Bog Roll

When Covid-19 hit the world, we hit the stores. We stocked up on necessities. What did we buy? meat, sugar, dry goods? Yes, we bought some of those, and hand santiser, too. Strangely, though – one of the most sought after items worldwide was the humble bog roll.

Later, we’d scratch our heads and wonder why these rolls of mostly recyled paper were top of the shop hit parade. As the so called “second wave” of the Coronavirus threatens to hit, there are growing reports that we are at it again.

This reminded me of a post I had read somewhere about another time and place. Some will find this content distressing, if you are at risk of feeling offended, please don’t read it. It’s about a time when society had different ideas of what was acceptable, and it’s written in Rhodesian English which some may not understand. That could be a good thing.

For those that are still here …. I have copied the text to reduce the risk of future dead links, but included the original post.

Bogroll – from WhenIwasaWhenWe

There are several indisputable facts that any whenwe knows about our beloved little teapot-shaped red soiled piece of Africa. For example:

  • The mightiest river on the continent is the Makabuzi, found to hell and gone past the Tobacco sheds out Waterfalls way;
  • That Rhodesians invented smart-casual when they introduced the safari suit to the world;
  • That the Rhodesian Air Force had the best pilots in the world, even if they had Zings on the aerials of their sky chorries.

Ag look man, I could go on and on hey? Rhodesia set such high standards in so many things, from biltong to orange juice and back again, with Tanganda Tips in the middle and a T-Bone at Guido’s after a bowl of clear soup right up there at the very top. Even the chops who lived gwara-free at The Trelawney and spent their days fixing motorbikes in the bathtub and their nights seeing how many spook and diesels they could puza before falling into a coma know all this and more to be true.

But here’s a fact many of you might not know: the 1970’s Great Rhodesian Bogroll Shortage was single-handedly caused by my old man, strue’sbob, cross my heart and hope to die, and here is exactly how this came to happen:- (well ekshly not exactly-exactly because at the time I had just discovered dagga and the Watt girls next door were burgeoning into beautiful young women so I was more than a bit distracted, but still, hey.)

Uncle Ian and his boyfriend PK van der Byl had driven Harold Wilson & friends kapenzi by declaring UDI, so the whole world decided to stop selling Rhodesia everything. This soon meant that when you wiped your bum it was with a sort of sandpaper that made your nought climb back inside you from fear. Chapped lips had a whole new meaning; the whole of Rhodesia (well, mukiwas anyway) started walking like John Wayne. This was especially inconvenient if you had eaten the peri-peri chicken at Guido’s for Sunday lunch. My old man – who as you know by now was a mild and gentle man – refused to suffer such indignities. He phoned everyone he knew and bought up their fancy goods permits. I have no idea what fancy goods means at all, especially in Rhodesia, where wearing socks was thought of fancy, but I do know that the term included bogroll.

Within weeks every cupboard at 4 Ridgelee Way Avondale Salisbury Rhodesia was crammed with soft 2-ply luxury toilet rolls from Down South. It was everywhere. Now, like all good sanctions busters, my old man always had proper scotch in the house and June had a seemingly unending supply of Chocolate Logs and peppermint Crisps, but this bogroll episode was a whole new thing; I had shamwaris pulling in just to have a kak.

But Les, who was patient and clever as well as gentle and mild, waited for a bit longer, keeping the noughts of Rhodesia in discomfort and then one day all the bogroll was gone and there was a new Mercedes-Benz in the driveway.

The original post and the author’s details are in the link below

Further reading

Rhodesian Slops – Rhodesian Thongs? Never Tasted Good


Maningi Frogs

Credits and sources


Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 thoughts on “Bog Roll

  1. I just received your eulogy to Rhodesia. Most impressive. I am not Rhodesian but was at varsity with Ian Smith’s son, Rob, and we all were disgusted with the Harold Wilson bullies.
    Your 2020 picture of the bog roll, which I just saw, reminded me of one of the first post UDI Rhodesian products – bog roll with Harold Wilson’s face on it.
    Many South Africans knew Rhodesians who had lost loved ones in this senseless war instigated by a UK socialist who was clearly a believer in throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    1. Hi Peter, humble apologies for the long delay in replying to you. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this blog which desperately needs updating/scrapping. I read your comment with a grin and a heavy heart – I intended to try to save something about the days, lives, humour, culture, fears, disasters and perpetual “make a plan” moments of lives and times fast fading from memory. Few care now, but some stories refuse to be summarised and sometimes the big storylines are in the tiny details – Jokes, slang, angst, music, and food 🙂 I’ve renewed the hosting because of your comment 🙂 Thanks for the grin that only bog rolls provide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Stories From humour