I quickly adapted to my new circumstances and learned two new languages, namely Afrikaans and English, with no effort at all. In fact, I discovered my flair for languages, poetry and singing, and at school I excelled in these activities, and in these activities only. The observant reader will have noticed that this is the first time I mention school, and I can assure you that it will be the last. My interest in discipline was (and I suspect still is) inversely proportional to my age, and if it wasn’t for my guilty conscience towards my Papa, who was a very disciplined man, I would most probably never have finished my schooling. One thing is certain: The warning lights of my coming lifestyle were flashing for all to see, except for me of course.
Sometime in the mid 60’s my Papa was sent on a job to South Africa, and our lives started taking a new and exciting course. He had accepted a permanent job offer there, and soon he was on his way to start work and to establish a home for us, while my Mama, Astrid and I followed in December 1969. My expectations of my new environment were high: Flimsy grass huts in the savannah, ferocious lions in the backyard, poisonous snakes in my hammock and bloodthirsty crocodiles in the bathtub. It was to be another rude awakening: I was welcomed by high-rise buildings in a big city, a friendly little dog in our garden, a bed in my very own room and – completely new to me – a shower instead of a bath tub. In fact, the entire image of South Africa that had been planted in my mind was ruined. Goes to show that you can’t believe what it says in the brochure.