Page 128. " music that he associates with the Johannesburg of his own youth. "

Johannesburg is the biggest city in South Africa and, since 1994, the provincial capital of Gauteng.

Soweto Township
Creative Commons AttributionSoweto Township - Credit: Matt-80

Johannesburg includes the most famous of the South African townships, and the place that became synonymous with the struggle against apartheid: Soweto. Soweto was dragged into the limelight in June 1976 as the scene of the Soweto uprising, the name given to a series of student led demostrations, protesting against the government's plan to make teaching in Afrikaans compulsary in black schools.

The police turned fire on the protesters, causing widespread death and injury. Official governments records indicated 95 people had died, but the true figure is thought to be closer to 500.  



andela Family Museum, Soweto, Johannesburg
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMandela Family Museum, Soweto, Johannesburg - Credit: Moongateclimber





The first President of the new post-aparthied South Africa, Nelson Mandela, lived in a tiny house in the Orlando West area, from 1946 to 1962. The house has now been turned into a museum.


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Page 129. " It is a cloth in a rather attractive Ashanti design. "

Ashanti design
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeAshanti design - Credit: Ji-Elle
Ashanti designs are associated with the patterns and bold colours created by weavers using Kente cloth.

Kente cloth has long been associated with the Akan and Ashanti people, particularly in Ghana.

The cloth is hand woven using a loom, and the various patterns and colours have different symbolic meanings.

Page 135. " stamped on the one side with the head of sour Victoria, regina et imperatrix, on the other "

Regina et imperatrix, meaning queen and empress, is a motto associated with Queen Victoria.


The motto was used on coins and medals, including the South African Medal issued to those who fought in the Boer War between 1899 and 1902.


Page 137. " Today he is wearing a peaked cap with a silver South African Railway and Harbours badge. "

The South African Railway and Harbours organisation was introduced in 1910 and gave the state responsibility for organising the transport networks across South Africa. It was formed when the Union of South Africa was created and had huge influence in government. J W Sauer, Minister of Railways and Harbours held the most senior position in the cabinet.

Page 140. " you think Petrus is an old-style kaffir. "



In South Africa, the word was first used by the Portuguese explorers to describe the tribe people they met in Africa, and its use was continued by the English, Dutch and Afrikaans.

As racial divisions in South Africa intensified, the word became a common term of abuse directed at black people.The word kaffir is descended from the Arabic term for someone who didn't believe in Islam

Although the word has been widely condemned and its use, particularly during the apartheid era, was often seen as inflammatory, some people still use it informally today.  

Page 141. " Even the most appealing of them, Margarita Cogni "

Another one on Byron's women. Margarita Cogni was the wife of a Venetian baker who Byron had a short affair with in 1817, while living in Venice.

Page 142. " What is being asked for is, in fact, Lösung. "


Entrance to Auschwitz
Public DomainEntrance to Auschwitz - Credit: Logaritmo


Lösung is a German word meaning, solution.

It forms part of the term Die Endlösung, meaning the Final Solution. The Final Solution refers to the planned and systematic extermination of the Jewish race by the Nazi government.   

Jews were rounded up and taken to camps such as Auschwitz, as part of this process. They were then typically divided into two groups: the young, fit and strong, who would be sent off to work in the camp, and the old, ill and weak, who would be led toward the gas chambers and certain death.

Page 145. " pills, which they sell to muti shops or trade in the streets. "

Muti shops in South Africa are stores selling medicines and pills thought to have health benefits.

Page 146. " beacuse we are too menny. "


Sign for pub called Jude the Obscure in Oxford
Creative Commons AttributionSign for pub called Jude the Obscure in Oxford - Credit: dullhunk

This is a line from Thomas hardy’s novel, Jude the Obscure, first published in book form in 1895. The book dealt with issues around class, bigotry and organised religion. The story centres around Jude Fawley, a working class stone-mason, who aspires to study the classics at Christminster (modelled on Oxford University). While his social standing makes this impossible, Jude does find a semblance of happiness later in the book with Sue Bridehead, a seemingly free spirited young woman.


However, their happiness proves to be short-lived and Jude’s son from his first marriage, nick-named Old Father Time, takes drastic action in response to their emotional and economic stress. Old Father Time is described in the novel as 'of a sort unknown in the last generation — the outcome of new views of life' and the quote comes from a note written by him.