Zululand Observer - Weekender
The beginning of a new life abroad
AFTER virtually a lifetime in sunny Zululand, long-time Richards Bay residents Hans and Julie Oldenburg will make the transition to the Netherlands, to be closer to family.
For his 60 years in South Africa, Netherlands-born Hans has, through his work as a chemist in metallurgy, seen much of Africa, having worked in Malawi, Mozambique and Kenya among others.
One of the many highlights of Hans’ career was his laboratory which, merely a converted farmhouse, was considered the most accurate laboratory for analysing minerals.
Realising the value of minerals found in the ground, Hans’ career hinged on heavy minerals analysis, the knowledge of which he passed on to many of his employees.
Both lovers of the outdoors, Hans will surely miss his fishing while Julie will no longer need to keep an eye out for hippos and crocodiles on the golf course.
‘We have tremendous memories of days on the beaches, fishing, spending nights sleeping on the beaches as well as numerous fishing trips to Namibia and other wonderful places,’ said Hans.
‘Other people, especially those who have never lived in South Africa, are convinced we exaggerate our stories of wildlife encounters, but that is not the case, we will miss it all but have many wonderful memories.’
A long-standing member of Richards Bay Country Club, Julie recalls helping plant grass on the golf course during the early days of her membership.
‘Back then, the green fees for 18 holes were just 60 cents.’
Hans and Julie’s son Johan and daughter Ronelle both live in the Netherlands and they are looking forward to being closer to family for the next chapter in their lives.
‘This is a bittersweet goodbye, one that is sad, scary and emotional, but at the same time we have a lot to look forward to,’ said Julie.
‘This is a big move at this stage of our lives, but we have spent much time in the Netherlands over the years, so we know what we are getting ourselves into.’
Reminiscing on the 45 years in their Bream Hill house in Meerensee, Hans and Julie speak fondly of the days when there were no fences to the roads, only boundary fences between properties.
‘We have been extremely happy for the duration of our time in Richards Bay, the crime rate has been virtually zero and we have nothing to complain about,’ said Julie.
‘We would like to say a fond farewell to all our friends – golfing friends and fishing friends – as well as everybody else we have encountered along the way.
‘We will miss them all, but look forward to the next chapter in our lives.’
Back then, the green fees for 18 holes were just 60 cents