Continuing – I didn’t do very well in Part 1 did I?
I’ll have to fill in a few details.
Firstly – the campus leadership invited to the Campus Leadership Conference included SAUJS reps (SA Union of Jewish Students)(ECC reps (Roddy Payne springs to mind)= End Conscription Campaign)(Voice of Wits reps, 5 of us – the campus radio station)(Wits Student – the student newspaper that was SERIOUSLY political and defying the State imposed media restrictions left right and centre)(and the Student Representive Council itself including Rose Hunter and of course George Washington University’s (I cannot tell a lie) Fran Buntman Associate Professor of Racial Studies)(in fact, 3 of us from Greenside High constituted this group) Carol Paton was there too in her capacity as Wits Student Editor. Not a bad school after all, Greenside.
In total there was only about 30 of us maybe 35. And it was 1986. The year of political tensions and demonstrations on campus such as you would not believe on a University campus. Not just one. Or two. Five or six or seven who knows. The year I think, that 142 were teargassed in the University gymnasium and then arrested.
For playing basketball!!
No, not really – a declared illegal gathering had been moved indoors to comply with the law but even so the pigs moved in with dogs and sjamboks on the “communists”.
Not sniffer dogs. Attack dogs. Slavering alsatians.
An illegal gathering was a group of more than 20 persons at a public meeting, which had to get police consent.
It was the State of Emergency, you see?
The whole Nationalist/Apartheid country was on a war footing.
In this context the 30-35 of us became what you might describe as affiliates of a banned organistion and yes we would have been arrested and taken to John Vorster Square for questioning, there is no doubt it – in hindsight – always a danger for Grown-up activists with whom we were flirting dangerously.
Neil Aggett’s name springs to mind – or David Webster – shotgunned on his doorstep – a Wits Social Anthropology lecturer who I did not know personally – different faculty – but the legendary Johnny Clegg I think did Social Anthropology too.
Or say Pete Spong – who’s Dad the preacher smuggled arms from Swaziland in the boot of his car. He lived in Linden about 2 miles from Greenside High. Sound man Pete Spong who engineered at the Orange Club in London for the then soon to be famous Freakpower of the Levi jeans commercials.
Personally – I rejoiced in my freedom as a British National – until I was nationalised like a mine or railway. I was Made a South African citizen. I left South Africa, a South African citizen.
Loren Borale was there too…of Voice of Wits and Wits Student and she was at least as active as I – we once went on an adventure with 3 others who shall remain nameless for now….lest I embarrass them…and let me say, we had a gas spraying graffitti around about 22 different locations in Johannesburg in a single night.
Sigh. Anti-apartheid graffitti. They probably would have made us scrub it off with our teeth in a manner of speaking.
I taught maths for 3 months to a class of school kids from Alexandria township in 1987. About 30. Smart, cheeky buggers they were too.
To be continued.
Copyright 2016 Bruce E Saunders