The ‘A’ of South Africa

For Jenny’s Alphabet Thursday, I am going to write my thoughts on bits and bobs and how it was for me, during my almost fifty years spent in South Africa. 

These are my ‘A’ memories, opinions and views on a time during a much loved childhood and beyond!   Some things may not be ax– actly as others see them.

Africa, Animals, Ants, Antelope, Aloe, Apple and ‘Ag Pleez Deddy!’ words and music by Jeremy Taylor

Above and Around are also A words; memories of the skies above and the air around us, when you know that you can be in no other place on earth.”

When you feel so small, and are so small in Africa.

And no more fitting a place to start than with ants.  How small must they feel!

Ants as we knew them;  ants were facinating and kept us playing outside for hours.  Following a long column of ants that was headed by a leader, who knew where she was going, yes,  she, the female worker.  We would put an obstacle in the way to confuse them but after a little scuffle about, the next chosen leader would soon head off and find the others up ahead.

When we played at farm yards with Dinky Cars, we dreamed of being able to herd a column of ants into a field we had created, to keep them there as our livestock.  Fun!  They felt so trapped and ran in all directions at once; they didn’t hear our squeals of terror as we ran too, because ants have no ears .  So the plan didn’t work and we went back to plastic cows and sheep!

You can find any amount of web sites telling you how to kill ants, but hardly any that tell you that ants are  actually great environmentalists.  

       Aloes, a species of plant that grows everywhere  in South Africa. 

There are many of the family hanging on by a thread, it’s so dry; and others flourishing even in the wild.  Built for survival!

The aloe family were my Mothers saviour, when gardens were dry.   Her other crutch when the drought dragged on for months and months, was, ‘build a rockery’.  And aloes love that, it’s a natural habitat of theirs! 

This brings ‘vygies’ to mind, many variations, which lent that splash of colour to the dry earth, and made her happy.  Hose pipe bans and watering restrictions saw the ground crack in the searing heat. 

When the Jakaranda trees in Gezina, Pretoria killed her lawn, because the the sunshine just  never got through the deep shade; The Aloe came to the rescue again!  They are perfectly happy in the shade as well.

  Apple- It has to be ‘Golden Delicious’

A fruit that I remember from my youth; an apple you can sink your teeth into and get a ‘result’, a sweet juicy mouthful.

They are apparently not native to Africa, but were brought in from America in 1880’s.

An apple that stands out from the crowd, beacons me as I walk by.


A is for Ag Pleez Deddy” by Jeremy Taylor. 

Also known as “The Ballad of the Southern Suburbs.”, a skit on the way children spoke in school.  Every South African that lived there in those years still knows the words.

A hit song in South Africa in 1960’s, which sold more records than any of Elvis Presley’s singles at the time.  But banned from all radio networks by the then ruling political party; because we were not allowed to laugh at ourselves.


About liz2you

Life just happens when you plan something else. 50 years spent in Africa and relevant stories.
This entry was posted in Alphabet Thursday, Flowers, Music, South Africa and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The ‘A’ of South Africa

  1. Charlotte says:

    I know I am going to enjoy this series !

    • liz2you says:

      Stay with me for the ride of your life!! So happy to be back in South Africa……

      • Eveline Mc Nally says:

        Enjoying them,Betty will be joining you soon in UK, I want ot start writing again used to enjoy writing articles for the South Coast Sun in Sottburgh but nobody knew it was me ,so I can start again when I retire!

  2. Judie says:

    We have many species of Aloes here in Tucson, and my boys played with Dinky cars when they were young. Great “A” post!!!

    • liz2you says:

      Yes, I am not really a plant wiz, and hate going into the proper names; but you got the picture. And that’s what counts!
      Call again Judie.

  3. Phil Sorrell says:

    This wonderful woman of mine never fails to amaze me with her passion and knowlege of SA.

  4. Debs says:

    Looking forward to the rest! I so remember playing with ants. We used to put sugar down and watch them take it away – drove my mother mad!

  5. liz2you says:

    Hi Debs,
    We had tiny little black ones we called the sugar ants. They came from nowhere when you spilt anything sweet in the kitchen. They were like ‘on their mobiles, on call’! Ha Ha. Forgot, no ears!

  6. I used to lay in the grass and watch the ants. Then I had no idea I was bad by doing so, I brought a magnifying glass with me so I could see them better (they were so interesting). They became too hot…but I was young.

  7. Anita says:

    Fun A post. My hubs lived in S. Africa for a couple years in the 70s…still loves it there!

    • liz2you says:

      Hi Anita,
      The 70’s were our years of wine and roses, so to speak; more like wine, braais and holidays! A charmed life in those years.
      Thanks for visiting.

  8. Enjoyed your post – especially the part about the ants. I just transplanted my aloes into a little garden with my lilies and roses. It’s been really dry here, so I’ve been having to water them a bit.

  9. H says:

    It’s always fascinating to hear about life in other parts of the world. Thank you for this 🙂

  10. Bravo! What a fun and enticing start to the Alphabet!

    This is fascinating reading. I already learned quite a bit…those aloe flowers are lovely, too!

    I am really going to enjoy reading your memories! Won’t it be fun to have them all gathered together in one place when you’re done, too!

    Thanks for linking!


  11. Pingback: The ‘B’ of South Africa | 'Work Out' each Day

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