Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Learning Afrikaans

Along with Ebay sale No. 8384642082



Learning Afrikaans

Extracts from my acceptance speech for the
Pull-it-to-bits Prize for Bullshit




This prize is for my upcoming novel about Rhodesian values and superior way of life against all odds, which includes you bastard Brits who stabbed ‘Good Ol’ Smithy’ in the back. When I have finished giving my speech, I will start to write the book.

I have just pointed out to the rapturous, enthusiastic crowds that the disgraceful attitude of semi-illiterate children in Britain is due to the lowering classification of top grade marijuana, the abundance of alcho-pops and PlayStations, school teachers being stabbed to death and a complete breakdown in discipline by smoking, binge drinking teenage parents on the dole, who will happily post their offspring’s ASBOs on the worldwide web to achieve superior rankings of hooliganism.

Picture the scenario. Standing on the stage of the Albert Hall, I have the trophy in one hand and the Coutts guaranteed cheque in the other. The Rt. Hon. Tony Blier stands two paces behind me, and is shouting, along with the Minister of African Poverty and Corruption, Sir Bog Jellyhead, ‘Bravo! Bravo and it’s Xmas time, give money!’

I look out over my ecstatic audience, and say, with a knowing smile, and perhaps a glint of moisture in my eye,

‘Let me share with you tonight a little example of the kind of proper schooling I received. It still brings tears to my eyes.’




Allan Wilson Technical High School, Salisbury, Rhodesia 1971-72.



My Afrikaans teacher was called Mrs Smuts. Oh my, what a fucking terror! Almost as wide as tall, but built like a Russian kick boxer; grey haired and uglier than a bicycle beaten into the back of a bus, she had a voice like gravel and a hand of steel. Sunny boy me, a sweet faced innocent and extremely unwilling lad of twelve and a half, was getting on her indeterminate mound of tits within seconds. Her acceptance speech for the task ahead would be the start of an eighteen month bitter, and sometimes bloody, campaign. There would be no medals for heroics, but both combatants would emerge psychologically scarred forever.

Her first words to the nervous class were,

‘I hate boys!’

She turned her ferocious gaze on to every one of us.

‘I hate little boys the most!’

She had our full attention.

‘If it weren’t for the fact that my useless husband doesn’t earn enough money, I would not be here at all. I would not be forced to teach little boys Afrikaans. But, that is my job, and if I have to beat it into you, I will.’

This was heavy stuff. I began to entertain fears of a second Holocaust; maybe she knew I was a half-fake Jew! (The only half I ever found was my docked dick, but unfortunately that wasn’t faked.) Time to lighten the scenario, I thought. I put my hand up.

‘Ma’am, why don’t you teach at a girls’ school then?’

Half the class, the dafter ones, snickered. The smart ones knew I had signed my own death warrant. Fifteen seconds later I was hauled out of my chair by the hair growing in that excruciatingly tender area next to my left ear.

‘And clever little boys like you, I hate most of all!’

The Game was on!

It was a long and tedious war. Every day we were given woordeskat (vocabulary) to learn at home, and every day I didn’t bother. Lessons always began with the same routine: a five minute oral test of the previous day’s assignment. At first, Ouma Smuts asked random boys for the answers, and beat them with the heavy cane she always carried if they were wrong. It didn’t take her long to clock that I flatly refused to learn the shit.


We were given a choice of two foreign languages to learn: Afrikaans or French. French was for ‘Morfs’ (Gays), the rugby playing macho boys said. Plus ‘Afriks’ had the advantage it was supposed to be relatively easy to learn. Why didn’t they teach us something useful, like Shona, the Black Rhodesian’s most spoken language? Then I could tell the Garden-boy to stop taking the piss by pretending he didn’t understand English just because I asked him to wash my bicycle. Not as if I would ever try it; my Father would flay me alive if he caught me fobbing my chores onto our domestics. It would sure come in handy though. I had no intention of going to live in a land that hacks people’s heads off with giant weighted triangle razor blades or of living ‘Down South’ where the Afrikaners still swore revenge against the ‘Rooinekke’ after losing the Boer war.

