I still vividly remember the excitement of hearing my name read out on the radio, a dedication arranged by my parents for my third birthday. Turning the wireless dial, mistaking it for the volume, I discovered that there was more to radio than the “English Service Station”. Springbok radio, with its 15 minute story slot, was my favourite “audio book”.
The cool kids in standard 4 and 5 had a Casio MG 880 calculator. We all took turns at the with the mini space invaders game. In standard 6, we still had slide rulers and trigonometry books, but scientific calculators were introduced from standard 7 onwards and the rulers and books thankfully binned.
In primary school, we watched our weekly fix of educational films, played from the raised projector room in the back of the hall. In my final year of primary school, I was appointed film monitor with the very responsible tasks of ordering, showing and rewinding many film reels reel. The noisy projector and talkative monitors, insulated by two small glass plated oblong windows.
We were the first family on the block to have a 386 computer (with yellow coloured monitor screen). But my dad’s secretary typed out my matric history project and most of my history 1 to 3 essays were hand written.
Medium and short-wave radio were the primary route for accessing alternative sources of news in the apartheid era and many an evening was spent switching between the BBC, Voice of America and Radio Moscow. Much of my free time at university was spent in NUTS studio, playing records across university landlines…we were not allowed to broadcast on the airways.
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