my life so far (1951-2020)


I was born in Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa,

in the early morning hours of 

8 November 1951.


I guess this must be at age 3 or 4.



My sister, Evien, and me.

ca. 1954



She has always been caring for me.

ca. 1955 





Our first home that I can remember was in Steenie Street in the town of Nigel.

My dad was not impressed by the fact that there was a telephone.

He was of the opinion that the thing had the habit of ringing at most inopportune times, like as soon as we sat down for dinner.



 January 1957, 

two months after my 5th birthday,

I started my school career at the

Tini Vorster Primary School

in the town of Nigel.



My parents and I attended the opening of the Union Carriage and Wagon factory in the industrial area of Nigel.



At that time my dad, being as frugal as he was all his life, 

was able to buy his first brand new car as a junior bank clerk at the age of 28.

It was an Opel Kadett Caravan.

It was the first automobile in the region that had a curved windscreen,

and people from far and wide would come to witness this amazing phenomenon.

My parents were friends with Uncle Isak Barnard and his family who were farmers in the district. Uncle Isak was a customer at the bank were my father worked, and the first person to buy a car (a Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe) that had an automatic gearbox.


Saturday night was for visiting the local "Drive-in" movie theater.

Mom would pack a large picnic basket,

and we would bath and get in our pajamas so that when we got back home sleeping, we could be carried directly to bed from the car.


The Coalbrook mining disaster is the worst mining disaster in the history of South Africa. 

The disaster occurred in the Coalbrook coal mine of Clydesdale Colliery on 

21 January 1960.

The mine is situated in the Northern Free State, south west of the city of Sasolburg. 

About 1,000 miners were in the mine at the time and 437 died after being trapped, while the rest escaped through an incline shaft.


The Voortrekker Monument is located just south of Pretoria in South Africa 

and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers (Pioneers)

who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854 in search of freedom from British rule in a new fatherland.

Construction started on 13 July 1937 and on 

16 December 1938 

the cornerstone was laid by three descendants of some of the Voortrekker leaders.

The Monument was inaugurated on 16 December 1949 by the then prime minister Dr. D. F. Malan. 

This massive granite structure is 40 metres high, 

with a base of 40 meters by 40 meters and is prominently located on a hilltop. The total construction cost was about 

£ 360,000, most of which was contributed by 

the South African government.


On 31 May 1961 my father took me to the monument to take part in the celebrations to commemorate the founding of the 

Republic of South Africa ten years earlier.

We were in the crowd that had gathered beside the monument to witness a military parade in the valley below.




Later in 1961, we moved to Britstown.

a small town located in the semi-desert area of the northern Cape province,

called the Great Karoo.





...where it often seems that the modern world has not arrived.

These local colored people are called the "Karretjie mense" (small cart people) because of their mode of transport.






Our first home

was typical in that part 

of the world.



My dad worked in the local branch 

of the Standard Bank.


My Dad went to the neighboring town of Beaufort West where he bought a brand new Volkswagen Kombi.


At 22:00 on March 28 1962 the Smartt Syndicate dam in the district broke as the result of exceptional heavy rains in the catchment area of the Ongers river that fed the dam. 

The resulting flood caused extensive damage to properties and crops in the agricultural community located downstream that depended on the dam for the irrigation of their crops.

(The level that the water reached can be seen on the walls of this house)



I was in the crowd lining the street

at the wedding of the legendary rugby player Mannetjies Roux

in the Dutch Reformed Church in town in 1962.



 He married Charlotte (nee Jooste) who was from Brits­town.

It was only a few weeks after he scored one of his famous tries in the last test against the British Lions in Bloemfontein.


In 2013 the singer Laurika Rauch became an icon in South Africa by performing a song composed by her husband Chris Torr. 

It was called "Stuur groete aan Mannetjies Roux". 

(Send regards to Mannetjies Roux)

The song depicts the words of a 13 year old girl about her Oom (Uncle) and his bankrupt plaas (farm) in Africa. Sadly the oom passes but he leaves a letter in which he requests that his greetings be sent to his hero, Mannetjies Roux.



I spent the last three years of Primary School there until the end of 1963.



In January 1964 we moved to Krugersdorp on the West Rand.

(The western part of the Witwatersrand metropolis)



The iconic Paardekraal Monument


 The City Hall

The Fire Station

The British Royal family visited Krugersdorp on 2 April 1947.

Here they are appearing in public on the balcony of the Town Hall.

Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother) second from the right, and Princess Elizabeth (who on 6 Feb 1952 became Queen Elizabeth II), second from the left.




My first year of high school (Grade 8), as well as the rest of my school career was at Monument High.


The main Admin building.

Grade 8


At 14 years of age, I started spending my weekends and school holidays working as a packer at an ice cream factory called 

West Rand Ice Cream.

