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


Above: My birth parents at the Palm Grove (nightclub) in Margate, 1970 – four years before I was born. 

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


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



Above: My 24-year-old birth father playing in the band ADDAM at La Boheme (nightclub) in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, July 1973 – the year before I was born. 

Below: Me in the arms of my 30-year-old adoptive father, September 1974. 



Above: Me, aged 19, with my boyfriend, aged 18 (now husband and father of my son), 30 May 1994. Photo by Lisa Luiz.

Below: My boyfriend outside Berea Inn (nightclub), later that same evening. Photo by Lisa Luiz.



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.


Below: My flatmate at The Station (nightclub), circa 1994/5. 


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


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


Below: The night my birth mother and her second husband visited the restaurant where I was waitressing at the time. Unbeknownst to me, the woman I was serving was my biological mother.