I was 20-years-old when South Africa was in an uproar. The Afrikaner National Party went in with guns blazing, literally. Non-whites had a ‘Day of mourning’ to protest against government racial legislation’s. Three African townships in Johannesburg were a scene of racial violence between Africans and police, and the African National Congress (ANC) had a Defiance Campaign in protest against apartheid laws.
In 1945 World War 2 had ended, and Hitler, the Nazis and their racism were annihilated, but in South Africa though it was ongoing, and the Afrikaner National Party was picking up where the Nazis had left off. In 1933, the year I was born, mixed marriages between Aryans and Jews were banned, and in 1949 the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act prohibited marriages between Whites and Africans and all unions between Whites and all other non-whites. The Immorality Act followed soon after, making sexual relations between Whites and non-whites illegal. Also, in 1933 the dissolution of Jewish labour organizations in Germany saw the 1950 Suppression of Communism Act by the National Government that permitted them to outlaw any organization. That same year saw the Group Areas Act make it mandatory to reside in a separate racial group area with all enterprises and shops owned by non-whites in then newly declared White areas closed down. That was a copy of the 1938 Nazi decree of compulsory Aryanisation of all Jewish enterprises and shops. In 1941 all Jews were decreed to wear yellow stars by the Nazis for identification, and in 1950 the Nazi influenced Afrikaner National Government enforced the Population Registration Act for the classification of all individuals by race to carry an identity card branding those of colour non-white. In 1951 non-whites were removed from the electoral role, and the Authorities Act abolished the Native Representative Council for Africans that followed the disenfranchising of Jews in Germany in 1935. In 1938 Jewish pupils were expelled from all German schools that in 1953 the Bantu Education Act established government control over all African schools. In 1939 Hitler issued a proclamation for the isolation of the Jews, and in 1952 the Afrikaner National Parliament members empowered the government to reject High Court ruling against racist legislation.
In the year 1955 of my marriage, 3 000 sten-gun armed South African police removed from the all African township of Sophiatown, near Johannesburg, 60 000 Africans in a military style operation, and had their homes razed to the ground for a White residential area. From there it was all downhill for non-whites. Coincidentally, in 1938 Hitler deported Polish Jews from Germany in a military operation. The coincidence continued in 1956 with the Afrikaner National Party abolishing all interracial political parties, and in 1959 imposed university segregation as had occurred for the Jews in Germany. Just like in 1933 when Hitler and the Nazis took control of Germany, in 1961 the National Party took control of South Africa by declaring it a republic under Verwoerd. With Mandela going underground, and the ANC and PAC resorting to armed struggle, the Sabotage Act in 1962 was enforced to stop the civil liberties and civil disobedience of all non-whites. 1963 saw the Ninety Day Act enforced, whereby it enabled the police to arrest without a warrant anyone they suspected in anyway to be involved with anti-government activities. If you were part of a banned political group, which quite a few of my friends and I were, and you were caught out participating in any of its activities, your chances were pretty slim that you wouldn’t be pulled in for interrogation by the Security Police. It could, if to their minds you were a security risk, evolve into confinement, torture and further endless interrogation to force a confession of whatever nature and turn you into a state witness, which occurred to a few friends of mine. One such, who worked with me at a hotel as a barman, disappeared for two months with no one knowing his whereabouts. When he eventually returned, his story was one of having been knocked up in the early hours of the morning by the Security Police, bundled off and interrogated on and off for two days none stop, thrown in a holding cell for another two with only stale bread and water as sustenance, and then the same procedure repeated over and over again. What saved him was that the Security Police had come across a name list of a Communist cell that he had been accused of being part of, of which he had associated and had dealings with, but his name was not listed on it. Then there was another African friend of ours that must have received far worse than that, with the outcome that he died while under their protective care, and as they put it by tripping and falling down a flight of steps, but it was a known fact that their tortures and beatings were vicious.
When as a child I was very aware of Africans been stopped to show their must carry passes, and saw many harassed by the police just for the hell of it by slaps and kicks even when having the right documentation. Those through default by one single item were thrown bodily into a police van, and the cries of anguish that omitted from within as the van rocked to the beating received as they cowardly took turns, could only be looked on with pity and sympathy from a distance. Another favourite one that they took great delight in and that I witnessed, were the beatings received by the Africans with a sjambok (Dutch Malaysian = leather whip) yielded by burly Afrikaner policeman. The worst one seen that occurred not far from where I lived while playing with an African friend of mine two doors away from where he lived, was when first hearing an uproar that was the combination of male voices shouting loud abusive guttural Afrikaans, followed by a male’s pleading voice in a mixture of Afrikaans and Zulu, then a female’s begging sobbing voice in a mixture of the same, and interjected with children’s shouting and crying. The residents, who were the majority Africans, shut all doors and windows in that row of houses immediately. It was a known fact if an African as much as dared look in the direction of an Afrikaner policeman he would be derogatorily abused, and if he even only thought that it was a threatening look, he could successfully arrest the African for obstructing his course of duty. As for myself, although my African friend’s parents had advised me not to go outside, I did. With all of their toilets outside one’s, I sneaked into one where I watched two Afrikaner policemen drag an African man out of his home by his feet, and in between doing that they were kicking him wherever they pleased. His poor wife, who was trying to grasp her husbands stretched out hands to her while she was begging with them to not treat him like that, was roughly handled when pushed away by another two of them. It was then that all hell broke loose. One of the policemen who were carrying a sjambok not only threatened the wife with it raised, he actually brought it down on her arms. The husband on seeing that kicked out as retaliation for them doing that, and their two children that had been standing back crying, one ran towards the mother and the other towards the father. Those Afrikaner DOGS (Dumb Officious Gutless Swine) must have thought they were under attack by a horde of Zulu warriors. The upshot was that two actually drew their revolvers while the other two laid into the father, mother and children with a vengeance with their cowardly yielded sjamboks while I winched with every sound that it made as it landed, and shed a few tears with them.
