Zon­der­wa­ter POW Sto­ries Live On

South African Country Life - - Your Letters -

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.

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