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Today's quote:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Parallel Lives

Click on image for close-up


Does anybody live down there? Yes, my friend Karl-Heinz and his wife Dorle do! I met Karl-Heinz in September 1968 when I went to South-West Africa. Karl-Heinz had arrived there the year before, having previously emigrated to South Africa at about the same time as I had emigrated to Australia.


Karl-Heinz and Dorle


Being about the same age, we shared many similar interests and indeed shared the company-provided flat in Lüderitz on the Atlantic coast. However, unlike me who left South-West Africa again after only six months - click here -, Karl-Heinz is still there today - having moved 300km inland to a farm just north-east of Helmeringhausen.


Click on image to enlarge


Karl-Heinz and Dorle have been running their 15,000-acre farm "Süderecke-West" for over forty years in one of the driest countries on earth, breeding goats and supplementing their income with the making of prickly-pear jam (prickly pears grow there in abundance, as they do in Australia where they are regarded as the most invasive weed ever imported), while bringing up their four children who have since left for Windhoek, Cape Town and Germany as the farm cannot support them.



For Karl-Heinz and Dorle there was little choice: turn left and remain at Helmeringhausen, or turn right to Aus (which means 'finish' in German).

I chose to return to Australia and that, as Robert Frost put it, "has made all the difference".



... and here is what was then South-West Africa's unofficial national anthem, set to the tune of "Reserve hat Ruh" ("Reservists on leave"):

Das Südwester Lied

Hart wie Kameldornholz ist unser Land
und trocken sind seine Riviere.
Die Klippen, sie sind von der Sonne verbrannt
und scheu sind im Busche die Tiere.
Und sollte man uns fragen:
Was hält euch denn hier fest?
Wir könnten nur sagen:
Wir lieben Südwest !

Doch uns're Liebe ist teuer bezahlt
trotz allem, wir lassen dich nicht.
Weil unsere Sorgen überstrahlt
der Sonne hell leuchtendes Licht.
Und sollte man uns fragen:
Was hält euch denn hier fest?
Wir könnten nur sagen:
Wir lieben Südwest !

Und kommst du selber in unser Land
und hast seine Weiten geseh'n,
und hat uns're Sonne ins Herz dir gebrannt,
dann kannst du nicht wieder gehn.
Und sollte man dich fragen:
Was hält dich denn hier fest?
Du könntest nur sagen:
Ich liebe Südwest !

Heinz A. Klein-Werner