Know the Beloved Country, Part 6


The Swinging Sixties might have swung like an army of chimps on speed elsewhere in the world but, here in South Africa, life under apartheid was about as titillating as being stuck in a lift (elevator) with Margaret Thatcher.

I hinted at this when I described what is was like being a teenager exploding with testosterone while the Nat government’s morality police ran around slapping black stars on every bared nipple they could find.

But I didn’t do justice to the level of depravity to which the apartheid regime stooped to ensure that nobody, absolutely nobody, had any fun at all.

You’ve got to check out this bit of “trivia from the past” I found in Awesome SA’s crammed-full-of-insane-facts Awesome South Africa book

In the 1960s it was ILLEGAL for sunbathers of the opposite sex at municipal swimming baths to be closer than a specified distance from each other. To ensure that this legislation was enforced, an official on duty carried a ruler to assist him with his inspection. Any two persons not adhering to the specified distance were charged accordingly.”

I defy any of the boys down at the pool to keep 11 feet 6 inches away from Genevieve Morton on a hot day

I always wondered why, after asking my Dad if I could get a Schweppes Creme Soda from the pool tuckshop, I then had to walk 11 feet 6 inches over to my Mom to grab the money from her.

Now it all makes perfect sense. Doesn’t it?

* A red hat tip to the boys over at the Socialyz blog for lending me that lekker pic of Gen. Which I think they nicked from Seth. That’s apparently how it works with pics of Gen in a bikini. As opposed to pics of Gen naked. Which I keep to myself, thank you.

Fred Hatman
Fred Hatman (AKA Howard Donaldson) knew he wanted to be newspaper journalist at age 13. He has worked as a reporter and sub-editor for the Daily News and Cape Times, both based in South Africa and Wimbledon News, Today, London Daily News, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mirror, all based in London .
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