College of Knowledge and legends of my time there.

College of Knowledge and legends.

Young men learning how to farm in those far oft times when the country was still well run, and all the camaraderie and friends some whom I classify as becoming legends. Now I have mentioned some of these things before but it is now time to lead onto another who became a life long mate of mine. Non other than Craig Malcom, yikes, that moniker of his real christian names is enough to put anybody off? Is it any wonder then that this was soon changed to Social, nicknames being rife here? Years later met some American women in Munich and knowing we were from Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, on hearing his name said, “does Social stand for Social Injustice?” Then promptly vanished but more on that later. However it just goes to show how badly misinformed the World was about the real essence of the country and it’s people. Nothing has changed since and it gets worse and worse but still some other legends survive, so am going to go back in time to when things were still fun and we thought nothing would change. We really believed that and had no idea that people and countries we believed in would end up selling us down the drain. Despite all this we still had fun and I firmly believe it’s why certain people hate us so much. You see, they cannot take away from us our memories of who and what we were and still are. No stealing of our farms, torturing and murdering our friends and loved ones but they cannot and never will break our spirit.

Now the very first time I ever met this lad was during initiation which was supposed to be grueling, but had now been toned down a lot because some Mummy boys found it ever so hard and demeaning. So we are having  a ‘ten thirsty’ charge and need I tell you that that was the time the bars opened and it is a Saturday morning. The Oasis closed at 2pm so we have now gone to Beverly Rocks or something which is still open. Pays to know your way around bar times innit? I see this apparition coming towards me akin to a beanpole and a Giraffe. As it gets closer Sticks Vera Verith McKersie (another kind of legends), leaps on it’s back, and starts, how can I say this? Doing doggy makes babies on it’s back. A look of sheer bliss is the expression on Social’s face, and I start  to laugh, I just couldn’t help it, sorry Mummy. Now I’m as deaf as a stone at this time in my life and basically ever since so can only lip-read. But Social starts to talk to me and we get on like a ball of fire and from that day on, a great friendship is forged. So apart from all the College times, hard work, even harder playing, the fun and joy of it all there were also the holidays. So a bunch of ‘legends’ decide to go to Durban a seaside resort for some rest and recuperation during the summer (or was it winter) holidays. Said lads consisted of Social, Sticks Vera Verith, John Van Wheelspin, Rinty Mombie, Tweedie Mallet, and Chris (Goat) Basson.

Durban, Natal’s premiere seaside resort.

So on the right you can see what the Durban seaside resort looks like and we are staying in one of the hotels there, ” t’ree stars like”, as we are a bit durban natal south africashort of a few bob. Goat and Sticks Vera Verith are even worse off and staying in some other hovel, but we meet up on the beach or whatever function we are going to. Boarding the plane in Rhodesia to get there I am straight from a wedding and carrying a major ‘babalaas’ (hangover), but I needn’t have worried as so is everyone else even though they were not at the wedding. Sticks Vera Verith looking like death warmed up, asks, ” should I puke now or on the plane”? I give him my most appalled look and say, “now”. Such is how we all were in those far oft times and many of us have never changed, thanks be? A couple of drinks on the plane sorts us out quickly and by the time we arrive in Durban we are topped up so to speak. Going through customs we are delayed as one of the guys has left his ‘traveler cheques’ on board so a member of staff has to re-board and try and find them. This takes some time so we begin playing and even the custom officials are all laughing. Eventually all is well and we head out to the beach and sea even before going to our hotels. We hit it and coming from a landlocked country a wild cry of ‘yeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaw’ is heard and all dash down to plunge into the sea clothes and all. All except Rinty Mombie who somehow manages to trip on a flat bit of beach and down he goes. This lad never could hold his booze and sometimes even a couple of sips is all it takes? Midst all the laughs we troop off  and register in our hotels and this time wearing costumes we head back to the beach. Now there are a whole lot of Pigeons pecking around the place like chickens back on the farm. Sticks Vera Verith is stalking them and then suddenly pouncing trying to catch some but nary a one. Holiday makers on the beach are killing them selves laughing and the tone for a great holiday is set. Social has been quietly planning and this involves becoming like a master of ceremonies and the main oke (chap). Ah legends hey and what they will do?


