16 June 1976

I was 2 weeks and 4 days old and mom and I had to go for a weigh and check of my navelstump at the clinic the following week. In Bonteheuwel. On the Cape Flats. With Casspirs and police barricades. And very aggro cops and protesters. Extremely volatile time.

Mom always told the story of how her and Ouma had to take  the looong way to the clinic and enter at a side gate, (protesters were hovering near the front because the clinic was gvt property, they knew that making a scene there would draw the authorities out) and take an even longer route home because by then news had spread and people were angry.

My pram apparently looked like it had been 4×4 ing, it was so muddy and just as we got home, rubber bullets were being fired overhead. My uncles were in high school then and they and some friends came storming in with the cops close on their heels.

Ouma refused the cops entry on account of her daughter who had just given birth and had a newborn baby. Mom and I slept in the lounge (my folks married a year later). We had one of those wallbeds . . . I suppose the predecessor to a sleeper couch. During the day the bed folded up and you had curtains hanging in front of it with a wooden table like surface on top. Pretty nifty to have, I think.

My uncles always said I saved them and their friends that day because they would definitely have been given a rough ride as the cops knew them as the ringleaders of their school’s protesters and they were going to be made examples of. I like to think that somewhere out there are a few cops who were charmed by this 2 week old baby’s face and instead of bashing Ouma’s door down as was their wont back in the day, they let it go.


7 thoughts on “16 June 1976

  1. rebeccav

    What a fabulous story you have to share! Must have been terrifying for your family at the time, but so wonderful to have been part of history πŸ™‚

  2. deblet

    Sjoe hectic memories,nice to be the hero of the day as a newborn.I work at Heideveld MOU when I first came to CT,I was totally amazed by the way of life and the living conditions,quite an experience for a Durbannite


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