Motoring through what is called the Midlands Meander in KwaZulu-Natal we decided to pop into one of the province’s top private schools, Michaelhouse – not just because it is featured in the book and movie Spud but because a few of my mates are listed among its most illustrious matriculants.
One is cosmologist George Ellis, who I’ve known since we climbed mountains together as students. Another is my late newspaper colleague Barry Streek. When Spud was first published, Barry and I were fellow weekend guests of a mutual friend, and for two days he never lifted his nose out of the book.
“JUST a small mark, please,” I said to the lady with the purple pen, who agreeably planted a tiny dot above my left thumbnail.
And when the next seated lady in line gave me my two ballot papers, I asked: “May I come back this afternoon and vote again?” At first she seemed dumbstruck that I should ask such a question. Then she pointed at my purple mark and said no, I couldn’t.