Titziano Vecellio, better known as “Titian”, painted the very famous “Three Ages of Man” around 1512 to 1514. The painting depicts the three stages of life – Infancy, Adulthood and Old Age and since my works cover my minority, majority and seniority, I thought it fitting to borrow the idea of Youth, Adulthood and Old Age from Titian.
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in March 1942. The Second World War was more than three years away from conclusion and Johannesburg had been officially declared a city only fourteen years earlier. Having evolved from a mining camp established around 1886 following the discovery of gold, the Johannesburg of the 1940’s and 50’s was a simple place. The population was small, traffic was light and with few exceptions the streets were wide enough to comfortably carry vehicles and pedestrians without congestion. The streets were laid in a grid pattern with major arteries running East to West crossed at 90 degrees by others running North to South. Public transport consisted of electric, double deck tramcars that ran on steel rails set into the middle of the roads with their power coming from spring loaded roof-top booms in contact with overhead power-lines. Later, electric double deck trolley buses would be introduced on certain routes because they had the advantage of running on rubber tyres and required no rails.
To my young eyes, the city was a place of great wonder even though (or perhaps because) there were no sky-scrapers (they would come later) There were, however, any number of impressive buildings with granite and marble facades and columns and sweeping staircases leading to majestic entrances guarded by uniformed doormen. Among the most memorable for me were the Public Library, the City Hall, the Rissik Street Post Office, Shell House, the Drill Hall and many more. Most are now gone, either victims of progress or derelict, victims of inner city decay.
The poems contained herein were written over a period of fifty years and attempt to reflect my journey from Minority through Majority to Seniority.
In order that the reader might better understand the poems, I have included a short introduction to those needing it to serve as a “scene set”. Hopefully this will help create a clearer picture in the mind’s eye and thereby increase the enjoyment. In addition, some of the poems are written in Afrikaans and for those unfamiliar with the language, the introduction is essential.
All the posts contained in this blog are original works by Terence du Toit and are subject to copyright. All the images contained in this blog are copyright moi du toi photography.
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