The owner was a Mr. Jan Joubert who was one of my dad's customers at the bank and an avid big game hunter. 

I would often join in outings to sports and other events where we would sell ice-cream from trucks similar to the one below.


I spent a number of winter holidays attending Cadet Band Camps presented by the SA Defence Force.

Initially we went to Voortrekker Hoogte, the SADF headquaters, and later to the former campus of the Heidelberg Teacher's Training College which had then been taken over by the SADF.

For the last two years of my high school career 

I was the lead trumpeter and leader of the brass section of 

the Cadet Band at Monument High.


During my last three high school years, 

I spent the long summer holidays working as a substitute courier at the Road Transport Workshops of the South African Railways situated at the Langlaagte railway station.

Judging by the design of the busses, this picture of one of the workshops must have been taken a few years before I worked there,


At first, my parents rented a house at 

315 Main Reef Road, Wentworth Park, Krugersdorp.

After three years, they bought their first house. 

It was newly built, and the price was US$500.

At about 200 square meters, it had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, 

a kitchen, a dining/sitting room and out buildings.


The Krugersdorp Hill Climb

was an important annual event for our town and for racing enthusiasts.

Drivers competed in classes, ranging from totally amateur in standard cars to  professional racing drivers in proper racing cars.

The objective was to drive the 2.5 km up a steep hill in the shortest possible time.


My father belonged to a South African automobile association called Rondalia.


 The name Rondalia came from "rondavel" which is the name given to the round thatched houses built by rural black people and was copied as the standard accommodation in the Rondalia resorts.


Every year in the winter holiday (it was cheaper than the summer holiday) we went to Hibberdene on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast where one of the resorts run by Rondalia was situated.


During one such a holiday in 1958, 

Penny Coelen

the newly crowned Miss World,

made a public appearance in Margate close to Hibberdene. 

We went there for the day, 

and especially my Mom was very 

excited to be able to see Penny in person.



Later we went to Hibberdene by caravan.

Our first caravan was a second hand Slipstream folding caravan which my dad bought for ZAR550.00


Then one year we rented a Sprite, exactly like this one.

And the next year we went on holiday with our own second hand Jurgens.



Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd 

(8 Sep. 1901 – 6 Sept. 1966), 

also commonly referred to as Dr. Verwoerd, was a South African professor, newspaper editor-in-chief and politician who served as Prime Minister of South Africa from 1958 until his assassination in 1966. 

He is regarded as the mastermind behind socially engineering and implementing the racial policies of Apartheid, the system of legal racial classification and forced racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 

1948 to 1994.

6 September 1966


The South African Prime Minister Dr. Hendrik French Verwoerd 

was stabbed to death in Parliament in Cape Town by an orderly called 

Dimitri Tsafendas.


Louis Washkansky received his heart transplant on 3 December 1967, at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. 

Surgeons removed the heart of 25-year-old Denise Darvall, who had very recently been fatally injured in a car accident. Washkansky died of pneumonia eighteen days after the transplant. The procedure was performed under the leadership of Dr. Christiaan Barnard.


Bruce Dalling 

(1938 –  2008 ) 

was a South African yachtsman, 

best known for taking second place on elapsed time and first on corrected time for the monohull award in the 1968 

Observer Single-Handed 

Trans-Atlantic Yacht Race.

Dalling completed the race in 

26 days 13 hrs 42 min, 

earning himself a place in yachting history.


Kayalami was an international race track on

the outskirts of Johannesburg.

 It was part of the Formula 1 circuit for many years, 

like this GP race in 1968.

 Another popular attraction was The Rand Daily Mail 9 hour endurance race which was held annually in November. In 1969 my dream for many years came true, when I attended the race that was won by the team lead by Jackie Ickx in a Porche.






I graduated from 

Monument High School in 

December of 1969.



A class photo taken in front of the main building of the school.

That's me with the glasses in the center of the top row.

The blond girl two rows down is 

Amla Nel 

who all the boys had a crush on.

In the center in front is the much feared Headmaster 

Mr. J.W. (Jan) Lange



The Dutch Reformed Church Krugersdorp



With both my parents being of the Christian faith, I was born into the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa.

After attending Sunday school during your 12 schooling years, one attended two weeks of intense religious training.

After successfully completing the academic phase,

and publicly declaring your faith in Jesus Christ,

one was officially admitted as a full member of the church.

This was marked by a ceremony, which in those days was a major milestone in the life of any youngster in our culture.

That's me with the glasses on the far right of the back row.




 Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first humans, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on the Moon on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC. Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface 6 hours later on July 21 at 02:56 UTC. Armstrong spent about two and a half hours outside the spacecraft, Aldrin slightly less. Together they collected 21.5 kg of lunar material for return to Earth. Michael Collins, piloted the command spacecraft in lunar orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned to it for the trip back to Earth.



At the time, I was at a camping site called "Bad-se-loop", in the district of Naboomspruit, north of Pretoria.

