PEOPLE OF PRINCE ALBERT - JIHANTY BARENDS
I was sitting having a coffee with some friends this morning, when they asked me if I had happened upon the street-sweeper in town today.
No, I said, why, is he hiding under a bush with his bottle again?
No, no, that chap is no longer around, we now have a woman doing the job.
Well okay, and so?
No, I'm told I must go and find her.
So finishing my coffee, off I choof, taking a slow drive down the main drag, scouting for the new street-sweeper. Ah, I spot the bin on wheels with a handle sticking out. I do a u-turn and head back as she is talking to someone in a car and I can't see her properly. I pull into a driveway next to her, and when she turns around, I ask if I may talk to her. She comes over with a big smile on her face. I tell her I do a Karoo blog and would she mind if I feature her as one of the people on the blog and if I may have permission to post some photos of her. I also tell her that she is catching the attention of everyone being so 'glamorously' dressed for the job. She immediately grabs her handbag that has been hanging on the bin cart starts to pose. As with most days, I have my camera with me. When I'm done, I start to ask her about herself.
Firstly, what's your name?
Do you want my girl name or my real name?
Well give me both, I say.
Jihanty Barends, born Joeswin Barends (pronounced Behrens), was born and raised in Prince Albert. She attended the local school and has now been working for the municipality for three months.
Jihanty tells me she is only one of many girl-men in town (yes we see them all the time, but none as feminine and authentic looking as Jihanty). She also tells me that she is very grateful and proud to be able to be herself and she loves being the person she feels she should be.