South African childhood during WW2

2009-06-17 00:00

SET during World War 2, this story of a young boy’s life in a world of women will have familiar details for some South Africans of a certain age: there are mentions of trips with padkos of hardboiled eggs eaten with twists of paper containing salt and pepper, and Christmas puddings studded with silver “tickeys”.

Sonny Jim is a dreamy fellow who lives in Hillbrow with his mother, sister and aunt; his father has disappeared in “The War”. Each December, the household travels by train to Cape Town to spend Christmas with more aunts so the story has lots of references to life in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

There’s not much of a plot. Where an adult may not find this a problem, being familiar with some of the references to childhood experiences that probably seem foreign to today’s children — like spending days rereading four books because that’s the only entertainment — for a modern child this may not be enough to hold their attention.

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