I remember when we first got a TV, in the days when the test pattern was on all day, and how my grandfather used to watch it, daydreaming to the music it provided. I also remember waiting for 6pm, freshly bathed and in my pyjamas, and watching my first shows. Chips. Sha Na Na. The A-Team. Then, as a young teen, taping music videos off Pop Shop onto the VCR. The TV became a hearth for the family – "Hurry up, it’s starting," someone would yell. "Bring the salt and pepper!" You paid your TV licence. It was the right thing to do, so it was said, although that particular catchphrase only emerged much later. In the early days, it was more like: "You’ll go to jail if you don’t." The absurdity of it startled my young mind. I imagined the Kafkaesque result of someone like my hard-working father being dragged off to a grey courtroom for not paying the TV licence, and what might happen to him. Now, every December, an auto-generated threat from the SABC exhorts me to pay my TV licence or incur ...

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