Author Archive

It Was Just Petty

September 1st, 2009 15 comments

Growing up in the jewel of the east that is Benoni, I was never really aware of the petty apartheid laws that were in force during the 80’s. I lived to a large degree in a tiny bubble oblivious to the segregation, the brutal violence enforced by the SAPS, the overall disgruntled society and dictatorship that were the NP government.
Even now, as I sit here trying to write about it I find it hard to come to grips with. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I was not on the frontline. (For want of a better word.) Having graced the world with my annoying presence in 1983, I was a small toddler when apartheid was in full swing. As is typical with all toddlers I was interested in simpler things. My soft plush toys, terrorising our cat and my weird fascination with coins were the order of the day. (I’m still not quite sure what that last one was all about.)

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Categories: Petty Apartheid Tags: ,

Dit Spyt My, Ek Verstaan Jou Nie

August 25th, 2009 42 comments

kurtdarrenI suppose like any ex convent Catholic schoolgirl one has to start with the confession. Mine starts out something like this (I was never really good at this, so here goes): Forgive me father for I have sinned, I confess that I hate Afrikaans…. with a passion!
There I said it! I said it in Johannesburg, South Africa.. I said it. (Damn! I love Chris Rock). Now, I’m sure to the millions of Afrikaaners out there this is sacrilege and you all cannot wait to be burn me at the stake. But, before you grab your firey torches and march down the road, let me explain…

How can you say that about our beloved language you shout? Die taal!
One word springs to mind and will answer all your vraagies… Steve Hofmeyr!

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Bokke, Boerewors and Beer

July 27th, 2009 19 comments

worsThe 24th of June, 1995 started out like that of any other. The crowd sardined themselves into a packed stadium at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. The rest of us less fortunate souls tuned in on our televisions. South Africans of all ages and sizes were firmly focused on the match that was about to unfold between the Springboks and the All Blacks. Today was the 1995 World Cup final!

I remember it like it was yesterday. Up until that point in my life, I had never been a fan of rugby, as I much preferred the drama of WWF. Even the Springboks did not capture much of my attention for that matter but today was different. Today was more than just a game of rugby. I felt compelled by curiosity to switch on the TV, as I had heard the media hype and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I must be blatantly honest and admit that I was on the edge of my seat from the moment the whistle blew. Each time the Bokke scored, I erupted from my seat like Mount Etna during a volcanic splurge. This was so unlike me I thought.

South Africa was leading 9-6 by half time. The stadium was buzzing with excitement as everyone clung to the hope that today would be the turning point in rugby history. The buzz was soon drowned out by the mighty All Blacks who levelled the score with a penalty goal in the second half. The crowd fell silent, fixated on the celebration unfolding in front of them as the team in ominous black celebrated their comeback. They had levelled the playing field. What would the Bokke do now? I rose from my seat only to be brought crashing down as Andrew Mehrtens failed to kick a late drop goal. The score remained unchanged forcing the game into extra time.

How much more could I take? How much more could any of us take? We were all united by one dream, one passion, and one lingering glimmer of hope that; today South Africa would show the world we could be victorious in the face of darkness, or in this case the towering shadow of Jonah Lomu.

bokkeAs time whittled away, both teams gave it their all, scoring penalty goals in the first half of extra time. Would this never end? Were the rugby gods toying with us? Finally…breakthrough! Victory presented itself in the form of Joel Stransky who sealed the deal and landed a drop goal to win the final.

The crowd roared and cheered as the siren went. I danced around my living room energetically. We had won the Rugby World Cup! South Africa had done it! I sat on my couch and watched the festivities unfold and felt overcome with emotion and a sense of pride. The same pride and emotion you feel when your child or niece/nephew walks for the first time. Yesterday our team had crawled and today they were walking before my very eyes. It was extraordinary.

Nelson Mandela, wearing a Springbok Rugby shirt and cap presented the trophy to South African captain Francois Pienaar to the delight of the capacity crowd. We all shared in the glory of what it meant to be victorious. We shared in what it meant to be South African on a new dawn of democracy for all. In that defining moment years of bitterness, racial divide and strife suddenly seemed petty and insignificant. People of all colour celebrated the monumentous occasion and for the first time in my life I cried as our new National Anthem “Nkosi Sikelela” ran out around the grounds and echoed through the speakers of my television.

That day marked the first day that I realised I was a South African and would always be South African. Our country had become united and I had forged a bond that will never be broken.