Zuci Graf zu Castell-Ruedenhausen

Cnr. Timour Hall rd. and Main rd., Plumstead, Cape Town, South Africa

2010 / 03 / 24 15:54

‘I’m from Namibia, I’m a born Namibian. But my parents are German. They came form Germany in ‘35, and my mother in ’38, and they got married on the farm and that’s how we’re here, my brothers, myself, my sister. I studied in Pretoria, I studied Commercial Art, then I went to Europe, because of Apartheid I didn’t come back. In ’66 I said no to coming back. After 27 years, in 1993, when I heard Mandela was coming out, I came back for the first time. I was homesick all the time, all the time, but I wouldn’t come back. I had clashes with the police. I told them, very normally - “What we’re doing ,us, white people, is not according to the bible. You’re a Calvinist, I’m a Lutheran - so what is our problem? Our problem is that we ill-treat people because of their color.” And that was when I was 19. When I was 17 I woke up on the farm. Then I started to become more of a rebel... with a cause. Not “without a cause”. Anyway, now I’m headed to the printer here, just down the road - I’ve done a design for my brother’s 70th. birthday and I have to print it out. I ride my bike daily. That was my thing - when I was in Europe, and when I lived in Europe I said to myself, “Infrastructure is ideal, I don’t need a car.” My friends always said, “You got to have a car.” And I said, “Why must I have a car? We’re polluting this area.” This was in the 70’s. The first demonstration against pollution, in the world I think, did we students organize in 1962 in Pretoria, with a 3 ton truck - the cloud that came out of that truck... we couldn’t see the cars behind us! That’s why we did it with that truck. We demonstrated against car pollution in 1962! But we were not sensationalists, we were so dedicated, and we were so upset with all this, we forgot, we didn’t ask the press to come or anything. We’ve got no photo’s, no record of it. We didn’t have camera’s! We had nothing! Unfortunately, we have no record. It would’ve been a lovely record to have. When I came to Germany and told the story they all laughed at me. I said, “This is getting worse, and worse, and worse. We just don’t want to see it.” I went on demonstrations against Apartheid, against pollution and everything. The politicians just “Blah, blah, blah.” It’s the same over there as it is over here. All over the world.’ You know, no one fights the roots of poverty, the main root - it’s overpopulation. Nobody talks about it. There was a guy now in one of the papers, the first time I’ve heard somebody open his mouth and dares to address it. Because they have something in their minds which is totally old-fashioned. I’ve got nothing against traditions, traditions are very important, very valuable, but you have to change certain things, you cannot keep on. “Conservare” - that means you conserve that which is good, and that which is not good anymore you get rid of. You have to. And that is what we do not do. Anyway... this bike. I bought it in 1995. The luggage rack is Birch wood, and the mud guards. It was a limited edition - this is bike number 78 from 250. It goes, it runs - so well done, so well designed...’

Stan Engelbrecht

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