I grew up in a time where smoking was very fashionable. And just before this time (50’s – 70’s) the pipe smoking tradition was very strong and popular. Many older people I knew, were still smoking pipe; never made the switch to cigarettes like so many did.
Both my parents and all there friends smoked cigarettes. Pall Mall, Lexington, Rothmans and Van Rijn to name a few, run aggressive advertising campaigns at the time (1960’s – late 1970’s). After the negative medical affects of cigarette smoking was brought to the fore, the anti-smoking campaign slowly but surely built up. South Africa launched legislation which bans smoking in all public places. No doubt that this had a major effect also on pipe smoking. Someone asked in a blog recently what happened to the South African tradition of pipe smoking? Well, the anti-smoking campaign not only made it unfashionable to smoke, but also made it very difficult to smoke in places other than your personal space at home. A tobacconist in Johannesburg is building up a database of places with smokers-friendly environments.
Coming back to the African origins of smoking….not much is written about the African, or South African tradition other than clear evidence from older pictures and sketches of traditional black tribes smoking pipes; especially among the women. The Afrikaner who trekked from the Western Cape to the North was known for smoking pipe, and as the trekkers settled on farms, the stories almost always included the farmer sitting on the stoep with coffee while smoking on his pipe.
Among these trekkers, the Kayser pipe was very popular. I also had one way back – one of those I gave away. This range of pipes were made in England specifically for the South African market and was made rugged and strong for the harsh environment of an typical South African farmer. They were apparently unbreakable. I also remember while in high school, one of the ground staff permanently walked with a pipe in his mouth; lit or not. It had one of those ash caps with a small chain attached to the stem – something that I haven’t seen ever since.
Despite the anti-smoking campaign, pipe smoking is a tradition which I certainly hope will not die completely. I’m not against the anti-smoking campaign because it sure is dangerous, but moderate smoking of a pipe, in my honest opinion, is different than smoking cigarettes.
Other relevant posts:
- Smoking pipe and health issues
- Pipe shapes
- How to break-in a pipe
- Cleaning & Maintaining your pipe
- Packing a pipe
- The story of my pipe (smoking)