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PeterTracey
 
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Those were interesting times

13 July 2014, 20:00

I follow the General (from UDM) on Facebook - because the General is always well-groomed it's difficult to imagine him leading a coup but back in the day that's exactly what he did. Even then it was difficult to imagine him doing anything other than enjoying a few rounds of golf, watching a game of rugby and ending the day with a sumpteous dinner followed by a cocktail party (his passions I believe, but not necessary in that order).

I remember how the big trucks sounded their horns to announce their arrival into Umtata as they entered the town just before dawn from distances far and wide. On many of those mornings, a few sirens rang out, we were told that it meant someone had just been hung (executed) from the army barracks named 'Wellington' (the self-same barracks from whence the coup was planned, the self-same barracks where we sat many a Saturday afternoon entranced watching the most robust and entertaining soccer games, soccer games that literally called for a written copy of the rules to be read out loud mid-game after our star player ran balancing the ball on his head from one end of the field to the next)...but those were the days of the coup, tense and nerve-wrecking it is to watch adults anxiously glued to their radios in order to determine how safe or unsafe it was outdoors.

They were interesting times, integration for us started way back in 1976 when we were declared an 'independent homeland' under the Matanzima's (K.D. and his brother George - the General eventually wrested power from them), the Matanzima's loved nothing more than stadium festivities where they could make grand entrances and be saluted as they passed by in long motorcades much like PW Botha, De Klerk and Jan Smuts before them did. Integration, (as is often the case) was not as bad as many Whites and Coloureds had imagined although many ran off to places like East London in an attempt to get away from it all, etc taking with them our best soccer talent and most skilled Doctors etc, All of a sudden there were no longer public schools for Whites Only or Coloureds Only, all races now schooled together, not to say everything was 100% perfect, kids, as you know, can be cruel and the Black children would call us "bastards" and claim our parents were raped by the Settlers and that's why we're mixed-race - we were not taking anything lying down though and were quick with our retort reminding them that if that was indeed true, it is Their mothers who were raped by the Settlers to make us - that usually put a quick end to this line of bickering, such are great nations made.

While politicians went about their politicking there was little or nothing good to say about them - a stadium-sized space filled with gleaming bright-yellow trucks that could have been used for agriculture sat idley rusting for decades at the XG (Xhosa Governments yard) until pieces disintegrated and finally turned to dust, the coup had made no difference, hence, I smile when the General gives advice.

Today there's wails of a lack of service delivery, it Has never been there in the first place in most of our areas (with the past and present government) - Meanwhile life goes on.

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