The “G” of South Africa

 For Jenny’s Alphabe Thursday, I am going to write my thoughts, the bits and bobs that I remember and how it was for me, during my almost fifty years spent in South Africa.
These are my ‘G’ memories, opinions and views on a time during a much loved childhood and beyond!  

Gorilla, God’s window, Gumtree, Garden Route, George, Gezina, Grapes, Gene Rockwell, geranium

After a couple of “not totally happy readers” from the “F” entry.  I have decided that “G” will be the Granny of all entries!

A general one, for starters, which everyone can relate to, is about a book I read and aboslutely devoured sometime after 1983, called Gorilla’s in the Mist, by Dian Fossey.

 She was a Kentucky girl who was passionate about saving the Gorrillas in the Rwandan mountains bordering Uganda from extinction.  And, yes Uganda is in Africa, not South African about 1650 miles from Johannesburg.  She followed five family groups who got to know her and welcomed her into their circle.  She fought to stop the cruel poaching and mutilating of them for body parts, and had many poachers arrested; but for the part she played and her passion, she was cruelly murdered at the age of 53 after spending 13 years in this remote African rainforest.  But not before she got all the facts into this great book, only sadly before the movie about her life hit the sceens.

A good read.

Gezina, a suburb of Pretoria.  Mostly remembered by me as a home filled with  ‘first times.‘   A home of change!

It was an old house, but new to us.  Freshly painted with many more odd jobs and DIY for Dad to do before it was really ‘our home’, but for all the kids it was a mansion from the day we moved in!  Our mansion, from then on always known as “9th Avenue”.

We had shops around the corner for the first time in our lives.  A municipal bus route, a bus every 15 minutes! where we just got on and paid to travel!  

Where shall we go?  The city was so big and scary and we had so much to learn.

In many ways it spelt the word ‘freedom’ for all;  we had never realized just how restricted we were in Bon Accord, outside Pretoria, because as children we knew no other way.  We made our life there too and were happy, but now we were ecstatic!

Schools were so much more accessible, friends could visit and we were able to go to the ‘bioscope’ together on a Saturday afternoon.  That was a word from the past that all our cinemas in SA were known as.  The bioscope cost us 25cents to get in and we had an extra 25 cents for a drink and sweets left over. 

The main feature film was accompanied by a comedy, but before that we watched BBC  news in black and white and forthcoming attractions.  Going to the bioscope in town was more of a social event, and we would dress up and on a Saturday afternoon catching a bus into town.

George is just inland from Victoria Bay on the N2 on the Cape Garden Route. The Heart of the Garden Route and capital of the Southern Cape, George is the ideal hub from which to explore the diverse scenery and natural wonders of its surrounding areas.

George is a city along the famous Cape Garden Route. ( I know this photo is just one small bay of George, but I miss the oceans of South Africa, Indian and Atlantic, I needed a sea shot! ) In 1771, the great forests of the Cape were discovered.  From as early as 1776 the Dutch East India Company established a timber post at George, because of it’s accessibility to the sea.   

Today you will find sawmills with the ultimate in modern wood technology and innovative furniture factories in the Southern Cape. Unique to this area is the age-old technique and skill of manufacturing wood furniture by hand.

 This is a diagramtic view of the “Must See” Garden Route. (click to enlarge)

My next G may not be known to many, but for those who remember him, call back the past and remember.  You had to have lived in South Africa  to know Gene Rockwell.  No one could sing the song, Heart, with the same passion.  Top of the LM Radio Hits as well as on Springbok Radio in 1964. 

I remember visiting Bapsfontein Sunday talent show on quite a few occasions; where he used to be a guest singer. 

It was in Bapsfontein that Barbara Ray, a country singer, was recognised by Al Willox, and had her first break into the charts of South Africa, in the 1960’s.

Gene was born Gert Smit in Krugerdorp in 1944, won his first talent show at ‘Little Top’ in Durban when he was 15.  Sadly he died at the very young age of 53 from cancer.

Click this link to listen to Gene:

And that’s all there is time for today, if you would like to catch up with my A to F of South Africa, find links below.


E –

D –

C –

B –



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, Books, Music, South Africa and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The “G” of South Africa

  1. Ames says:

    I enjoyed learning about your “G” post. I say great post!~Ames

  2. jfb57 says:

    Now you’ve done it! I was hoping that my desire to visit SA was gradually going away but having read this – it’s back at the top of the list!

    • liz2you says:

      I used to visit each year after I left; from 1999 to 2004, but it is all too much now; too much time, too much money and too much of the same. I need to see other places, because everywhere has its own beauty!

  3. Judie says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading about your South Africa! What a beautiful place, indeed!!

    • liz2you says:

      Great to see that you are enjoying this as much as I love the trip down memory lane!
      Thanks Judie

  4. anita says:

    Enjoying your S. African tours. Keep em coming!

  5. What a grand read!

    I loved that book!

    And I love your gorgeous and fascinating posts for this round!

    What fun!

    Thank you for sharing.


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