A Conversation for (I've Never Met) A Nice South African - a Song by Spitting Image

Don't forget Tom Sharpe

Post 1


"Other noted white opponents to Apartheid included the entire Slovo family, Albie Sacks, JM Cootzee, André Brink, Athol Fugard, Nadine Gordimer, Helen Suzman..."

You might perhaps want to add British comic author Tom Sharpe, who in the 1950's and early 1960's worked as a photographic artist in Pietermaritzberg. He was deported in 1965 for his attitude towards the regime - in the eyes of BOSS he had the wrong one and shouldn't have poked fun at it so often.

Settling in Cambridge and taking a teaching job at the local tech college, he is perhaps best remembered for his "Wilt" series of comic novels, where Henry Wilt, put-upon lecturer in Liberal Studies at "Fenland Tech", is dragged into escalating absurd and farcical adventures from which he extricates himself only with great difficulty.

But - and in the context of humour and satire used against the South African regime in order to highlight its murderous absurdity - it should be remembered that he also wrote two screamingly, painfully funny, farces about life in the old South Africa.

I would unhesitatingly reccomend these to anyone wanting to read more about the lunacy of the apartheid regime and how humour is a powerful weapon against the humourless.

"Riotous Assembly" and "Indecent Exposure" are set in a "fictional" city called Piemberg - recall that Sharpe lived in Pietermaritzberg - and revolve around the underpaid, ill-educated, corrupt, and criminally inefficent, South African Police Force of old.

They are very, very, funny and well worth a read even now - like an extended version of the Spitting Image song with lots more laughs!

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Don't forget Tom Sharpe

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