We listened to the moon landing on the radio, around midnight South African time.


The previous day I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.


Altought still in my final year of high school,

I was co-opted onto the governing Board of my church called the "Kerkraad".



The 1969 Australia rugby tour of South Africa was a series played between June and September 1969. 

The "Wallabies " lost the series against the Springboks by 4-0.

The Australian national cricket team toured South Africa from January to March 1970, and played a four-match Test series against the South African national cricket team. South Africa won the series 4–0.

South Africa

Captain: Ali Bacher

Most runs in the series: Graeme Pollock (517)

Most wickets in the series: Mike Procter (26)


I now became interested in reading.

Have a look at some of my favorites on the Books page.



January to September 1970

I completed my compulsary military training at 2SAI Bn in Walvis Bay,

in the Namib desert,

situated on the West coast of the present day Namibia.










On my return, I was posted to 

Queen's River State Forest,

in the district of Barberton for the rest of 1970.





I was the only Pupil Forester 

on the station at the time,

and often had a swim

at the Queen's River falls,

all by myself. 


Saturday, 16 January 1971

The first Transatlantic yacht race between 

Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro. 

The race was inspired by South African sailing legend 

Bruce Dalling, 

winner on handicap of the 1968 

Transatlantic Single-Handed Yacht Race sailed 

between Plymouth, England and Newport, Rhode Island.




Then for two years, 1971-1972, I was off to Saasveld,

at that time the training College for white Foresters in Southern Africa.

See more on the Saasveld page.


Spending a weekend in the Gamkaskloof in the Swartberge. 


                         Like students everywhere we did some crazy things.

That's me wearing a fig leaf.

Including: Martin van de Riet, Anthony Bumstead

Andy Powell, Steve, and Braganza Johnston.


In my second year at Saasveld I bought my first vehicle.

A Toyota Carona MKII LDV.

It was assembled in Japan, shipped to South Africa,

and cost ZAR1,500.00 (US$100.00)


The front was similar to this sedan.


Seen from the back.




During my high school years I had to take woodwork classes for a few years.

Saasveld had a woodwork club and workshop, and here I could work with precious indigenous species from the local forests. 

Ocotea bullata



Podocarpus latifolius

Yellow wood 



I noticed that there were always off cuts and wondered how one could utilize them. This is what I came up with. Later, while living in Sabie, I would collect off cuts from small hardwood sawmills in the Hazyview area. It then became a lucrative hobby that helped pay the bills many times.




After finishing the academic part of my 

Forestry Diploma,

and as the recipient of the Schlich Medal (Bronze),

I was offered a scholarship and went to start my studies in

Forest Management at the 

University of Stellenbosch.

I lived in a building called "Slavenhuis" situated on the west side of the main town square called "Die Braak."

Actually, many years ago the building had been slave living quarters (hence the name), and was then later restored to serve as student housing.






On Fridays and Saturdays I would travel to Cape Town in the evening and spend the nights as a volunteer doing "Streetwork". Under the leadership of the late Rev. Pietie Victor, we would assemble at the "Koffiekroeg" (coffee bar) located in one of the cellars of the St. Stephen's church for a prayer meeting. We would then go out in pairs into the nightclub and harbour areas of the city and bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to drug addicts, prostitutes, sailors, and the like.





I stayed and studied in Stellenbosch for most of 1973, 

but gave up towards the end of the year and was posted to a forest station called Jonkersberg in the Mossel Bay area. This was to complete my internship towards obtaining my Forestry Diploma.

My free time was spent studying towards a degree in theology,

doing evangelical work among the local Colored community,

and assisting them in setting up a Rugby Club.






After completing my internship at the end of 1974, I went to live with my parents in order to carry on studying theology.

I joined a Streetwork group in downtown Johannesburg,

where we worked the streets of the notoriuos Hillbrow area.

Later, I started a similar action on the streets of Krugersdorp.

I was now a Deacon of the local Church Board. 

This is a friend and fellow-worker from that time, 

called Sarie.






Sometime in 1974

I heard John Denver singing

for the first time,

and have never stopped

listening to him since. 



The Vietnam War raged from 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. 

It was officially fought between North Vietnam and the government of South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese army was supported by the Soviet Union and China, and the South Vietnamese army was supported by the United States, South Korea, Australia, and Thailand.

 This, now famous, photograph was taken in Trang Bang by AP photographer Nick Ut. It shows Phan Thi Kim Phuc, referred to informally as "the napalm girl", at nine years of age running naked on a road after being severely burned on her back by an American napalm attack. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph was taken during the Vietnam War on June 8, 1972.

The photograph is considered an important contribution to the anti-war sentiment that raged in the USA at the time.

The My Lai Massacre 

was the Vietnam War mass killing of 504 unarmed civilians in Quang Ngai, Central Vietnam on 

March 16, 1968.