Because of apartheid, my father and I both suffered setbacks concerning our occupations. In his occupation as a qualified baker, cake confectioner and with seniority and as a charge-hand at Pyotts Bakery, he was deliberately overlooked for further promotion because of been later classified as a non-white. His contribution and commitment to government and civic duties was also misused and discarded when he was deprived of the right to vote as a full citizen. With me, I suffered a similar fate. I was a charge-hand at S. Stone and Sons Furniture Manufacturers in the furniture assembling department along with a wood- machine department charge-hand and a foreman who were also both non-white. The owner in his wisdom then employed a production manager direct from England, with those types of qualifications, because the firm had improved by leaps and bounds and he found himself inundated with other business ventures. But this production manager when the owner had to go over-seas on business trips, took advantage of his title by producing a different set of rules to his advantage. First he had his home completely renovated with timber fixtures, fittings and furniture by conning those who were involved in its manufacturing that it was part of his employment deal. He next utilized his new found authority and to cover his tracks by installing one of his mates as manager of the woodworking and assemble sections. The consideration of that was to dismiss the charge-hand in that section and myself so that he could show the owner on his return that he had reduced costs, and not for us to be there for the obvious reasons. Of course reasons also first had to be obtained to dismiss both of us, and that’s when his contrived scheming came again into operation. The wood machining charge- hand told the manager to stick the job when told he was to become a working leading-hand, with me though they tried a different approach. The manager advised me that the Production Manager had come to the conclusion that my section was over staffed and I had to pick three workers that were to be dismissed. Nobody had ever been dismissed at that firm and I reminded him of that, and also advised him that my position as a charge-hand didn’t carry that authority and that either he or the Production Manager should do the honours. I was dismissed for insubordination, but it didn’t end there.
My next employment was at Louw and Halverson in Cape Town’s docklands in the capacity as a shipwright. I was going happily along until been informed by a follow worker that the owner of S. Stone and Sons had been inquiring to my whereabouts, and to pass on a message to get in touch with him. I couldn’t for the life of me see what benefit would be derived from that as my earnings were applicable when employed there, and I had already been selected by the foreman for intricate, difficult boat customers tasks, which were challenging and rewarding. On receiving a second invitation my curiosity was aroused. I was received with courtesy and friendliness by the owner, who after both having a coffee together, inquired about my well-being and employment in the boat building industry. While relating all of the positive aspects he waited with decorum until I had finished. He must have known someone who was or had been employed at boat building because he described all what he assumed was the negative features. He knew about the strenuous lifting, maneuvering and machining of solid jarrah timber used for the construction, and the laborious chip adze trimming of the boats framework ribs and any excess boat construction overlaps. The labour intensive work also of planking the boats exterior while dangling over the side of it in a swaying bosun’s chair as the boat bobbed on the water, and the decking of the complete boats deck while bent over continuously and to wood-plug all the screw holes in the beating down sun or rain in the same position. The constructing of hatches while either dangling by a safety harness or balancing precariously on cross beams while struggling with a heavy-duty electric drill gun to bore twelve inch deep bolt bore holes through the hatch into the deck, which was to secure them, while trying to maintain ones footing at the same time so as to not plunge down in the bowels of the boat. All in that order; yet, to me that had been the easy part. I had done all of that, was past that stage of initiation that gauged my capabilities, and was then working on the finer features of the boats that required preciseness and quality that would satisfy the customers, and was due for a forthcoming increment that I retaliated with. His request that I consider coming back because the firm required someone with my capabilities and expertise made me ask the question of why then was I dismissed in the first place. He answered my question with the question of what the reasons were for the Production Manager to dismiss me. He saw my surprise and puzzlement, and when I asked him to summon the Production Manager to the office so that I could tell him to his face, he smilingly said that it wouldn’t be possible for he had dismissed him, and related the very reasons that I was aware of. When telling me that I had been unfairly dismissed and that the firm needed a role model like me to encourage and motivate the rest of the workers as I had done before, the first thing that came to mind was that he was offering me my charge-hand position back. I was sorely mistaken; for he went on to fill me in on an act just passed by the Afrikaner National Government whereby all authoritative positions had to be replaced by a White. If employed there again, an Afrikaner who had been one of my workers and a dumb one at that, who had to be spoon feed, was going to be my ‘baas.’ Telling the owner that it would be impossible to work under those conditions and why, and at a reduced wage, caused him to negotiate a compromise whereby I would be receiving my former charge-hand wage. Part of the deal was for me to motivate the workers discretely by my example into a better work ethic and to aid the Afrikaner with my wood working knowledge in the same manner, so I accepted because making furniture was easier than building boats.
