All ex South African soldiers have stories about pranks; some benign and others extremely dangerous and irresponsible.
This blog will cover two such incidents; one that happened to our platoon while on the border at Mpacha and the other taken off Redditt.
Main picture: Eland 90 Armoured Car
Perhaps I live too far from Cape Town, I have not yet received a sense of panic let alone urgency in their dire predicament. While reports vary as to the level of the dams, most do state that the remaining water will be consumed within two months.
Without being definitive, this blog will only touch on some eclectic issues.
Main picture: Voelvlei Dam
South Africans yearned for the ANC’s NEC meeting last weekend to do the right thing. The ANC failed at that puny hurdle either due to loyalty to their leader or the simple reason that they too are captured. Neither did Zuma fall on this sword. Instead he sat impassively at the meeting while his Comrades vilified him. What has not yet been found is incontrovertible evidence of Zuma’s hand in this malfeasance.
What chance is there that the smoking gun will ever be found?
Main picture: Transnet’s new locomotives on which the Gupta’s will receive a commission of R10m per unit
The Great Depression lasted from 1929 to 1939, and was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world. It began after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors. Over the next several years, consumer spending and investment dropped, causing steep declines in industrial output and employment as failing companies laid off workers. By 1933, when the Great Depression reached its lowest point, some 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half the country’s banks had failed.
The motto of the era was “Use it up — wear it out, — make it do or do without!”
This photographic depiction of the era vividly highlights the devastation that it left in its wake in America.
Main picture: Amongst the countless millions reduced to penury
This well-known hotel has operated under numerous names over its life. Amongst its guises was a naval training base during WW2. For some unknown reason, the hotel never attracted sufficient clientele to be able to be financially viable. Nevertheless, it is an icon for many of the older generation who would attend functions there, including myself.
Main picture: The art deco swimming pool in its heyday
Just as important as the industry dynamics, ownership and physical infrastructure are the working conditions, demographics and wages in the motor vehicles industry. This importance to many residents is predicated on the fact that they had a strong connection with the industry being dependent upon it directly by working in one of the plants or alternatively in one of their suppliers. So too did our family as a number of my relatives worked directly in an assembly plant as well.
This blog deals with the human factors within this industry.
Main picture: Tractors ready for export Continue reading
This blog chronicles the glory days and ultimate swansong of the Beetle that my brother, Dean, had originally acquired in 1973.
Main picture: The VW Beetle before being modified
Like all towns, it is fair to say that Port Elizabeth had its fair share of “unusual” characters. These are some of the best known “personalities” during the 1960s and 1970s.
Main picture: Ruthrapathy “Peanuts” Pillay with his wares
Herbie arrived uninvited at our house one night in 1973 when Dean rocked up with a buggered 1961 1200cc VW Beetle. We didn’t actually name it Herbie but that name had been made famous by the 1968 movie, The Love Bug, and so I shall refer to it thus from time to time. The family all trundled out into the dark to watch proud Dean show off his new little baby. Dad was aghast as, with his superior experience, he knew that it was a piece of junk and washed his hands of it. Dean’s friend, Michael Baker, owned one and it was he who had convinced Dean to buy it for R90. I was in Standard 9 and this was a lovely, real life challenge for me. I had done my apprenticeship on Mom’s sewing machine and Dad’s lawnmower. Now for the big time.
Main picture: 1960-1969 Volkswagen Beetle – Not my vehicle as only one photo exists of it
Perhaps it is one’s cavalier attitude to law enforcement during one’s youth, but generally the most severe traffic fines that one receives is during that period of one’s life. In my case, I was extremely lucky and in Blaine’s case, well, not so lucky.
Main picture: Blaine with the same Beetle many years after this incident or the tale of the Beetle that wouldn’t die