PDBY has covered student news for 83 years, but the type of news that students follow has evolved over generations at UP. This edition’s Campus Nostalgia offers some insight into the type of news student journalists covered, and the stories students were interested in reading in 1946, not long after the newspaper reopened after a four-year closure due to a paper shortage in World War 2.

In a 1946 issue of PDBY (then known as Die Perdeby) published on 27 March, a student recounts a bus breakdown on a drama trip to Railway Institute Hall in Witbank. The student explains that the bus that the students was travelling in came to a grinding halt, and the group were stranded. The recollection is vivid, as the student fearfully recounts how plumes of smoke and steam evaporated from the bus engine, and the students mentions that the accident was accredited to the bus being overcrowded. There named a mention that the jerk of the breakdown caused a student names Jeanne’s violin to fall and break, with “only Wouter being able to calm her down”. Wouter’s comment of “don’t sissy the woman” is described as having irritated the sentiments of female students on the bus.

The two-hour delay caused by the accident is described as dampening the “the spontaneous zest for life” of students on the bus. It is mentioned that another bus from Witbank was sent to pick up the students who expressed dissatisfaction at having to wait it out in the hot, arid weather. A neighbouring yard near the bus provided a source of water for students to cool off while they waited. Following the arrival of the new bus, the students travelled between Bronkhorstspruit (the site of the breakdown) and Witbank between 5 am (the time they started their journey) and 6:45 am (when they arrived at Railway Institute Hall). The student account states that “everyone was quiet now and whoever was not sitting and reading was lying asleep on his or her partner’s lap”. Once it was time to prepare for the competition, it is mentioned that the female students started to iron their Voortrekker dresses, with the only switch point for the iron being in the men’s dressing room. Before the start of their performance, students were treated to pies and fruit for dinner.

The article also mentions that the students’ acting instructor, Uncle Jerry, provided some surprisingly positive critique by stating, “if you are not going to perform worse than tonight, our tour is a huge success.” It is concluded that the students came runner up in the drama competition. The news story ends with the student describing his and another man’s attempt to flirt with women at the competition but says that they were too tired to really pick up any dates

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Susanna is currently stu(dying) genetics and joined the PDBY team in 2019. She divides her time between writing and playing with plant disease samples. Her contributions span across Science, politics and all things spicy. If you are or were in the SRC, she’s probably spammed you with messages for a story. She’s got a memory like an elephant – so she probably keeps track of student promises. Picture not to scale.