Photos – Lack Thereof

Sheila sent this pic of the Old de Witt Hardware store to Steph:

2014/11/03, Steph de Witt wrote:

In those days Plascon had a traveling sign writer who was available for free, you only had to house and feed him, thus all the signwriting on the shop. He also did the vehicles. In later years we made use of Arthur Kennedy, if he was not doing handstands on a pole. Today it’s a Sign Shop. Lucky we have these wonderful photos. Thanks, Steph



Hello Steph. Thanks for the mail. Loved your comment on Arthur – he certainly was a character. Wonder where his two sons, Marlon and André, are these days? And his daughter – remember he named her Jackie Kennedy? No pretensions there. Mum remembers that he grew up in an orphanage, so he certainly did well for himself. Greg wants to contact you – he’s on . What wonderful pics he is sharing with us! Do you have any school pics you can share with us? Are you still living in Clarens? Love Sheila


Steph to Greg Seibert:

Greg, we are all old people now, please get in touch that we can reminis on days gone by.

Sheila, I never were big on photographs, which I deeply regret today, but if you come up with more jewels that you have, it would be great. Who took the one of Alet’s shop? The car in front was a Fiat of some sort. I have just had Alet’s Karman Ghia ( OHS 99 ) and Beatle ( OHS 9 ) restored and am planning to build an old Garage-type building for them and my Dad’s Dodge 88 ( OHS 778 ).

I am getting real sentimental here in my old age !




That’s wonderful. If it weren’t for sentimental people there’d be fokol left! Those cars are icons* and it would be great to see them again.

I was also Mr No-Camera Man. I would say “I’m video-ing it in my head”. Well, what happens when those pixels run into a Black Label?

Luckily I later got married and Trish took 40 million photos – which I’m still trying to sort through!

Mind you, maybe some of the escapades were best not captured on film. Back in the days when a six-pack was six longtom cans and went a long way!

I think you’re a photographer or not. I now have all the cameras but very often forget to shoot. Or remember at the end and get 1 or 2 boring pics, none of the action.

*or aikonas as Pieter-Dirk Uys says.


Note yet another Harrismith first: Pierre wore only one glove long before Michael Jackson copied him.

My Famous Friends – #1

Tuffy has hit the bright lights. School friend and class mate Mariette van Wyk edits a lovely magazine Atlantic Gull down in the Dryest Fairest Cape.

Mariette vWyk's Atlantic Gull

She got the fascinating life story (well actually, snippets of it!) of Irené John Joubert out of him recently.

Tuffy Famous

Fascinating thing is, Tuffy DID this stuff, Chuck Norris acts it out.

Here he is in those far-off days when you could see his chin and not his forehead:

Tuffy’s older brother remembers him getting his nickname like this: In the very English environment of the Methodist church some soutie made the mistake of calling the French masculine name Irené the English feminine name ‘Irene’ in Sunday school and promptly got dondered right then and there by said Irené. And hence the nickname Tuffy was born.

I see Tuffy says he has no trouble in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Congo as “with my honest face, people just love me”. What I want to know is: How do they see his face?

Well, now that his cover is bust, his anonymity lost, learn more about Tuffy being a domkrag and then tackling an unsuspecting ox here

and head-on colliding with a hill here

and streaking and under-age drinking here

and how he practiced going on long journeys before he went to Afghanistan here

and purloining illicit swag here

and he played rugby for a little dorp and beat Grey College here .

Harrismith rugby U13 latest

Chuck’s going to have to lift his game. Also, and anyway, America can forget toughness, Harrismith also had another Chuck Norris.

Thanks Mariette for the article! See:

Added: And how Tuffy tricked me here.

What a Mess!

“Kom, kom, kom! Vyf Rand elk. Brings your money! Five Rands. I’m going to town. E’ gat do’p toe”. Town being Ellisras or Thabazimbi. The civilian staff sergeant from the Cape was shouting in that well-known accent – or eccent, ek sê. He was organising a whip-around to augment the army rations he had been issued as mess sergeant on our Commando camp out in the bush near Pretoria.

He returned a few hours later with a big sack of onions, cooking oil and a vark of cheap white wine – a 25l plastic spug-spug. So instead of plain bully beef and spuds we had a varkpan full of fried bully-beef-spuds-n-onions and a fire-bucket filled with over half a litre of semi-soetes for our supper. Much better.

Not the one on the left:


One of the civvies on camp was Rod Mackenzie, trainee-ophthalmologist from Durban who I would meet again and work with for years later, first in hospitals and then in private practice. That was after the weermag in their wisdom sent me to Durbs as adjutant to the medics in the various KwaZulu hospitals.

Harsh Rejection, Deep Scars

In high school we had an older mate who was in the Free State koor. He was famous in Harrismith for that. His nickname was Spreeu but we called him Sparrow. Everyone knew Sparrow was one of “Die Kanaries – Vrystaatse Jeugkoor“. Fame! Bright lights! Girls threw their broekies at him. OK, maybe not.

One day a buzz went round school that Septimus – apparently he was the seventh child – Smuts, Free State Inspector of Music was there to do auditions for new members for this famous koor.

We were there! Me and Gabba. Neither known for having the faintest interest in warbling before (my membership of the laerskool koor a distant memory). Nor any other form of culture come to think of it, other than rugby. Gabba was a famous – beroemde, kranige – rugby player, having been chosen for Oos Vrystaat Craven Week in Std 8, 9, 9 & 10. Strong as an ox.

People were amazed: “What are YOU ous doing here?” they asked as we waited in the queue. We just smiled. We’d already missed maths, biology and PT.

Septimus was a dapper little rockspider full of confidence. He gave Gabba exactly three seconds and sent him packing. Gave me ten times longer and said “Nice enough, but no range”. So back to class we went, crestfallen look on our dials, mournfully telling our mates and the teacher that we COULD NOT understand how we’d been rejected and there must have been some mistake.

The teacher raised his eyebrows but we stuck to our story: It had been a longtime deep desire of ours and the rejection cut us deep.

It became mine & Gabba‘s standing joke over the years.

Gabba, disappointed songbird:

Rugby HY 1972 Gabba crop.jpg