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Archive for the ‘Jacqui Loubjoit’ Category

Blue, to be frank, is an emotion. To many it is a
depressing emotion of sadness and grief. On consideration,
I believe blue is more than that.
Blue is a person’s spirit, strong and defiant. It is
perserverance and endurance, blue is the conquering of
ice-peaked mountains and the exploration of the deepest seas.
Blue is the bravery and courage when facing tremendous odds
and trust forged in the cold of hard times. Blue is the slow,
patient sway of the sea as it soothes the scorched beach.
Blue is the colour of an early morning, where everything is
fresh and still. It is the cleanliness dissolved in a world of
mist. A cool breeze is blue as it carries away stuffy air.
It is the quiet chill of a winter’s day as it begins and the
rejuvenating cold of an iced drink as it calms my core.
Blue is the inner voice which occasionally talks to me.
The one that helps me appreciate an amazing view or a beautiful
piece of music. It is the rythmic rise and fall of a piano as it
glides through its melody. Blue is inspirational and mysterious as
it holds many strong feelings and emotions. It is man’s silence
during his hour of immense determination. Blue is the soul

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Elephants

Giants of the desert,

The desert-dwelling elephants,together with other animals,are the jewels in the

crown of the Kaokoland and desert regions of Namibia,reaching up to the Skeleton

coastal areas.Without them the beauty of this wilderness would be sadly demeaned.

They add a dimension of grandeur and excitement to this lonely landscape.These elephants

have a great influence on plants and trees and other animals,which is very little understood

or recognised.These desert elephants are not seperate subspecies of the african elephant.

They form a population that has adapted to the survival of this arid regions by behaviour,

tradition and most possibly physiology.

These Kaokoland and desert elephants appear to have very well adapted to living under

the particular ecological conditions of these desert regions.They move great distances

between feeding grounds and scattered waterholes,where they can drink in the dry season.

Up to 70 kilometers have been observed of their daily travels.The Kruger National Park

elephants cover a mere distance of 5 to 7 kilometers in search of food and water,due to the

abundance of trees and plants.In the dry season,the desert elephants cover about 24 to

26 kilometer as they are required to spend more time and energy in search of food.They

are heavily dependant on the vegetation of the riverbeds for food.They feed on a wide

range of plants,and like elephants elsewhere the take leaves,flowers,fruit,bulbs,tubers

and roots as well as grass.They have distinct and practical seasonal feeding preferences.

During the rainy season,they use more grass,which is then more available,but in the dry

season they concentrate on browsing.This allows the trees and woody plants respite for

recovery during the summer.

They are careful feeders,and in this they are unlike the other elephants.The desert elephant

also break branches,but not nearly to the same extent as can be seen in the Kruger Park or

in Botswana.They very seldom fell a tree or debark trees.This care in their behaviour

is necessary to ensure the survival in their environment where woody plants are few and

far between.Therefore,there is very little dammage,as has been recorded in other areas.

The big decline of numbers of these magnificiant animals came about in the years around

1970 onwards,due largely to heavy poaching for their ivory,much of which found its way

into the international trade via Angola.Poaching by local residents and by armed dealers

in Angola was a great source of elephant mortality.Even the South African Defence Force

and local polititians as well as goverment officials hunted the elephants to this big decline.

The population of the elephants in the Kunene region was shot out and is now extinct.

The rest of the “survivors” moved more to the west towards the Namibian desert and is

now a group of circa 70 animals,which are now the true desert elephants.

What happened to the other elephants from the eastern and northern regions has occured

before in many other countries of the african continent,and this process is an ongoing one.

Unfortunately there are not always people or organisations around,who can set the wheels

in motion to stop the wholesale slaughterof our wildlife.

These last existing desert elephants are an asset not only for the local tribes,but to all the

people of Namibia.They are a part of basic resource of a wildlife utilisation industry,

which could largely benefit the tourist industry,and therefore earn their keep in this isolated

area.Much more important is the fact,they make no negative impact on their habitat,

something that man and his livestock cannot match.In future,if their numbers increase,they

could also contribute to a viable safari hunting industry,but only when the hunting of these

elephants can be sustained.

For the moment the elephant numbers are stable and birth of calves in the desert region

population will hopefully soon start the process of recovery.For the remaining elephants

in the eastern and northern regions,the future is far from secure.The rest of surviving local

elephants clash with farming interest,local lifestock,which also destroys more and more the

existing grazing areas,which turn into desert.As in South Africa,the elephants will now

mostly survive only in protected and fenced-in areas,which restricts their movements as

well their free living spirits.

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The last rays of the afternoon sun was casting an illumines and soft glow of yellow to orange onto the high grass of the savannah in Moremi  in northern Botswana. “Liza’ , the collard main female lion of her pride of sisters crouched  low into the vegetation, They had circled a large Buffalo herd and waited patiently for the right moment to attack. They had left their offspring of seven cubs behind, hidden in some shrubs and thickets. All had not eaten for several days and the youngster’s survival depended on their mothers hunt. Slowly, the females approached the herd, the evening breeze was in their favour coming from behind towards the Buffaloes. They lifted their heads and suddenly “Liza” started the run, all the females had waited for her first move and joined from all the sides. They had spotted one old female Buffalo, trying desperately to keep up with the stampeding rest of her companions, but to no avail and soon the lions tackled the big beast and brought to ground. A frenzy of feeding starts, but all the mothers had called their offspring to join into the feast and the little cubs started to rip into the soft underbelly to get the easiest morsels. Their heads were covered in blood and soon the big animal was reduced to a carcass, which they left to the approaching Hyenas. Full with a good and needed feed, they retreated to the nearest trees and shade to digest in peace. The cubs had yet another chance of survival, thanks to the hunting skills of their mothers. 

