Teenager, Employment and Marriage

We were sadly aware of apartheid, but had no control of it. Our Church Guild (Youth) ‘sneaked’ into Dobsonville (a ‘Black’ township) to have meetings with fellow worshipers. A neighbouring town we visited under the guise of dark to worship together with Coloured folk and visit the elderly, hiding from emerging gangs, resident in the areas who were coming into being out of frustration. We started to see and hear things we were “protected” from?

As teenagers we sang along to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Marley – Rock was in, like all other teenagers on the planet. An ambitious life of whatever was supposed to be adhered to, you did the opposite, we made friends of Coloureds, Blacks and whoever wished to be friends, so long as you managed to do it on the ‘quiet’. Rocky Horror Picture Show, opened and was banned after the first viewing; everyone in reality was suppressed, the news, your movements, the only difference was the ticket to ride into employment being the privileged ‘white’.

Upon completion of school at a Commercial College, attended Johannesburg Technicon training on Olivetti – National Cash and Burroughs accounting machines. After completion of my education, Mom decided it was time to travel overseas, find out how other people lived. We travelled to London, then onto the Continent and up into Scandinavia, covering fourteen countries in two months on bus tours. What a shock it was arriving in England to see menial labour done by all persons, not restricted to ‘blacks’ as was the case in our home country. This was the lesson of life, it was made abundantly clear again, all are equal, do not believe what you see within your own country, it is wrong! Aged seventeen it was time to take stock of what we had been taught by our parents, for which I thank them every day I live. Accomplish a hard days work, every day and receive your pay with pride and not because of privilege, still echo’s of my parents and our upbringing.

Aged twenty-one,  I married, now thirty-three years later… Originally my husband wished me to remain home, but it did not take much convincing that I am a career woman. Then came the ‘real deal’,  “ticker tapes”,  sent to IBM to be read and converted into documentation and reports. Cutting and pasting errors within the tapes, the start of computers.

1978 we travelled on a similar tour overseas, to the 1973 tour I had, since RJ had never been out of S.A. We travelled for four months by train stopping off in youth hostels, and to our amusement found certain countries thought they could “punish” us by placing us in the Non-European section of the hostel, where we met some fantastic fellow traveller’s from Africa and Asia and exchanged copious notes on our cultures, life, work, religions – thanks, you actually did us a favour! Segregation unfortunately now showed it’s ugly face in places we had not anticipated.

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