Well, here we go.  You’ve gathered my name is Shelley Loe.  So that’s the first thing out of the way.  Who am I and why should you be interested anyway?  That’s somewhat more challenging.

I’m pretty ordinary, really, with very definite views and opinions.  Above all, I’m the mother of four truly wonderful people and the grandmother (recent title – still have to pinch myself) of the most beautiful boy called Jack.  Over the past 40 years, I’ve earned my living by way of journalism and politics. And I’m a born and bred South African. Those are the facts that qualify me to write about life in this wondrous country, with all its fun and flaws, tragedies and miracles …

All my first memories involve my nannies.  Amazingly – by way of deduction and with the help of my mother – the very first flash I have of being alive, is of the back of my nanny, walking in front of me, her hands clasped behind her, deep brown on one side, pretty pink on the other. My second memory (we’ve worked out), is of those same hands, fastening my sandals which sported straps in all the primary colours … That was in Kimberley.

Later on, in Greenside, Johannesburg, I remember being completely fascinated by the fact that our nanny there – a loving woman called Anna – had to get my older sister – all of 7 years old – to write her a permission slip if she needed to work late.  Anna told us that if the police stopped her in the street after dark and she presented that piece of paper, she wouldn’t get into trouble. I could never get a firm answer out of anyone as to why an adult needed the authority of a child to be out late …

These and other things shaped me, as well as my mother’s living example of treating all people with grace. The rest is history, but not much different from many people of my generation. I was a cub reporter on a local newspaper when the Soweto Riots happened, and had achieved a small promotion to general reporter by the time the Info Scandal broke, and more significantly, when Steve Biko died. That was the first time, at the age of 18, that I recall questioning the establishment – my parents, my bosses, the government – and started thinking for myself.

Privately, and knowing very little about the political theory behind it, I became a liberal. As soon as I ceased being a journalist (who weren’t allowed to belong to a political party), I joined up with Denis Worrall’s Independent Party.  Five minutes later, we and Wynand Malan’s National Democratic Movement joined up with the Progressive Federal Party under the leadership of the precious Zack de Beer to unveil the Democratic Party (which morphed into the Democratic Alliance).  I’ve been hanging around ever since …

So that’s me. I’ve been a party activist, office-bearer, staff member and public representative for the past 28 years (at times, during the 1,73% years, simultaneously!) and now it’s over. Today I’m free as a bird and ready to put pen to paper on all things South African.  I hope you find it interesting and that you’ll engage me.  Let’s talk openly and honestly about our lot in life.  Let’s debate robustly about anything and everything.  It goes without saying, I hope, that I won’t tolerate any of the dreaded -isms on this page. So don’t generalise here and we’ll get along just fine.

Chat soon.





One Comment Add yours

  1. Sue says:

    Thank you for voicing what you have. I support what you have mentioned in your article and feel desperate about this situation we, the DA, find ourselves in. I am a sitting councillor and it has been very difficult to defend the stance the DA seems to be taking on this issue – the leadership seem to be listening to people who have an axe to grind with the DA/Helen and the successes it is enjoying. For me it is a situation of Cry, the beloved Country, because the DA is the party to take the country forward (in coalition) and yet we are tearing ourselves apart.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s