I was born on the 19 April 1959, not that long after the Nationalists came to power and the beginning of Apartheid, this is an undeniable fact, the rest is a very subjective and biased recollection of events that have influenced my life and the events that have shaped the history of what I once thought of as my country. The people and the events that are to follow are real, at least to me and I apologize in advance to those people that I will name as the people who have influenced my life.
I was born on a Sunday, to be exact the 19 April 1959 and, you, I am sure know what is said of those born on the Sabbath if not “The child that is born on the Sabbath day will be fair of face, happy and wise and good and gay” although the word “Gay” has a completely different meaning today, I was a happy and contented baby, or so my mother always said. Who am I to argue?
My parent’s names are Dawn and Horst, and as far as I know they had been happily married for the previous seven months or so. Horst was an emigrant from a war devastated Germany and my mother the adopted daughter of my granny Edith Mc Gee. Granny Mc Gee, was a divorcee, but had married well, so my mother had been brought up in a fairly well-off family, Horst on the other hand had been forced to leave Germany by the Allied command and was given a choice of South America or South Africa. He chose South Africa and that is the reason that I was born. I was to be followed by two sisters, Karen, eighteen months later, Kirsten in 1964 and a brother in 1966. This is my immediate family but as my story unveils by no means the end.
I can only presume that my parents lived in harmony for the next eighteen to twenty four months as I have no-one with whom I may check, what I do know, is that around the time I was two, my mother, Karen and I were shipped off to Germany to spend time with my father’s parents and it is from that time that my earliest memories stem. This was to be the only time that I met my Grandparents from Germany but I have very fond memories of my Grandfather and not so fond memories of my Grandmother. As they had no influence on my life, it is sufficient to say that they did exist, and that my sister and I had a fairly good time in the snowy world of Hamburg, a climate that I would only see once more in my formative years, as South Africa is not prone to such weather.
We were to return to a completely different household than the one that we had left only six months previously.
The one great thing that had changed was the Zulu lady that had been employed while we had been away, Elizabeth Mkize, the person that over time became my second mother. My father on the other hand had decided to go into business for himself and so began the years of him being a visitor to our lives and I presume the beginning of his philandering ways. More of that later, but for now as children the only thing that we noticed was that our hero, daddy, was hardly there anymore, and that our mother seemed less with us when she returned from work in the evenings.
It is funny in retrospect to realise that as children we are very selfish in the way we view the world, our parents are just there, and the most important people in our lives are our friends and most importantly our Nursery school teacher, who is all knowing and all powerful, probably on a par with God, Herself. I use the word Herself, as I know of very few nursery school teachers who are or were male, it may have something to do with the fact that parents are more trusting of woman than men, or it may have been socio-economic it is not really important, but the trend seems to be no different in the world today.