30 April 1975



I met a girl, Marlene Florence Swanepoel







    On the farm

    of my future


She had her own car.

An Alfa Romeo Gulia



Operation Entebbe 

was a successful counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by commandos of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976.

27 June 1976

The flight path of the hijacked Air France flight 139 en route from Tel Aviv to Paris after terrorists boarded the plane in Athens.

The Israeli unit commander 

Yonatan (Yoni) Netanyahu, 

brother of Prime Minister Netanyahu, 

was the only Israeli killed.


3 May 1977

My Dad was a Manager at the Standard Bank's Krugersdorp branch.

The amount of cash reported by the press (above) was minuscule when compared to the content of the safety deposit boxes that were robbed. 

The exact amount robbed will never be known, as very few insurance claims were filed. 

(The owners probably did not want the IRS to know what was in these boxes). 

My father lost his collection of "crown" coins. Some of these coins were extremely rare and valuable, but the insurance company reimbursed him on the face value of the coins, which for one "crown" was 50 pence.

(The perpetrators were never apprehended).


The Staff of the branch at the time.

My Dad is in the second row, second from the left



Working on my then girlfriend's car.




The day before tying the knot.

See more complete pictures on the wedding page.



Marlene Florence Swanepoel and I got married on 

19 November 1977.

See some pics of our honeymoon here.



We went to live in the district of a small forestry town called Sabie.




On 5 June 1978 we moved to the 

D.R. de Wet Forestry Research Station 

in the district of Sabie,

and this was the first house that we lived in as a married couple. 




I was still studying theology, 

and spent the rest of my free time presenting literacy and numeracy training to the black workers on the station.




On 17 December 1979 we were transferred to the forest station on the

Long Tom Pass,

between Sabie and Lydenburg.



The pass and forest station was named after the cannons that were used here during the Boer War (1899-1903).

We attended the unveiling of the monument there.

We sold the Alfa Romeo, 

and bought our first car together.

A second-hand Volkswagen Passat Variant.




We lived here for a year and then moved into Sabie proper.

Marlene, Inja, Debra, and Lassie.



November 1980

and we were the proud owners of our first home,

for which we paid R21,000 (about US$1,400).



I worked as the Training Manager (Sawmilling)

for the Timber Industry Manpower Services (TIMS) of Southern Africa. 

My Manager: Derek Weston (standing).

Sitting is the Chairman of the TIMS Board.

At TIMS I had my first company car.

A Volkswagen Golf II






17 October 1981

We were invited to attend the official

opening of the

Sabie Forestry Museum.






During this time I had the privilege to work in some wonderful places.




August 1982




August 1986 



 Both our children were born in Sabie.

Debra was born on

15 September 1979. 

 Charel was born on

10 February 1983. 

See more about them at children .

We sold the Passat, 

and bought our first brand new car.

A Toyota Corolla Sprinter 1.8GLS


And later we purchased a second vehicle.

A Nissan 1400 LDV




This was during the war on the border between Namibia and Angola,

probably on one of my later stints, ca. 1985.


The Rubicon speech was delivered by South African President P. W. Botha on the evening of 15 August 1985 in Durban. The world was anticipating Botha to announce major reforms in his government including abolishing the Apartheid system of racial discrimination, and the release of Nelson Mandela.


After 14 years of studying,

I eventually graduated with a BA degree in Philosophy and Psychology

from the University of South Africa in April 1987.  



In Sabie I met Rev. Karel Lourens who was working in the local Dutch Reformed Church in Africa, which was the branch of our church designated for use by the black members of our denomination.

At the age of 30, I was chosen as an Elder in the local congregation, and appointed as Chairman of the Commission on Missionary Affairs.

Together with Rev. Lourens and others, I became an activist in the anti-Apartheid movement that was growing in South Africa and world-wide at that time. It was an highly unpopular position in a predominantly conservative forestry community.




In August of 1987 we moved to the mining town of Rustenburg.


 Rustenburg Kloof

the signature feature of the town.

Sun City Casino and Golf Resort north of Rustenburg.




We bought a house at Bauhenia Avenue no. 22

in the suburb of Geelhoutpark

that would be home for the next seven years.




  After a year I went to work for Cemblocks,

 where we manufactured cement blocks, bricks, and pavers.

The owners were Nic and Magriet Alberts

who also became my good friends.





6 September, 1989

P.W. Botha failed to follow through on the reforms expected after his Rubicon speech, and was reluctantly ousted by a more liberal faction of the Nationalist Party led by 

Mr. F.W. de Klerk.

After the September general election, he was inaugurated as the new State President at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.


9 November 1989

After dividing Germany for 28 years, 

The Berlin Wall finally came down.


