This picture was taken in the second flat that I ever lived in in London with my wonderful friend, Dawn. We lived there for a year about nine months after we arrived. It was quite big but it had some serious issues. The carpets in the lounge were red, the sofas were pink, grey and blue velour, the landlord was insane and it was in a part of Southfield so dodgy that we were unable to get pizza delivered. However, we did have rather a lot of fun living there. We are pictured here with our friend, Lauren, who briefly lived in London and often camped out with us. We are all twenty-four.
The second flat I lived in when I moved to London had all red carpets on the ground floor. They were absolutely hideous. The one upside was though were that they made the perfect backdrop for my Moulin Rouge themed twenty-fifth birthday party. Here I am with my friend, Kerry. We are clearly going for serious glamour. Obviously I am 25.
While we were living in our second flat in London. my friend Dawn and I were invited to a bad taste party. We dressed ourselves up as pregnant chavs, named ourselves Chardonnay and Charlotte and arrived smoking and drinking with our towel bumps in full bloom. A guy at the party who we rarely saw got a bit confused and half way through the night patted me on the belly and told me he hadn’t realised I was expecting… oh dear. We are 24.
On Saturday my younger brother, Pete, turns 30. Although Pete and I don’t look terribly alike we are very close. This picture was taken at my farewell before I left to move to the UK. I am 23 and he is 20.
Happy birthday, Petie. I love you!
I would really love to know what my friend Megan and I are talking about here since it looks very interesting. We are definitely at Bronwyn’s parents’ house, which was always a great place to hangout because her family was so welcoming and kind to all of us. I still hang out there every time I visit South Africa. They’re like my second family. I am probably 22 or 23.
One of the big privileges of being a prefect in high school is that most schools give the prefects a spare classroom to use as a kind of base of operations (or a lair if you will). We kitted ours out with a microwave, a kettle and a stereo and chose to decorate it in yellow and blue. We thought it was beautiful. There’s a chance some of us might have been partially blind. The stereo was mostly used to play bad pop music and sometimes we danced on the tables because we were classy like that. Here I am showing off the “delightful” paint job. I am 17.
In my uni days an enormous amount my friends and I were big clubbers. Every weekend saw us tearing up the Johannesburg night life and for some of us a fair number of weeknights too. Our favourite clubs were Roxys, Bourbon Street, Nightshift, Night Fever, Bump at 7tease. I am sure everyone my age who grew up in Johannesburg remembers them.Here I am with my friend, Donna once again clearly dropping it like it’s hot. Why I am wearing purple snakeskin though is anyone’s guess. I am probably about 20.
Everyone remembers the first one of their friends that got married and the moment it kind of registered that we were actual grown-ups. This picture is from my friend, Donna’s wedding in 2005, which was my first “friend” wedding. Obviously she is the one in the wedding dress. In between us is Megan. Megan and I are 24 and Donna is 23 and it was my first trip back to South Africa after I moved to the UK. Donna and I grew up on the same road and have been friends since we were four… and I am glad to say we still are, 29 years later.
This is my primary school prefect’s photo. Those of you who have been following Thursday might remember my explanation of prefects in South African schools from my photo of my high school prefects induction. It just so happens that I was a prefect in primary school too. I am circled here in red and I was 12 and in year 7. I am circled in red. What is cool about this photo (apart from my epic orange scrunchie) is that I am still really good friends with a few of the people including Bronwyn, who once again supplied the pic and is one over on the right.
Interestingly enough it also contains two of my exes. The boy directly behind me was my year 7 boyfriend although he refused point blank to kiss me throughout our entire relationship. Make of that what you will. Ten years after this photo was taken I also dated the guy at the end of right of the top row behind Bronwyn. There are only two things I am going to say about that relationship: he didn’t get any taller and I breathed a sigh of epic relief when it was over.
There is a fairly good chance I am never going to properly grow up and this picture is just more evidence of it. Who knows why I am pulling this hideous face in my not-cool-and-hipster-back-then glasses. In this picture I am probably in year 9 or 10, so 14 or 15 and in my unhealthy thin phase. Photo again courtesy of Bronwyn.
In South Africa after high school ends most teenagers go on their first ever holiday without parents – a rite of passage aptly named “matric holiday”, before heading off to university or the world of work. It’s kind of like a very tame version of Spring Break. (Or as they do in the UK – going to Kavos, exposing yourself and ending up in hospital with alcohol poisoning).
My friends and I, being pretty geeky, went camping in a place called Warmbaths, which has a water park built on a natural hot spring. For the most part it very innocent – much giggling, along with a little drinking and a lot of being creeped out by various other campers… before having to pack up our tents in the pouring rain… oops.
Here I am on our matric holiday, aged 18, with my friend Lauren and a packet of Niknaks that I seem to be very attached to. Picture once again courtesy of Bronwyn.
I have been very fortunate that my wonderful friend, Bronwyn (who features regularly on this blog) has dug out a load of old pictures of me from her vast collection.
In this picture I am probably about nineteen and very obviously utterly intoxicated. Unlike most British teenagers, my friends and I were quite restraining when it came to alcohol in our early teens and did very little drinking before we were legally allowed to. I think to some extent this is because of cultural differences but I also think lack of public transport has a lot to do with it. You can’t be wondering off to wherever and getting pissed when you’re 15 in South Africa because how would you get there? Also we were quite studious teens.
This all changed when we ventured into the world of tertiary education and driver’s licenses and realised that getting pissed was an enormous amount of fun. I think at one stage Bronwyn and I were going clubbing 3 nights a week. One of our favourite activities was playing drinking games and from the set up in front of me I get the impression that that is what is going on here. I am probably losing.
All of this is a digression though from my hair. For a brief period of time I sported a pixie crop. Who knows what I was thinking. I think it might have been a case of Sinead O’Rebellion. All I can tell you is that growing it out was absolute murder.
In South Africa school starts in the year you turn 6 or 7 depending on what month you were born in and the first year of school is called grade one. This is my grade one class photo, which my lovely friend Bronwyn was kind enough to send to me along with some other pictures from our years of being friends.
I am the little girl with the brown hair that’s circled in red and Bronwyn is the little blonde girl circled in red. We were both most likely 6. You will notice that we both have very, very long (very ugly) school dresses on. This is because both of our very practical mums decided to buy big and hope we could wear the same uniform for years.