My yellow submarine

Yip, my first car was a yellow VW beetle much like the one in the movie Material. 1972 model. It was all I could afford at the time. It was quickly christened the “yellow submarine”, not by me, mind you. Not sure why, maybe because the shock-absorbers were shot and it waved its way across town much like a submarine in turbulent waters. The steering had so much play on it any GPS device would battle to track it.

But like all VW beetles, it was a good bundu-basher. It did not once leave me by the side of the road. It slept outside and in spite of that, the engine would turn over and start the moment I turned the key, even in winter.

The longest trip we took in it was to Knysna. It was an eventful trip. Firstly, we took the wrong turn and ended up travelling to Vereeniging via the back roads instead of the freeway. Already 2 hours behind schedule a tyre burst just outside Kroonstad. We limped into the town on a Saturday morning just before 10h00. A new tyre cost more than a full set would have at any other time.

Then the ATM swallowed my card. In a panicked state I ran around town looking for the bank branch to get my card back, which thankfully I got back without any hitches after I explained that we were on our way to Knysna on holiday.

Hours later, still on the road, we decided to make up some time and take the “as the crow flies” route via the Prince Alfred’s pass instead of going all the way into George. It looked much shorter on the map! Needless to say, it took us an extra 5 hours to get to Knysna instead of 2. For those of you that know the pass, will know what I mean. My beautiful yellow submarine performed superbly though, in the middle of the night, through dense fog.

I eventually outgrew it. It sat in the front garden, looking all forlorn. I just couldn’t bring myself to sell it. My Dad eventually took the initiative and found a buyer. I reluctantly sold it to a young guy, who only did the transfer of ownership months later, incurring some hefty speeding fines, in my name, in the interim.

I still miss it. One day, I will have another VW beetle, even if it’s only to go shopping on Saturdays.


** Bundu – word used in mainstream South African english; I use it when referring to a wilderness area or bush

** Prince Alfred’s pass runs from Uniondale to Knysna

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