Posts filed under ‘Africa’

Die „Saga der Van Pletsens“

Chronik der Familie Van Pletsen von Helen Lewald, geb. van Pletsen*

[Aus der Originalsprache Afrikaans ins Deutsche übersetzt und kommentiert von ihrem Sohn, Roon Lewald]

Helen and Albrecht in their Berlin student years

Helen and Albrecht in their Berlin student years


Nachdem meine Mutter im Jahre 1974 in Pretoria die Chronik ihrer Familie handschriftlich verfasst hatte, wurde das von einem Vetter säuberlich getippte Manuskript von ihrer Verwandtschaft als einzig bekannte Ahnengeschichte dieser in Südafrika weit verzweigten, burischen Sippe mit großem Interesse begrüßt. Sozusagen im Samisdat-Verfahren ging die 9-seitige Chronik von Hand zu Hand und tauchte bald auch bei Stammesmitgliedern auf, von deren Existenz nicht einmal sie in ihren eifrigen Recherchen erfahren  hatte. (more…)


August 13, 2011 at 2:19 am 1 comment

Cape Sea Route

By Roon Lewald

Today, bulk carriers hog the route around the Cape:
a trunk-to-tail procession of robotic mammoths,
shambling blindly by along their migratory trail.
Their polluted wakes despoil the silver tracks
etched in history by wooden ships
erratically tacking through these seas.

First came the great discoverers –
Diaz, Da Gama, Magelhao, Drake.
On their heels, the merchants, priests
and colonizers of Europe
pursued the treasure and the souls
of Marco Polo’s fabled Indies
and Cathay,
and the island groves
of costly herbs and spices. (more…)

September 21, 2010 at 3:37 am 2 comments

Prospero se skiereiland

Deur Roon Lewald

(Scroll down for an English Translation)

1. This isle is full of noises…

Jy wonder soms watter skalkse geeste
hierdie skraal vinger land geskep,
van die hand van Afrika geskei het
deur die hoe kneukels van sy berge

en geplaas het tussen wêreldmere
wat hier kop-aan-kop baklei oor
die besit van dié besondre plek,

waar hul wisselstryd van wind en weer
sy see- and bergtonele telkemaal vertower
en besiel met sy unieke plant- en dierelewe. (more…)

May 21, 2009 at 7:27 pm 1 comment

Obama’s Inaugural Address: reading Zimbabwe between the lines

President Obama, Inaugural Address: January 20th 2009

Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist . . .

“To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.”

Full text of Pres. Obama’s Address here.

January 22, 2009 at 5:24 am Leave a comment

Christmas Prayer

by Roon Lewald

A friend whose close relationship with a partner of many years recently broke up wrote to me the other day that, although she has found new interests and new friends after moving to another town, this Christmas is proving hard to bear. Loneliness at a time when most people you know seem to have a partner or family with whom to enjoy the togetherness of choosing and decorating a tree, exchanging presents, sharing a festive meal… a sadness that overcomes many singles at this time of year. (more…)

December 30, 2008 at 2:29 am Leave a comment

Police storm Anglican parish in Zimbabwe

The parishioners were lined up for Holy Communion on Sunday when the riot police stormed the stately St. Francis Anglican Church in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, reports the New York Times. Helmeted, black-booted officers banged on the pews with their batons as terrified members of the congregation stampeded for the doors, witnesses said.A policeman swung his stick in vicious arcs, striking matrons, a girl and a grandmother who had bent over to pick up a Bible dropped in the melee. A lone housewife began singing from a hymn in Shona, “We will keep worshiping no matter the trials!” Hundreds of women, many dressed in the Anglican Mothers’ Union uniform of black skirt, white shirt and blue headdress, lifted their voices to join hers. (more…)

May 19, 2008 at 10:24 am 1 comment

Gebet für Afrika

by Roon Lewald
(Empfindungen in der Karro-Halbwüste
während der Apartheid-Ära, ca. 1987)

Die Feuergeißel schwindet.
Kühle lindert
das verschmorte Land.
Im Wolkenbrand
verkohlen letzte Tagesopfer
auf dem Rost der Nacht.
lodern Feuerkugel kalt,
erschreckend groß, uralt
im Indigo des Himmelsdachs.

Dankbar hüllt das nackte Land
sich ein in ihrem Glühen,
andächtig harrend
auf das Kreuz des Südens.
Endlich steht es tröstlich da,
Dein Zeichen, Herr, bis es
erblasst im Morgengrau.

Nkulunkul’ Nkoos’!
Großer Gott, wir danken Dir
für Deinen kurzen Trost.
Doch warum nimmst Du
ihn denn von uns,
gerade wenn Dein Licht
in unsre Alltagsnot
so gnadenlos einbricht?

Nkosi, sikelel’ i Afrika:
Herrgott, erbarme Dich!
Segne Afrika
bei Nacht UND Tag!


March 19, 2008 at 12:06 am Leave a comment

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