Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ballad Of A Traffic Cop

Continuing our look at South African music during my younger days, here's a late 1960's or early 1970's song from a well-known South African comedian, Pip Freedman, that had most of us laughing as we sang along.

First, some background information to help you understand the song.  Under apartheid, South Africa had a national police force that took care of normal police and security duties, but not traffic law enforcement.  The latter was handled largely by municipal or provincial 'traffic cops', to which this song refers.  They tended to be fairly heavy-handed and unsympathetic, so as you can imagine, this song became immensely popular as a means of teasing them.  There were reportedly more than a few incidents where, when motorists were pulled over, they'd immediately start to play this song (very loudly) on their vehicle's 8-track or cassette player, to the annoyance of the officers concerned!

Some of the words of the song are in Afrikaans, or are South African slang, so here's a quick list of them before you listen:

  • "The set of yellow lines" - indicates a loading (i.e. no parking) zone.
  • "I plaks it on the car" - stick it (the ticket) on the car.
  • "Move your car, meneer, jy moenie park in here" - "Move your car, mister, you mustn't park in here".
  • "Third Party disk" - a paper disk displayed on the windshield to indicate that the vehicle was covered by third-party accident insurance.  It had to be renewed every year.
  • "CY" - the (then) vehicle registration letters indicating the town of Bellville in the Western Cape.
  • "Twenty Rand" - the Rand is South Africa's national currency.  At the time this song was written, one Rand was worth about two US dollars, if I recall correctly.
  • "Every evening after scopes" - movie theaters were referred to as 'bioscopes' in South Africa for many years.  'Scopes' is a slang abbreviation of that term.

With that in mind, here's the song.



Anonymous said...

Heh. We still have a national police forc... erm, _service_ (even though they went back to using military rank), the traffic police and metro police. Yes, it's confusing, but you get used to is (being confused, I mean).

And Bellville is still CY. Gauteng went from TJ 123 to abc 123 T to abc 123 GP to ab 12 cd GP or some such these days, while the surfer dooodz in Cape Town still drive their mom's CY Datsun SSS. We don't care, we have a mountain.

Old NFO said...

Now that is funny! :-)