From the Netherlands to South Africa
As from 1954 Richard and I planned to emigrate to the USA, at least that was Richard favourite country, mine was Canada. But alas neither of us had a profession that was needed in the USA. So I said we better emigrate to Canada first, because I had read that one could easily go from Canada to America.
At the same time Raymond, Richards brother and wife went to Africa in 1955 and since it pleased them so much, they advised us to emigrate to South Africa. I was sorry that we didn’t go to Canada, but okay we started to get our papers and passports in order, arranged luggage and transport by boat to Cape Town and our train from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Many young people emigrated in those years after the war, the Dutch government was pleased that we left because they paid for all the transports of our furniture and so on to the countries we were going to, also for our journeys by boat and train to the places of our destination and we received money for the first two weeks to get around in our new country.
Richard’s father was killed during the war by the Germans and his mother died just after the war, so he left no close family members behind, but I did.
I was not easy when I had to leave my mother and two sisters behind in Holland, because I wouldn’t come back very soon this time. My mother said to me: “You told me in 1948 that you were going to be a globetrotter, so here you go again.”
We left Holland on board of the Dutch ship the “Waterman” I waved my mother and sisters goodbye until I couldn’t see them any longer.
To my surprise and great joy, I saw that there were many Indonesians among the crew on board of the Waterman. I started talking to them by asking them from which part of Indonesia they came, and told them that I came from Malang. And so it happened that the next day, Richard and I received Indonesian food instead of Dutch food, it was brought to us with a big smile on the Indonesian faces. In order not to make the others at our table jealous, they were told that they could also ask for Indonesian food if they wanted to.
It was a very happy journey, there were quite some South Africans on board, English and Afrikaans speaking. We met Cosie, an Afrikaans speaking young doctor from Cape Town, he invited us for a week at his home, before we had to go to Johannesburg. But alas, we could only stay for three days, a hotel room was reserved for us in Johannesburg by a Dutch immigration agent, he would be awaiting for us at the Central station in Johannesburg.
We enjoyed our stay in CapeTown so much that we had loved to stay in this town. We saw those absolutely beautiful old Dutch houses, the old university, and not to forget the Table Mountain looking over Cape Town.
We, that’s to say Cosie and I, went swimming in the sea, Richard was too scared. You swim in the Indian Ocean to the point where you meet the Atlantic Ocean, it was quite an experience. The next day we visited South African vineyards up on the hills, it was not difficult to imagine yourself in France. Cosie told us that there were many old French names around these vineyards. That evening we could taste our first South African wine and I liked it very much.
The last day we walked along the beach and we saw many flamingos, when Cosie clapped his hands the birds flew away and so you could see one big pink cloud. Really fascinating!
At Cosie’s parents home, there was another surprise for me, I met my first Cape Malays. These people came originally from Indonesia, the Dutch brought them from the Indonesian islands to Cape Town where they became servants. Their Malay was as strange to me as was Afrikaans (old Dutch) but I could understand them when I heard them talking together. I asked Cosie if could talk to them, he went with me and I really surprised him that the Cape Malays and I had a sort of a conversation.
We thanked Cosie for his warm South African hospitality, I was kind of sad to leave this beautiful town, where I had almost felt at home.
We took the train to Johannesburg, it was a very long and partly a very hot journey, we went through the Great Karroo desert and we were both dead tired when we arrived at last at Johannesburg. Our Dutch immigrant guide found us and brought us to our hotel, I have forgotten the name.
I found Jo’burg, as they call their town, very different from Cape Town.
I planned to send my mother a telegram the next day and tell her that everything was just fine. I had sent her already a letter and postcard from Cape Town.
A new adventure had started.
To South Africa