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Who am I?

Bekende woorde van Jean-Valjean uit Les Miserables in sy soeke na sy diepste identiteit. Krisis of groot verandering in ‘n mens se lewe roep dikwels hierdie vraag op! Aftrede is so ‘n groot verandering en kan jou tot in jou fondament skud. As dit nie, is jy of breindood of onder narkose.

As relatiewe jong pensioenaris wil ek aspekte van my reis met oud en jonk deel. Nie om enige indruk te maak nie, maar eerder as terapie vir myself en ander. Die idee is beslis nie om sosiale kommentaar, gewaande wyshede of filosofiese denke op pen te sit, of te ontlok nie! Die idee is om te vertel en te deel – van reisverhale, die mooi van die natuur, kosmaak en kuier, medemenslikheid en die hart van Verandering.

Maar hierdie pad gaan baie rustig geloop word……

“When you are getting on in years (but not ill, of course), you get very sleepy at times, and the hours seem to pass like lazy cattle moving across a landscape.” – GOOD-BYE, MR. CHIPS, James Hilton.

Of teen die tempo van ‘n plat see….

Pringlebaai

Ons voshaar meisiekind

Cornêl 29-07-1980 /23-09-2005

Ons voshaar-kuiltjie-meisiekind sou vandag 41 gewees het, maar bly vir altyd 25 in ons harte en herinnering.

Ons uurglas van verlange en onthou loop nooit leeg nie. Ook nie ons uurglas van seer nie. Aanvaarding van dit wat ons nie kan verander nie bring tog vrede. Vrede wat alle verstand te bowe gaan.

Sy het gelewe sonder terughou- vol passie, verkenning en prestasie – amper asof sy geweet het haar eie uurglas loop uit.

Waar Hoop is…

De Hoop

Beskaam nie –

waar  rivier nooit op hou vloei,

net kronkel kronkel

na eindlose oseaan-

beelde, vrae,

versugting, verlange

in mense hart-

een toon sagte  afvloei

Crescendo waar  stroom versnel

oor perkussie klip

soprano mikstertkwik,

astrante vinke knetter

trommende perdeby

sagte vlerksleep duif-

Simfonie van Hoop

terapiemusiek

sag, strelend  salwing

vir die hart

Junie 2021

Safari Nostalgia – The Namibia Syndrome # 1

Warning: Highly contagious!

‘Syndrome” – a set of symptoms which together indicates a particular disease or abnormal condition.’ – Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.

Hein Anton Klein-Werner’s song, the ‘Südwestlied’ says everything: something happens to you when you experience Namibia for the first time:

Und sollte man uns fragen:Was hält euch denn hier fest?Wir könnten nur sagen:Wir lieben Südwest!



Believe me! What exactly happens to you is hard to explain – your heart and soul are captured and remain captive for life. This condition is irreversible. No one warned us. We did not anticipate that this syndrome would bring us back, and back, and back again.

This blog has been “burning” in the draft box for more than a year now. The reason: my obsession with order/ chronology, and at the same time realizing that during the first encounters with Namibia we had no camera! What follows is a mere ‘starter’ for the sake of easing the mind that we at ĺeast started off in the right chronology. Hereafter will be a total disregard thereof, and a random capita selecta of safaris brought about by this most amazing syndrome: love for Namibia!

Our introduction to this arid paradise really only came during the Cape winter of 1989. Very good friends, Fef and Pauline, suggested we join them on a trip to Namibia during the June school holidays, which we later came to understand to be a very typical ‘exodus’ for the more privileged South Africans during the cold winter season. Specially so for the Capetonians! It was only during this maiden safari to Namibia, and our first also into Africa, that we came to realize that this ‘Cape escape‘ establishes itself as part of a new found tradition for us.

The kids were still small, 14, 9 and 6. We were totally unprepared! No camping gear and an old Chevy station wagon. So we started to get stuff like the cheapest little nylon tent, a few plastic crates etc. We had a foam mattress cut to the size of the station wagon’s load bay with the rear seat folded away as a possible bed for the girls! Our boy was at the time a member of the Tygerberg Childrens’ Choir and scheduled to tour to Gauteng for a series of performances. Special arrangements were made for him to fly from Johannesburg to Windhoek to link up with us.

Huge excitement reigned! The preparation and planning “get togethers” with our dear friends were a huge part of the fun. Planning on the part of our more experienced friends was meticulous and all boxes were ticked!

And then – a mere week or two before departure madness struck: driving through Stellenbosch one afternoon having visited the in-laws, we came across this second hand two-tone silver and grey VW Microbus at the VW dealers! Very popular at the time for touring. And we bought it! Crazy, but what the hell!

Traveling through the Kgalagadi  Transfrontier Park ( then probably still the Kalahari Gemsbok Park) introduced us to camping and hard lessons were learnt! Another story!

