Namib Naukluft Sunset

As the phoenix lays down,

and surrenders it’s daily migration,

rays of light gently caress,

like brushes of an inspired artist,

Mountains, rivers, valley and marble.

Image: by Marko von Dorssen

Image: by Marko von Dorssen

The final destination,

giving birth to beauty,

deep colors of spectrum.

Epic and vast canvass.

The artist of light,

soothing and laying down to rest man and beast.

Image by: William Loyd

Image by: William Loyd

Wandering across horizons,

changing perspectives with each finality.

Only to return as an ever dependable,

Constant yet ever-changing.

This is the nature of the Naukluft.

 namib desert

Burning into minds and eyes,

as generations before have perceived.

Brothers, comrades, fathers.. the fallen.

Thinking of those who will never awake,

the sunset of the ever-changing constant.

namib desert Namib Naukluft Sunset written by Marko Van Dorssen

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The people of Kolmanskop

Afrikaans: ‘Kolmanskop’ / English: ‘Coleman’s hil’ / German: ‘Kolmannskuppe

Facts:

  • Situated in the Sperrgebiet, (forbidden territory) a few kilometers inland from the port of Luderitz in Namibia.
  • The first diamond was found in 1908 by a railway worker –  Zacharias Lewala.
  • The town declined after World War I when the diamond-field slowly exhausted, richer diamond deposits were discovered further south and the town was ultimately abandoned in 1954.

The facts are laid out on the table, or I guess in the 21st century its politically correct to use the term:  the facts are displayed on Wikipedia.  Nevertheless, Kolmanskop is a ghost town, attracting hundreds or maybe thousands of tourists each year to photograph this once sparkling town. (pun intended) Today, its weighed down by sand and the only sounds you hear are that of the wind sweeping the houses deeper and deeper under its carpet of brownish grains and spectral sight of derelict buildings and deserted dirt roads.

KolmanskopCenter

Source: Namibia – nogi.ch

All over the big web of information there are never-ending lists of details about this town; when the first diamond was found, how many people lived there, when it became ghost country, but what about the citizens that once wandered the streets. Who were the people of Kolmanskop. Have they been forgotten? Are their dreams concealed beneath earth’s soil?

The house with the big arched window makes me wonder about the scenes that were acted out within the plastered walls. Was her name perhaps Sarah and his name John? They were recently married, left their home town to join the vogue of diamond mining. They left their friends and family behind to move to a new country and build a future together.

On a hot windy desert day morning as the sun was casting its rays over the town, Sarah told John she’s pregnant and bearing life within, but at the same time her face turned lifeless. She stared out the window and said: ”I’m lonely in this appalling place. I do not fit in with the German folk, I want to go home”.

Tim Walker

Image by tim walker. This image was featured in the Vogue of 2011.

Or perhaps the couple in this house were already elders, but Karlheinz is getting old and his hands cannot take the punishment of hard labour anymore. Those freckled hands are tired from years of wiping the sweat from his forehead.  Gutrin sips tea on the patio and her heart yearns for younger days. The wealth of the world cannot bring back her youth or replace the emptiness of a marriage without children. I wonder what her tea set look like? Was it a Schumann Arzberg set with delicate pink flowers on them?  What happened to this couple?  What did her dress look like when they went to the Friday night ball? Did they do the tango or were they more fond of the waltz?

ghost-town-in-the-namibian-desert-kolmanskop

That night at the ‘Kasino’ was the first time Sebastian laid eyes on the beautiful Adelheid. He was instantly in love with this Rapunzel with the golden woven hair. Months after that moonlit stricken evening on the stairway, he asked for her hand in marriage and she devotedly swore true love to him for years to come. It was a true Romeo and Juliet affair. She looked beautiful in her white wedding dress and as she walked down the aisle of the town church, a tear rolled down his cheek. Did they live happily ever after, or did William Shakespeare’s tradition of tragic romances affect their lifelong love and end in misery? Do they perhaps look back on the diamond days and stare into each other’s eyes some 40 years later with sparkling eyes?

KolmansKasino07

The theater. Source: http://namibia.ellerstrand.se/kolmanskop-2-the-kasino/

The Skittle Alley. Source : http://namibia.ellerstrand.se/kolmanskop-2-the-kasino/

The Skittle Alley. Source : http://namibia.ellerstrand.se/kolmanskop-2-the-kasino/

What happened to Natangwe, the Oshiwambo contract worker, a farmer from the north of Namibia, who grabbed the opportunity to mine for diamonds with both hands and moved to the other side of what seemed to him as the world. He enjoyed the cooler weather and the fishing expeditions on weekends when he was not working. In the backyard he had a vegetable garden to remind him of his heredity and beautiful flowers next to his walkway to brighten the paleness of his new surroundings. Where is he now? Did he move back to the farm when the market crashed? What kinds of vegetables did he grow?