I started this war of attrition slowly, achieving sixth from bottom of the class and a result of 29% in my first end of term exam. Beatings were restricted to two cuts of the cane three times a week. I definitely needed to put in some extra effort to enter the bottom five.

I improved my tactics by looking out the window while the mad cow screeched Afrikaans at the front of the class. Six months later I managed fifth from bottom, with 21%.

Meanwhile I took to wearing extra underpants and also allowed my delighted Father to have my hair sheared till not even a koeksister (a sickly sweet delicacy designed to give Afrikaner women large behinds, judging from Mrs. Smuts), would have stuck to it. That would eliminate one of her favourite tortures.

Not to be outdone, the Marquis de Sade’s Boer counterpart switched tactics too. Beatings were increased to every lesson. I was no longer asked if I had learnt my woordeskat, I simply presented myself and complied with the only word that she had managed to beat into me: the word buig (which means bend)!

Buig! Buig! Buig!’ the mull (mad) thing would scream, then she let rip with the cane. And now, as an added treat, she twisted my ear every time she passed my table and saw me gazing at a blank piece of paper.

I fought back hard. I filled my exercise book with alien emblems, and scattered here and there a few real Afrikaner words I had somehow retained, like pen, which meant pen, or bobbejaan, which meant Mrs Smuts in her hairy wool skirt and jumper. Even she was fucking shell-shocked when I finally cracked it. Bottom of the class, with 8%! A triumph of gentle mind over violent body.



That was the sign of her uselessness, I was only 10% lower than the class average and her crazed mind snapped. When the results came out, she decided on revenge. She couldn’t beat me to death in front of the class on my own, so she thought up a very ingenious way to murder me.

‘I have decided to call each one of you out to the front of the class in order of your exam results. Each boy’s mistakes will be read out, and for every mistake you made you will receive one cut with my cane.’

At that point an image leapt into my brain: one of her sporting a small black toothbrush moustache instead of the thin grey one she had cultivated above her sneering mouth. For a few seconds the Afrikaans class became the maths room. I wasn’t that good at maths, but I soon added up my total, and I wasn’t sure if I could survive 92 cuts.

This was it! The end was nigh. Would they take my dismembered corpse and parade it around on the end of a teacher’s cane like pieces of drying biltong down Oom Paul Kruger Street in Bloemfontein to the chorus of ‘We are marching to Pretoria’?

She started with her favourites, giving them a light smack on the arse. Full of bullshit this bit, but by the time she had reached those with less than 60% she was in full flow. Norman, my mate, and a big bloke, was wilting after 13 cuts. Then she went on to Johnson, a tough, wiry, farmer’s kid. He was a school border and had won the under 14s arm-wrestling competition. At 20 lashes he was crying; she stopped at 26 lashes, when the bell went.

‘I’ll deal with jou liefde tomorrow,’ the red-faced, sweating cow hissed at me as I filed out with the rest of my physically and mentally tortured classmates. I wasn’t sure what she meant, but I had the feeling there was scant love towards me.

Being of logical nature, I knew it wouldn’t actually be me the next day. There was still half the class to abuse, and even if she speeded up the beatings to 30 a minute she wasn’t going to fit me in. Just as a precaution, I wore three pairs of underpants the next day. Afriks was first on the class agenda; if my time had really come, at least I would be shot at dawn under a glorious fresh morning Rhodesian sky, my last breath filling my nostrils with her perspiring odour.



I decided I would refuse to be blindfolded, and I would have my last cigarette. Forget the fact I didn’t smoke. Stiff upper lip and squeezed buttocks. Don’t fart. Remember the school was named after the leader of the brave pioneer members of the slaughtered Shangani Patrol. They were ‘Men of Men’; we were ‘Men of Men, and we had the remaining bits of them after the massacre in glass cabinets to prove it!

