This post was a diversion from my usual travelogues / photography. It was a rewrite of an older post that barely got looked at about a time in my life when I was young, fearless and extremely naïve. And found myself living in the Apartheid era of South Africa.
Another late night shift at the restaurant where I worked had come to an end. The books were balanced and I was ready to go home when Mike, a waiter I was friendly with, asked me if I’d like to go to Joseph’s place with a couple of other colleagues for a few drinks. Joseph was a barman and a really kind person, often giving me a lift back to my bedsit after my shift as he hated the idea of me walking home on my own in the early hours. Being a newcomer I was more than happy to accept the invitation just so long as I could get a lift home afterwards. No problem.
An hour later we were in Joseph’s tiny, but cosy, kitchen in the southern suburbs sharing a few cans and a pretty decent Malay curry and laughing and chatting and exchanging stories and jokes. The atmosphere changed abruptly when there was a knock at the door. It was 2 am. Mike looked up at Joseph and raised his eyebrows questioningly. Joseph shrugged his shoulders and made his way to the front door. Whilst he was gone Mike told me to keep quiet and let him do any talking. I asked him what was the problem.
The date, 1974, was the problem. The country I was living in was the problem. The fact that Mike and I were ‘white’ was the problem. The fact that Joseph was a ‘Cape Coloured’ was the problem. The fact that we were in a designated ‘coloured’ part of Cape Town was the problem and visiting a house that by law Mike and I were not allowed to be in was the problem.
What would have happened to me had that knock at the door belonged to the security police I will never know. Thankfully it was a neighbour who had seen the lights on and who wanted to join the party.
This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.
34 thoughts on “Flashback Friday #7”
Amazingly worrisome Jude
It was a different time and a different life.
our world can be so insane and terrifying. Glad that all of you were okay
I wasn’t very good at following the rules!
Bad rules are made to be broken!
This brings back memories of the Basil D’Oliveira affair. Apartheid was disgraceful. Nowadays we have all sorts of other discrimination and sadly our so-called governments still look the other way because of economic interests or because they don’t want to get involved. I saw Basil play at Worcester. He was a wonderfully talented cricketer.
Lots of horrible things still go on. You would think that by now people could just realise that we are all humans. But it seems that there is less tolerance and acceptance than ever.
That feels like completely another world, but those times seem to be horribly present again in some communities. Worrying.
Indeed. We humans don’t ever seem to learn. Why can’t we simply just get on with each other.
I knw. Why is it apparently so hard?
Yes, I think we are going to see this all over again! It’s called control and you must think as I do!
Beautifully written. A range of emotion in so few words. And a vivid snapshot of apartheid
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