On the edge of the Kalahari - Part 1
at 19 and much to my Omi's dismay,
my mother Heidi, at that time a self-styled hippie, abandoned her studies in fine art and jewellery making to marry the handsome albeit wiry farmer with a caterpillar moustache and short shorts from south-west africa. This style story is an ode to her youth, naivety and boldness, moving to the edge of the Kalahari desert for love, persisting and succeeding through the many hardships and realities that ensued once the honeymoon was over.
By 28 Heidi had birthed four children, a feat which I still struggle to comprehend, having 'just' made it through a single birth. My parents, still married 42 years later, still bickering and still very much in love, set out a definitive path for us von Hase girls. Our family is intertwined and weaved together by a life far from convention, a great thirst for adventure and a fierce loyalty for our own blood. Though we lived with basic comforts (party line telephone shared with a dozen surrounding farms, generator electricity, limited hot water) my mother ensured that every meal was an occasion, and every corner of our farmhouse reflected her impeccably chic and effortless style. I have clear memories of red fingernails offset against a crisp white linen shirt she had borrowed from my father, emerging from 'me-time' doused in Jil Sander's original scent, her clogs beating on the cement screed floors down the long corridor from the bathroom onto the veranda. Always just in time for sundowners, a ritual my parents religiously time-keep to this day. The longest standing favourite is the G&T of course, served with a fat and fragrant lemon slice straight off the citrus trees my grandmother Hilda planted in her time.
it all sounds very romantic, which it was - if flirting with snakes, scorpions and 40 degree heat in the shade every day is are your kind of contributing factors required for romance ... our childhood was certainly idyllic though, my three sisters and I were reared among karakul sheep and the odd chicken, cow, dog, cat, rabbit, horse, donkey, jackal, and whatever else decided to show. Television was a much too fancy concept, the internet unfathomable at that point, and we played in the red sand under bulging roots of poplar trees my grandfather had planted shy of a century ago. Here we set up little farms with our miniature plastic animals, pretending to heard the horses and taking cattle to auctions. The farm had a sparse flume of grass as blonde as my hair - which our mother cut by putting a kitchen bowl over our heads and then trimming along the edges. I had a mullet and spikey short top side for most of my childhood. I think my first actual pair of shoes, which had been bought just for me and not handed down three times over were my school shoes, a pair of Mary-Jane Toughies we were obliged to wear with white ankle socks in boarding school.
The farm was called Jena and lay smack bang in the middle of nowhere. The closest town being two hours by car (never ending corrugated iron style sandy roads that leave your whole body tingling long after you have hit the tarred stretch) all we had were each other. our upbringing has shaped us and most certainly me, into a woman greatly attuned to detail and sensitivity to my surroundings due to minimal input apart from nature as a child. Keep in mind: if a car was to pass the farm once or at most twice a day, we could see the dust coming off the road from far away and this in itself already felt like an exciting brush with the outside world. At night the stars were so bright you could walk across the farm yard without needing a torch (but would be silly not to as night time is when scorpions hunt).
At the core of my being is a girl who was raised on Kalahari winds, greens straight from the garden, lamb chops and many, many mosquito bites. Everything I know and am I owe to my parents, and their daring, hard-working will to raise us away from the ordinary. Even to this day I realise that I am sometimes ill-adjusted to this modern path that I have chosen, my Namibian farm girl ways always wanting to take me back to simpler solutions - less screen time, more candle light. The ethos of lcvoneats then was formed in my childhood. the fuss-free, full-hearted and industrious approach to almost anything is always the route that I would choose. And I owe it all to my courageous, open-minded and endlessly creative parents heidi and Raimar.
Photography: Jana Eleanor Brückner; styling & art-direction Leonie von Hase. Shot in Namibia on Farm Kiripotib, April 2018.
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