13 August 2018

South Africa: The Spectre of the Red Berets


Or, is South Africa the new Venezuela (or, worse, Zimbabwe) and what does that mean, exactly, for the future?

Forty years ago, we were living in Surabaya, Indonesia, and one of our closest Indonesian friends learned that my family and I would be back in the US on a family visit for a month or two. He asked us for a small favour - could we please purchase some new berets for him. He was deeply addicted to them as stylish headgear - and the truth of it was that he really did look very dashing and artistic wearing one, even in that all-pervasive Indonesian heat.

He was a professional photographer and painter, as well as a popular published poet, and the image of him wearing a beret truly fit the man. We all liked Krishna a great deal and so there was no question of whether or not we would make the effort to find a store that sold men's hats - particularly high-quality wool berets - even in the midst of a muggy, steamy Florida summer where most clothing stores sold bathing suits, T-shirts and flip flops, rather than suits, ties, or berets.


South Africa

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