Colonial Africa
Maps. Background. Gold Coast. School In South Africa. Nyasaland.

Gold Coast

Rhodesia & Nyasaland

I was young during this period having gone to the Gold Coast a the age of two. School was a non existent thing in the Gold Coast and consequently my sister and I were packed off to South Africa to a town called Pietersburg (now Polokwane). I was 5 years old and my Sister 3 years older. It was hard. The Pietersburg area was and I believe still is, a stronghold of the Boer and especially during those times they ruled South Africa. We were at the English Medium School for quite a few years and they are not happy memories for both of us. My sister remembers bursting into a masters room and attacking the teacher that was beating me across the back with a stick as a punishment for something or other. It would appear that she knew where to kick ‘em even then !

Although, even now, it is still possible to remember small pleasures like going into the town to spend our pocket money on a loaf of bread and hollowing out the middle which was delicious with a tin of sweet sticky condensed milk. I also remember the Ice Cream Man coming to the school gates with his tricycle and the big box on the front with lollies and things to buy inside. We were allowed to sink a coin into the dry ice and see the “smoke” come off it. I now, of course, know that to be carbon dioxide. Not half as much fun when you know.

We had a treat on Sundays at school - White Bread ! Peanut Butter, Grated Cheese and Golden Syrup. A combination I still like although I restrict it to peanut butter and honey now. The other treat was going into the large kitchen at the right time to remove any surplice peanut butter from the large cardboard vats that it came in and duly licking it off your finger. The horror food was pumpkin pie which the very thought of makes me shudder.

We flew home once a year (increased to twice later) to West Africa by Pan American Airways. The crew used to remember my sister and I and my love of tomato juice which I was plied liberally with throughout the flight. I am sure the crew felt sorry for us. My crossing the line certificate is shown on this page.

On other holidays we went to the Moodies farm. Don’t know where that was in South Africa but Mr Moody was a fairly typical Boer although in fairness he used to beat his children as well as us with a cattle whip called a “sjambok”. No favouritism there at least!

I also learnt to speak, probably, a basic Afrikaans and even won a singing completion, the words of which were in Afrikaans and involved something about a rabbit running around a rock or some such thing.

I can’t remember how many years we were at this school but eventually my Dad got a job, still with the Colonial Civil Service in Nyasaland and after he and Mum drove there and were settled in, we were duly called for. Things for my sister and I improved considerably with the move.

Not many of these about now !

The Badge of my English Medium School Blazer

Class Photo English Medium School Pietersburg

Location of Pietersburg


Crossing the Line Certificate Made out in my Name.

How many airline companies do that now ?