Cruising with the music

A straight gravel road over the hills in Namibia, perfect for cruising with the music
These gravel roads are as common as tarred roads in Namibia

When still a child and my parents were at the wheel on those long vacation trips, we were always cruising with the music on, and I have fond memories from that. Back when I was a young single mother, I also had my go-to music, but nowadays it’s different. Whenever I am driving somewhere, it depends on where I am going, or how long the trip will be, what I listen to on the radio.

Crusing with the music as a child

When we lived in South Africa (SA) and Namibia was still called South West Africa (SWA), we used to drive from SA to SWA for the summer school holidays. That’s where my love for Tom Jones comes from. Whenever I hear songs like ‘What’s New Pussycat’ or ‘Delilah’ or ‘Green Green Grass of Home’, my mind travels back to those long straight roads through the half desert of Namibia. I remember the dry river beds we played in when we stopped at the side of the road for lunch.

One year — I must’ve been nine or ten — we drove somewhere in the southern half of SWA and there was a flood. Muddy waters were all around the car as my father drove through it, I think over one of that low-water bridges, and the brown water also constantly covered the windscreen. Those were some of my scariest moments, but still the music played. I’m sure my parents listened to other music too, such as Elvis (my mother was a huge fan), but I only took Tom Jones with me in my memories.

Those long trips as a single mom

I moved to Cape Town towards the end of 1989, and in the year after that, my mom moved there too. My dad, however, lived 1500 kilometers away in Bloemfontein, and my favourite aunt in Johannesburg. I did a lot of driving back then, me with my two kids in the car, either going to Bloemfontein for the Easter weekend or to my aunt for the summer holidays, because my grandmother visited for her 80th birthday in 1992, and all of the family came together to celebrate it.

Those long drives were always filled music, and together with the kids — especially my daughter — we sang along to many songs. The Joyride album of Roxette was one of our favorites, and by the end of those long trips, we started singing the next numbers even before they started, that well we knew the order of the songs. Until today my daughter loves Roxette, and especially Joyride, and I believe her love for that comes from cruising with the music on those long trips.

Other albums we loved to listen and sing along were the Neil Diamond tributes of Steve Hofmeyr, the album Hot Girls, Bad Boys, and some mixed Afrikaans casette tapes (yes, casette tapes) with Carike Keuzenkamp and Laurika Rauch as our absolute favorites.

Cruising with the music in current times

My habits of listening to the radio has changed a lot since I live in the Netherlands. Back when I just came here, I spoke mainly Afrikaans. Speaking Dutch was a huge learning curve, because despite the languages being closely related, there is a huge difference in the way verbs are used. Dutch is more complicated, and in order to get the hang of it, I started listening to the radio. News radio, that is. They barely ever play music, but only talk, talk, talk.

Because of this, I developed a love for the news channel, and when driving to or from work, I always listen to our Radio 1, keeping up to date with news and actualities. Only one week of the year I don’t do this — the week from Christmas Day to New Year’s Eve — I listen to Radio 2. Why? The Top 2000 of course!

When Master T and I go on a longer drive, I change the radio to Radio 10. This channel has music from all times, and not only the newest music. Sometimes you listen to something from the sixties, and then from the nineties and back to the seventies. They have short news bulletins on the hour, but we love listening to the music and being surprised with what they have on their play list. And, you can find us singing while cruising with the music, even though sometimes I just keep quiet and listen to him sing, because he has such a beautiful voice!

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

Musically Ranting

2 thoughts on “Cruising with the music

  1. I LOVED reading this Marie and learning more about you. What a fascinating experience to have grown up in South Africa and to now live in the Netherlands. Do you get to speak your native language very much? Thank you for sharing this piece.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Nora. I don’t get to speak my native language (Afrikaans) at all, but I do write it almost every day since about 4 months ago, when I reconnected with one of my favorite cousins. I notice that Afrikaans is creeping into my Dutch at times, since the two are so closely related. Growing up in SA was lovely, but sadly it’s not the same anymore. I much prefer to be where I am now, but Africa will always be in my heart ❤

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