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THE WAY WE LIVED. 17. The Graffiti of Apartheid. [Part 1]

PRELUDE:Round the Peninsula[6]

On the way to Hout Bay, we always stop at the roadside vendors market nestled into the Apostles. The place gets bigger with every visit. There’s art, stone carvings, painted ostrich eggs and wood carvings of animals,masks and, the ultimate, my Makonde tree trunk carving. It has three generations of figures carved in the hard wood. Interesting to find the women at the base with kids in the middle and the men on top. Has nothing changed?

THE WAY WE LIVED.19.The Graffiti of Apartheid.[9min read] Part one.

Okay, back to more serious business!

This post will serve as a reminder of how our lives were blighted by apartheid whose graffiti was everywhere. And I mean everywhere! Also everyday! It was relentless! The pictures used represent a small selection of the many signs we were exposed to on a daily basis. A picture is worth a thousand words – judge for yourself.

My comments will be kept to a minimum. Is that a sigh of relief from my offspring? OK. Just kidding. Writer’s licence allows me a word or two.

Shanties with Devil’s peak in the background. This shot was likely taken from Athlone, late 1960’s. You would not find a White face here in those days. It seems times have now changed.

So you are one of fifty thousand people who live in Athlone. I called it the USA – United States of Athlone which comprised seven areas with informal housing, home ownership and council housing of variable quality.

So how about you want to go to the beach. Let us say it’s the 1968 summer school holidays. You don’t have a car, so you will catch a train from Athlone to Cape Town followed by a bus ride to Bantry Bay where there is a tidal pool at the only beach for Blacks along the forty-kilometre long coastline from Milnerton to Hout Bay. I meant FORTY, not four! Cape Town Blacks comprised only 80[+] percent of the population!

You are at the station, and you have to cross the line to get to the ticket office. Use the bridge or the subway? Take care now. I got a ticket for using the “wrong” one!! A bit like driving in the wrong direction on a motorway!

So, now you have to buy your ticket and go to your platform. You guessed it. Just follow the signs!

Yes, they actually use the same coaches for the different races!

Oops, the train’s arrived! Damn, you cannot use the first two coaches on the eight-coach train. Pity! It’s standing room only in the Black coaches with empty seats in the White coaches where there are far less people.

After getting out of the central Cape Town station, you walk across the Grand Parade. It’s a glorious day so you buy yourself an ice-cream shake at one of those stalls. You know you cannot just walk past the Parade without a strawberry ice cream shake from your favourite vendor especially if Fatima is there! That’s ‘cos she makes the best shakes in Cape Town. Okay, she’s pretty too!

….. and you slurp your way and walk on to the bus stop because you cannot find a bench that you can sit on to drink your shake.

Have you got the right bus stop? OK so far, you reckon. Now, where’s my bus? How long will I wait? You never know on weekends.

[Your trip will continue in Part Two – to follow soon.]


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