2 February 1990

 South African President F. W. de Klerk delivered a speech at the opening of the 1990 session of the Parliament of South Africa. He announced sweeping reforms that marked the beginning of the negotiated transition from an Apartheid regime to a fully inclusive democracy.

11 February 1990

Nelson Mandela was released from prison after being incarcerated on 

Robin Island for 27 years.


Robben Island, with Cape Town and Table Mountain in the background.



In July 1990 we visited Israel, Greece, Germany, and Switserland.

In Germany, we went to the town of Oberammergau,

to witness the Passion Play, staged by the local residents of the town. 



 The Oberammergau Passion Play was first performed in 1634 

and is the result of a vow made by the inhabitants of the village that if God spared them from the effects of the bubonic plague then sweeping the region they would perform a passion play every ten years.



In Israel, 

visiting the Holy sites that I have been hearing and reading about all my life was the fulfillment of a Christian pilgrim's dream.

The Sea of Galilee

Although I am not Jewish, to me one of the highlights of our tour was visiting Mount Masada. 

As we stood there in the ancient fortress overlooking the Dead Sea, a squadron of F-16 fighter jets from the IDF came thundering overhead. They were so close that I could see the pilots looking down on us.

It filled me with a strange sense of pride.




I realized one of my life-long dreams 

and bought a second-hand Mercedes Benz 230E.




January 1993

 I became the sole owner of a business called

Signs 2000.






On the 19th of August 1994, a judge in the Pretoria High Court,

pronounced Marlene and me: divorced. 




 After our divorce, I had two girlfriends.

Martie, 1996

and Delene in 1998. 


26 January 1996

My brother Hein married Tracey Rademeyer





During this time I became a dedicated birder.

I was a founding member of the Rustenburg branch of BirdLife SA,

served on the Management Commitee, and organised birdwatching

tours to Botswana, Zimbabwe, etc.



During Mach/April 1999 my friend Lesley Ryan and I undertook a birding tour to Israel. On our return, we presented talks on "Birding in Israel" at a number of BirdLife SA branches.

For more details go to my Birding pages.



 Birding at the fish ponds of Kibbutz Kfar Ruppin, Israel.



 At a meeting of BirdLife SA, Rustenburg




At the turn of the millennium, end of 1999,

I went to Israel in the hope of settling there.

I lived in Jerusalem for a few months, came to realize that it was not practically possible to settle there, and had no choice but to return to SA. 




After studying biblical Hebrew for many years, and three visits to Israel, I felt the urge to share my knowledge with others.

I began presenting Biblical Hebrew classes at a local vocational college in 2000.





During this time, I finally combined into a single volume all the notes that I had gathered over the years on the birds that are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.  








During my years in Rustenburg, I was a member of the local branch of The Gideons. The Gideons International is an interdenominational association of Christian business and professional men who are members of Protestant/evangelical churches. They are dedicated to saving the lost through personal witnessing and the distribution of God's Word in more than 190 countries around the world.


11 September 2001


By the end of 2001 I was completely down and out. Signs 2000 had all but come to a standstill, and I had virtually no money. I lived in a small room/workshop, had no hot water, and often went a day or two without something to eat.

I spent most of my time researching material in order to finish my book. I sold almost all my assets to pawn shops and friends for next to nothing in order to survive.

I had no choice but to ask my parents if I could move in with them. They obliged, and I left Rustenburg after 14 years and relocated to Krugersdorp, where my brother Hannes gave me a part-time job driving a school bus.


Monday 21 October 2002

On my last morning school bus drive to pick up children attending the West Rand School for the Cerebral Palsied, I got carjacked at gunpoint by a very nervous young black man.



On Thursday 24 October 2002,

I set off on a new adventure in my life.

At 14:15, I was on a plane leaving Johannesburg,

en route to Shanghai via Singapore and Hong Kong.



 By noon on Wednesday, 30 October 2002,

I was in the north of China,

in a (polluted) place called Shenyang.

It would be home for the next two years...



...and looked much better in winter.



22 December 2002.

I have been in China and at 

Jiahua IELTS Training Center

with my Manager Molly for almost two months now.


On 23 April 2003 all schools and Universities in Manchuria were ordered to close for two weeks in an attempt to prevent the spread of the SARS virus. 

Our students were all sent home, and fearing that the police would place me in quarintine if I was spotted outside, I was confined to my dorm. The dorm janitor Chu Ge provided me with food, and for entertainment rented some DVD's . Among them were the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers". 

Together we watched the 10 episodes over and over. Later I purchased my own pirated set, and still keep on watching episods to this day.





On 16 June 2003, 

while teaching a class, 

I received a call 

from my brother Hein 

who informed me 

that my Dad had passed away.

Back in class I told my students the news. One of them, a wonderful boy, intended to use the word "condolences" but got it wrong and said,

"Congratulations Teacher!" 

Afterwards we became dear friends for many years. Click here to see more about him.



