Tour of South Africa 53 years earlier

Tour dates: August/September 1960
Click on images to see a magnified version in a new window.

View Photo Set 1/4 | Set 2/4 | Set 3/4 | Set 4/4 | Maps | 1960 visit

Map page

Working in South Africa

Tom and I worked for a month at African Explosives, Modderfontein
Here a kind work colleague took us out for a drive at a weekend.

Later we worked for a month at the
Chamber of Mines Research Laboratory Johannesburg
Here is central Jo'burg on a Sunday

This photo might be from the laboratory window,
but I am not sure.

The Mine Dances

At the weekends there were "Mine Dances" organised
Miners competed to win the top prize

Some were spectacular
Some showed real talent!

All were good

Visiting Pretoria

We were able to hire a motor cycle from a colleague.
This meant we could travel.

This is the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria

Travelling from Johannesburg

One of our outings was to Magoebaskloof

I think all these were taken there

These, I think, were taken between Pretoria and Jo'burg


One weekend we were invited to Coligny as guests of the Mayor
He was keen to show how the Whites were helping the Bantu
e.g. This housing project

It was fascinating to see the work in progress
especially this improvised concrete mixer

Our host even arranged an unsupervised meeting with Chief Laban Sithole
He was not ungrateful of the project, but hated the Apartheid system which left all the Bantu as permanently second-class citizens

Starting our journey

After two months working we set off for a one month tour of the country

In 1960 there were hardly any surfaced roads once outside the bigger towns

Some roads were quite hard to detect!


I have pleasant memories of the people

And of their way of life

Zululand and The Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital

Tom had an introduction to Anthony and Maggie Barker
who ran a mission hospital at Nqutu

We spent a fascinating week with them
We saw the life of the hospital and even made ourselves useful in the operating theatre (holding paraffin lanterns aloft after the diesel generator failed)

We went with Anthony on a rural clinic

The patients were as fascinating as the clinic work

Near the clinic there were some Bushman rock paintings in very good condition

Sadly the area was very poor
It was overgrazed, had soil erosion and people were often really hungry

At the weekend we visited a local kraal
where we were invited to a beer drink by the local chief.
We were also allowed to photograph one of his wives in her best finery.

The Garden Route

The beautiful scenery of the SE coastal route has changed little today

However, the rivers had no bridges - just primitive ferries
By one of the ferries we met these young musicians


They farm Ostriches here
They used to catch them and let you ride

End of my first ride
Second ride

Road to the coast

A glorious ride on the motor bike
I have been unable to find it on the modern map. I think they now have a sort of motorway higher up on the cliff.

The Cape

We visited a vinyard
I cannot remember anything about it!

Did visit Cape Point and the photo shows Cape of Good Hope
In my memory the visit was wetter and more foggy than the photo!

Karoo Desert

A long straight road
One of the few with a tarmac surface

Basutoland (Now Lesotho)

An attractive country
Still not changed much

The roads can still be described as "interesting"

There are still oxen working

The people still cut a fine figure
but not as striking as in 1960.

The roads finally wrecked the motor bike.
It happened on the main road into Maseru. In the folowing hour and a half, only three vehicles went past! Happily the third was an empty pickup heading back to Johannesburg. So ended our journey!

View Photo Set 1/4 | Set 2/4 | Set 3/4 | Set 4/4 | Maps | 1960 visit