Thursday, June 08, 2006

History Lesson

As the day draws closer, it gets harder to remain sure of things, so many little details end up not
getting the attention you wanted to give them, and you wonder if the losses are worth it all. So I draw a little
courage from the story of how my father (Rudy) came over to South Africa from the Netherlands.

The journey for Max and Geisje started in Bussem (near Amsterdam) around 1948. Max was a carpenter, and Geisje
was working as a child-minder and then latter as a sick-aid, all the while with their first son Rudy
(Rudolf Fritz) in tow. There were many people comming to SA from the Neterland at the time, and even after
you got a permit (valid for 1 year) you had to have work already over here, you then had to raise a lot of money
for the passage.
It was much more difficult to travel at that time too, and they were delayed a whole year because they could
not get transport.
The employment situation in Holland was not good around then, and the young couple had eventually sold pretty
much everything for the fare. By this time, the permits they had been issued had expired, and had to be renewed.
Rudy was 3 already when Max sailed to East London directly on the Sterling Catle in 1951.
Sailing time was probably 2-3 weeks, and once Max got started, he had to lend money from his employer for the
fare, so Rudy and Geisje could come over.
The whole move must have been quite a strain; you get ready by getting rid of all un-necessary goods, and just after
you have sold off all of your possesions, you get delayed.
And then you are stuck without a teapot, so you
buy another, knowing you will have to sell it off again at a loss latter.

Gran came through on the emigrants ship 9 months latter. Rudy was seasick every day, (and we thought children
did not get sea sick :-)
Gran said the trip was very
beautifull, (probably boring latter), looking at the huge green waves all around the ship. The bay
of Biscay was rough and when rounding the cape things also got a bit rough, but otherwise a pleasant journey. The young mother
and child landed in Cape Town, they then had to make their way for 2 days by train through the Karoo and on to East London.

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