Prerow’s Last Legion

August 1989, and we were the “last legion” to be trained in one of East Germany’s paramilitary camps – one of the things that had become part and parcel of growing up in East Germany. Now we were there for a last time, though we didn’t know that yet.

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30 Years Revolution, 1989-2019. Part 1

I was 17 in the summer of 1989, my last school holidays in-between grade eleven and twelve. Amidst irritating news about an increasing number of fellow East Germans who tried to flee across a newly opened Hungarian-Austrian border to western countries, a friend and I travelled the Isle of Rügen before we had to serve in a GST-Lager, a paramilitary camp, for a last time.

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Move your birthday south!

… at least when your birthday is in winter like mine. Even The Queen does it, only in time. I do it in space. After all her original birthday is not in winter. And German winter at that. Since I didn’t grow up in a region where people engage in winter sports much, nor where you could count on snow, the consequences in my childhood were: in-doors arrangements needed to be made, no garden party, and so on. You get the picture. As an adult I would sometimes defy the winter weather and have a garden party (I remember once doing a barbecue during a blizzard – me being the only one outside). But this year, for the second time in my life, I am in the south, and way down south!

Now after a number of people have sung for me in different languages (see also below), and Winnie surprised me with a great improvisation on “Happy Birthday” on the piano – and this guy also happens to be my boss!, and now that my stomach is filled with delicious food, I am home (ha! been in Auckland Lodge for almost a month now) ready to enjoy some of that duty-free whiskey in a moment. Nightcap. But for now I enjoy reflecting upon this day, here.

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On Racism and Othering

The following text is partly in response to friends or anyone really who is rightfully upset and hurt by ongoing racism in the world. My fear is that this pain makes it more and more difficult for us to engage openly, and to challenge ourselves and our prejudice, or if you like: myself and my prejudices. I sense that a lot of people on the receiving end of racism are fed up with finding themselves in a position where they are asked to explain or end racism or are asked to forgive, more so than those who commit acts of racism, directly or indirectly, are willing to do the work to overcome it, or even look at potential racist behaviour, or to admit to their position of privilege.

It’s become longer than I thought, and I believe what truth there is in it is personal, thus not necessarily The capital-T Truth.

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Snippets: dear significant people and other adventures in Germanland

I’m leaving Africa for a few days – there’s a party to attend, with some of my most favourite people in this universe, some paperwork and clothes for uni to pick up. I’m happy to visit friends and family. I leave Africa with lots of impressions, and a sense that I don’t have enough yet. I’m still hungry 😉

Back in Germany for a few days

The cold and the dark are appaling. I am still angry at my ancestors: they left the land of mangos, guavas and bananas to go north. Once there, they had to bleach their skin so the sun could make up for the poor diet. Then they realized they’d die in the winter months if they didn’t stress throughout spring and summer. So they became really good at that, stressing. It made them “successful”, if a stressful life is a success at all. So much so that they conquered the rest of the world and imposed this stressful system there as well, unnecessarily. Welcome the 20th and 21st centuries – my philosophy of history in short. We could be sitting under mango trees and wait for the next harvest, all the 5 million of us or so …

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About me

Welcome to Vuyogo!

I write about traveling and whatever else I find is worth sharing of my life’s journey. Although my native tongue is German, English is my second home, linguistically speaking, and it is the one which all of my friends share. Hence the choice of English as a medium here. I may write something in German though, but I’m certainly not planning on translating or re-writing everything in a second language.

I chose the title Vuyogo, which is inspired by the !Xhosa word vuyo for ‘joy’ or ‘rejoice’. (For a numerological reading click here) My friend Vuyi gave it to me as a nickname when we first met at the Lake of Stars Festival in Malawi in 2014. And I’m happy to use it as my nickname 😉 (for instance here), in addition to other nicknames, such as Drik – which is an all-too obvious pun on my real name, Dirk.

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