Although working under those conditions I wasn’t a very happy chappie because of knowing that any further promotions would be out of the question while the Afrikaner National Government was in power, so I began to make planes to get the hell out of South Africa. Actually, when some family and friends heard of my intentions, I was thought of as a turn-coat who wanted to be White. Now the way I saw it was that there was no way I was going to see my four sons and daughter grow up in the government’s policies of its derogatory discriminating laws. There was also jealousy derived by those because I was doing it by hook or by crook, and they wouldn’t, because of not seeing the forest because of the trees. I suppose I knew something that they wouldn’t have known or had even taken the time to find out about the how and the why apartheid had been allowed to raise its verminous head and destructive tentacles. I remembered sitting and listening very attentively with my African playmates in Langa when elders there would educate them about their forefathers in their own language; “mamela, funda” (listen, learn), that was not found in South African history books.
1967 saw the Afrikaner National Government create Bantustans; designated areas in South Africa for particular African ethnic groups in accordance with apartheid:
King Ngubengcuka united the Xhosa clans I learned, and they established themselves in their kingdom of Thembuland, (now Eastern Cape) of which the Thembu is Nelson Mandela’s clan. Nevertheless, along came the Boers and seized the best agricultural and cultivation land followed by the British who divested them of their royal rule. That made it also an easy matter when the Afrikaners came into power during apartheid to carve further from those Xhosa lands the Homelands (A government restricted designated area where different African races were forcible dumped) of Transkei and Ciskei.
The Zulu clan became a large dominant tribe under the warrior leader Inoksa (King) Shaka in what was Zululand, (now KwaZulu-Natal) and his half-brother Dingaan was the leader of the massacre at the Battle of Blood River of 3 000 of his followers by the Trek Boers (Dutch = Migrating farmers) in retaliation of the slaughter of Piet Retief, which was one of their leaders that were conning the Zulus out of their land. The Boers after that battle established their republic of Natal, and by appropriating whatever land they wanted pushed the Zulus further inland. The British when coming to the rescue during the Anglo-Boer War saw the English people settle there and continue using that land as if it was theirs, which again when the Afrikaner National Party came into power their apartheid laws herded the Zulus into their declared Homeland of KwaZulu (Land of the Zulu) in Natal.
The Basotho lived in Basotholand, (now Lesotho) under King Moshesh the Great in its mountainous region. With a good economy of cattle and cultivation on its vast plains, the Voortrekkers (Dutch = before migrators; disgruntled Dutch migratory settlers from the taken over British conquered Cape Colony) forcible encroached on their land with a follow up by the difaqane (forced migration) from the conquest onslaught of Shaka’s impis (warriors). But because of moving his people to the mountaintop of Thaba-Bosiu, which became their fortress stronghold, they not only survived that entirely but also a further Boer takeover of their fertile land with the aid of the British who annexed Basotholand to the Cape Colony. The benefit of that when the Union of South Africa was formed (1910) saw it not included because it was a British Protectorate, and it was not affected by the apartheid laws of the Afrikaner government so as to be declared a Homeland even though it had the distinction that it was smack bang in the centre of South Africa.
The Swazis of Swaziland fought hard and long in keeping their territory out of the hands of the Boers, British and Zulus, especially because of their southern border then having been Zululand and the east of Transvaal, (now Mpumalanga). After King Mswazi, who the Swazis took their name from, retreated with his nation further north from the invading Zulus, and the British who defeated the Boers in turn defeated them, Swaziland too became a British Protectorate and didn’t suffer the apartheid laws of having been declared a Homeland.
The Ndebele who settled in the area of Transvaal before the Boers and the British even knew that that part of Africa existed were descendants of a fighting force of a Zulu renegade regiment that became a feared fighting force. Despite the fact that they were no match for the Basotho who held them in check, the Voortrekkers grasping for more land forced their leader Mzilikazi to withdraw further north into Rhodesia, (now Zimbabwe). Those who remained through unforseen circumstances soon felt the brunt of the Boers who used them as slaves, and when Homelands were established they were placed as in all African ones in typical arbitrary and improvised locations, with theirs as KwaNdebele, (now Mpumalanga (Coming out of the sun).
The Tswana of Bechuanaland not only dominated large parts of that country but also the Transvaal, (now North West and Northern Province), and north of the Cape Colony, (now Northern Cape). Although they didn’t come up against Shaka’s Zulus, they were devastated by the Ndebele led by Mzilkazi, and the north trekking Boers took advantage of that by moving into and onto their land. The Tswana first rallied and fought back against overwhelming odds, but when seeing that they were fighting a losing battle petitioned the British for protection against the Boers, and the received like the Swazis and Basotho the establishment of the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland, (now Botswana). Those Tswana people who fled the Ndebele into Transvaal also suffered under the rule of the Boer, and when the Afrikaners established the Union of South Africa after the Anglo-Boer War, they were forced to work in the gold mines and industries of Johannesburg as cheap labour. And that too eventuated into them enclosed in the Homeland of Bophuthatswana that like the rest were based on the existing British Protectorates but by the Afrikaner National Government’s rules. That particular Homeland was set up conveniently in a scattered arch of enclaves that bordered the Orange Free State, (now Free State), and Transvaal (now Gauteng (Sotho = Place of gold), but that originally consisted of North West, Northern Province and Mpumalanga, so that the African cheap labour workers could be on the beck and call of the Afrikaners of their two state strongholds.
