Gammage cousins visit

Yesterday we had a visit from Val’s cousin Arthur Gammage, his wife Jenny and daughters Sonja and Hilda. We hope to see more of Sonja, as she is moving here to start working at the University of Pretoria, and the rest of the family came to help her with the move. We hadn’t seen them for about 10 years. Arthur has retired from the town planning department at Durban, and Jenny from teaching.

We took Sonja and Hilda on a kind of orientation tour of the town, along the ridge to the south, which has a small nature reserve.

Zebras in the nature reserve on Johan Rissik Drive

Somewhere in the middle distance in the picture is Centurion, also part of the Great City of Tshwane, and beyond that, on the horizon, is Johannesburg.

 

Hilda, Sonja and Val, looking over Pretoria from Johan Rissik Drive, above Waterkloof.

Then we crossed to the Union Buildings, on the other side of the valley, and looked at everything from the other side.

Sonja, Hilda and Val at the Union Buildings, all over spring flowers

We reminusced about the Union Buildings. We visited here in 1976 to visit the state artchives to do family history. The archives were then in the basement, with the reading room under the west wing, and one could go to the civil service canteen on one of the upper floors for lunch.

When we moved here in 1983 P.W. Botha was in charge, and he wanted the entire building for gis office, so gradually all other departments were moved out, and the archives eventually moved to their own building a couple of miles away,

Then came democracy, and Nelson Mandela moved in, and the public still had access to the exterior of the building, and on a couple of occasions he invited a whole busload of school children to see his office.

Vire from the terrace at the Union Buildings, with statue of Nelson Mandela Below, and view over Sunnyside

But then the main building itself was fenced off, and so ironically in the democratic South Africa the public has less access to the seat of government than it did at the height of the authoritarian Vorster regime.

Arthur Gammage with Sonja, Val Hayes, Jenny and Hilda

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