The tree of happiness flowers and fruits most abundantly for the creative man
While posted to the Kaokoland on our second trip up to the border, and on returning from Epupa Falls where we lost one of our own, our section was sent off to Eyuva Base. Here we were left to our own devices, which was simply fantastic as I was able to spend many happy hours drawing the base and surrounds.
(above) A pen and ink drawing of Eyuva Base in the Kaokoland. Drawn in blue ink on the 26th of June 1985. Eyuva Base was situated several kilometres to the north of Opuwo, just off from the main road. It can still be observed with Goodle Sat. We slept in the bungalows to the right and showered under the open-sided shed next to the old Bedford water tanker. While stationed here for a month or so, we set up our 81 mm mortars. I would imagine some threat to Opuwo had been anticipated and stationed here our section could fire on the target from the north, while O company’s other section could bombard the target from the south.
(below) My section photographed at Eyuva Base, Kaokoland with some locals. Graham Leslie McCallum, Sarel J. N. Brits, Deon Botes, Frank Leone, Kevin Breedt, Glen Watson, with local soldiers.
(above) A pen and ink sketch of a corner of Eyuva Base. When we were there, 102 Bn had already deserted the base, but such was much of military excess, that they left mountains of clothing supplies in the shed drawn here. I guess as long as the poor sodding South African taxpayers were coughing up their taxes, all was well.
(above and below) Pen and ink sketches of our bungalow at Eyuva Base, Kaokoland. 25 th and 27th of June 1985.
(above) The local’s dogs frequented the Eyuva Base in the hope of a titbit or two, but remained aloof and would retreat if we approached them. Sometimes they would arrive with visiting Himbas and stay until evening. It is something of a pity that I did not take greater notice of the Himba’s dogs for I am very interested in the Africanis dog breed today.
(above) A chinagraph crayon drawing of the abandoned ablution block at Eyuva Base, Kaokoland. The lack of water made these facilities unfeasible. This deserted building was populated with hundreds of bats.
The unique but unpractical protective walls can be seen in this drawing. Invariably, the supporting rods gave way with the corrugated iron, spilling the sand core. I have no recollection of feeling endangered while I was stationed here with just two sections and without supervision. We certainly never put out any guards at night and regarded our stay as something of an excursion. Hence the large number of drawings I did at this location.
(above) An ink drawing of a typical tent at the Eyuva Base, Kaokoland.
(above) I titled this sketch ‘Red Tree’ for obvious reasons. Why I chose to colour it thus is what alludes me. Perhaps me fresh out of the Art School thought it would make some meaningful statement. Note one of my fellow soldiers behind a screen taking a shower next to the Bedford water tanker. Eyuva base, Kaokoland, June 1985.
(above and below) Pen and ink sketches of the large, lonely and only tree that grew inside Eyuva Base, Kaokoland, 3 July 1985.
(above) The happy arrival of the Samil 50 Water tanker to refill our empty old Bedford tanker (rear) at Eyuva Base, Kaokoland. There was no water source, so all our H2O requirements arrived by truck.
This base was surrounded by walls made of sheets of corrugated iron with rammed earth centres. Curiously, the base was located alongside high mountains from where one could see right into the camp. When I was stationed at this base it had already been abandoned by South West African Territorial Forces. Its location, and lack of water were perhaps two of the reasons for its abandonment.
(above) A pena dn ink drawing of the old Bedford TK water tanker at Eyuva Base. 26 June 1985, Kaokoland.
Amateurish blue ink sketch of the stationary Bedford water tanker at Eyuva Base that no longer had an engine, but was filled with water for our use from a visiting Samil water tanker. 25 June 1985, Kaokoland.
(above) The flies at Eyuva Base were unbelievable, and this image began when I squashed a fly on a sheet of paper. Such was the torment at this occasion that I commemorated its death. Fellow Mortarist Kevin Breedt was a fantastic fly killer and would catch them with a flash of his quick hands. He taught me how to catch a fly by clapping one’s hands above the spot were the fly was located.
(above and below) I quickly sketched Kevin Breedt when he returned with a Stanley Bustard that he had shot in the head with his R4 rifle. Weary of ratpacks, he braaied (barbequed) the bird. If I recall correctly the bird was full of worms and Kevin’s underpants were red. 25 June 1985.
(above) While stationed at Eyuva Base, local Himbas would visit the camp from time to time allowing me this hasty sketch. The women went around bare-breasted and the athletic youths wore a distinctive and singular plait. Elders wore a distinctive hat, leather apron and sometimes a jacket as in this case. These people daub themselves in red ochre mixed with butter fat obtained from their herds. We were told the red ochre was obtained across the Cunene River in Angola.
(above) The Herero and the Himba people of the Kaokoland were intriguing and of especial interest to me. The one ethnicity over-dressed while the other not. I have often thought over the subsequent years that the Himba’s simple rural lives were superior to my own, so entrapped in housing bonds an clothing accounts. Contrary to what some might think, my fellow soldiers treated these people with due respect. The Herero baked a lovely bread that once risen, was fried in deep oil. I would go to all lengths to get a loaf of this special fare. Eyuva Base, Kaokoland, 30 June 1985.
(above) I sketched this Himba Man at Eyuva Base, Kaokoland. 1985.
(above and two images below) Pencil drawings of three SWATF Reaction Force soldiers that I drew at Eyuva Base.
A Namibian member of the Reaction Force at Eyuva Base, Kaokoland.