The Venda’s who consisted of the Lemba and Senzi people originated when they established themselves with Chief Dimbanyika as their leader in the Saltpans Mountain Ranges of Northern Transvaal, (now Northern Province), and named it Vendaland (Pleasant Land). Then came the Boers, the Swazis and the Tsonga tribes to take over their land; nevertheless, they succeeded to hold them off due to them grouping together, the mountainous terrain, geographical isolation and the tsetse fly, which transmitted sleeping sickness in humans and disease in cattle. The Boers mentality of thinking that there was more to the land because of their defending of it made another assault with about 4 000 men. Fortunately or unfortunately the second Anglo-Boer War occurred which saw the Boers having to rather defend their own territories against the British, and it partly put paid to the Boers overrunning their land so as to annex Vendaland, which though didn’t stop the Afrikaners when coming into power to declare it too a Homeland.
There was not much scope, advancement or improvement in any field of achievement for non-whites. Life was becoming a dead-end in a country that had everything going for it with so much to offer, the problem was that it was only being offered to the so called White South Africans. By then, Nelson Mandala and the freedom fighters were incarcerated on Robben Island for life; however, to compensate for that, a White man assassinated Prime Minister Verwoerd. The Afrikaner National Party then introduced the Terrorism Act to provide for indefinite detention without trial because of the beginning of the ANC guerrilla warfare against the Afrikaners. Non-whites who were world class in any endeavour, had then to leave or were forced to leave because of discrimination or because of speaking out about the same reason. For the rest of us it was survival of the fittest. We had to revert to cunning and subterfuge like the South African wild animals I had seen and encountered in the wild or at national wild game parks on my travels inland in South Africa, and while in the merchant navy when sailing the East, South and West African coasts.
The South African, African guerrillas, who trained in the neighbouring countries of Tanzania, Angola and Mozambique in similar environments as the wild animals, became attuned as the animals to confuse and frustrate the Afrikaner police and troops with their clumsy arrogant warfare tactics. That didn’t only relate to the guerrillas, it also did to the majority of non-whites who were forced out of necessity to adopted not only strategies but also characteristics of the African animals to survive. One had to become as timid as deer, illusional as zebra with its strips, treacherous as snakes, threatening as elephants, intimidating as rhino, aggressive as wildebeest, fierce as the big cats, ferocious as crocodiles, networks like the monkeys and apes, and then stand tall like the giraffes. All government-classified non-whites had learned well from them. Like them when preyed upon, we sensed when predator Afrikaner police and troops were about for hunting us. Antelope snap to attention, straight legged with necks stretched upward because they excel in hearing. That informs the impala and zebra that they are grazing with, for they also excel, one in sight, the other in smell, and together they establish an effective warning system against the big cats. We non-whites too had to have eyes at the back of our heads when trying to see what the Afrikaner’s next degrading move would be, and our ears had to be hyper-sensitive to overhear future plans in that direction. The antelope travel in herds, there being safety in numbers as we non-whites found out, and they use regular trails that avoid danger spots or hazards, and they also travel in single file to lessen the chances of stumbling upon a hidden predator. The smaller antelope graze on the short grass and use the tall grass to crouch down in when predators approach by lying flat, still and quite as mice, as we had to do when hunted by the police. Others when attacked explode into continuous leaps and bounds in all directions in astounding leaps of 3-10 metres lengths that break the predator’s concentration, and as we non-whites scattered in all directions when having been charged on by baton and gun wielding police and soldiers, it caused them instability.
Even ostriches with their long necks sight predators from a great distance and it serves as early warning systems for other animals. Every conceivable aspect also had to be thought about for our survival. Adaptive colours and patterns on animals serve as a camouflage and a warning to confuse and to frighten off potential predators. Such as zebra stripes that create an optical illusion to confuse a predator’s judgement when they attack, a startled herd darting around results in a mingling of a mass of stripes. If confronted by a myriad of flicking lights or watching dancers within a strobe, discrete forms are lost, so also are zebras to their predators, for in a moment of confusion hesitation results, and thrown off balance it gives the zebra an edge to get away. We also learned our lesson well in camouflaging our true feelings of hatred when in the Afrikaner’s company, and we confused them with our dazzling smiles even though they were heaping shit on us.
Most peoples of the world view the animal kingdom in a mundane environment, such as in a zoo, circus, on a farm or as a domestic pet. They seem to find it difficult to comprehend when animals retaliate against man’s cruelty that causes pain or suffering, but man’s inhumanity to man is in the same category and we retaliate. Subdued non-whites did not retaliate at first, because all they required and asked for was the brotherhood of man, equality and freedom. Even animals bond for balance, and all things being equal they achieve an outcome together, but they do have to fight for their freedom. Some animals, like humans, are by nature exceedingly shy, some even docile, they try to avoid people at all costs and will always attempt to escape given half the chance. In the wild in their natural habitat or national parks they can be observed doing exactly that. From the extreme south of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve to the extreme north, sanctuaries not only for the boundless variety of mammals, reptiles, birds, trees shrubs and succulents, but also for the protection of exceptional regional beauty and geological interest, even stretches of coast line that had been declared marine reserves. Why then did the Afrikaner’s who professed to be so God fearing and lived by their bible that states that all men are equal in the sight of God, have to segregate living areas for all peoples of South Africa the same way as they did for animals.
