121 BACK IN THE DAY

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Nakop border post, 51 years ago

SMUTS JA­COBS from Louis Trichardt writes: In the mid-1960s, our fam­ily of­ten vis­ited South West Africa, now Namibia. In those years, the main route from Uping­ton was gravel. The Nakop border was named af­ter a nearby kop­pie and there was one lonely sign to an­nounce that you’d crossed into an­other coun­try. Cross­ing the border took less than a sec­ond. To­day, the border pro­ce­dure at Nakop/Ari­amsvlei can take up to an hour – still fast by mod­ern bor­der­cross­ing stan­dards. Nakop was the spot where we’d al­ways stop and stretch our legs or grab some­thing to eat – it was a long way from Louis Trichardt! For us kids it was al­ways a mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence: Once we were on the other side of the sign we were in an­other coun­try and we’d earned se­ri­ous brag­ging rights among our friends. Near the tail end of the 1960s, my par­ents Wil­lie and Glo­d­ina bought a farm about 80 km north of Outjo, near Etosha. Our fam­ily crossed the border at Nakop and we be­came cit­i­zens of South West Africa. Years later, Nakop re­mains a per­sonal land­mark for me: a re­minder of a spe­cial time in our lives.

WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? This photo of the Ja­cobs chil­dren with their mother Glo­d­ina was taken in July 1966, when Smuts was 13 years old. The Nakop border post was just a road sign back then. At the back are Smuts, Esterna and Estelle; in front are Char­maine, Eu­gene, El­rose and Glo­d­ina. Smuts’s fa­ther Wil­lie took the photo.

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