BACK IN THE DAY

go! - - Contents -

Off to church in the Valiant, 1978.

This photo was taken on an or­di­nary Sun­day circa 1978. If you ever won­dered what Afrikaans Chris­tian Na­tion­al­ism looked like, this is it. In the back­ground is the Aasvoëlkop Dutch Re­formed church in Johannesburg – and our Valiant. I’m one of five sis­ters, but only three of us are pic­tured. That’s me on the left, then Karen and Alet. The youngest two, Magda and Wilma, were prob­a­bly too un­ruly to pose. The Aasvoëlkop con­gre­ga­tion was used to its mem­bers be­ing un­ruly. Bey­ers Naudé, one of the first dom­i­nees there, left the church in 1963 af­ter stand­ing up against the evils of the apartheid regime. His memo­rial ser­vice was held at Aasvoëlkop in 2004. Jan­nie Malan, mod­er­a­tor of the Dutch Re­formed Synod, was on the pul­pit for a quar­ter of a cen­tury – 1968 to 1992. That pe­riod spanned most of my child­hood and the heady days of the Voëlvry move­ment, when Afrikaans mu­si­cians re­belled against the seg­re­ga­tion poli­cies of the NP gov­ern­ment. We played our records back­wards, but never heard the de­monic mes­sages he warned us about… My dad likes to take his time, which meant that we were of­ten late for the ser­vice. We had to squeeze in and find seat­ing for seven peo­ple, in­clud­ing six women in var­i­ous stages of em­bar­rass­ment. Usu­ally, only the front row was open. (This prob­a­bly ex­plains why I gen­er­ally sit in a cor­ner with my back against a wall when I’m in a bar.) Us sis­ters never had much choice when it came to choos­ing a hat for church. There was a pool of hats and you had to wear what­ever fit­ted you at the time. The same rule ap­plied to our bobby socks. My dad can’t re­mem­ber what model our Valiant was. I re­mem­ber long road trips in that car, four sis­ters on the back seat and one be­tween mom and dad in the front. Some­times one of us would lie on the par­cel shelf – this was be­fore safety belts were a con­sid­er­a­tion. We al­ways man­aged to cram our lug­gage into the boot – no need for a Ven­ter trailer. The springs on the sides of the back seat wore out over time and I re­mem­ber my nose bob­bing next to the door knob when I tried to look out of the win­dow. The Valiant was stolen on 11 Jan­uary 1981, while parked in front of that very same church. It’s al­most as if some­one had an­swered the prayers that my sis­ters and I had ut­tered so of­ten… – An­nemarie van der Walt We want your pho­tos! Do you have old black-and-white pho­tos of tours, fam­ily hol­i­days and ad­ven­tures? Send them to edi­tor@go­mag.co.za

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.