Actually, I was full of shit, and was about to have it beaten out of me. Sure beats laxative.

What followed was a total anti-climax!

Mrs Smuts stood meekly at the front of class and, as we took our places, told us to open our textbooks. I wasn’t even sure I had one! ‘What’s going on here?’ I thought. ‘Have I been reprieved?’ Thoughts of switching from a phoney Jew to a phoney Christian entered my head.

Apparently the deranged woman had gone too far in her attempt to kill me. Not even Bruce Lee could systematically beat up half of our class without eventually meeting some serious resistance.

It was the borders that told us day boys what had happened; Johnson was too proud to say anything. It turned out he had phoned his folks at the end of lessons the previous day. In doing this, he broke the golden unspoken rule. ‘You don’t go crying to Mummy and Daddy’, but this time he had the backing of the other boys.

His folks didn’t mess around; they drove over 200 kilometres to the school, and threatened the Headmaster with a law suit if that lunatic Boer woman’s head wasn’t served on a plate and given to a pack of Rhodesian ridgebacks to eat.

Some nosy boarders, with jack shit else to do but hang around the Head’s office, eavesdropping, reported that the meeting later between the head and Ouma Smuts must have been a really dramatic session and as she stormed out the head’s office an angry voice followed her,

‘Touch another pupil again, Mrs. Smuts, I will fire you.’ And she knew he meant it.

Game over.

I won! With a little help from my friends. One day, Johnson, I’ll find you and buy you a beer.


36 comments:

pierre LeBoef said...

Hey, Hey Ilerned french at Ally Willy and I ain't no morph.

Anonymous said...

hi,
i have just read your article"learning afrikaans" which brought lump in my throat.
i am an "old boy" of allan wilson (1958 - 61) and our afrikaans teacher was fantastic.....but i have forgotten her name !!
mr. roberts, the maths teacher, mr. newell, the english teacher....mr west...woodwork..
yes i have pleasant memories of my school days and have enjoyed reading your blog,
tot siens
guido menegaldo

Anonymous said...

Mate,

I was the year ahead of you at AW and reading this brought back memories of old Smuts. Far better was Shirley Yeo in Maths.

Pete

Peter said...

Howzit,

I remember Ouma Smuts. What about Mrs Cunliffe the Science Teacher, man what a dragon she was. I also remember Tinker the stinker maths master, how I detested that man. Both the Gordon Todds were good guys, had a lot of time for them. The scale of "hotties" were Mrs Yeo, Mrs Roberts, fuelled many discussions amongst us. Good luck to all.

Pete H

hi said...

Hey it was the same in 1978 Mslambanyati in Swaziland. The stick was the rule, even when we had no water for many days and I wore non school colours due to washing(light green) the British principal threatened a beating.
I would move to SA or UK in a heartbeat. Canada has told me to defend...just never acted on it!

Robb WJ Ellis (aka Mandebvhu) said...

Howzit Lore - good writing there man! I saw in one of the comments about Cunliffe - she ended up at Churchill when I was there. She made your Smuts look like a saint! I think the worst at Churchill was Garbutt the headmaster who had the most amazing vocabulary, and the shortest temper in the world.

I think he's still about - though no longer at Churchill obviously, which I believe is renamed Josiah Tongogara High or something equally unpronouncable...

School in Rhodesia... Mmmm - who good forget such heady days?

Take care.

'debvhu

Anonymous said...

I almost thought it was me you were talking about,front row,lashed every day .Mineer Perske and the whole bundle in the back cupboard.A crew cut to boot to avoid the hair on the side of the head being pulled and then the claw into the underside of the armpit once she knew she had been beaten.What a time

CB

luzanne abnett said...

i jsut read your blog and it's true thats exactly how the brits are..
and i doubt if they would have survived one day in a school like yours =]
altho it would be funny to see them try
x

Anonymous said...

