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New Dutch settler in the Cape Flats: Maduma

I read a lovely article today about Arnoldus de Veth, A 74 year old Dutch pensioner who has taken up residence with his new wife in the township of Gugulethu.

Gugulethu (Our Pride) lies in the Cape Flats and is a imposing expanse of shacks, bustling and cramped picture of poverty, community and South African culture. For a white person, let alone a Dutchman living in Gug’s is virtually unheard of. The townships have a reputation of crime and violence, but also warm hospitality and strong communal bonds.


Arnoldus has been given the name Maduna by his new family and has integrated seamlessly with his new environment with many new friends.

“He is often in here buying meat and everybody knows him. He has a lot of respect in the area and people just treat him like anyone else. I know for many people it seems unusual to have a white man living here, but for us his colour is not an issue.”

“It is very strange for us, because we do not see him as different, just as our friend and neighbour. His colour and history do not matter to us – he is just Maduna.”

“I know many people have been shocked by my decision to settle here in Gug’s, but I really don’t understand why. I’ve never had any problems and the people are some of the friendliest and kindest I have ever met.”

“It is very different in Holland, where people keep much more to themselves. When my brother-in-law died it took three weeks before anybody realised he was dead. Three weeks! By that time he was already smelling! Here if I do not go out for my morning walk everybody comes by to check I am okay. You don’t get that elsewhere.”

Read the entire article here.