Kruger National Park, a sanctuary for the greatest variety of wildest mighty beasts and lesser creatures in the world are to be found there in their natural habitat. It is but one of hundreds of animal nature reserves on the plains, in the mountains, along the coast or as islands in the South African veld. In that the African elephant once roamed throughout Africa, but then their range and numbers dwindled rapidly as they were not only hunted down to get rid of them due to the whites land greed but also for their pleasurable benefit so that they could feel like men. At any rate it was accomplished with rifles like a bunch of pussies, and that occurred again against non-whites. Conservation methods increased the elephant’s numbers, but once again because of over population in certain areas that depleted their natural vegetation they died in the hundreds. Their reduction suggested virtual elimination and so to were the thoughts of the ruling Afrikaner National Party for the elimination of non-whites when drawing a comparison.
The black and white rhinoceros are also doomed to extinction due to their horns that are used for alleged pharmaceutical qualities and ornamental objects. There are two distinct species, the black rhino has a long neck that helps to reach up into vegetation for browsing and is actually grey. The white rhino has a relatively longer head enabling it to ground graze and a wide upper lip designed for grazing. Most people by now know that the white rhino is also grey, and have heard or read how that rhino became to be classified as white. For those who haven’t, it was due to its wide upper lip that was described by the Dutch as having a wijd bovenste lip (broad upper lip). In the Afrikaans compilation language wijd became wyd and is pronounced vait, and that to the unaccustomed ears sounded like the word white. We have black and white rhino just as there are Black and White people in South Africa, and those actually grey rhino because of their colouring could have been non-white, and they all lived harmoniously together with whatever their differences. That’s the way we non-whites saw it but not the Whites. They didn’t even have the decency to rectify the inaccuracy of the word wyd, preferring rather to keep the distinction that the one was black and the other white, whereby instigating the thought that the white one was the better one of the two, as they as classified Whites believed they were. Rhino will rather run off and not attack if they identify disturbances that are not threatening, but that didn’t occur when we non-whites did the same on hearing or seeing disturbances created by White police. What they would do was to attack without provocation from us, because they would assume it as a sign of weakness.
The fur trade has also drastically reducing the leopard’s numbers. They could have been found everywhere before in woodland, bushland, wooded grassland and forest, and even at times in suburban areas. Their superbly proportional bodies excel at running, jumping, tree climbing and swimming, and their strength enables them to haul their prey up trees where it is safe from non-tree climbing scavengers like jackal and hyena. Their favourite resting places are also kopjes; which are clusters of granite rocks worn smooth by time and the elements amid a little oasis of tree and bush. Most of those ancient rocks catch and hold water, enabling seeds of trees and bushes to germinate and take root. The kopjes seem to be the tops of mountain ranges lying under the veld that in turn lie under volcanic ash spread over the vast plain. People like wild animals are also drawn towards kopjes like an oasis in the desert because life is always there, everything from lizards to the big cats, and African guerrillas too when they were scouting the vicinity for their enemy of Afrikaners.
The cheetah is the other spotted big cat, docile, easily tamed and makes excellent pets. They are also lean and muscular with a fluid acceleration of 1 to 45 kilometres per hour in two seconds. That’s three strides per second, and they are nearly flying, as their paws don’t even touch the ground for more than half the distance covered. Mother cheetahs have a hard time defending their cubs from leopards and lions, they seem to find them a delicacy, and so when out hunting for food, their preferred prey the gazelle, they leave their young hidden in dense vegetation or among rocks on the kopjes. That saw the same happening at times when non-whites had to hide their school children from the searching of the police because of their revolt against an enforced government’s Afrikaans education.
Lions are the largest of the big cats, and like domestic cats at times look utterly relaxed and indifferent. They lie about on rocks, on open savannah, and beside river reed beds in attitudes of supple abandonment sprawled in a relaxed regal languor gazing over the veld and lapping up the sunshine. The sunshine in Africa is a constant companion because the clouds don’t seem to come between oneself and the sun due to the clouds seeming to part as they drift across, and they are more spread out than others and have more colours. They have different shades of grey that runs from pure white to charcoal and have hints of violet in the folds, and when storms come up change their colour to savage indigo, and then the sun comes out again in its spinning intensity. The lions though savage too at times have the uncommon behaviour of climbing and lazing in trees. I found the sight of seeing a huge lazy lion resting on a tree branch with his belly bulging over after feeding a bizarre sight, and it made me think of pussycats that get caught up in trees. Females do most of the hunting; males though gain first access to a kill because of their superior strength and weight, and it isn’t through laziness but because they are the defenders of their pride. The melodious long drawn, nerve tingling, resounding vibrant roar of the King of the beast is an awesome full-throat impressive sound that has stayed with me forever. We too amongst the non-whites had lion-hearted people with comparable courage, but it would be remiss of me to pin-point a known few and not make mention of the lesser ones whose life giving sacrifices took more than courage.
And then we have the wildebeest with its tufted tail that’s the only valuable part when made into a fly-whisk that sells for about twenty cents to twenty dollars depending on the handle, and thousands are sold. The gnu or wildebeest is the meanest beast, which I would be if my tail was used as a fly-swatter, and an explosive snort sounds its alarm with an aggressive nose up posture at the intruder, which made me look for the nearest tree, and then the charge, and with its massive horns it would be like being hit by a semi-truck. When on the move their constant grunts sound like an early morning clearing throats ritual, and with their tails up and heads down they cavort, buck and gyrate, kicking up dust as they spread out in a constant direction. That’s what it must have also looked like to the cowardly gun bearing Afrikaner police when the African school children of Sharpeville marched in peaceful protest against the enforced teaching of an Afrikaans curriculum in Bantu schools. How else but either ignorance of not able to perceive that all that those poor innocent children were armed with was their proficient intellect of wanting to hold onto their own culture language, or, Afrikaner policemens attitude to everything that was black that confronted them as peaceful or not, was, to ‘Shot and kill the noisy blacks’, factual!