Brilliant, she was exactly as you say, but one small error, she DID go on to beat the shit out of pupils, i was there in 1980 and often went to Afrikaans with a teatowel down my shorts, i am sure the old battleaxe knew when instead of a "Thwack" there was a "Thwump", although I think she was limited to a max of 2 cuts at a time! When i last saw her she used to march up and down the aisles like a bulldog chewing a wasp, constantly licking her lips and snorting, happy days tho' I had the hots for Mrs Horsfall, and Mr Law told me I would end up in prison, as I wasted all my time in Alfies pinball arced in town! He was parttially right cos I am a copper now and visit prisons all the time! Havent heard the word "Morff" for 32 years! do you remember we used to call P.E. Puffs Empire? Phil Clague from Facebook

Mal said...

Enjoyed the memories of Allie Willie. Not being a morph but had to do French as my Dad's a rooineck. Hudson gave me 6% for my first exam. Worked really hard at it and eventually got up to 16%. Also partly responsible for f..king up West's bike prior to Lobel crashing his wheelchair.

egapeg said...

Well I'll be damned. The story and pictues and all are exactley the way it happened. No matter what year you were it seemed that history or in this case Afrikaans repeated itself. The best place to sit was middle of the class both left to right and front to back - that way we stood a good chance of missing the beatings. My problem was an elder brother, and there were five or six of us, she was prepared for us.

Anonymous said...

Goeie More "Maffrow Smuts!" Ja, I remember Smuts. She was a vicious old Boer, I refused to attend her voortrekker class any longer and ended up in Hudson's french class! He was'nt much better, but to show how good a teacher he was, with his "dooks" for every vocab mistake, I actually remembered enough to help my son now with his French! Those were the days! Pity I left the afrikaans class though, as I worked on a dutch offshore vessel for years, similar language. Would've been useful! Excellent story! Left Ally Willy 1978 for Scotland. Mike Oakes

Ray said...

Well that bought back memories of Ma Smuts. We used to compete for how many cuts a lesson (who got the most). We never had any respect for her.

Mike Wright said...

Ahh... Mev Smuts... what memories! She was still up to the same antics when I was in her class, between 1976 and 1979. My record was 21 cuts in a single period, but the all-time record for our class was 36 cuts! In those days, a class period was 35 minutes, so that averaged at more than a cut a minute!

Somehow, I managed to scrape a C for O-Levels... don't know how I did that - the only word I knew in my oral exam was "skies?" (excuse me?)!! I suspect that I learned Afriks by literally having it beaten into my tender nether regions... some form of sadistic osmosis.

Now Shirley Yeo, on the other hand... out of our class of 24 for O-Levels, we achieved 22 A's and 2 B's. No beating or hair-pulling required. From the time I started school in 1969 until the time I completed university in 1988, I rate Ma Smuts as my worst ever teacher and Shirly Yeo as my best ever!

Gareth. said...

Mevrou Smuts..... mmmmmm...... dragon of note!! Thank God I only had her as a teacher for a couple of terms in '74 or '75. Scared me shitless! Reading your excellent post and the comments brought back crystal-clear memories of "Kom!! Buk! Buk!".

The finest memory of her was in one of the end-of-year exams; 1977 or 1978. Bulldog was invidulating, walking threateningly up and down the long aisles of desks in the AW hall. One guy dropped a seriously hot one. Mev Smuts stopped walking did a double sniff followed by an explosive "SISS!! A faarrt!! Who done it!" Best damn thing I ever heard her say!

Anonymous said...

Gareth take five hundred lines,
"invigilating", "invigilating", go on only 498 to go,

An English Teacher.

Anonymous said...

