Taught through road signs – Namibian Wildlife

Taught through road signs – Namibian Wildlife

Every face has a story to tell… the expressions on my face can tell many tales. Many people can read
and tell what my facial expressions say, for example being thoughtful or annoyed.
My dad could always tell that I was thinking of something, and kept asking me “an was denkst du?”
(what are you thinking about?).

At the age of four / five, I loved travelling with my dad especially
when he had to go to a farm or plot to fix a windpump or borehole, and we travelled on the famous
Sand pads (gravel roads), like Wilhelmstal pad. There were occasions where he would allow me to sit
on his lap and pretend that I was driving his Ford F250, holding the steering wheel in my little hands.
I kept telling him “Papa du kannst los lassen, ich kann steuern!” (Dad you can let go, I can steer!). He
never let go, he always had his thumb and index finger on the steering wheel, telling me that he is
only resting them…
While travelling the Sand pads, I always noticed die Schilder (Road Signs) with the Kudu or warthog
on. I would wonder what they meant and why they would stand next to the road. My dad would
notice and pop the question: “an was denkst du?” and I would answer: “Papaaaa? Was sind diese
dinger neben der Pad und was bedeuten die?” (What are those things next to the road and what do
they mean?). He first did not know what I was talking about until I showed it to him. He chuckled
when he saw what I meant and would answer: “das ist ein Schild mit ein Kudu drauf und das
bedeutet das da die möglichkeit ist, das da Kudu’s auf der Pad sind!” (That is a sign with a Kudu on it
and it means that there is a possibility that there are Kudu’s on the road or next to the road!) For
every sign that I saw that looked different, I would ask my dad question after question and he would
answer them all. He would see a sign and before I could even ask he would answer. I believe that I
took my dad back into time where he had done his learner’s or driver’s licence.

Since I learnt the meaning of the signs and what the different images on the signs represented, I
would look at our beautiful landscape, scanning for all the wildlife in the velds. My dad would even
tell and show me when he saw an animal. He would point it out and say: “Kuck! Da ist ein Gemsbok.
Das Tier mit den langen schwarzen Hörner.” (Look! There is an Oryx. The animal with the long black
horns.)

This is how I learnt and got to know the wonderful wildlife and the landscapes that Namibia has. It is
breath-taking and sensational. Even though I have not been everywhere in our country and still need
to explore further, I enjoy the peace in Nature, the calls of the Jackals and the songs of the birds. I
hope that our future generation also gets to know and have the opportunity to experience all of
what our beautiful country has to offer!
by Sonja Hoffmann

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