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This Is Not Dallas, And There Is No A-Team

July 1st, 2009 24 comments

Ok. So…. I’m supposed to write about when I first realized I was living in SA. Unfortunately my memory is not what it should be. Too many good times, too many drugs and too many years separate me from my youth.

a-teamWhen I did I first realize I was living in SA?

I haven’t a clue.

A better question to ask is; when did I realize I was not living in America?

My first inkling that I was a world away from the home of the free, land of the brave was because of Afrikaans.

How come my TV displayed images in an incomprehensible language every second night? Why did the SABC logo keep changing to the SAUK logo?

I learnt from an early age to hate Afrikaans for ruining my entertainment, for devaluing our prized TV, for sounding so guttural, and dare I say it… for sounding so kak. (Which is kinda ironic cause ‘kak’ is now one of my favorite words ever.)

Another clue that I was not living in DALLAS was that our cops looked nothing as cool as Ponch and Jon from CHiPs and that I had to wear a fucking school uniform, unlike the lucky Afrikaans-free kids on TV. And not just any school uniform! Our school uniform was a bloody safari suit that made me feel Afrikaans even though I couldn’t understand a bloody word of that language. Can you imagine the horror of a hip happening Jewish kid having to dress like Boer? Oh the humility!

Looking back, though, a safari suit was a great school uniform. I didn’t have to wear a tie or tuck in my shirt. But at the time I absolutely hated it.

saukI only started becoming aware of a wider world in my early teens when I started reading the newspaper. It was only then I realized that my country was like no other country in the world – and that there was something seriously wrong. And it was a little thing that brought it to my attention, a tiny thing really.

Small.

Kinda like those retractions newspapers print when they’ve made an error. A small apology tucked away on the second or third page. Hardly noticeable at all amongst the horror stories and advertising.

It was those small notices informing us the newspaper had been censored by the government, that told me I was living in a very odd country, and that there was something happening I couldn’t yet comprehend. This little censorship notice was usually tucked away between two articles, or hidden somewhere on the second page.

It was a small thing, a couple of lines, but it spoke volumes to me. They told me I wasn’t getting the whole story. They told me some Afrikaans official was determining what I could and couldn’t read. And that pissed me off. Still does, I suppose. I’ve been wary of governments ever since.

Yup, a small censorship notice was all it took to open my eyes, to finally reveal that the country I was living in was not one where you could call the A-Team if you had a problem. And for a long time I hated living here, and I fucked off as soon as I could. But all that did change… I returned. I love it here. However that’s a story for another time.

Afrigator