The warthog is a pig with a difference, two enormous canine curved tusks, a lion type mane and a pair of protruding warts on an elongated face. It is considered as one of nature’s most intelligent animals, inferior only to primates and dolphins, and because of its low view compensates that by strict alertness. By paying close attention to surrounding animals, which are not predators, they seem to know the behavioural reaction of stalked prey and birds, and without paying too much concern to the cause they are off like a shot. Trotting off in single file they presented a comical sight with their assumed air of supreme self-importance, stiffly skyward pointed tail, backside showing, and with brisk trots and jaunting strides that were reminiscent of the old locomotive engine with its carriages in tow traveling through Athlone Railway Station in my childhood. To sweat like a pig is a misnomer because it has only a few sweat glands, so there isn’t much sweating. It kneels though when grazing, and their prayer position compensates for a short neck that allows them to eat more, quicker and to check out any dangerous poisonous vegetation while praying that it’s eating the right food. Those pigs in some ways were also reminiscent of the Boer, Afrikaner or ‘Baas’, as they wanted to be known in comparison to other South Africans. Their somewhat swarthy appearance as the warthog that was either due to their ancestors constant trekking and working the land in the blazing sun, or their ancestor’s liaison or marriage with the Khoisan. Also, their lion-type blonde unruly hair, coarse and rough elongated faces, their assumed air of self-importance because of thinking that their shit didn’t stink, and their holier than thou art attitude because of thinking that they were the only race that could relate to the bible and prayed while kneeling.
Floating around a pool all day doesn’t take much effort. So that undemanding lifestyle does not require much food intake to the hippopotamus that weighs 2 000 kilograms and ingests only one per cent of its body weight by grazing. The rest of the day is spent totally or partially submerged, and when submerged they close the valves of their nostrils, press their ears flat against the sides of their heads, their heart rate slows down and that gives them more time underwater. They float beneath the surface bouncing up and down just to breathe every five to fifteen minutes, and on opening up wide their jaws it makes an impressive sight, when seen from the safety of a riverbank. The riverbank is the safest, for they capsize boats that get to near and either drown or bite the occupants, and they account annually for more wildlife human deaths than any other animals, so despite their benign look, beware. Beware also of a curious and dirty habit, for by rapidly whirling their stubby tails as they defecate they can spray their dung over a two-metre radius. Sorry to say butt, but the reference is to the butt of the female Afrikaner that always reminded me of the hippopotamus because it resembled the buttocks of the Bushman. Where other people’s body fat is accumulated in all areas of the body, Bushmen accumulate it only in the backside, which gave them enormous ones. It wasn’t only that feature of the Afrikaner female that resembled the hippo and Bushman, there was also some of the facial distinctions that were not only similar but also there were some who had they high cheeks bones and kinky hair of the Bushman that no amount of visiting their hairdressers could straighten. And in respect to that, and with all respect to the memory of the late (1950) Prime Minister Jan Christian Smuts (1919-24, 1939-48) due to only as Field Marshall (World War 1 and 2) in supporting the Allies, but not as a segregationist who supported legislation that took away Africans rights and land ownership; his wife, and also with respect to her, had those distinctive Bushman’s features. Whenever others and I had sight of her and be it personally or featured in newspapers, there was no way in either way it was dressed up could it be hidden, as also many other higher echelon Afrikaner wives and children due to their Khoisan ancestors.
Giraffes always stand tall surveying either flat treeless plain’s that stretch in all directions to a rounded horizon, as at sea on the ocean, over bushed and wooded grasslands with flat-topped acacia, which is the most characteristic trees of the African plains. The twisted dance of those African trees with its foliage spread like fingers seemed to be reaching outward and upward like the gesturing hand movements of a Hindu dancer. The giraffe’s browsing is exclusively confined to foliage of bushes and acacias, and its black tongue of 45 centimetres long and mobile can curl around branch tips easily, and the lips are just as agile. Those are also handy for taking up to 30 to 50 litres of water at one go because normally they only drink once a week. A giraffe’s galloping can be seen as if it’s about to come apart at the seams. Its grotesque loping stride is due to its high centre of gravity and weight of about 1 000 kilograms. Although with neck and head swinging freely back and forth in an effortless undulating glide, its elegant slow rhythm still reaches a speed of 60 kilometres per hour. We, as non-white human beings didn’t require all of that, but we did stand tall no matter what the Afrikaner government legislated to tear us apart at the seams.
