Zonderwater POW Stories Live On
For many months I have been searching for COUNTRY LIFE November 2015 that featured the Italian POW story, The Story of Zonderwater. However, today is my lucky day. I am the librarian at Gem Village retirement centre and found the exact copy here.
During the war my father was ‘up north’, and my old grandfather, who wanted to ‘do his bit’, joined the Essential Services Protection Corps, where he was put in charge of the army lorries carrying the POWs to their daily work. Boarding the lorry was not easy for an old gent, but the POWs were fond of him, so one would hold his rifle while two others took an arm each to help him up the steps, seat him, hand back his rifle into his hands, and do the same after work when returning to base.
In 1953, I became an air hostess (not a flight attendant!) and, to my delight, soon found myself in Rome. Crossing the Via Veneto one spring morning, as the traffic was being directed by one of the carabinieri (traffic officers) who, espying me, looked over his shoulder and, all smiles, said ‘Française?’ ‘Niente’, said I. ‘Sud Afrique.’ Whereupon he whipped around, left the traffic to whatever, grabbed my hands and kissed them, saying, ‘Ek was in Zonderwater!’
After a brief chat we had to get out of the traffic and say goodbye, but I always remembered him fondly – he was so happy to see a South African! Perhaps I will attend the next memorial service, might even see my old friend again.
(and app) with more than 1 400 stunning photographs, 960 species plus fascinating old days to write a wonderfully uplifting story about this South African musician, who fell foul to the paranoia of the former Nationalist government.
In this article, Chris blended a splendid tale of country living with the story of a music legend who has made a wonderful success of his life. It is good to know Roger is still singing and making fabulous music.