Hazy Late 80s

Dazed, Disorderly and Disconnected … that seems to be as close as I can get to making sense of the beautifully disconcerting and largely ‘Hazy Lat80s’. I was a boy/man then, a relatively unscathed survivor of a senseless border war, and had decided to turn my back on farm life in the Baviaans to study engineering at Wits. Or as my dad darkly muttered: Sodom en Gomorrah’ …

I was time-lined back to those Hillbrow Years yesterday – nearly four decades after the fact – while sorting through the thousands of photos I captured on my old PENTAX SOUTH AFRICA #K1000 while navigating what emerged as a brand new world waiting beyond small town repression, the NG Kerk and general parochial #thoughtcontrol.

A few watershed realizations, gained on sleepless nights way inside Angola, made me realize that those authoritarian powers – whom I had trusted implicitly up to this point – were playing me like the mindless pawn I had allowed myself to become. From that moment onwards, everything made sense and, at the same time, nothing made sense …

And so began a period of no-rules rebellion and a fat (if rather furtive) middle finger to the #Nationalist establishment. My roomie @Henk Blom introduced me to Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath, and may or may not have had a hand in opening the doors of perception through a variety of mind-expanding substances of the lesser-evil variety. As I said, the late 80s were rather hazy…

What really stands out when I attempt to deconstruct the millions of memories lurking within the subconscious morass of my mind, is the music. It was the beginning of the #Voëlvry Movement and the #Oppikoppi Festivals, and firebrand Afrikaners such as Johannes Kerkorrel Biography Project, Bernoldus Niemand (actually an Engelsman by the name of James Phillips), Koos KombuisValiant Swart and @Karla Krimpelien echoed the discordant notes I sensed as dour men in black Trilby hats steered us ever closer to certain obliteration.

At the concerts, though, there was a sense of solidarity, of standing up for your rights, and of reclaiming your freedom. Communists, piss cats, Africanists, liberals, gays, Boertjies, dope heads, Blacks, revolutionaries, intellectuals, students … we were all just a melting pot of mish-mashed humans trying to make sense of the world and ourselves.

These are some photographs from those heady Voëlvry Days, where for a while I felt free as a bird (especially when I had my forged press card in my pocket). It was a long time ago, a different era, but the strangest thing is that it feels as if I am navigating a world where our collective moral compass has gone astray, leaving me with no option but to once again find my own direction.

Never give up on #freethought

Click here to view the pics