South Africa has over 1 000 species of distinctive bird life out of a total of some 8 700 species of known African birds. Beauty, abundance, diversity, size and exclusivity are a distinction of South Africa’s bird paradise. The fastest bird on two legs is an ostrich and it can maintain 50 kilometres per hour for long distances. Ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand, and that myth has arisen because they stretch their heads and long necks flat out on the ground when nesting. However, I knew many non-whites who did bury their heads in the sand because of wanting to curry-favour with Afrikaners because they thought the sun shone out of their arse. Flamingos though do fly and need access to fresh water once a day, so they are at the mouths of small rivers, lagoons or lakes. Their plumage colour of delicate pink is from massive doses of vitamin A in their diet of algae in certain waters. The most breathtaking sight I have seen of those birds was when watching pink cloud ribbons of them drifting over a lake to gracefully settle on the water to rest in a flock, and it was unrivaled in its movement and colour. But the glory of the flamingo is in its flight when they take off like a crimson cloud, then like pink clouds reel through the sky. They reminded me so much of the pleasure I always received when watching the march past of non-white Kaapse Klopse (Cape Minstrels). I mean how one could not love pink the way they wore it, with pride. And what about the pink ribbons that festooned their clothing that would flutter in the breeze, and to their gyrating bodies that would be unrivaled in their movements. Then along came the Group Areas Act of 1966 that declared District Six a White’s only area resulting in millions of non-whites being evicted and scattered around the Cape Peninsula. The implementation of the Group Areas Act resulted in communities losing their sense of belonging to the communities they grew up in because of the forced removals. In 1967, the Carnival was banned from its home at the Green Point stadium. In 1968 there were no Coons parading in the Cape Town CBD. During the 1970s, the traffic by laws and the Illegal Gathering Act were used to place additional challenges on the minstrel festival organizers, and in 1977, all Coon marches were forbidden in any part of Cape Town, bloody bastard Afrikaner National Government.
The Rainbow Serpent of the Australian Aborigine’s Dreamtime created the rivers that are their tracks, and in African lore the coiled snake with its tail in its mouth is a symbol of eternity, and its ability to shed its skin regularly spread a belief in its immortality. In their mythology the Great Serpent is said to be the first being, to also have set the universe in motion, flashed in the sky as forked lightning and arched to form the rainbow. The greatest serpent of all tempted Eve, biblical, since then the human imagination has contributed to a creature without legs, that moves on its belly, can kill with one bite, swallow its prey, smells with its tongue and hears with its jaw. In Africa no imagination is necessary for the African rock python, spitting cobra, black mamba, puff adder and boom slang (Dutch = tree snake). They are relatively fragile and easily killed, and gain nothing by aggressiveness that would endanger them, for they are exceedingly shy and always slither away. If only the known nature of non-whites to be exceedingly shy was nurtured further by the Whites instead of disseminating segregation and then apartheid that fostered anger and aggressiveness, the brotherhood of man could have been fostered then, as now, of the Rainbow Nation.
The African sun that parts clouds to bath the veld and plains gets bigger at the end of day, and because there is no slow decline to the day, that glowing fireball stands for a brief moment of radiant glory on the horizon and then slips out of view, leaving a short twilight of an orange red glow that goes to instant black. The characteristic ‘whoop whoop’ howl of the hyena can be heard throughout the African dark night. That vocalizing is distinctive to their breed, and when excited the uneven pitched howl of laughter is eerily reminiscent of a cackling crazy witch. Hyenas are of two distinct species, but no matter how you cut it they are ‘fugly’ (fucking ugly). They are found where there is abundant wildlife because both species are opportunistic hunters and scavengers, and they take advantage of what’s left by animals or man. They will eat the dead of almost any mammal, bird, reptile and fish, irrespective of size or species, and will attack and take weaker or sick animals in preference to healthy ones. They love water and will lay half submerged in pools or bask on the verge. They also use pools of water as larders to submerge hunks of meat in it. They are the best housekeepers on the African veld, even the blood on the ground is cleaned up, and the game parks would be unbearable without those garbage collectors. Just also imagine what the whole country of South Africa would have been like if they didn’t have non-whites as cheap labour to clean up behind the Whites who wouldn’t have a bar of doing manual work that they thought was demeaning to their standards.
Last but not least monkeys and apes distinctive only by their tails. Baboons and vervets in general have similar characteristics, except that vervets are smaller in stature to the rest of the monkey family, which consists of hundreds of different kinds that differ in appearance and colouring. The social life involves networks of families and friends, which non-whites used to their advantage when plotting against the Afrikaners, and their practical hygienic grooming is an important social ritual. The young seek, find relationships and bond with adult male friends of their mother’s in a hero-worship situation. The young also spend time with their peers in constant running, chasing and wrestling, which helps in the development of reflexes and muscles, and their learning process of the environment is one of exploration necessary to survive. Their communication skills are well documented with thirty meaningful postures or sign language, and some fifteen vocal sounds. It wasn’t only the sighting of the baboon that seemed to have become part of my environment since a child wherever I went, but also its distinctive vocalization. And there was nothing more stirring to the emotions or shattering to the nerves on me hearing in the still of the night the barks of baboons, elephants trumpeting and lions roaring in unison.
Animals that are treated with kindness and gentleness, and given care, freedom and shown concern will reciprocate. If humiliation, irritation, anxiety, distress, suffering, pain, fear, anger and hatred are caused they will retaliate. So it goes without saying that’s why humans argue, fight, demonstrate, strike, battle, kill, destroy and annihilate. We named non-whites had learned well from our long association with those African animals, and when the Afrikaner National Party legislated their racial-segregation policy so that 23 million non-whites, which consisted of Bantu, Coloured, Indian and mixed races could not share full rights of citizenship in comparison to their 4.5 million so named Whites who had everything coming to them, we retaliated against them for treating human beings like animals.