In 2004

I worked for BoYa English Language Training Center,

which was situated on the ground floor of the ShenYang TV Tower. 




 I made some wonderful friends.

I had a crush on the lady next to me in this picture, but she was on her way to accept a teaching position at the University of Chicago. 

In the center are my dear friends Jan and Bob.






On 28 November 2004,

I moved south to the city of


in the Guangdong Province adjacent to Hong Kong.

A new home in which I had to ask friends and colleagues to help me in finding my way.



 I was getting to know China better.




In August 2005,

I moved to Mission Hills Golf Resort,

on the outskirts of Shenzhen,

the mainland metropolis in the Guangdong province,

bordering Hong Kong.



Working for the largest Golf Resort in the world

(12 championship courses, 10 000 employees)

was very exciting.



 In the evenings we would have "English Corners".



After a year at Mission Hills,

I moved to Wuxi (close to Shanghai).



After a year in Wuxi, I moved back to Mission Hills.



 I became the English Language Coordinator there.



 Judged "English Competitions",



...and experienced night golf for the first time.



The Shenzhen part of Mission Hills

is located in the (dirty) suburb of Guanlan.


27 Feb - 3 March 2007


Paid Australia a visit.


Monday 26 February 2007

Day Trip to the Blue Mountains

Wednesday 28 February 2007

Day Trip to the Canberra

Thursday 29 February 2007

Bondi Beach



I had the privilege of travelling to many interesting places

in and around China. 











On 14 February 2008

my first grandchild,


was born.


Nov / Dec 2008

My sister Evein and brother Hein came to visit.


Tuesday 20 January 2009

Barack Hussein Obama 

was inaugurated as the 44 th President if the United States of America. 




March 2009

At Mission Hills I met Terri.






8 November 2009

I am 59 now, and have received a warm gift from Nancy for my birthday.




I had now moved to downtown Shenzhen.

 The main street of the city, 

Shennan Road.

The tallest building in the city at that time called Di Wang. 


Where I had ....


a room with a view. 




On 6 July 2010

I started working at Jia Hua

as the Director of IELTS Studies.



31 October 2010

Halloween, and my last day at Jiahua.




On 1 November 2010,


Language Center was born.

I started as a private tutor.




On 27 November we moved into our own office.



Also on that day we had our first demo-class for 

pre-school students.




Christmas Eve, 2010




2 February 2011

Lunar New Year's Eve

Guomao Subway Station Exit E

Terri and I meet again after almost one year.






March 2011

Shenzhen University driving range 





March 2011:

Moved to a new home and office for GGS 


Only one subway station from church. 




May-June 2011

My son Charel, and his girlfriend Mich came to visit. 



 Mich, me, and Charel visiting Mr. Deng

Click here to see them in China and Thailand




8 November 2011

I have been around for 60 years.

And still:

I'm too blessed to be stressed.



Christmas 2011

Diana  Cindy  Sky  Tian  Friend






22 January 2012

Chinese Lunar New Year

Doris and Rita

kindly provided the necessary





13 February 2012

The courier delivered the first copy of

Birds and Bibles in History

(but he was a bit worried about why I would want to take a picture of him)





20 February 2012

Birds and Bibles in History

ISBN 978-1907313707

is published by

The London Press




April 2012

I went to Phuket to meet my nephew Joshua for the first time.






6 August 2012

Received the first copy

of the Afrikaans version today.




8 August 2012

Printed the first copies of the two IELTS books.





22 September 2012

Housewarming party in the new home of Taiger and Lin.




September 2012

Visiting Mission Hills again after a long absence,



and having hotpot with some old friends.




Friday 5 October 2012

My first round of golf on the simulator.




7 October 2012

Jiahua staff party presented by the founders 

Faye and Eric.






October 2012

Hein and Trace visited Sabie and were so kind to take some pics of the house that I lived in 32 years earlier.




20 October 2012

The official opening of the JiaHua NanShan branch. 



Eric with a good impersonation of Al Debbo

and two new South African friends.





 24 October 2012

10 years in China.




8 November 2012

I am 61 years young, and Jesse is one week old.

Mother Lin and father Taiger,

with Grandma keeping a watchful eye from the back.



 On the same day, and my friends Nic and Magriet are enjoying Cambodia.




9 November 2012

China is heaven

(for many of us, that is.)

A beautiful and peaceful autumn evening. A sumptuous meal.



 and spending some time with three Christian friends on the local driving range.

Taiger   David   Mark

I am still truely

too blessed, to be stressed.




14 December 2012

Jiahua Futian branch teachers and staff




 Sunday 13 January 2012.

Lucky number 13. That is how many foreign teachers gathered at the Jiahua Annual Staff Party. 

(OK, actually 12 + the Boss!)





Lunar New Year's Day  10 February 2013






19 March 2013

Moved to Nanshan District.


The view by day. 