So we are going to go out dancing but we have no babes. No worries, Sticks Vera Verith walks all the way to Addington hospital and arranges for a bunch of off duty nurses to come out with us, and then walks all the way back and begins sprucing himself up. So after a dinner in the hotel we go addington hospitalto the bash and meet the babes. Sticks Vera Verith is in his element after playing matchmaker. I have a look and they are not exactly a line up of Miss World contestants which I mention to said matchmaker. Blimey, he gets on his high horse and is browned off big time, “you go and find your own girls then.” And storms off. I just might. Anyway it’s time for a few snorts, I think I need some. Goat Basson is making a move and so are the other lads and matchmaker is beaming but still shooting arrows in my direction. I’m used to it as he went to both Junior and Senior school with me and now College, also he is younger so still remembers the older boys being horrid to him. You see he is a funny bloke and schizophrenic of note. Either he is the naughtiest and funniest guy you can meet or he’s Vera, which is Aunty Vera in the old Giles magazine of English fame, who is a renowned hypochondriac always with the sniffles or two and popping pills for this. You get it now? Hence Sticks, because he’s not the fattest guy around, or Vera, as explained above and in his worst moments a high pitched lisps Verith. All things come to pass to those with patience. The other thing is, one couldn’t meet a nicer bloke and in dead earnest, I silly you not. It’s getting late and the laughs and fun is coming fast and thick. Social is making a play for Caroline and she makes him look short and has on a pair of binoculars as spectacles. Suddenly, Neil Diamond’s famous song sweet Caroline comes on and Social whisks her on to the dance floor and starts freaking out. He cain’t dance but he is trying hard grabbing the open ends of his jacket and pumping them with his arms, oh, oh, ooooooh, sweet Caroline good times never feel the same, oh, oh, ooooooh.Caroline is now firmly besotted and it’s time to go home. Tweedie Mallet and Spook are still rolling on the floor laughing. It’s time for bed and it’s so late that Caroline can’t get home so has to stay with us. I’m shifted out to the verandah seperated

Vera hard left.

Vera hard left.

from the main room by wooden railings. Tweedie Mallet is somehow there and Sticks Vera Verith is fast approaching from the next door room along a narrow ledge with a twelve story drop straight down to the pavement. I’m thoroughly appalled, one slip, and he is gone and he is as high as a kite, but he gets within arm distance and we pull him in all the while laughing his head off and shouting ribald comments to any woman still up and walking home at this time. Tweedie and Sticks Vera Verith have a peep between the wooden railings and Social is trying to get amorous with Caroline who is slapping him off. Suddenly both Tweedie and Verith collapse on the floor laughing and when I finally ask what’s the funny they explain and tell me Social had just said, “but I love you Caroline.” Even I start laughing. Shame it’s a rum game being a woman and all? Eventually we all nod off and sleep the sleep of the dead. Now it’s breakfast time and the first problem is trying to get Sticks Vera Verith out of the hotel without management seeing him as he is not a paying guest. Sober, he is back to his Verith self, sh*tting himself all the while, but, the feat is accomplished. And thus we enter the dining room. By gum there is a deathly silence and all the other guests are giving us if looks could kill looks. Just as we are about to finish the Assistant Manager comes sidling over, and she is a walking, talking, living doll, with a figure like an hour glass. Little does he know it but he is about to come into prominence. Rinty Mombie that is. He is up to his old trick of running his hands through his hair, taking the top off of his watchstrap and glancing at his watch. You see, we are a country at war and these straps are designed to stop the sun glinting off the glass of your watch, thus giving your position away, whereupon old Luke the Gook may dwang (kill) you. Anyway, she leans on the table and says, “when you have finished your breakfast the Manager would LIKE to see you all.” Now what? Anyway we troop out to more deathly silence and ‘horrid’ looks to see the Manager. He tells us he is terribly sorry but he is going to kick us out of his hotel for making a dreadful noise at night and waking all the other guests up. We start boxing very clever and apologizing profusely all the while and telling him it won’t happen again. Pigs might fly. However he lets us off and it is back to all systems go, so we hit the beach.


