Marching in the cadets was a ballache. Once a week we would arrive at school not clad in grey shirts, grey shorts and grey socks, but in khaki shirts, khaki shorts and khaki socks. It was ‘kadet dag’ or something equally sinister. Softening us up and brainwashing us in the glory and honour of fighting for the vaderland.
This had to stop, so Lloyd and I decided to try out for the orkes. Still the kadet orkes and you still had to wear khaki but we thought it might be less onerous. Also you could shushine your khaki putties for some light relief. I was assigned a drum and drumsticks. Zunckel was give a bright brass trompet, slightly battered.
What was lekker was instead of marching up and down like drones in the school grounds with some kop-toe ou shouting LI-INKS . . . . OM!! we headed off out the gates towards town. There we were, pale Vrystaters going on A Long Walk To Freedom! Often there wasn’t even an onnie with us, and nobody shouting. We marched to the beat of the huge bass drum. Boom Boom Boom. Left Right and all that, rinse and repeat. We would march right into town, once going as far as the post office.
Bonus was you also got to keep an eye on the pomp troppies – seen here on an official outing – we dudes in the marching band in the background, eyes riveted on their swaying parts.
Such freedom couldn’t last. Some parade was coming up and it was time for quality control. Kadet uber-offisier von muziek n kak, Eben Louw, lined us up, got us started on some military propaganda lied and walked slowly from one to the other, listening intently as we parum-parum-pummed away. He watched as I bliksem‘d the drum more or less in time, nodded and walked on.
Then he got to Zunckel. He leaned closer, then put his ear right near Lloyd’s trompet. “Blaas, jong!” he muttered. Niks. Not a peep. The Zunck had been faking it, pretending to blow with his right pinky raised impressively. Never had learned how to make that thing squawk.
Back to barracks he went. ‘RTU’ the parabats would say.
Oh no! This post was a dredged-up memory from 45yrs ago. I sent it to my and Lloyd’s big mate Steve Reed in Aussie, who forwarded it to Lloyd’s sister Filly in Zimbabwe where I thought Lloyd would have a chuckle reading it.
But no, I learned instead that Lloyd had passed away a few months ago. Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Too soon!
blaas boetie, blaas jong – prove you actually know how to blow a trumpet and you’re not just fakin’ it; You’re faking it aren’t you?
kadet dag – toy soldiers day;
vaderland – fake concept designed to get you to do things without asking embarrassing questions;
orkes – brass band with drums n stuff;
kop-toe ou – brainwashed individual;
LI-INKS . . . . OM!! – Military command to get a bunch of people all dressed alike to go somewhere. Instead of saying to sixty people, ‘Listen chaps, please get your arses over to the mess hall. See you there in three minutes’, you line them up in twenty rows of three and start shouting blue murder and generally getting really irritated with each other. Forty minutes later you arrive quite near the mess hall in a cloud of dust and blue air all hot and bothered, the only thing you learnt being one new way to cuss your mother-in-law; Massively inefficient;
onnie – paid brainwashed individual;
pomp troppies – short skirts – nuff said: