Thursday, July 8, 2010


"Boredom's a pastime that one soon acquired." That line from an Elton John song sums up life in the military as a conscript. Anyway, from my first days at 5SA Infantry Battalion in mid-1979 till I "klaared" out in mid 1981, I got a chance to sketch numerous okes dozing off.

This was from that lined army notebook issued to us when we arrived in Ladysmith. Not a pretty sight, but I think the drawing is quite strong. You'll see a lot of strong vertical lines in these drawings - the edges of steel cupboards, those bulky green boxes with two sliding doors every conscript is familiar with, along with the steel trunk, or "trommel".

In Kimberley, with its heat, dozing off came easily. Most okes slept in very little, which meant I had unpaid "models" aplenty. Nice to be drawing here as a hobby, having acquired my grounding over four years at the East London Tech art school.

In this one I combine pencil and pen lines, I think to good effect.

Working with bold pencil lines, this oke's back takes on the appearance of a landscape.

My late brother, Alistair, had a saying about "up the left nostril". Anyway, this view is not altogether flattering.

I couldn't have asked people to pose any better than they did. I think I captured this one quite well. That line up the side will definitely be the side of a "kas".

I can picture this oke, Ronnie was his name. This was near the end of our Kimberley stint. Notice he has two of those ubiquitous foam mattresses. What luxury!

I suspect this was done in 1983, during my first and last "border" camp. More detailed than the others, I must have had heaps of free time.

Again probably from that "camp" - it was no holiday camp in northern SWA-Namibia - the legendary "snor" is conspicuous. I'll look in more detail at that period later. Note here the folded up clothes for a pillow.

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