Rough demo – Words & Music by Jim Neversink, 2013
This celebration of 80s South African pulp photo comic culture was made by Lloyd Ross and Robbie Thorpe in the late 1990s.
And here’s a piece on the subject written by DR Walker:
In 1980, like so many other white males, I was dragged kicking and screaming into that institution we would come to know as the SADF. The culture shock was enormous, legions of brown clad eenvormigge troepies all marching to the tune of the National party. After almost a year of rondfok and “training” I eventually ended up in the “Operational Area” or “The Border” as it was so commonly known.
Diversions were few and far between; drinking, talking kak, getting messed around, an occasional incursion by Swapo, and reading whatever came to hand. Newspapers were great but they reminded us of home too much so we avoided them. Paperbacks we never saw or they were invariably bad cowboy novels. Our all time favourite though were those beloved and much maligned “Photo Picture Libraries” or, as we so fondly knew them: “P*** Boekies”. These trashy produced pieces of literature fascinated us because you did not need an imagination, and if you did not understand the text you could always look at the pictures. They were better than a comic and were made in South Africa too.
Of course we all had our favourites, there was “Tessa”, a platinum blonde who strutted around in a bikini all day, running through the jungles of urban South Africa while clad in her cossie and high heels. Clashing with sinister suit and shade wearing individuals who were clearly “the bad guys” Naturally she always came out on top, the hair on that blonde head not even disturbed. As far as we were concerned she was akin to a Goddess and she would have been mobbed had she ever come to the border. With hindsight, those same bad guys looked very much like the guys who appeared before the Truth Commission and spilt so much dirty laundry. Maybe Tessa knew something we did not?
Remember “Swart Luiperd, Wit Tier, Kaptein Duiwel, Grensvegter” and all that ilk? They were out in the bushes clutching their wooden machine guns, (this is a rifle, this is a gun, this is for shooting, this is for fun), killing off naughty cigar smoking Cuban clones who held the proverbial dishevelled damsel in distress captive after her convoy/aircraft/helicopter/hospital was invaded/crashed/broke down (delete whichever is not applicable). By our reckoning we were not needed on the border, those three guys would solve all the problems and we could go home to start our long delayed civvy existence. Now that I think of it, just maybe they were really out there doing dirty deeds while we were being fed propaganda about how good the SADF and SAP were. Go on reading HERE.
For a critical history of South African pulp comics, read Sean O’Toole’s 2012 Mail & Guardian piece.
Are today’s 20-somethings living in a bubble? They certainly seem to be a lot more relaxed than we were, growing up in the apartheid 80s.
“At the bottom of the heart of every human being, from earliest infancy until the tomb, there is something that goes on indomitably expecting, in the teeth of all experience of crimes committed, suffered, and witnessed, that good and not evil will be done to him. It is this above all that is sacred in every human being. The good is the only source of the sacred. There is nothing sacred except the good and what pertains to it.”
— Simone Weil