While standing with my feet planted firmly in the sand, I’m trying to listen for a sign, just something that tells me about who they were. What did they talk about while having tea and what kind of songs were played on the organ in church on Sunday. Did the jewels or the stars shine the brightest at night? What secrets lie under the rug of sand?

NAM-159

To visit Kolmanskop, join a guided tour to explore this eerie ghost town, on Monday to Saturday at 09h30 and 11h00 and on Sunday and public holidays at 10h00.

Stay over at Klein Aus Vista situated just 1 hour’s drive from Kolmanskop via Luderitz and while you are there, use the opportunity to greet the Wild Horses of the Namib.

*The names and events in this post are made up and not based on any true events. 

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Jessica Thomas is a local freelance writer. She is an eccentric young lady who has a love affair with writing. Get on board her journey of discovery.

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10 expert holiday survival tips

The festive season can be a troublesome time. There is the issue of getting your friends and family the perfect Christmas gift, packing for the holiday, getting a dog sitter and the worst; you are already stressing about the fact that you are going to be as broke as a sewer rat in January. Want to go through the holiday without hassles? I have compiled 10 expert holiday survival tips.

  1.  ‘’ If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip”

This is an old African proverb and is the absolute truth. I don’t know if you agree but no matter how much you try to at least look like a Victoria Secret and Calvin Klein model, a passport and ID photo almost always looks terrible. If you resemble the exact look you had on your photo shoot then you need to book a holiday immediately.

passport photo

  1. Imagination overdrive ( Applicable to parents / aunts and uncles)

Remember you told your child the whole Santa and his sleigh story. You even exaggerated by giving them every detail of what the north-pole looks like and how hard the elves work. They know all about Rudolph and his red nose, riding through the star studded sky, to deliver presents under the tree? Now would be a good time to start thinking about cover up lies to answer questions that goes like this: “Mommy, why does Santa use exactly the same wrapping as you”?

3.      Be healthy this holiday

The festive season is supposed to be a jolly time right? When I use the term healthy, I am not talking greens and beans. Nope!  Indulge in the goodness of what Christmas festivities have to offer. Stop stressing about that extra piece of fruit cake. You have a whole year to stress about diets and veggies.

curry

4.      Try something new and be creative

It’s the time of the year that we usually start making New Year’s resolutions and promises ourselves to do something different or drop a habit or two. Why not start now?  It’s the perfect time to test your baking skills and bake Christmas cookies. If the kitchen isn’t a complete mess afterwards, you definitely did not have fun while doing it. The good news, if the cookies are choking quality and taste like something created in the art class with children’s dough and crayons, you can always give it to the dog to eat. If the dog pulls a face, the kids can use the cookies to practice their hand-eye coordination by playing catch or something like cricket. They will love the idea of crumbs flying through the air. (Beware, this can get messy)

gingerbread-man-cookie

  1. Don’t disappoint the birds

Don’t sleep too late on your holiday. I know you want to rest and all that jazz, but you are going to miss the most beautiful part of the day. Drink in the beauty of the sunrise.  The birds got up very early to warm up their voices to deliver a theatrical performance especially for you.

sunrise

  1. Don’t over indulge

On a holiday, we tend to get a bit carried away when it comes to the colorful cocktails and late night parties. When you have one too many, the next day is going to be absolutely horrendous. You will be sick, have a head-ache, eat too much fatty foods, and lose out on an entire day.

drink

  1. Exercise

Why would you want to go jogging when you can have fun with the kids? Make sure there is a ball or Frisbee packed. You will burn more calories by having fun than sweating in your gym shorts.

outside

  1. Prevention is better than cure.

We know it can be a difficult task to pick the perfect Christmas gift. If your husband or wife is not a gold medalist in some kind of sport or specifically asked for a certain product / book, do not…. I repeat do not buy fitness gifts or something that screams: “Honey you are terrible at this and I want you to improve”. Examples of these are: “Be a better cook” / So, you think you can braai? Think again. By not doing this, you might just have a peaceful New Year and won’t have to sleep on the uncomfortable couch in the basement or in your car.

  1. Do I really have to?

Just because you are coaxed into inviting your in-laws, no where does it say you have to let them in when they ring the doorbell. (This is just a joke)

  1. BE JOLLY

Tis the season to be jolly,

Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Forget about all your worries and just be happy. Enjoy the time with friends and family. Who cares if your upside-down cake is a total disaster or if you have gained a whole dress size from enjoying the delicious food? Who cares if the car broke down and you had to sit in the scorching sun for a couple of hours or got lost? Be happy and take the time to laugh more, have fun, listen to the wind blowing in the trees, and be care free. After all, it’s silly season. Be a bit silly!!

santa claus

Jessica Thomas is a local freelance writer. She is an eccentric young lady who has a love affair with writing. Get on board her journey of discovery

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