i was invited to the transvaal* to deliver a talk on the occasion of the birthday celebration of the holy prophet muhammad. knowing that in that province of the republic of south africa, the afrikaans language is widely spoken, even by my own people, i felt that i ought to acquire a smattering of this language so as to feel a little more "at home" with the people. i opened the telephone directory and began phoning the afrikaans speaking churches. i indicated my purpose to the priests that i was interested in having a dialogue with them, but they all refused my request with "plausible" excuses. no. 13 was my lucky number. the thirteenth call brought me pleasure and relief. a dominee van heerden agreed to meet me at his home on the saturday afternoon that i was to leave for the transvaal.
*one of the provinces of the republic of south africa.
he received me on his verandah with a friendly welcome. he said if i did not mind, he would like his father-in-law from the free state (a 70-year-old man) to join us in the discussion. i did not mind. the three of us settled down in the dominee's library.