This article will appear in the December edition of Matieland, the Stellenbosch University publication for its alumni:



Schalk Burger is a name not unknown in Stellenbosch.


But this Schalk Burger is from Windhoek. He is the newly elected primarius of Helshoogte for 2011 and gives me hope for the future.


Schalk is also my “adopted son” for the “Pa-en-Seun Naweek” which I attended earlier this year.


I am always thrilled to journey back to Stellenbosch. It is the hub of so many of my journeys and the source of so many of my traveling companions.


In fact, my life journey started there when I was born in the Hospital at the top of Merriman Street.


I returned to Merriman Street in 1976 to begin my academic journey and lived across the road from the hospital in the then 3-year-old Helshoogte. Six memorable years culminated in my also becoming the primarius. In 2004, I continued with that academic journey.


Stellenbosch created my wanderlust for travel. It was the hub from which four of us (including my sister Ingrid who later became primaria of Serruria) left in 1977 for a tour of Schalk’s homeland, Namibia, and from which eight of us left in 1981 on a Euro-Rail journey through Europe.


My current and most difficult journey commenced in 2007 – also in Stellenbosch! That was when Professor Jonathan Carr of the Stellenbosch University Medical School’s Neurology Department diagnosed a rare neuro-degenerative disease corticalbasal degeneration. It is a disorder that follows a journey all of its own. Daily, it gives more of itself, and takes away more of my body by gradually paralyzing it.


It will bring my life’s journey to a premature end. I want that journey to end in the place that I refer to as ‘Heaven is a place on Earth’.


So, on the weekend of my return, I arranged with Schalk that my ashes will be returned to that place where it all started – the top of Merriman Street and to Helshoogte in Stellenbosch.