Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Bonza Bay interlude

As an art student in the mid- to late-1970s, I remember how upset platteland visitors to Bonza Bay would get when we young white locals would engage in games of beach soccer with young black lads, swimming on their separately demarcated section of apartheid strand. The beach at Bonza Bay is a delight, a gently curving stretch of coast flanked by towering, milkwood-covered sand dunes. Some of these drawings were done on that beach. What surprises me is how I used this floppy A4-sized notepad, which today is without a front cover or hard-card back cover.

This is a typical scene at Bonzies, as two fishermen head off towards the rocky point midway between Bonza Bay and Nahoon.

Or you are sure to spot someone walking a dog. Here the dog is reduced to a little rounded object on short legs, while its owner seems to be trailing a towel, or maybe a leash. Note in the distance the Nahoon point headland.

Even back then, in the late 1970s or early 1980s when I did these, there were people out and about with a new fad gadget, the metal detector. Here the guy takes on the appearance of some sort of alien from outer space.

Take that stroll from Bonzies to the Nahoon River mouth and, on a good day with a light westerly blowing, you will see perfectly shaped waves rolling in towards a rocky shoreline.

Just how rocky it is along the coast both east and west of Bonza Bay becomes clear at low tide, which is when I drew this view, probably on the Gonubie side of the (usually blind) Bonza Bay River, towards German Bay.

There is a great bathing beach at Bonza Bay, but to either side impressive rocks protrude from the sand. Beware of rip tides though, when swimming there. I had one near-death experience while attempting to surf (I never mastered it) in the pre-board-cord days. I lost the board in an area with a strong rip tide and may well have drowned had my brother Alistair not retrieved the board and paddled out to rescue me.

How can one spend as long as I obviously did drawing this view of a house nestled in deep foliage and not remember where it is? Sadly, that is the case.

I have mentioned this oke earlier. His first name was Karl, and now I've remembered his surname. Karl, or Carl?, Johnson, was one of those people who started balding very young, but Karl was so cool he actually used this to his advantage, making a fashion statement of his long, blond hair, where it still existed, along with the fancy shades. I last saw him playing for a very alternative rock band at the Stone Crescent Hotel outside Grahamstown - in a place called Club Foot. By the way, there's something you don't see today: he's holding a "dumpy" beer bottle.

This was the "front cover" of that large notebook, hence its more weathered look, which in a way suits the character of this African woman who seems to symbolise the incredible stoicism of an oppressed people, which black South Africans were under apartheid. Many today, racked by poverty, Aids and a government more intent on enriching its comrades than uplifting the masses, continue to struggle to survive.

No comments:

Post a Comment