Green Cheese

A well-known tactic of the name-remembering incompetent is to use one ‘name’ for everyone when you can’t remember their names. In the sixties Uncle Jack Kemp used to call everyone ‘Cock’. ‘Hello Cock!’ he’d say and you could see his mind racing: Just WHO is this again? I mean, I know him but what’s his name again?! ‘How’re you Cock?’ In the eighties Peppy Peeperkorn, a delightful nurse friend at Addington Hospital when I was sentenced to live there by the army used to call everyone ‘Chicken Legs’! ‘Hey, Chicken Legs! What you doin’?’

I sometimes use Green Cheese: Have you fed Green Cheese yet? WHO!? You know: TC, Matt, Bogie, Shadow, Sambucca! SAMBUCCA! You know I meant Sambucca.

So I made the mistake of asking Tom after one of his home school lessons: ‘What did old Green Cheese teach you today?’ He cracked up and has called his tutor Green Cheese ever since, my protests and explanation and Hey, you don’t DO that! falling on delighted deaf ears.

This morning I overheard him as he walked in to start his lesson “Hey! That’s my chair! It’s made for my arse, not an old Green Cheese arse!’

He should get a klap on his ear from his older, bigger, cleverer, more capable, more focused third year economics student tutor, but instead – as so often with Tom – he gets away with it.



81 years of Matric

1938 – Dad – Maritzburg College, Pietermaritzburg.

Pieter Swanepoel 1938 matric
– Maritzburg College’s 150th -enary –

1972 – Me – Harrismith se Hoerskool, Vrystaat.

Science class - Elsie Campher watches me searching - Jean Roux on right
– looks like Elsie is chirping me as I pretend I might have done some homework –

1975 – Aitch at Muizenberg High – head girl!

– Mom Aitch was head girl as a Humphrey –

2016 – My Jessie – Wendon Academy, Westville, KwaZuluNatal.

– eish! school! –

2019 – My Tommy – home schooling – did the GED course

– tutor Langelihle Dube and TomTom hard at work –

We went from steam power to cellphone power! Well actually, I spose the internal combustion engine was up and running when the ole man left matric . . .


Jessie’s Matric Dance

Ever-optimistic Aitch had asked to be kept alive till this day arrived, but it wasn’t to be. I’d been secretly dreading it as I just knew there was no way I’d be able to do all that would have been done – as in everything and OTT and more! – had the Aitch been the Field Marshal of Matric Dance Operations – as she would have been.

Then in stepped Dizzi, Heather and Gayle, GodMoms extraordinaire! A dress was hired, fittings were done, shoes were bought, jewellery and a handbag were loaned, hair extensions were commissioned,  a make-up artist came to our home, nails were painted on all four limbs. There was more, I’m sure. In fact I can’t think what else Aitch might have done – tho’ I do suspect she might just have done more!


The good ladies at school stepped in too: “Who is Jess taking to the dance?” they asked. Haven’t a clue, I replied. Well, they thought so and they have decided she is going to ask TK to accompany her, they announced, extolling his virtues and suitability. Saved by the sisterhood – again!

One male also stepped up – Bruce loaned us his silver BMW Z4 convertible. Ideal. Other than it being strictly a two-seater, so no room for the chauffeur – yours truly. That problem was solved when Surprise Shabalala put her gaggle of girls into her car and drove son TK to the dance while I drove Jess in the BM. What a lovely, bubbly family the Shabalalas are. All girls, TK is a lucky man! Now for a bit of name-dropping: TK’s late grandfather was Joseph Shabalala of Ladysmith Black Mambazo fame! Their fame in SA was always legendary, then they cut an album with Paul Simon and became world-famous! Jess did not have Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, though. Now if Aitch had been here . . .

Jess Matric Dance (small)

At the school I started lowering the BMW Z4’s roof so we could take pictures but a loud “Dad! It’s raining! My hair!” put a stop to that.

I await the pictures from the dance. To be continued . . .

Jessie’s story:

My matric Dance was a night I will never forget!! Trent Saunders who was the photographer took all the photo’s of us and our couples.

When we arrived at the school Trent took a pic of TK and I, and the parents took pics with their child and their partners. Then the parents left and OUR MAGICAL NIGHT started YAY!!

Before we started dancing some of the grade 12s said speeches to thank the teachers for all their hard work that they did to make our night so magical and special, After their speeches our grade teacher Mrs Freeman told us what was on the menu.

The food was so delicious! Thanks to Mrs Hicks, for starters we had stuffed mushrooms, our main course was rice and chicken curry and salad ( which was so yummy! ) and for dessert we had malva pudding, ice-cream and custard, and for our drinks we had appletizers and coke. Each Grade 12 got a piece of fudge and a special glass that we could keep.

The hall was absolutely beautiful. We had two good DJ’s who played really good music they played old songs in the beginning but then they started playing music from the Now CDs.

Tokoza, Minnie and TK were the first ones on the dance floor! And then everyone started going onto the dance floor, even the teachers. Themba was a dancing machine he was hitting the floor ( literally ) and Cameron was Michael Jackson. The one song where everyone joined in was the Cha Cha slide which is a really fun dance.

The night was great fun and also a night us Grade 12s will never forget! The highlight of my night was having fun dancing with all my friends and Mrs Saunders. TK and I even had a slow dance together.

I wish we could go back to that magical night. I really loved my dress, my makeup and my beautiful hair which was all done by a very beautiful lady herself Vanessa, she also helped me pick the dress out at Cinderella’s.

And I also want to say a huge Thank you to Dizzy and Heather who helped me with everything this night would have never happened without their help!



A Matric Result

When we arrived here Lovemore was nine years old, cute as hell and a regular visitor to swim in the pool or skateboard on the driveway. As he grew up we’d see him whenever he needed help, but less often to swim as he grew too cool for frolicking. Always friendly and helpful old Lovemore. That’s him on the right at Jessie’s 11th party – Pinetown Gym.

Ten years later he’s now more often called Mfundi, has written matric and the morning after the results this week he comes knocking, looking like death warmed up. “Pete I’m very sick, I don’t know what’s wrong” he says. “I’m worried” he says.

I think I know what’s wrong, I say. I heard you guys last night. You drank too much. You have alcohol poisoning, I say. I give him some cooldrink and some breakfast and some mirth. The mirth he finds a bit hard to swallow.

“Yes”, he says “It’s true. But I don’t know why I feel so terrible. I only drank the good stuff, Glenmorangie, Hennessy Cognac and Johnny Walker Black.”