The view at night. 





1 May 2013

English Lesson at Shenzhen University Driving Range

Nancy Sam Lily Alice Abby





17 June 2013

The teachers at our new Kexueguan branch. 

Diana and Nancy 



8 November 2013

Who said you cannot have a birthday party in the classroom !! 






30 November 2013

BBQ at Jiahua

Vicky        Me        Helen         Sky



       Phillip     Apple                                 Steven    Terrry



Christmas 2013

I know Santa is from the North Pole. 

So why does he have a South-African accent?




An advertising campaign at Jiahua.



27 - 31 January 2014

Penang & Langkawi Islands


Please click here for more pics of Malaysia.


22 March 2014

BBQ at Jiahua 




30 July 2014

My last working day as a full-time teacher at Jiahua.

The "Housewives" class.


The "IELTS Foundation" class. 


A farewell dinner with some very good friends.

Sky  Febi  Ellephen  Lily  Suzy  Nancy  Helen  Terri  Steven



10 August 2014

Lunch with some old friends in a typical, slightly upmarket, restaurant.



After-lunch coffee at the Ritz-Carlton

Michael    Cici    Tian    Joyce 


15 August 2014

Signed the contract for the premises of the new school.

The classrooms before the decorations begin.


The views from the classrooms.

To the South



To the North, and looking down at Jiahua !!

Sunset as seen from one of our classrooms.



Monday 8 September 2014

A holiday in China, and we have an open day. 

The first students have paid their tuition fees, so we are all very happy.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Our first class.


The classes are slowly but surely filling up.

These are our first Advanced Class students.

Alice    Leah    Joanna    Lily    Abby   Minnie     David   



15 September 2014

I have started to write some notes on Biblical Hebrew grammar. I want to start presenting Hebrew classes at Tianxi free of charge and hopefully one day collect my notes and publish it as a grammar book for beginners.


3 October 2014

Student outing to Mission Hills



7 October 2014

My Christian friends Bill and Faye got married.



8 October 2014



24 October 2014

12 years in China



 8 November 2014

Celebrating 63 years on this planet.

Yvonne  Lily  Nemo  Abby  Hellen  Alice  Nancy  Ellen



Found a new place to worship. 

Shekou International School



7 December 2014

Kim is the first full-time employee at tianxi school.


Seven beauties in one class.


Alice   Leah   Kim   Abby   Smiley   Belinda   Febi

30 December 2014

Another all-female class at tianxi.

What a way to end the year !!

Apple   Judy   Smiley   Nemo   Abby   Hellen



6 February 2015

The first Hebrew for Beginners class.



19-24 February 2015

With some student friends in Pattaya, Thailand.


 We went to see a show by the ladyboys.

And I got to meet one up close and personal.




1 March 2015

Began working for the International Program at 

Huang Yu Yuan International High School.



18 April 2015

Met up with Jane today.



6 May 2015

Shekou People's Hospital: Had my appendix removed

and experienced an unbelievable outpouring of friendship

and caring from many friends.

I was guarded over 24/7, 

with guys like Steven renting a camping bed 

and spending the night next to my bed.



 A stream of well-wishers kept visiting daily.



Helen found an (almost) Italian restaurant.



but hotpot will always be a favorite.



Opened a second Hebrew class.



22-23 August 2015

Spent two days at Da Peng Holiday Resort



For more pics of Da Peng, click here.


26 September 2015

Philip Welsh, 

the first full-time teacher employed by tianxi, 

is proving to be very popular and successful.


Sunday 13 March 2016

Leaving China via Hong Kong after 14 years.

Moving to a new life and a new adventure in Vietnam.


This bride decided to take her 

wedding photos in the famous 

HK Apple outlet.

HK skyscraper in the mist.


20 March 2016

Now living in Quang Ngai on the East coast of Vietnam

 11 May 2016

 Vietnam countryside





25 May 2016

 Foresty in Quang Ngai



8 June 2016

 My new (second-hand) transport.

14 June 2016

 Visited the Son My massacare site.

24 June 2016

 Visited the Quang Ngai Harbour.

20 July 2016

Global English Center

5 August 2016

Dung Quat Cove


16 September 2016


With Madiba and the South African Ambassador to Vietnam.


25 October 2016

On my way to South Africa 

for a new passport.

 After an absence of twelve years, it was a delight to see my family again.

2 - 6 November 2016

Spent a wonderful time with my son Charel, future daughter-in-law Mich, and their eldest son Ziggy in their hometown Hoedspruit.

Africa !!

Kruger Park


8 November 2016

Birthday celebration with family.

9 - 13 November

Spent a few days with my best friends Nic and Magriet Alberts in Rustenburg.


Christmas Eve 2016

Back home again with

Angie Tian Little Sven Iris Fitsy (Christina) Old Sven Dimitri Iris Robin Nora

Christmas Day 2016 in Hoi An


28 December 2016

Charel and Michieu Che Louwrens got married in SA.

