Old School 1990

by Lizette Feris

I attended Deutsche Oberschule Swakopmund, and starting grade eight I felt really intimidated. It was the first time that I was exposed to a predominately white school and I was introduced to German. I guess some of my white class mates had also never been in a class with mix or black scholars before, but we quickly settled in after our first year. This school had very high standards and strict policies however it was all for the benefit of the scholars. Every morning started with an assembly, where a prayer was said and announcements for the day were made.

5 Fish River CanyonNow this is very stereotypical, however we all stuck to our racial groups. Towards grade ten, we had gelled better and in grade twelve we had good friendships blossoming amongst the seventy scholars, of which almost all of us started grade eight together. To keep the same classes going through the years really made this a winning strategy. We were all good friends when we graduated.

Cementing these friendships were two particular field trips, one of which was an Aus experience for something similar to a boot camp. However the lessons learned here lasted for life.

With population figures estimated to be only 300, Aus is the closest town to the Fish River Canyon. Around our fourteenth hour on our bus journey we had a puncture a few kilometres south of Mariental. We were all in high spirits and this was fixed in no time and on we went. Late the evening we arrived at the Fish River Canyon, only we didn’t know it. We had to split into groups and we were given the ground rules. This night we had to sleep in a group circle around a fire with nothing but our sleeping bags.

We woke up at 6am with a taste of sand in our mouths. After a bath in the muddy Fish River, we had to dig the bus out of a sandy patch and we were finally off again. Hoping to get to civilisation as soon as, we were further surprised with the next challenge.