My father…

Old Bishop Georg Schulz DD, was a friend of my father all along. Writing on occasion of  his predecessor as superintendent of the Free Evangelical Lutheran Missions in Southern Africa Rev. Christoph Johannes’ (Salem) birthday, he quoted CJ himself: “One should not write too much about the living” and quipped: “Well, old CJ will just have to endure this despite his distaste for eulogies”.

Thank God my father is still alive and hopefully I will see him tomorrow at the engagement celebrations down in Lueneburg. It’s a good thing the Americans celebrate Father’s Day in June and not like the Germans tied to the Ascension Holiday. It’s really a confusion of issues. I am very grateful that my father was such a good father and like Matthias Matussek wrote in   “Welt”  today, my father was also so unconditionally helpful, confidently pious and even wisely understanding – and I do thank God for him.

There are many things I recall of my father – like calling him from the office, where he was typing away to give another piano lesson on Saturday morning or join us all for the regular meals in the house or seeing him walking up to church in Enhlanhleni every Saturday afternoon in his black gown to conduct the divine service for the Seminarians in seTswana or him waiting in the VW combi to pick us up from school on Fridays or joining the family for tea after the Sunday service. He even taught me to drive even though I’m still working on slowing down like he regularly did.

He took lots of time for us – joining us at athletic competitions against Lueneburg (where my future wife actually was part of the tug-o-war team to beat us skinny boys from Uelzen), driving our class on expeditions into the Drakensberg or down to Durban or to see the film “Tom Saywer” in the Dundee biscope – or just to drive us to school or pick us up from there – every 2/3 weeks or so, every term, every year for more than a decade. As a matter of course he was there, when we were taken up at emergencies in the Dundee hospital after Rugby or horse riding casualties, but also when the matrons overstepped the mark and got us whipped by her son-in-law for some or other misdemeanor like swimming in the dams close by and drying up again by playing tennis on the courts down at the cemetery.

Following in his footsteps as a hunter, pastor and eventually teacher at the Seminary of the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa has made me appreciate even more, what he did and still does in preaching, teaching, writing and translation for more than a half a century. He continues to listen, to advise and also to pray for us and the Church + I thank God for him and his dear wife. They are as good parents as you could wish and hope for!

Here are some pictures of my father and loving dad, whom I only call: “Papa”, but did not start photographing until I came to Pretoria really. So these photos are mainly from the past decade only and my father was grey already. It was not always like that!



About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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2 Responses to My father…

  1. Karien says:

    My father Ben Hattingh went to school in Brits agricultural school and had a best friend, Stillfried Niebuhr. I am not sure if it is your dad, but if so my father would really like to get in touch. My father will be 87 this year.

    Karien van der Mescht

    • Stilfried is not my dad. My uncle Karl was there in Brits too. My dad is dead and Stilfried suffers from dementia, but is still with his daughter Marlies in Pretoria.

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