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.

jarvis cocker – sheffield sex city (lyrics)

Cape Town-20130107-01799a w

Sea Point Main Road, 7 January 2013. Photograph: Rosemary Lombard

the city is a woman, bigger than any other…

…the sun rose from behind the gasometers at six-thirty a.m.
crept through the gap in your curtains
and caressed your bare feet poking from beneath the floral sheets.
i watched it flaking bits of varnish from your nails
trying to work its way up under the sheets.
even the sun’s on heat today;
the whole city getting stiff in the building heat.

now i’m trying hard to meet her but the fares went up at seven
she is somewhere in the city, somewhere watching television
watching people being stupid, doing things she can’t believe in
love won’t last ’til next installment
ten o’ clock on tuesday evening
the world is going on outside, the night is gaping open wide
the wardrobe and the chest of drawers are telling her to go outdoors
he should have been here by this time, he said that he’d be here by nine
that guy is such a prick sometimes, i don’t know why you bother, really.

oh babe oh i’m sorry
but i had to make love to every crack in the pavement and the shop doorways
and the puddles of rain that reflected your face in my eyes.
the day didn’t go too well.
too many chocolates and cigarettes.
i kept thinking of you and almost walking into lamp-posts.
why’s it so hot?
the air coming up to boil; rubbing up against walls and lamp-posts trying to get rid of it.
old women clack their tongues in the shade of crumbling concrete bus shelters.
dogs doing it in central reservations and causing multiple pile-ups in the centre of town.
i didn’t want to come here in the first place
but i’ve been sentenced to three years in the housing benefit waiting room.
i must have lost your number in the all-night garage
and now i’m wandering up and down your street, calling your name, in the rain
whilst my shoes turn to sodden cardboard.
where are you? (where are you?)
where are you? (where are you?)

i’m still trying hard to meet you, but it doesn’t look like happening
‘cos the city’s out to get me if i won’t sleep with her this evening
though her buildings are impressive and her cul-de-sacs amazing
she’s had too many lovers and i know you’re out there waiting
and now she’s getting into bed; he’s had his chance now it’s too late
the carpet’s screaming for her soul, the darkness wants to eat her whole
tonight must be the night it ends
tomorrow she will call her friends and go out on her own somewhere
who needs this shit anyway?
and listen, i wandered the streets the whole night crying, trying to pick up your scent
writing messages on walls and the puddles of rain reflected your face in my eyes.
we finally made it on a hill-top at four a.m.
the whole city is your jewellery-box; a million twinkling yellow street lights.
reach out and take what you want; you can have it all.
gee it’s so hot tonight!
i didn’t think we were gonna make it.
it was so bad during the day, but now i’m snug
and warm under an eiderdown sky.
all the things we saw:
everyone on park hill came in unison at four-thirteen a.m.
and the whole block fell down.
the tobacconist caught fire, and everyone in the street died of lung cancer.