1-4 January 2017

Charel and Mich came to visit in Vietnam.


20 January 2017

I am now the proud owner of a tattoo.


David     Fitsy     Tian      Iris      Nora


10 March 2017

Outing into the countryside





21 March 2017

Daytrip to Tam Ky. 

I immediately fell in love with the place, 

and expressed the wish to come and work here one day.

Mural art in Tam Ky   

7 -8 April 2017

Visited Ly Son Island


30 April  -  2 May 2017

Visit Saigon


19 July 2017

Started working at AMA in Tam Ky

Tam Ky

19 September 2017

Moved into a house around the corner from AMA.

2 October 2017

Old friends from Quang Ngai paid me a visit.

29 November: 

Pizza with Rama, my neighbor and colleague.


Christmas 2017

Thankful for the peace 

that we have here now.


28 December 2017

Judging an English Tournament at a 

Tam Ky Primary School.


17 May 2018

Moved to the Tam Ky University Guest House.


24 May 2018

Kate got married.


6 June 2018

A Fellow South African Abroad (also known as a SAFFA) 

named Neels Blom arrived in Tam Ky from George.

13 August 2018

Took a day-trip to Hoi An in search of a venue for the wedding of my dear friends Ollie and Nora.

My fellow SAFFA took the pics. Thanks Neels !!


06:00   20 August 2018

I started writing on 15 September 2014 in China

and now four years later almost to the day, 

I now finished the last page of the 952 page text of Volumes 1-3.

Consisting of five volumes, the series is called

Biblical Hebrew for All


29 August - 1 September 2018

Trip to Nha Trang to celebrate 5th birthday of 

AMA Quang Nam.


27 September 2018

Received the final proofs of my three IELTS books.



8 November 2018

Blessed by receiving a wonderful birthday gift.

Saw this feathered friend in full flight this morning.


20 November 2018

Teacher's Day

Some friends came to visit.


26 January 2019

My good friend, Lily Chai from China, came to visit for a few days.


19 March 2019 

English class in the Guest House

David   Anna    Betty    Lola   Crystal    Julia


Visit to South Africa

(25 April - 14 May 2019 )

26-28 April 2019

Kamonande Game Farm

30 April - 2 May 2019

Makuwa Lodge

(click here for more)

3-6 May 2019

Kruger Park

(click here for more)

11 May 2019

Ilke and Stefan got married

(click here for more)


15 June 2019

Day trip to Da Nang with Neels Blom


22 June 2019

Early morning swim with some students



9 July 2019

Nora and Oliver came to visit.

We visited Quang Ngai to see the new school building, 

and meet up with some old friends.


24 July 2019

Acted as a tour guide for a group that are attending the wedding tomorrow.

In Tam Ky we visited the art Village at Tam Than beach, 

as well as Phu Ninh lake.


Amazing !!!

In a village along the way, this little girl all by herself, 

sold us some fuel for our bikes.


25 July 2019

Nora and Ollie got married in Hoi An

Click here for more pics.

Dima and Fitsy

The MC and hotel staff member.



Teacher's Day



Life in Tam Ky

Rose  Betty  Tiana  Nelius  Lola  Anna  David

         Betty   Anna    Tian    David


Cham Islands, Hoi An


Private English class

Susan     David     Anna    Julie    Rose    Bettie


Visit to Tam Ky War Tunnels


Birthday  8 November


Rose  Betty  Anna  David  Lola


December 20

My son Charel has to study a textbook in order to complete his exam to qualify as a Professional Field Guide.

So I decided to get a copy and read it in a sign of solidarity to him.


Christmas Eve


25 January 2020

Lunar New Year.

Visited the homes of Anna and David in the countryside.


27-30 January 2020

Trip to Quang Binh Caves

For more pics click here

"Be Home"  Homestay

For more pics, click here.


Monday 3 February 2020

Coronavirus originated in China, and has now spread to 25 countries including Vietnam.

We had classes over the weekend, but this week all educational institutions have been ordered to close. 


Monday 10 February 2020

Visit to Quang Ngai

Nick  Tian  Tiana  Nelius              Nien  Quinn  Sven  Henry  Friend  David


Due to the Covid-19 (Corona) pandemic, 

schools in Vietnam were closed from 3 Feb. to 3 May.

My friends Tiana and Nelius and I went on a number of day trips.


1 August 2020

After 100 days without any cases, the virus is back. 

We are not allowed to work and have to stay at home again. To counter some "cabin fever," I went to the beach this morning. 



Charel with his Ziggy, and me with mine.


October 2020

The Central Regions of Vietnam have been experiencing the worst floods in decades. More than 100 people have been killed, communities devastated, and crops destroyed.


Christmas 2020

My life (2021-)



friends        work        birding