The government though thought it appropriate and for the common good of all South Africans to introduce a Group Areas and Coloured Property Act, and that made it unlawful to live, own property or a business in a declared, designated area proclaimed White. If they weren’t erasing black spots out of declared White areas, they were drawing lines in the sand that non-whites could not cross, and they were railway lines that virtually separated us from them. The Good Lord in His Wisdom must have thought that if the Boer / Afrikaners had the audacity to even class themselves in the same category as the Jews as the chosen race, biblical, and as the German / Nazis as the master race, pathetically, then He would dish up to them all the atrocities that non-whites had to suffer under them, for not obeying His laws to the letter as the Afrikaner National Party was doing with their conjured up interpretations of it.
The forward planning of the government was to move all non-whites over to the other side of the track regardless, with the conceited idea that Whites were in a superior class of their own and shouldn’t be tainted with inferior non-whites sharing the same facilities. Cape Town City would be only theirs for enjoyment, entertainment, recreation, diversion and relaxation, and that also included all the beaches right around the Cape Peninsula. The beach allocated to nonwhites was Strandfontein (Dutch = Beach-fountain), where the only way to reach it was by motor transport, and where sharks and a horrific sea backwash that was a hazard was deemed to be natural to non-white survival skills. My majestic Table Mountain was not seen fit to be traversed by non-whites, and the lush and fertile valleys, the meandering rivers and the lakes was taboo, as was the learning institutions of Technical Colleges and Universities. One of the reasons for me getting the hell out of South Africa was the Afrikaners government policy of the restraining of a God given right to the freedom of choice. The other was their conniving indoctrination to be susceptible of their misrepresentation that White was right for my family and me to accept.
The government was enforcing the herding of other non-whites into types of homelands like the Africans. They were nothing short of compounds for the working class, and cheap flats and units sprung up like mushrooms overnight on the Cape Flats to house those that were dislodged from non-white areas, which had been declared White areas. It didn’t bother the government if non-whites were disgruntled, disillusioned and frustrated, even to the separation of families, the workers from their place of employment, places of worship, shopping areas and the community spirit that had been built up over generations. They didn’t give a damn, and their hastily built cramped styled quarters for non-whites that was eagerly negotiated and snapped up by non-white entrepreneurs, which I’m ashamed to mention, to line their own pockets, became breeding grounds for the criminal element. Gangs roamed the streets, and fighting, assaults, robbery, rape, stabbings and murder became the norm, and so did unemployment. What non-white skilled and unskilled workers through diligence once gained was then allocated to Whites only. Due to all of that, and the defeated attitude felt, the criminal element vented their frustration and anger on the people closest. All nonwhites were in their line of fire because the Whites were completely isolated in their White utopias.
In our neighbourhood we were hassled for money even when walking in our street, and some used their self-trained dogs as a threat to obtain whatever they wanted. Others would smack, kick or chase you if one looked better off in dress, and it was known that some would divest a person if the clothes fitted. Children who were sent by their parents for purchases at shops were robbed of monies and girls and women were touched up indiscriminately if ignoring them in passing. I enrolled my sons and daughter in a jujitsu class so that they could defend themselves if attacked, which did occur on several occasions, and even then because of the gang element they and I had to run for our lives. The government’s operation of separate areas was twofold. The obvious one was that White was superior and couldn’t be inferior to non-white. And the other was to have a barrier of sacrificial lambs between the Africans and Whites. That was where the rest of the non-whites came in, for their chicken cooped dwellings were strategically built and placed so that they could be first in the line of fire from any crime, unrest or uprising from the Africans. Those enforced, dislodged non-whites from all their then declared White areas were firmly entrenched in blocks of flats right up against other non-whites privately owned houses, but the government didn’t give a fuck. That was the Whites first line of defense followed by squats adjoining for African people in townships like Gugulethu and Nyanga, and those areas were eventually fenced off as enclosures to keep wild non-white South African government made animals firmly in their place.
In Vanguard Estate where we lived, we were forced to organize a neighbourhood watch and patrol the whole area on weekend nights. Break-ins, assaults, verbal abuse and harassment became common practice from our new neighbours. I was attacked twice, once luckily to get away with my life, and my wife and children were affronted, threatened and often chased. Having the good fortune and opportunity to experience what real freedom was through my merchant navy travels around the world gave me the foresight to investigate which countries were accepting South African immigrants, what were the social conditions and most important human freedom. Canada and Australia both came pretty close as ideal. Having had the experience of Canada with its French and English divisions though and wanting back the complete freedom my fore parents had attained and enjoyed over a century ago, I opted for Australia. It seemed that because it was a young continent they were learning from the past mistakes of the others. Also, there was no apartheid, it had social freedom, one man one vote, labels were of your own doing, and their having a fair go policy made it an excellent situation for my children to grow up in.
The carnival has its roots in the creole culture that formed at the Cape over hundreds of years from the interaction and intermingling of indigenous African groups, European settlers, Muslim slaves from the Indonesian archipelago, and people from a variety of other backgrounds. Freed slaves in Cape Town developed their own cycle of festivals in December and January, among them the Tweede Nuwe Jaar (“Second New Year”), which is celebrated on January 2nd and is a kind of independence day for the non-white community of Cape Town. When American minstrels arrived at the Cape in the mid-nineteenth century, the styles and sounds of vaudeville were incorporated into local celebrations, and the Coon Carnival was born. The word “coon” was borrowed but its pejorative and racial connotations were ignored, so that it came to refer to a member of a minstrel troupe and nothing more.