Apartheid on the beaches

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1.

Twenty-five years, and I don’t look a day older than one! Alas, I can’t say the same for my Travelling Companion. I spend most of my time inside a book (well, duh) while the TC sees the world. Read all about me and follow my blog posts to share my experiences as bookmark and travelling worm.

I keep saying:

I’ll keep it meaningful. Like a t-shirt.

So here we go, a “meaningful” post at last.

I’ve been spending some time in the TC’s scrapbook

Me in the Travelling Companion’s scrapbook:

Me in scrapbook

Please excuse the quality of the next couple of images. The TC is not a great photographer at the best of times. These pictures are scanned in from a photo she took in 1979, using who knows what cheap non-digital apparatus.

The scrapbook entry shows a signpost on the beach at Simons Town, near Cape Town in South Africa. The year is 1979.

Apartheid on the beaches

Looking closer:

Apartheid on the beaches

Here’s what it says:

SIMONSTOWN MUNICIPALITY NOTICE

WHITES ONLY BEACHES

MUNISIPALITEIT SIMONSTAD KENNISGEWING

NET BLANKES STRANDE

There may be a few readers who can’t even imagine what that means. You might have an inkling, but doubt that it can possibly be true. The sad fact is, the signpost does mean this: Only white people were allowed on the beach.

“White people” — what does that mean? It means someone who has been classified as white. Short and simple. But not easy.

If asked, the TC will narrate in great detail how weird it was growing up as a child in apartheid-governed South Africa. At first, of course, you accept that there are separate buses, separate trains, even separate benches in the park. Every child learns the environment as it is presented to her. But then you start wondering, seeing the absurdities and questioning the sanity of all around you.

That might be when the TC started taking photos like the one above.

Published in: on 28 June 2008 at 3:20 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Nice entry…and in America..blacks and whites were not allowed to marry as well…in the late sixties..and they “shouted” almost the loudest at that time about “Apartheid”…even in Canada they have some sort of “Apartheid”…having been worked in London with a Canadian youngster…but they like to call it…segregation…and you do get that in zillions of places all over the world… people as just not “aware” that “apartheid” is everywhere…but hey, it was a LAW in SA…that’s why it was so “bad” and “less bad” in the rest of the world, as it’s not a written law on their “law books”..😉

  2. Hallo Nikita

    Excellent comment! You’re absolutely right. We all need to just get in there and accept that we’re all different, in so many ways.

    I paid a visit to your blog at Chessalee. What a great, eclectic mix of topics! I really enjoyed the Afrikaans poems you’ve posted there, and the art work. This worm definitely recommends a trip to Chessalee.

  3. Hi Worm! Thanks for your kind comments! You’re welcome for more….😉 I’m going to add you to my blogroll as I want to come back and enjoy your wonderful pics..and i love your little worm in the pictures..😉 it’s cute..


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