HOWZIT OU,
I WAS A "AW" VICTIM OF ABOUT THIRTEEN IN 1954 WHEN THE AFRIKS TEACHER WAS A MR SMIT (SMITS?).
I REMEMBER WHEN A GUY HADN'T DONE HIS HOMEWORK SMIT WOULD ASK A PUPIL TO CLOSE THE CLASSROOM DOOR SO HE COULD PERFORM A CURE FOR FORGETFULNESS WHICH HE CALLED HIS "magic mukwa memory medicine" A PIECE OF HARDWOOD APPLIED VIGOROUSLY SIX TIMES TO THE UNFORTUNATE'S POSTERIOR. I LEFT AFTER FIRST TERM FOR HATFIELD HIGH, WHICH WAS BETTER BECAUSE IT HAD GIRLS AS WELL AS BOYS...ANOTHER KIND OF MAGIC!

PETE D.

Lawrence Bredenkamp said...

What memories- great writing. As an aside I was never in Shirley Yeo's class but became very good friends with her and her husband (George) years later in Johannesburg. She is a classy lady even to this day.
Lawrence Bredenkamp

Bushman said...

Brilliant article, she was as you describe, the word burned into by brain via my ear whilst levitating from the sideburns was "vertaling". I surrendered after form 2 (sliding from A2 to B1) in '72'and joined Scoltz in Art, what a fine teacher he was, although he took no shit either dishing out lethal punishment with his "straight & narrow way". They all had sticks, I passed art, haha.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the memories come flooding back. Nicely told albeit a little difficult to share with my kids. There was more good than bad at AW in my day. Yes, as kids we saw the bad more easily. I didn't have Mevrous Smuts - but Meneer Heunis (nicknamed Hitler because of his moustache). He and I didn't succeed in making me biligual. But that was no surprise I was barely monolingual and the original ADD (or more positively described as a dreamer). Messieurs Tinker & Pert got the best out of me. I agree with Lawrence Bredenkamp (who I remember by name) that Shirley Yeo was a lady and obviously effective. I liked Margaret McConnell, too much, which is probably why I was successful under Roy Tinker's tutelage. As with most people my best memories are of long lost friends like Daffy Liebenberg.
Simon M

Anonymous said...

What memories!! I was with Ma Smuts from 1979(Form 1) till 1983(L6-M level). She employed the services of 'Mr Strong 5000', a rubber hose, for carrying out her beatings as well as the ear and side-burn pulling. In our M level year she went and took 2 terms sabbatical - told us which books to read and disappeared - I passed, which was a miracle!!

Anonymous said...

nowadays you can learn Afrikaans on the web.. http://www.heinsuniverse.com/afrikaans.html

Anonymous said...

Yup could have been me. I guess I was in Mevrou Smuts classes about 1974/5 and failed Afrikaans O's
I really appreciated Mr Byerley the Physics teacher. We did extra classes in electronics and it really set me up for a career
Mr Tinker the maths teacher was also a memorable teacher - more for his style ~ that most students hated, but I really felt it helped me think outside the box. I didn't do well at school - but I did well enough! Now in California for 16yrs, and though politics is nasty here, I often quote Zimbabwe is a good place to be from.

Graham IV said...

Shirley Yeo... Wow.. to a sexually frustrated 16 something year old.. She was hot...

I remember getting Six of the best from the headmaster (was it Craske?) for being in the school printing club.. and printing little A5 flyers saying "Friday night is Mothers Night... All women wishing to become Mothers.. Please attend!"..

One of my delightful fellow school mates thought fit to sellotape this to her classroom door (First floor West wing)..

Whover that was.. Well Thanks a lot mate!

And Mevrou Smutts... I remember that picture.. That classroom.. I was there.. LOL And she HATED me as much as the worst you say! But I got even.. I got an A+ by accident..

West the wodwork teacher was a great guy.. "Cut on the right side of the line".. Am sorry he had that Parkinsons thing.. I think he would have been a much nicer guy if he wasn't dealing with that.. Does anyone remember the two Skulls we put together for the rowing club?

