This posting is inspired by the PACT campaign…

My memories of childhood are often focused on the time we spent living in a little town called Secunda, which is set amidst the coalfields of what was the Eastern Transvaal, which is now the Mpumalanga province in South Africa.  We lived at number 12 Pannevis Street and I went to Highveld Ridge School. The years we spent there are probably some of my happiest memories of childhood and being a family together. Back then my brother and sister were my very best of friends and my father was home more than he was away and my mother was the centre of my world.

My father worked at the Sasol refinery (which is where most men in the town worked) and I remember at night it would glisten on the horizon all ablaze in light, it looked so magical.

Men drove bakkies (a van), we wore takkies (not trainers) and had a braai (BBQ) at the weekend.

We had a huge garden (well to a child it seemed huge) and playing outdoors was the norm. The Baker family lived close by, a Scottish family with four girls; I think my brother and I were both in love with the eldest Lisa (she and I became pen pals after we both moved away).

There was no cinema in the town back then but there was a Drive In which we used to go to occasionally. It would get cold in the evenings so us three kids would all huddle on the back seat under blankets and more often than not fall asleep before the movie ended.

There were some fields close to our house that we used to play in for hours with other kids and our dog Simba would love to role in the mud and dung of wild animals coming home pleased as punch and stinking up the whole house.

Life seemed simpler then and my adulthood so far away, now it’s my childhood that seems so far away and although life is a little less simple it is far richer for having had the experiences I did back then, and for that I thank my parents.

This post is part of a series inspired by the Prevent Abuse of Children Today (PACT) campaign, hosted by Stepping Stones Nigeria. Please add your name to the PACT petition to prevent abuse of innocent children in the Niger Delta and visit the site to find out more:


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12 Responses to “This posting is inspired by the PACT campaign…”

  1. Verona Pearson Says:

    Wow that so took me back to when I was a little girl living in Secunda. That’s where I started school too at Highveld Ridge Primary in 1980. Those were the good old days when children were children and playing in a park and roller skating mud fights and more those were the days…..

    • macarthursmutterings Says:

      I know… writing that really made we miss those days

      • Beverley (Graham) De Bruyn Says:

        I moved from UK to Secunda in 1982, also went to Highveld Ridge Primary. I have the fondest memories of my childhood stemming from this time and the kids I hung around with, Verona being one of them, made my life perfect. I still live in Secunda and yes we have a cinema now but the drive-inn is a thing of the past. My parents emigrating here was the best move ever and I’m proud to say I’m a Secunda resident!

      • macarthursmutterings Says:

        How funny, we left to go back to UK about the time you came from the UK, I often wish we had stayed

  2. Thank you for taking part in our Blog Day in support of the PACT Campaign! | Stepping Stones Nigeria Says:

    […] Graham Wynne                                                            Colin Macarthur […]

  3. Albert Says:

    My name is Albert and I use to live in 20 Danie Theron street, My dad also worked in the Sasol projects, specifically 2&3. My first school was TP or PTstratten then I moved to High Veld Ridge. It was nice to know that someone also lived there, once.

  4. Eyal Shamir Says:

    just dug this up by accident… I swear this could have been me writing this, same time as you guys in Highveld ridge.

  5. Eyal Shamir Says:

    oh, and I lived in 20 Pannevis Street, so we were pretty close….

  6. shall Says:

    I also was in secunda in the late 70s very early 80s from the uk (manchester). My father also worked gor secunda. We left leaving our lttle cavalier spaniel callsd sally would love to know if she lived happily ever after xxx

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