BACK IN THE DAY
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 email@example.com