Mystic Swakop

by Brownie

My family moved to the coastal town of Swakopmund when I turned nine. It was a fantastic time for us and most of my mother’s family resided in this elegant town with mysterious fog that could conceal everything around you.

Moving from central Namibia where temperatures averaged 20 Degrees Celsius all year, to a town that has all four seasons in one day was the first of major adjustments. At first I wasn’t keen on this misty and downright cold town. Then there were the sand storms. If not the fog and mist then it is sand covering the entire town and walking to and from school during any of these occurrences was lurid, childlike adventure.

15 Swakopmund

As my family settled in the daily routine for us kids started with the early morning cartoons on the South Africa Broadcasting Channel whilst having breakfast before my sister and I took on the 20 minute walk to school. As a country under South African rule it is reported that; (¹) Up to eleven separate education authorities were set up in 1980, one for whites, one for "coloureds," and nine for different African ethnic groups. German language schools were also supported, with the high school in Windhoek administering the German Abitur school-leaving and university entrance examinations.’ It is further reported ‘that by 1988, approximately 80 percent of black children would have a basic four-year primary school education’, although at a cost. This matter of school fees was a challenge for many parents and even then resulted in children not attending school due to a lack of funds. Many of those fortunate enough to be able to attend were also scarred through some form of segregation. There was a general feeling of inadequacy when the school fees could not be paid and the children were identified in front of five hundred students and teachers. I could never understand why the children were to blame for their parents not being able to meet their responsibilities?

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