An Ex-JW in the SADF III

Tracy and me 3

I met my girl at that bus stop and we walked back up to Hillbrow, my favourite place to sit in the day time was the Cafe Wien.  Now Hillbrow was a very different place to any other in South Africa at that time. The only foreigners like Italians and Frenchmen I had ever seen was here, the only mixed race couples sitting openly together, you would see here. With Wits University close with the HQ of the End Conscription Campaign and all sorts of other radicals that supported the terrorist ANC, the reaction to my uniform was mixed, my civvie clothes were all locked up at my friend’s place.  From Phalaborwa to Pretoria while hitching, everyone loved me, not here. But as the USA General Mattis pointed out, radical liberals are a bunch of pussies, so they would just give me dirty looks, but nothing more.  Quite right, as a soft well fed civilian, you DO NOT want to pick on a young guy that is well into his Infantry training and on leave.

We had a lot to discuss, her mother had decided to move to East London, and Tracy was telling her that she would not go. At this stage of her training at Woolworths she was transferred to Kempton Park. We decided on that day that she would get a flat in that town and we would live together. She would not tell her mom about that! In those days, 1983, in South Africa at least, living with a woman/man without the sanctity of marriage was a huge sin. In later years I found out I was pretty famous or infamous in 7 SAI, for being the only guy that “lived in sin” with his girlfriend.  Early that evening Tracy got on the last bus to Germiston, I would not see her again on this pass, so I just went drinking. I now had a rather pretty, if somewhat naught sponsor at that dingy pub I told you about.

Back to the base and waited for my next pass, lots of afkak and plenty of opfoks, especially with my big mouth. Generally I was accepted in this new brotherhood, as I could shoot just as straight as any Boer and seemed to have a knack when it came to weapons, any weapons;  ran the 2.4 neither too fast nor too slow and could be relied on to pull my weight.   Letters came and went, Tracy’s mom had moved and she had rented a flat right above her place of work, she sent me the address.

The time came and I hit the road again, hitching to Kempton Park and my new home. Back then on all of my passes I seldom waited more than 15/20 minutes before I was picked up. I arrive in Kempton Park before Woolworths closed and went there to see my girl and get the keys to the flat. That done I went and bought some necessities, beer, a bottle of Red Heart Rum, some bubble bath and a bottle of Baby Oil, oh yes, and two White Owl cigars.

The tiny flat consisted of one room, a bathroom and a kitchen; it had a single bed, a rug, some curtains, two pots and some cutlery in it.  Obviously her mom was pissed off and did not help her much. What with my father and her mother it was us against the world, but young, romantic and in love at the time, we were happy with that.

Nosce te ipsum

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3 Responses to “An Ex-JW in the SADF III”

  1. Michael Doveton Says:

    Excellent.I like people who make their own way.

  2. Shaun Says:

    I have similar experience as I was also a JW (unbaptised). Was called to the SAAF and kept reptiles. Still do

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