In August 1991, I left RMR basking in the wake of their first-ever licenced broadcasts and chucked in my Masters degree at Rhodes to take up my first real radio job, setting up my own Broadcast Consultancy to head a commercial radio project being run by the Tourist Authority in the nearby city of East London, a small port city on the Indian Ocean coast. Not having a place of my own there, I moved in with one of my oldest friends, Martin Hayter, in the leafy suburb of Southernwood in East London (there's a very interesting website about the history of East London here) and we spent a very nice year in our St. Georges' Road flat. I had been contracted to assist a city project to open a local radio station (which would have been the first independent commercial one in the country), and met a lot of nice people. It was days spent in the City Hall complex and nights and weekends spent in clubs and broadcasting from beach caravans with the local Beach Music Radio guys.
|The Big Day
About six months after moving to EL, I headed off to join Laetitia in Italy (where she'd moved to more than a year before) and where we finally got married in Rome.
Have a look at our wedding page here. You know you want to...
On our return from honeymoon in April '92, Laetitia swopped Rome for Southerwood and moved into my 'spot', (a large flat which I was sharing with longtime friend Martin Hayter).
South Africa's only deep-water river port and boasts amazing Indian Ocean beaches and a very relaxed lifestyle. It's also a hub for motor manufacturers - Mercedes Benz in particular, whose factory can be seen to the left of the harbour in this picture of Orient Beach taken about ten years ago. More about the city is here. The radio station I worked for had a studio which looked out over the beach just to to the right of this pic...
Laetitia soon got a job with the Sanlam Insurance Company then moved to the Border Technikon where she worked for a few years. I was still heading the EAST LONDON FM project for the city's Publicity Association, whose offices were attached to the EL City Hall, the imposing edifice you can see to the right. I worked in the office behind the columns on the left.
|Proper Cars. Er...
We bought our first car, a Ford Escort, which was stolen after just a week! The insurance settlement quickly got us a VW Golf Mk2 and it was a couple of months after that that our old Ford was found upside down in a roadside ditch in a forest outside the city of Umtata. In 1993, L's parents retired from their University careers in a nearby town and moved to EL, buying a large house in Stirling. We moved into a nice new townhouse in Nahoon's Beach Road, quite decent for socialising with friends and family et al. We also went for another holiday in Europe, this time visiting friends in Germany and then heading off to Italy again to meet up with my Dad for his first-ever visit to Europe!
|Come In, Car #3!
In 1992, I'd started late night shows on the regional State broadcasting corporation's radio station, Radio Algoa. Then, in 1994, I moved to weekday breakfast shows on BRFM Stereo and bought myself a car which I'd first slobbered over in a showroom in Rome 2 years before, a Honda Civic coupe. It was nice to have a car of which there were only about 4 or 5 in the country.
|Kar(aoke)s and Girls
One of my sidelines was running a very successful mobile karaoke business which was quite a fixture in the area for a long time. We did regular evenings at a local pub called Jekyll & Hyde at the Lock St. Jail shopping centre in Fleet St, East London. Believe it or not, that is actually me in the pic on the right.
|Doing It By numbers
When I was not doing karaoke or presenting radio programmes, I spent a lot of time deejaying as a resident DJ at Numbers Dance Club, whose swish site you can visit here... Numbers is one of South Africa's most famous dance clubs and is the longest-running in the country. They've never done things by half measures!
|Holidays again - back to my roots (sort of)
Later that year, we spent ten days touring Zimbabwe, which was my first chance to actually see the country now that the civil war was over and travel actually possible. We had a very, very nice time. We spent a lot of time in the southern city of Bulawayo where I grew up (more about 'Skies' is here) and also saw most of the big tourist sites that beforehand had been too dangerous to visit while the war was on.
For more on Zim's history and the fighting in our area, see this site...
|More Radio Moves
In late mid-1995, I was offered a bigger, better show as our station in East London was almost completely closed by the broadcast authority. My new airshift was SABC RADIO ALGOA's afternoon drive show (see my radio pages here), which saw us relocating to the larger coastal city of Port Elizabeth. We lived in a townhouse in the suburb of Walmer for about half a year and quite enjoyed life there. Then I had a big fight with the SABC and we parted ways before I shifted to Cape Town at the beginning of 1996.
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