The day gets off to a fine start with everyone teasing Social about the night before and getting his end away. He is frightfully annoyed and what were to become two of his endearing expressions are termed at this hour. They are, said in hurt, sulky, spoiled little brat voice, and begin with, “I didn’t.” To which everyone roars, ja sure you didn’t? You weren’t on your ear either to which in same voice replies, “I wasn’t.” I was to hear this so much in later years it became frightening. John Van Wheelspin through all this has been in his usual ‘semi-conscious’ state, but he is awakening and actually gets off with a lekker babe on the beach. Things are indeed looking up. We are amused by the lifesavers, they have to look at their bodies and muscles approximately every five seconds and are very precious of themselves. This isn’t Baywatch here, so no lovely looking babes as lifesavers. God bless America, they think of everything do they not? Anyway the dolly birds are very impressed and these okes (guys) sure can swim. Sighs. We are tired so just making the most of lying on the beach and the sunshine. One last thing though. Now to make it easier for the Louis lifesavings they put up two poles which people have to swim among and nowhere else. If one wanders out of these they blow on a whistle and using hand signals divert you back inbetween the two poles. You understand? Little deaf Spook decides to go for a swim and moves into the sea outside (way outside) of the two poles. Ever alert one of the Louis lifesavings notices this and jumps off his perch and moseys along closer. He blows his whistle to Spooks back and makes a swinging motion of his arm. The shrillness of the whistle alerts all the legends and they take an interest in the scene. Spook completely oblivious carries on swimming. Louis lifesaving blows harder on his whistle, again to no response. So he takes off his long red towel and is only left in his red speedo costume and wades into the waves where he again goes through the motions. The guys are fit to bust but of course no one says anything. This carries on with the Louis lifesavings wading deeper and deeper into the sea, and the same old whistling and motioning of arms. It reaches the stage where he is inches from Spooks back and lets off one last treeeeeeemendous (so Americans will undertsand) whistle. Again no response, so in a fury he reaches out and slaps Spook on the back which finally gets his attention. Dear old Louis points to between the poles and Spook gives him a broad smile and makes his way into the poles. Louis is bewildered and shaking his head all the way back to the beach where he is met by a group of legends ‘pissing’ themselves laughing and saying, “don’t worry he’s deaf.” One more shake of his head and a silent, “I don’t understand these people I really don’t.”



About spookmoor

I'm a 61 year old happily married man with three grown up children. I lost all my hearing as an eighteen year old whilst doing National Service and then had a Cochlear Ear Implant twenty years later. I love trying to explain these things to people and bits about my life. I never thought so at the time, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Thus one gets Random ramblings from a man who has seen a lot with a touch of humour underlying all.
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39 Responses to College of Knowledge and legends of my time there.

  1. jake bremner says:

    Spook another enjoyable story. Enjoyed it, and remember a similar Gwebi trip when we went to Durbs. Only we didn’t have the deaf one. Happy memories.

  2. Fiona McMaster says:

    Spook I could not stop laughing. I could picture it all and what makes it even funnier is I know every single one of you lot!!! Brilliant memories and you are spot on with nobody taking our memories of growing up in Rhodesia away – it was a good solid upbringing with lots of fun but still greasy respect. You really could have written the Spud books!! Thanks for the laugh my special friend – keep on posting!!!

  3. Val Ross says:

    Sticks told us this story at the reunion in May !!!! It’s is what I love about Gwebi…..

  4. What a brilliant tale of shenanigans .. sounds like one of our various trips from Maritzburg campus to “Durbs by the Sea” and the various methods we tried to get back in time for Dawn Patrol in a land where hitchhikers were the devils incarnate 🙂

  5. Pingback: College of Knowledge and legends : Part two. - Moving Pieces

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