We entered Namibia through the Mata Mata border post and travelling along seemingly endless gravel roads, the vastness of this country struck us -we were in awe.

a vast land

Along the C15 route we joined the C20 at Stampriet to Aranos, took a sharp left to Gobabis passing Vogelweide, Leonardville and Hoaseb. The few tarred highways and major gravel roads were all of outstanding quality. But distances are huge and if you are an impatient city dweller, the time spent on the road might not be for you.

In Gobabis we stayed at the Welkom private game farm, in fairly modest, but comfortable accommodation consisting of rondavels and attractions like our young visiting giraffe, Chikane, leopard cubs in the camp, one angry lion, a swimming pool and trampoline for the kids, more than enough for a rookie and low budget first safari!

From Welkom we hit north to Windhoek, capital of Namibia, and further to the north – Etosha, world renowned reserve, where Africa’s animals are still free. Sitting at the waterhole at Okaukuejo the painting of Africa is complete – an indescribable work of art! Your heart and mind at peace. Africa is in my blood. There is no escape. I am captured – willingly.

From Okaukuejo further north in this endless land to Halali.

The kids had a ball, specially around the splendid pool! Pauline’s mom, Moedie, spoiled us with ‘sakbrood’!

As I am writing many a memory pop up like pop corn! My first and last hunting experience near Aranos, the UN troops in Gobabis, collecting our biltong(fruits of the hunt) in Windhoek, a marathon oxtailpotjie, a marvelous potbrood, traveling 1200km from Halali to Keetmanshoop in a single day. Many a story for another day.

A first introduction to Namibia – vast open spaces, breathtaking vistas, an inexplicable capture of the heart, a desire for more….

Now I can start to pen down journey after journey to this vast land, which according to the novel by John Gordon Davis was “made by God in anger”! Not true – a land of immense beauty, contrasts, solitude and surprise!

https://www.britannica.com/place/Namibia

Watch this space!

Autumn – a time of rest and decline

During the autumn of one’s life and well before winter strikes, there comes a time for admission and also recognition….

When one writes ‘leave’ instead of ‘leaf’, as was done in my previous little blog, autumn is indeed not only in the body, but also in the mind, and that is more scary than anything!

Interestingly ‘autumn’ is not only defined as ” season between summer and winter”, but also “time of incipient decline”.

There is off course also the easier explanation for having written ‘leave’ instead of ‘leaf’ – cacography! Mea culpa – I clearly am displaying cacographic writing!

cacographic(Adjective) Displaying the properties of bad spelling or bad handwriting or both.

It is also part of autumn to become more humble, to more readily concede, to simply make peace with decay in independence…..hence my decision to formally appoint my other half as my editor!

Just an Autumn leaf traversing a stream

What are we? Who are we? Who am I?

But an Autumn leaf drifting downstream to the infinite ocean.

Man has become so presumptuous, so like a god.

In his powerful work Sapiens on the history of mankind, Yuval Noah Harari , titles the concluding chapter “Afterword: The Animal that Became God”. He concludes with a most powerful question: ” Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?”

A god without love becomes Satan.

Be still Autumn leaf.

As voetspore met sonsak weer kruis

CP Terblanche 19/11/1955 – 21/03/2021

From the day we arrive on the planet
And, blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round

It’s the circle of life
And it moves us all … Elton John/ Tim Rice/ Lebo M & Carmen Twillie uit ‘The lion king’

Ons was seker so 5 en 8 onderskeidelik, begin sestigerjare, en reeds lekker stout nefies! Wel, oor die algemeen ‘mooi’ stout. Net normaal. Ons ma’s was susters. Ver uit mekaar gewoon – ek in die Weskusdorpie en hy op die plasie by Jan Fourieskraal langs die sementpad wat Calitzdorp en Oudtshoorn verbind. Min kans gehad vir speel en baljaar, behalwe vir die tradisionele einde- van-die-jaar-familiekuiers op Hartenbos.

CP het sy pa vroeg verloor, reeds om en by 1961, wat beteken dat hy toe maar 6 was. Ons trek van die Weskus na Hartenbos toe het sonder uitsondering oor Jan Fourieskraal gegaan waar Ant Rose se plaaswinkeltjie vir ure se pret gesorg het. Die weeg van die rys, suiker, droë bone ens.op die ou skaaltjie met die koper gewiggies was groot pret en die geldjie wat ons daarmee verdien het,het lekkergoed gebring. Hierdie ekonomie het gewerk!  Maar die pret van nefies se saamspeel was onvergeetlik. Agter die huis teen die groot grondwal is paadjies en bergpasse uitgekerf en aan die voet van die ou “berg” die mooiste plase uitgelȇ en bedryf! Dinky Toys was toe groot. Langs die treinspoor wat vlak agter die werf verby geloop het, het ons vergeefs probeer om, as deel van “cowboys & crooks”, die trein te laat ontspoor: die klippies wat ons so skelm op die spoor geplaas het telkens die lug ingeskiet as die trein verby stoom. Van die ouer neefs en niggies het ons, in ons eie verbeeldingswȇreld, bykans vergeet!

