Radio jingle:
Announcer: “South Africa, what’s your favourite meal?”
Crowd: “Braaivleis!”
Announcer: “Sport?”
Crowd: “Rugby!”
Announcer: “Weather?”
Crowd: “Sunshine!”
Announcer: “And what’s your greatest car, South Africa?”

Before 1976, you had to imagine it: the Chevrolet Constantia, a sleek growler, straight-six, glossy teal, the suburbs swirling across its broad bonnet. You could picture tracking it from above like a kestrel, a speck caught like a flake of fool’s gold in your beryl eye, mirroring your own iridescent, arrowing consciousness, which knew the world: the glistening blend of weather and horizon, the intimate tactions of gravity. Freedom.

Television arrived in the republic in January that year, full colour, even though the Prime Minister had previously called it dangerous, a thing that was modern but not necessarily good, like the atom bomb. What un-South African scenes would TV bring inside our homes?

But now you could see the Chev even if you hadn’t properly seen it.

Today you can buy one for R110 000, firm, from Mr Johan van Rensburg on gumtree.co.za. You can buy it even if your memories of the year that radio waves suddenly came freighted with moving pictures was: not braaivleis. Not rugby. Not sunny skies. Not Chevrolet. You can buy it even if, that year, you were brought down to Earth by other things.

Ben Oswest, who lives in Johannesburg, is the author of The New Suffolk Hymnbook, a novel