we roamed for miles and we loved, I just loved it and I learned to help my grandmother on the farm, and I learned to milk a cow and learned to thatch houses.

I used to work alongside her and she showed me what to do which was brilliant and I learned to do pottery. We used to go and collect the clay and actually pound it ourselves to get the impurities out, to prepare it for making the earthenware and fire it. So it was beautiful. I really did learn a lot in a very short space of time.