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GRAHAMSTOWN 1986-1991

In February 1986, I went off to Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape city of Grahamstown, which would be my home for the next 6 years. 

US AT LAETITIA'S GRAD PARTY 1989, DROSTDY LAWNS

GRAHAMSTOWN.

This former British Army base has become one of the country's main cultural and educational centres, and is also well-known as the site of the first newspaper and hotel in South Africa. Have a look at the city's official site. This is where I made the necessary payments into the relevant accounts and became a member of that August body known as Rhodents, or students of Rhodes University.  I was there for 6 years, wrapping up a B.A in English and History, followed by a postgrad thingie in International Studies and then an M.A in the same which I never got around to completing. Back then, I was keen on getting into the Foreign Service. Trouble was, I was sidetracked by some other fairly notable considerations. 

RHODES ADMIN BUILDINGS

 

Considerations...

There were a whole lot of things competing for my limited span of attention back then.

One was the local campus radio station, RHODES MUSIC RADIO. I was a DJ etc ad nauseum between '86 and '91. I did lots of interesting things there - I'm surprised that I still remember some of them.  In fact, for more detail on my radio career, you'll have to go to my radio page, won't you.
KYLE AT RMR
The other consideration - and definitely the most important - was Laetitia. Since we first clapped eyes on each other under the Arch at the entrance to the campus (as I was returning from a date with someone else) we've been together pretty much ever since. Naturally, this involved taking the occasional time out for 'various' activities (as people do) and some overseas travels which got us started on this whole 'we want to live in as many different countries as we can' buzz.

>> Didn't we look 'nice'! This was our first real dinner and dance occasion, and it was a Hall Ball if I remember correctly. 

FIRST TIMERS AT THE JAMESON HOUSE HALL BALL 1986

About The University

One of the oldest and most respected 'varsities in the country, Rhodes University was set up as part of the legacy of the noted colonialist, Cecil John Rhodes. It's not big - only about 8000 students - but it's a great place to study. I spent '86 in Adamson Residence, '87 and '88 in Graham House and then shifted to 'digs' in locales various until I finally got my skinny rump out of the place in late 1991. This was after long periods spent under surveillance by the local Security Police after they got their hands on photos like this one>>.

They kept seeing me looming in the background whenever there was a political rally or a march or an anti-government speaker, and labelled me as some sort of agitator. They failed to click that I was always at these things simply because I was looking after the public address systems which the organisers had hired from us at the campus radio station we were running. Duh! 

KYLE AT RHODES, 1989

My First Res Room

Adamson House was a former women's residence which had been converted to be used by male students. This basically involved removing all the pretty decorations from the bathrooms and nailing the loo seats into an 'always raised' position. Apart from that, it was fine. No sinks in the rooms but we did have whatever else fell under the category of 'creature comforts'.  A bed, a chair, a desk, a wardrobe and a lockable door. The rest was up to us. Taking the interior decorating bull by the horns, I got busy and soon had my place looking like - erm - something else. Notice the bar heater glowing quietly to itself at the bottom right? This indicates two things: one, that it was Winter and two, that we'd run out of bread otherwise we'd've been toasting some on top of the heater!

KYLE'S RES ROOM AT ADAMSON HOUSE, 1986
 

Some Rhodents

A few months after meeting Laetitia, we shot this pic on a weekend away with a large group of friends in the nearest coastal resort, Port Alfred. It was my birthday and we were a happy bunch with a whole group of current and future radio and music people - and an attempted murderer! True! Someone in this group got very angry with the person taking the pic and later tried to shorten vital bits with a fishing knife. Some significant input was required on my part to rescue the situation, but all ended happily - this time.

PORT ALFRED, AUGUST 1986. WE ARE ON THE RIGHT...

 

Time Passes

A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK? A few years passed. Laetitia and I went to Europe and I returned in 1989. Laetitia had by now finished 'Varsity and had started working life in Grahamstown. She was in West Street (just a few metres up the road from the Cathcart Arms, South Africa's oldest hotel). This pic was taken in her lounge, and we used it to scare people, telling them that 'we'd become parents but that the new kid's appearance was causing us some concern' (it was actually our housekeeper Diana's baby).

OH ANNIE! I'M NOT YOUR DADDY!
DIGGING OUR SCENE. I moved into digs from 1989 until 1991, first in Beaufort Street, then Bathurst St, and finished up in Livingstone Street in 1991. The Beaufort Street place had a very decent verandah, and room for a dog. So we got one. Cujo. No, not THAT Cujo. Compare this haircut to the one in the next picture - they're only a few months apart. ON MY VERANDAH WITH CUJO, 1989

Skinhead

Come 1990, I'd adopted a much more 'low-maintenance' style - shaven! I'd gone for the cut during the National DJ Championships and the look stuck. Here I am in 1990 with Chicago-bred friend Kevin O'Neil and Nikki Evans, both DJs with RMR. This was during the year that Laetitia and I had gone our separate ways, still involved but not together...It's a long story

AFTER SHAVING MY HEAD FOR THE FIRST TIME, 1989

Go East, Young Man

I did, too, late in 1991 when I was offered a job by the Tourist Authority which wanted to open a radio station in the nearby port city of East London. This was after I'd successfully headed a project which resulted in our campus radio station RMR becoming the first non-State broadcaster in South Africa since WW2 to be granted a broadcast licence. I pulled out of my Masters Course at 'Varsity, packed up my digs, hopped on a Greyhound, and went off to join the ranks of the (un)gainfully employed, opening my own radio broadcast consultancy, PEOPLES VOICE.

So it was goodbye to a remarkable six years in Grahamstown, and now East London was to be home for the next four...

NO NO, NOT ANOTHER PARTY. PLEASE!!!

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