Fish Hoek Notes



For more than fifty years I shared my life with Bernard Riley, whom I met in 1954 at the Tanga Yacht Club, in what was then Tanganyika . So this is a love story, as well as the story of our lives in three continents – Africa , North America and Europe . I have tried to indicate the changing background – how the world, and in particular South Africa and other African countries, altered dramatically during my lifetime and how this affected Bernard and me.


I grew up in South Africa in the 1920s and 1930s. Then World War 2 took five years, including three as a prisoner of war. Six years were taken up by study at universities in South Africa and England . This was followed by a period in the British Colonial Service in East Africa for five years, in urban African administration in Rhodesia for three years, then by teaching and research at the Universities of Ghana and of California for a quarter of a century, and several years of fieldwork in Kenya . We retired to Britain in the 1990s, and finally moved to the new South Africa – for me, after an absence of fifty-two years.


I consider here the many turning points I have faced, when I have been confronted with a choice. Looking back, I consider that I usually made the right choice, partly from good luck, and partly, I like to think, from good judgement. It was often Bernard who supplied the good judgement. At times I encountered serendipity, when I found myself in an unusual situation which turned out to be greatly to my advantage – or to both mine and Bernard’s.