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At the age of 25, I was free from the chains of my mother with no worries in my life and I decided to leave for the unknown South Africa to start a new career. New friends and a different surrounding embraced me , as I threw myself into this strange but beautiful country. Parties and outings were on my list and so one evening I met a new love in my life. He was handsome with dark brooding eyes and black hair, just my type! We met later on several occasions and our friendship developed into a great love affair. We moved together into a house with a couple of friends. Christmas was around and we decided to take a holiday trip to Mozambique for four weeks. We had just purchased a second hand Mini 750, which should not have left the outskirts of Johannesburg! But who cares when young and in love. Soon our cases were packed and we hit the road. Not much later we were at the border post and headed for Lorenzo Marques, a well visited place for the European immigrants at this time period. We indulged in some phantastic seafood and travelled further north along a fairly good but narrow road. Up to now the trustful Mini did his duty and gave us no trouble. We stopped at a very small place in still smaller village, called Morumbene, where we were treated to a marvellous dinner, amazing for such an unknown little place. The bathroom was shared with hundreds of lizards, which by entering, scattered to safety. But after a good clean  the next morning and paying a minimal amount for their hospitality, it was back on the road again northbound. The turnoff to Vilanculos was unfortunately a very rough and sandy path and very soon we started to smell  petrol fumes from our open windows, which at over 40 degrees were wide open. We stopped to examine the damage and to our horror found the petrol pump lying and leaking on the hot sand beneath the bonnet. Not a soul in sight, thick bush and white sand stretching in front of us. Suddenly, out the corner of my eye, I spotted a black face curiously staring at our predicament. He soon appeared to have a look at this strange looking couple with an even stranger looking car. With hand and feet, we tied to explain our misery and after a while he smiled and gestured to us to stay and wait. He disappeared into the thickets and shortly a huge truck with a load of wood stopped behind us, as there was no place to pass. Smiling faces, some black, some portugues. Soon our little car was lifted by strong arms and hands into a place behind the truck. A rope was secured at the front of our car and we were lifted to Vilanculos, the next tiny town to the laughing stock of the local community. The Mini went into a garage for repairs as we had to catch the local fishing boat to our final destination on the island of Margaruque. The island was small and the perfect paradise with unspoilt white beaches, blue endless sky and nights with thousands of stars. Our cook boy was busy from early morning to collect firewood to start our breakfast, which mainly consisted of some kind of fish dish. There was no fridge or cooling facilities, so we learned quickly to handle the fishing lines to catch our daily meals. I was in heaven and walked on the beach like eve, naked, just a hat and line with hook and sinker. One morning we suddenly heard the troubled motor noise of the arriving little fishing boat. We quickly dived under the next available bush to conceal our nakedness from the new arrivals. Three hours we hugged the sand, but not only the sand, I must admit! At dusk we made our escape to our little flatlet. Had I enjoyed this interruption. We stayed for two weeks and with the Mini back in running order, we headed back towards the border to enter South Africa. A holiday, which I will never forget, because nine month later my son was born, a happy little fellow, conceived on the beach of Mozambique by a French father and a German mother.

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Winter 1945 (as remembered by my mother)

 

In January 1945 we were told to leave our home in Selisia(than known as german Schlesien) in one hour with only 50 pound of luggage.With hope of a return soon, my mother and grandmother packed only the neccesary items to protect us from the bitter cold which had gripped the country with a vengance, the temperature dropped to minus 30 degrees at night with meters of snow.Personal items were locked away in the hope of seeing our home soon again. People, young and old, left their homes and walked in silence the country roads towards the western parts of Germany. Old people were

praying, but I wonder if there was still a God out there to protect these poor country

creatures.In the middle of March we reached the Czechoslavakia, tired, cold and hungry.

We found accomodation with some friendly Czech people, but not for long. Soon armistice was declared and with the Russians advancing again, we had to leave in a matter of minutes, as the Russian army had the right to plunder, rape and kill anything in their way. Only blankets were allowed to be taken with. Slowly we retreated again towards the eastern front, sleeping at night in forests, to not be detected by the Russian

army. We returned to Selesia, which by now was occupied by the Polish people. Our house was taken by the local mayor as his residence.We moved with the rest of the Germans into an old farmhouse but had to work under supervision of the polish people on their fields, not to starve. We were treated like slaves for 6 long weeks and endured hard labour for a meagre meal and at the end, were told to leave their new country. Back on the rural roads again towards the west. In July 1945 we trekked to Berlin, which was in ruins and occupied and thus gave us no chance of crossing the border into the west..

Slowly and tired we turned towards the southern regions, where we slipped over the border to reach our original hometown of Wuppertal on the 15th of October.

We searched the streets with their still burning and smouldering ruins. At last we stood in front of our old home to see only bricks like broken teeth in a gaping mouth, the blue smoke marking the end of the fire, hanging in the air.

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