Plett Rage (2)

Wed 4 December 2013: 7 years 3 months on …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

I forgot to mention in my last blog that we had the benefit of not having cell phones in those days (1979).

So no-one could get hold of you unless you wanted to get hold of them … via the silver public telephone in the red and cream rondavel-styled phone box in the caravan park. (In the “public” booths on the pavements outside the park, you would also have to check whether the booth was signed for “WHITES ONLY” or “Non-Whites ONLY”.)

As Stellenbosch students, we had also perfected the “lang-tiekie” – a 20c piece that had a long string attached to it. You dropped the coin into the slot, made your call, and then removed the coin afterwards! Hence, a free call home just to inform the folks that you were still safe (and maybe just to ask them to deposit ten more rand into your bank account!)

As students, we managed a number of cons (written off as “onskuldige studente-pret”) (innocent student fun).

At the Beacon Isle Hotel, we would go and lie at the pool (for residents only!) and pretend we were booked in there. We would cuddle up to some other familes and pretend we were part of the group. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not.

I recall a middle-aged ( probably called her ‘elderly’ then) lady from Sandton. She wore a golden swimsuit and was dark bronze tanned with golden earrings dangling from her ears and a golden necklace around the neck. She never swam in the pool but just lay in the sun day after day – working on that bronze tan.

We pretended to her that we were guests and she chatted to us day after day. Then one day, the waiter asked us for our room number and when we gave a number that didn’t exist, we were hurriedly chased out from the hotel. Thereafter, she would have nothing to do with us!

Ha ha! Howard Sheard has just reminded me that his kid’s Rage this year has cost him more than his own entire academic and hostel stay as a student at Stellenbosch University!


Plett Rage

Tuesday 3 December 2013: 7 years 3 months on …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

School is out … for the summer holidays, and for Phillip for good! Exams are finished and now we wait for the results early in January 2014.

In the meantime, he and thousands other scholars and students and hangers-on have headed to Plettenberg Bay for the annual Plett Rage (something similar to the Fort Lauderdale Florida student experience in the USA!)

It has angered me on occassion. The build-up has been over the last few months, and I have often said that I wish that our children put as much funding, preperation and enthusiasm into their school work as they did into the Plett Rage. Thousands of rands for accommodation and food and travel and entertainment, and who knows, possibly even more into alcohol! Parents (and especially mothers) are so involved too, hiring houses, cooking food, providing transport, preparing, cleaning, chaufferring and who knows what all …

But, then, I was reminded that 34 years ago I was also at our very own Plett Rave (or Rage as it is now called.)

As students, after  1979 exams at Stellenbosch, we also headed for Plettenberg Bay.

On the home page of the official web site of the Plett Rage (, you will read the following:

Plett Rage is the longest running and arguably largest student festival in the Southern Hemisphere! Plett Rage unofficially started off as a few hundred students migrating to Plett for a few days in the early 80’s for good times and to celebrate the summer. Fast forward to today and Rage is now 10 days of partying at six awesome festival venues, 300 staff to help you and of course 15,000 of your fellow students rocking it out to the biggest and best of SA’s live and electronic music scene.

As the youngsters today say, LOL. Forget the “early eighties”, we started the Rave in the late seventies! We have ourselves to blame.

But our trip was very different. Our parents were certainly not involved.

With a few rands in our pockets, we headed to Plett in what we called the Pugget (our Peugeot). We, being three lads and a lass. Our few articles of clothing and a tent were in the boot.

On arrival at Piesangs River Caravan Park, we were sent away. The place was a FAMILY tent and caravan park, and the owners could not determine a “family” in our group of four!

So, we headed to the Plett Caravan Park on the shores of the lagoon, and that’s where we pitched our tent. (The lass became problematic and we collected money and flew her back to Cape Town from the then-functional Plett airport!)

For the rest, I remember too little (maybe better so.) I think there was the Formosa Inn, the Grapevine Pub under the Beacon Isle Hotel and the Cave at the fake Spanish style Arch(er)wood Hotel.

I can’t remember there being anything else in Plett! (it was still a small dorp then!)

We had to leave Plett late on the night of the 30 November, because the caravan park rates went up for the season on the 1st December, and as students, we could not afford that! Th e Pugget gave us problems and overheated in Knysna, so we just filled the radiator up with salt water from the Knysna lagoon, right there next to the National Road. We even took a container of salt water with us, just in case!

We pitched our tent on the river bank at Bufffels Bay and the next day stopped over in George. I think we spent a few days there playing pool with the Du Toits at 21 Caledon Street, and savouring the good food and comfortable beds. (Dr Hendrik du Toit passed away earlier this year.)

The rest of our Plett Rage is a blur – I think its my disease or old age that one blames for loss of memory.

And, so the sins of the fathers are visited on the children ….

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