121 BACK IN THE DAY
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.