To listen to the Casper De Vries interview, play from 36:10 to 54:30
Here is a sneak peek…
Scott Thomas Outlar: Well, Don, this interview has been a long time coming. First of all, thank you for taking a moment to answer a few of my questions. Now, without further ado, let’s dive in! You certainly lived through some unique experiences growing up during the final decades of Apartheid in South Africa. How did those early years of life shape both your psyche and art? I’ve often heard you speak about one’s “moral compass.” Was it during this time that yours was formed?
Don Beukes: Yes indeed Scott and I am ready to heed to the call! Thank you for including me in your interview series and for your readers to ‘hear’ my voice from your pages!
Now that I think about it, from the day I was born in 1972 to the time when Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster prison in Paarl about 45 minutes from Cape Town, it was actually almost two decades. I was in my first year at University after a challenging secondary education involving a national student uprising against Apartheid, intimidation by the Apartheid regime’s military and police forces to prevent pupils from attending classes during this time for fear of demonstrations, mass meetings and perceived violence against armed forces, which was exactly what anyone my age experienced during that historic revolutionary period. Most of my peers at the age of 13 and 14 just starting high school experienced the wrath of the armed forces to prevent dissident gatherings and congregations of pupils at schools. I remember seeing an army vehicle called a ‘Casspir’ one morning before school (Belhar Secondary), and watching a soldier aim in slow motion towards my two friends, Heinrich and Gavin, and myself before firing! We ended up dragging helpless girls across the sports field towards the fence, enshrouded by swirls of Armageddon teargas. It was our first experience of teargas canisters being deployed to chase pupils away from the school premises in order to prevent mass gatherings and for older students to tell us what was really going on in our suburbs, our city and indeed the country, as we were quite protected from politics growing up though primary school.