Jacket: Apprenticeship I, Cape Town 1971


I walked through the doorway into a long narrow room with high west-facing windows above a row of work-benches. There were three or four men sitting at the benches working with mysterious things. The place was full of tools – hand tools lying on benches or hanging in rows on racks, rolling mills, a small anvil, enigmatically-shaped swage blocks and dapping dies. There were flames, from the gas-and-oxygen soldering torches. A hammer rang and rang. There were the smells of hot oil, the particular scent given off by the flux when one melts precious metal, the odour of Tripoli compound and rouge. The radio was playing – Radio Good Hope, some sentimental tune from the past, perhaps Nat King Cole’s ‘Walking my Baby back Home’. I took off my badly-cut 1969 suit jacket, and hung it on a hook with other jackets. I felt completely at home.

Apprenticeship Part II


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