A selection of photos showing the real-life characters central to the Umbilicus plot. And a few items from the scrapbook that the author’s birth mother made for her, to explain her side of the story.

palmgrovemargate1970

Above: Paula’s birth parents at the Palm Grove (nightclub) in Margate, 1970 – four years before Paula was born. Image supplied.

Below: Paula was born on 18th August 1974 at Addington Hospital in Durban. She was separated from her biological mother straight after birth, and spent the first three weeks of her life in the care of nurses before being allowed to go home with her ‘forever family’. Here she is in the arms of her 29-year-old adoptive mother, September 1974. Image supplied.

1497280_707316912654195_2060936848_n

Below: Left to right – Paula’s adoptive mother, aged 21 in 1966; Paula’s birth mother, aged 21 and unknowingly pregnant with Paula in 1974; Paula on her 21st birthday in 1995. Paula’s birth mother was 21 when she had Paula, and Paula was 21 when she reunited with her birth mother. Each one of these newly-minted 21-year-old South Africans was about to embark on a life-changing trip to London, albeit for three different reasons, and during three different eras – mid-60s, mid-70s, and mid-90s. Images supplied.

1912451_706724889380064_1798652751_n

duncan

Above: Paula’s 24-year-old biological father playing in the band ADDAM at La Boheme (nightclub) in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, July 1973 – the year before Paula was born. Image supplied.

Below: Paula in the arms of her 30-year-old adoptive father, September 1974. Image supplied.

11951102_1046509572068259_5940529306332516503_n

paula&lee

Above: Paula, aged 19, with her boyfriend, 30th May 1994. Photo by Lisa Luiz.

Below: Paula’s boyfriend, aged 18, outside Berea Inn (nightclub), later that same evening. Photo by Lisa Luiz.

lee

bereainn

Above: Play @ Berea Inn was the weekly haunt of Durban goths during the early-to-mid 90s. Flyer by DJ Helgé.

Below: Alternative club DJ Helgé Janssen had arguably one of the best record collections this side of the Equator. Here he is shown in character as the ‘Apartheid Demon’, for a 1996 performance piece. Photo by Rhett Podersoo.

helge

Below: Paula’s flatmate at The Station (nightclub), circa 1994/5. Image supplied.

zaga

Below: The letter Paula’s birth mother wrote to her own mother (Paula’s biological maternal grandmother) from the abortion clinic she had been sent to in London, when it was still an illegal procedure in apartheid-era South Africa.

1974

Below: The letter Paula’s birth mother wrote to Paula on her 18th birthday and left on file, with her contact details, at the adoption agency.

1992

Below: The night Paula’s birth mother and her second husband visited the restaurant where Paula was waitressing at the time. Unbeknownst to the almost-21-year-old Paula, the woman she was serving was her biological mother.

1995

Save

Save