Skoltz.. The Art Teacher.. A1 +.. But had Diabetes... He was off ill when I did my A-Level Art and the stupid bitch who stood in for him ordered "The History of Art" written exam instead of an "Art Practical" paper.. 3 days before I took the exam she told me I'd have to start leaning about Monet and Van Gogh.. Hope she rots in hell! I failed!

What about that female English teacher.. the one who looked like "Miss Piggy" and had so much varnish on her hair? Forget her name but she was awful!

Ot the very hairy Canadian Physics teacher? Equally useless. He had a fit one day explaining how the Physics lab Goldfish had been "Murdered" by somene putting detergent in the goldfish bowl.. Yes not a nice thing to do.. but his reaction way OTT.

Guess Rhodesia being where it was in those days, we had to put up with the teachers we already had.. or those few people from other countries that couldn't find work there who had no choice but to work in places like Ally Willy!

Regards

G

Was it Webster in Metalwork and Rifle Club.. I liked him..

Graham IV said...

Shirley Yeo... Wow.. to a sexually frustrated 16 something year old.. She was hot...

I remember getting Six of the best from the headmaster (was it Craske?) for being in the school printing club.. and printing little A5 flyers saying "Friday night is Mothers Night... All women wishing to become Mothers.. Please attend!"..

One of my delightful fellow school mates thought fit to sellotape this to her classroom door (First floor West wing)..

Whover that was.. Well Thanks a lot mate!

And Mevrou Smutts... I remember that picture.. That classroom.. I was there.. LOL And she HATED me as much as the worst you say! But I got even.. I got an A+ by accident..

West the wodwork teacher was a great guy.. "Cut on the right side of the line".. Am sorry he had that Parkinsons thing.. I think he would have been a much nicer guy if he wasn't dealing with that.. Does anyone remember the two Skulls we put together for the rowing club?

Skoltz.. The Art Teacher.. A1 +.. But had Diabetes... He was off ill when I did my A-Level Art and the stupid bitch who stood in for him ordered "The History of Art" written exam instead of an "Art Practical" paper.. 3 days before I took the exam she told me I'd have to start leaning about Monet and Van Gogh.. Hope she rots in hell! I failed!

What about that female English teacher.. the one who looked like "Miss Piggy" and had so much varnish on her hair? Forget her name but she was awful!

Ot the very hairy Canadian Physics teacher? Equally useless. He had a fit one day explaining how the Physics lab Goldfish had been "Murdered" by somene putting detergent in the goldfish bowl.. Yes not a nice thing to do.. but his reaction way OTT.

Guess Rhodesia being where it was in those days, we had to put up with the teachers we already had.. or those few people from other countries that couldn't find work there who had no choice but to work in places like Ally Willy!

Regards

G

Cambo said...

Old boy 1974 – 1980

Part 1.

What strong memories this passage revives…

Ma Smuts was certainly a dreadful event for a Tuesday morning. First a double period of Woodwork with Bertie West, that was bad enough, and straight after, Afrikaans with Ma Smuts. I remember Tuesday was ‘Begripstoets Dag’ (Comprehension Day), ie, the day our comprehension homework was reviewed with us. One by one we would file up to the front. Our eye would catch our exercise book open on the lectern next to her desk, and our heart would sink each week as we spied the red ink across our work. The amount of red correlated accurately with the amount of abuse we were in for. It started with the raised voice, then the harsh words, moving on to ‘heraal, menheer X’ (‘repeat after me, Mr X’), over and over. Then the pinching of the backside, or the top of the back of the thigh. Then, for the parts where the red ink included CAPITALISED words, the peach stick (or quince, her personal favourite), would start to flash back and forth. Whack, whack, whack, it went, always in accompaniment to the screeching voice, and the ‘heraal, menheer X’….And, what’s worse, each time we broke, hid or threw away sticks from her stash in the cupboard, she’d simply come back from her farm on Mondays with a fresh bundle.

