The song I quoted from in my last post is from 1979. It is called Afrikaans and is an early protest song against apartheid in South Africa.
In 1972 I was 17 years old and took a boat trip on the Talabot as a workaway from Australia to Sweden that took 6 weeks. We had lived in Australia for 3 years and I was heading home on my own in order to start high school that autumn in Norway. I had a salary of 15 cents a month which was for insurance purposes, so it was a barter trade; a free trip against me working. The only problem was that I broke my ankle in 2 places a few days before I was to leave. My father who was a seamen’s chaplain in Sydney phoned the captain who agreed to take me anyhow. So I was a workaway without working away.
A sunny day about a week into the trip the captain got the bright idea that I could do some painting on the railing of the boat, but I managed to have him give up on me after he had stood next to me for 2 days. I was a teenager and didn’t like to work so I stayed up most of the night so they had to wake me up for lunch at noon which caused some bad feelings amongst the crew. I even had one of the officers while drunk one evening holding a strangling grip on my throat saying he would kill me if I didn’t agree with his point of view so he persuaded me rather quickly.
After 2 weeks on the open sea which I found extremely boring and uninteresting we reached our first port of Cape Town where we would stay for a week. I was dying to get out of the claustrophobic atmosphere on the boat, but before I could go ashore a man came on board from the authorities posting posters which he actually glued to posts in the mess hall and seemed extremely content with himself. On the posters it said that it was illegal for us to mingle with black women, we were not even allowed to sit with them on the same bench. I was extremely chocked and it marked me for the rest of my life.
I guess it shows, I’ve been in Africa now for the past 26 years.