Kuiers op Kruisrivier by Tant Babs ( nog ‘n sussie van ons ma’s) was ewe groot pret. Draf met die skuins voetpad na die rivier toe. Swem in die rivier, kleilat gooi en met die windbuks aanlȇ om die bosluisvoels van die koeie se rûens te klits! Stories om die Agastoof as ons aan Antjie se lippe hang.

Hartenbos was egter altyd die hoogtepunt met al die neefs en niggies daar. Die Potgieters uit die Noorde met hul karavaan, Oom Ockie hulle by Bloublasie, Tant Rose se ou reuse “Army” tent met sy vertrekke en ons in ‘n huurhuisie.See en sand, krieket oor die radio, Kakebeenwa-Oukersaand as ons volgens ouderdomsgroepe ons geskenkie gaan haal het, en die reuse Nuwejaar sportbyeenkoms waar een en almal kon deelneem aan Boeresport en atletiek-items. Die Terblanche-en Potgieter-neefs was uitstekend met atletiek en het gereeld bekertjies ingepalm. So ook natuurlik CP! Hy was later rȇrig moeg van al die kakebeenwaentjies wat hy elke keer gewen het!

CP het groot pret verskaf aan oud en jonk. Vir my oorlede pa het hy met oorgawe Cliff Richard se “ Living Doll” gesing en as my pa dan sou sê hy sou hom ‘n geldjie gee, maar hy het nou ongelukkig net ‘n pondnoot, dan was CP vinnig met: “ Ag Oom Johann, gee dan maar die ou pondjie wat!”

Na my eie pa se dood in 1964 het die kuiers voortgegaan en is wonderlike tye beleef. Maar die jare 1961 tot 1964 het ook bittere smart vir ons familie gebring. Dalk meer vir die grootmense as vir ons, maar die onwerklikheid het ook by ons kom lȇ. Oom Louis, CP se pa, is oorlede, Ouma Alet het terminaal siek gelȇ by Tant Babs op Kruisrivier en toe die seerste seer toe Oom Kerneels en Tannie Estertjie verongeluk het en twee neefs en twee niggies wees gelaat is. Ons nefie Niel was maar 6 en Essie so 12. Daarna my eie pa. En die lewe bewys weer eens hoe broos en verganklik ons is.

Soos dit moet, stap die lewe vir ons ander aan en bring die realiteit van grootword ook stelselmatig afstand as elkeen sy eie pad begin loop. Toenemend so as die ouers begin wegval, neefs en niggies trou en pad vat, elkeen sy loopbaan uitkerf en kinders kry. Nuwe familiekringe word gebou en die lewe hardloop met ons almal weg.

Ek kan nie eers onthou wanneer ek vir CP as jong man ná universiteit weer gesien het nie. Dit is hartseer, maar waarskynlik die natuurlike verloop van die lewe. Dit is bykans asof neefs en niggies voor die warm son van die dag verdwyn as jy jou eie son geniet met vrou en kleingoed.

Tog verander dinge weer as jou naderende sonsondergang meer dinktyd en nuwe perspektief bring. Bloed is per slot van sake dikker as water! Na vele jare van afsloof vir oorlewing,  blokkies afmerk in jou werk en ouerskap, kom daar weer tyd vir terugkyk,  nostalgie en verlange. Dit was Etna se insig om eerste ‘n  saamkuier te reël op Vermont, waarna nog ‘n paar gevolg het – ‘n verfrissende vars kontak wat die nostalgie kom salf het en die meeste van die neefs en niggies weer bymekaar gebring het. Tog vreemd hoe die lewe loop en mens gedurende die middelfase voortstoom in die rotresies.

Hoe dankbaar is ons nie nou vir die weer-vind van ons eie bloed nie, die heerlike lag vir staaltjies uit die verlede, geseënde saamwees oor lekker kos en wyn en die diepe besef van dankbaarheid vir geleende tyd.

Etna, ek en die Terblanche-broers
Boeties

Ou CP, jou vertrek was so onvoorspelbaar vining, veels te vroeg, en boonop gaan jy die Potties-reünie mis! Ou neef, rus sag, en mag ons ander gespaar bly om die 7de Augustus met ‘n traan in ons lag ook jou lewe te kan vier op Kruisrivier  Jy sal daar wees by ons en in ons harte.

Why are we here on this planet

If you have not watched the ‘Groen Namibia’ series on television you are so much the poorer.

https://kyknet.dstv.com/program/groen-namibie/groen-maak-weer-n-draai-in-namibie/nuus

The everlasting quest for purpose – show me one human-being who has not grabled , at one stage or another, with his or her destiny and purpose on this planet! It is central to our journey to the end of time (for us) and the very reality of being.

Life is a journey with so many twists and turns, but in the end the journey is more important than the end. I know there are people with a conflicting views and who truthfully believe that the end is the goal and the crowning. I respect their view and wish them well. Fact is that we are here now on a planet so fragile that unless we ‘superior beings’ do something during our stay, nothing will remain to be enjoyed and experienced by those still to arrive.

https://naankuse.com/

Go! Take time out, and go reflect – this time, for a change seriously, please do.