How the hell did I manage an ‘A’ for my O-level Afrikaans?

Perhaps it was due to the counterweight of ‘Naas’ Ferreira, as far from Ma Smuts’ style as night was from day. Here was a bloke who made the language interesting, and filled the 35min period with a review of our essays from real or imagined life, such as ‘Hoe Ek in die Hospital Beland Het’ (‘how I ended up in hospital’), and ‘Ek Het ‘n Groot Geskrik’ (‘The time I had a big fright’), and ‘My Lekker Vakansie by die See’ (‘my great holiday by the sea’), etc. Who could forget the reading aloud of articles from ‘Die Burger’ (‘the Citizen’), ‘Huisgenoot’ (‘Housewife’ or ‘Home-maker’), or the repeating of words from the ‘Woordeskat’ (‘Vocabulary’) lists we would compile. Our Afrikaans improved period by period, and we never got smacked…

End of part 1.

Cambo said...

Old boy 1974 – 1980

Part 2.

My recollection of the other ‘character’ teachers of that time included;
- Raab Wright (Physics) – the patience of Job, perennially peppered with chalk dust, glowed in the dark.
- Ma Cunliffe (Gen Science) – knew her subject (and her tennis), tough drill master, but don’t dare put a pencil line out of place.
- Shirley Yeo (Maths) – still battled with my maths.
- Roy Tinker (self-confessed all round expert, occasionally in maths) – no comment required…
- Schollie Schultz (Art) – tried (and succeeded) to teach us something about our physical surroundings, a human streak a mile wide (albeit when pushed he could swing the ‘Straight and Narrow’ more severely than anyone other than Dave Bowen swung his variant).
- Dave Bowen (History) – tough to figure, we had to keep ducking the flight of ‘The Enforcer’ (the rolled up cricket glove projectile), or dodge the red-taped cane hanging under the blackboard rail, or the wooden board duster (or any to-hand movable desk object) when ‘The Enforcer’ was out on a sortie.
- Chris Hill (Geography) – all time Mr Nice Guy, again tried (and succeeded) to teach us something useful about our world. Don’t stray over the temper line though…
- Maggie McGuire (Maths) – probably one of the best maths teachers, smoked a pack an hour I think.
- Gordon Todd (Head) – all round Statesman. Should have been in politics. Amazing independent eyebrows.
- Ronnie Todd (English, Cricket) – infectious love of English, Cricket (note the specific punctuation here please).
- Chris Dee (History) – nice yellow E-Type V12, serious weightlifter, did not help my History.
- Tony Law (Deputy) – Title says it all…
- Priscilla (I think?) McKenzie “Miss Piggy” from The Muppet Show® (English) – Capable and dedicated, sadly universally disliked by her classes.
- Bert West (Woodwork) – classic old school, unlucky Tiger Moth survivor, outlived by fabled story of his trilby, destroyed in public by a careless toss onto the feed table of a still spinning planer.

Thank you to all of the above, including those unmentioned (and even to Ma Smuts), for trying to pull us into some sort of formation, and within 6 years to turn us into young men, able in time to raise our own young men, and pass on to each of them the more positive, formative experiences of our Ally Willy.

Karl (aka Lore) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karl (aka Lore) said...

Thanks Cambo. Please read StP.

Anonymous said...

Wow, some memories. Completed M levels in 1971. Tinker was great! There was a Canadian math teacher in 1970 who spent hours helping me with math because I was bound to fail. Between him and Tinker...well I teach math now. Oh yes, how could anyone forget the lively Mrs Smuts and the geography teacher (1st 15 rugby coach). This coach had a problem with the boys in the 2nd 15 so he promoted about 5 of us from the U15 team for one game...we were sorely beaten by St. Georges and that experiment never happened again. Chris M.

Anonymous said...

