07 October 2007

Windhoek, Namibia

On my way up the southwest coast of Africa I stayed with an English-speaking South African couple living in Windhoek, Namibia. They had fled South Africa in the early 1990s during apartheid. They felt welcome in this country. The land here resembled Arizona or Southern California. They owned a large, gated house in the suburbs. It was a compound. Their neighbourhood was one of dusty streets, big fenced-in villas, and enormous guard dogs, trained to bark at blacks, called Boerbulls . Every morning when I awoke I would explore the library whilst they sipped tea and watched CNN. The conversations proceeded smoothly, until one day I asked about Namibia under Sam Nujoma. I figured the Nujoma regime would go the way of Zimbabwe under Mugabe. They stopped talking to me after that and ignored me for the rest of my stay. Soon afterwards I moved to a German guesthouse in the centre of the city. At night I sat on leather sofas in front of the stone fireplace, sharing beers and Cape wines with local farmers and businessmen. On the walls, there were several mounted heads of various antelope and a framed portrait of General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. I dozed off to the sound of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf singing The Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss.

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