Wow, some memories. Completed M levels in 1971. Tinker was great! There was a Canadian math teacher in 1970 who spent hours helping me with math because I was bound to fail. Between him and Tinker...well I teach math now. Oh yes, how could anyone forget the lively Mrs Smuts and the geography teacher (1st 15 rugby coach). This coach had a problem with the boys in the 2nd 15 so he promoted about 5 of us from the U15 team for one game...we were sorely beaten by St. Georges and that experiment never happened again. Chris M.

TR said...

Was at AW 67-72 to M-Levels
Great memoir. Ma Smuts was form mistress. Poor old bird, we ran rings around her. Had taught my cousins at MGHS, probably blotted her copy book and found herself with the rest of us thugs.
Probably not the same Canadian maths teacher. Our guy wore horn rim specs and never bathed, and probably never owned a tooth brush.
After complaining to Gorge Collier, the head, 3 or 4 of us were given extra maths after school, and actually passed O-Level. "George" was strict but fair, and pulled AW back on the straight and narrow.
Mr St J Morris was engineering master. Commissioned the new engineering shop. What a great guy. Our junior engineering master, Mr de Wit was a RFC veteran who sadly died during our last term before going to senior engineering. Like whacking boys on a cold day with a steel rule over the knuckles. Wore a monacle.
The hottie in my last year or so was Miss Featherstone of the lovely legs and minis. (Ma Featherrock. Mrs McGuire, a good maths teacher and always smoking in the corridor between lessons. And what of good old Mr Lamont the French teacher. Didn't do French of course but had him as a form master. His plank with a knot-hole could shift a boy and the desk he was bending over at least a foot. Also a huge smoker of a smelly briar. Good bloke. Tony Warner of the invention of the AW war cry in 1967. So many memories flooding back, Pity I didn't learn much. Was a massive hindrance to m education. Apart form Miss Blatch, who endeavoured to teach us English.What a girl. loved her to bits. During class asked: What have you got there Owens? A walk, ma'am. A what? Only a fly without wings. Oh!

Dean Boo said...

She was my teacher in 1976 to. I remember her in form1 grabbing my pants and giving me a wedgie while giving me a snot klap with every syllable of " hoe.... kom... is.... jy.... so... lui.... Booy... se .She asked me a question from my homework and I did not know the answer. The description written in the article is no exaggeration

Anonymous said...

I HAve a great second hand story about famous said afrikaans teacher told to me by Ian Lever, a great character when we were there circa 1970. (I had a better teacher). Apparently she was a bit hard of hearing and the joke was to some up to her and mutter "can I f*** your daughter", huh huh what you say.... Mevrou can I go and have a drink of water. Dont know how true it was but he was the kind of guy who would do it.

William Smit said...

Smuts was a legend of nightmare terror konwn to me before I even got to the School in 1973, even Tarantino could not have created a more scary character, mercifully in my first term of 1973 we had a fill in Afrikaans teacher, called Coffie, however in the second term Smuts came back. The then headmaster Wiley welcomed her back in the Assembly to an audible groan from the School Assembly that the entire audience were not well pleased... We had afrikaans that day where Smut's gave us the 'hate small boys ' speech with a wicked smile. My brother had erroneously told me that her husband was Jan Smuts, I felt sorry for the poor bugger

Mike Maclaughlin said...

I remeber taking that photograph with my Kodak instamatic camera hidden in an OXO box on my desk. Mevrou Smuts couldn't help her self and pulled her little morhy's ear ever single Afrikaans lesson so it was an easy shot to get. My two mates Smithy and Camby developed the photo in the school photography club dark room and we snuck down from Shangaani house during the night to pin it on the school notice board. Mevrou Smuts was proudly furious with the whole class and punsihed poor old Morphy endlessly for taking the photograph. To this day I can not understand how she couldn't figure out that it was me. All she had to do was take the pose, grab Morphy's ear and turn to her left and there I would have been, terrified and awaiting my punishment.