Egonne Roth



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An effective letter

Posted by Egonne Roth on January 8, 2019 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (1)

The mail brought a most unexpected surprise and delight today: a letter from a woman whose daughter and I had been friends more than twenty years ago and whom I have not seen in as many years. A number of things about this letter really made me rethink my perceptions of what was happening in my life.

In the letter she told me that her daughter, my friend from long ago, had given her my biography of Kirsch as a gift. Really? Somehow I had thought that if anyone buys this book, it would b...

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Sunday morning in Berlin

Posted by Egonne Roth on October 30, 2018 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Berlin Sundays

What does one do on a Sunday morning in Berlin?

Given that this is a city that has a strong Christian presence, you could go to church. Going back to my childhood in rural South Africa, I still love the quiet of a Sunday morning only broken by the toll of church bells calling the faithful to worship. I can still recall my Oupa checking that his formal dark suit was perfectly ironed and my Ouma putting on her hat. They looked so handsome together as they appraised e...

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Karneval den Kulturen

Posted by Egonne Roth on May 21, 2018 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

“The Carnival of Cultures (KdK) is a city festival that reflects the diversity of Berlin. Since 1996 the Carnival of the Cultures has been held annually: a four-day free festival in the center of Berlin.”

I wanted to meet some friends yesterday but they were busy.  “We’re going to the “Karneval den Kulturen”, my friend texted me...

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Einstein in Caputh

Posted by Egonne Roth on May 7, 2018 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The sailing ship, the distant view, the lonely walks in the autumn, the relative silence, it is paradise.

Albert Einstein 1929


Visiting the homes of famous people is often an enriching experience. Mostly these homes fall into one of two categories: those where the owner did not anticipate public interest in their dwelling and those that f...

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Groot Constantia

Posted by Egonne Roth on October 10, 2017 at 3:50 AM Comments comments (0)

WhatsApp conversation on our family group:

Tamar: My club has a run and need helpers. Anyone ready to help?

Dishen: Yes, I will help!

Me: So will we!

We had just offered our services to help at the Grape Run that goes through the grounds of Groot Constantia Wine Estate without realising what it entailed. We had to report for duty at 6am as we were manning the first and last stations, which on this run were at the same place just inside the main gates. Table...

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Posted by Egonne Roth on September 27, 2017 at 3:30 AM Comments comments (2)

It was 1972 – the height of Afrikaner nationalism and apartheid and I was a student on the campus of Stellenbosch University. I was seventeen years old and I wanted to register some kind of protest at being forced to study in this all Afrikaans environment. I was not the kind of youngster to wave banners and do sit-ins, shout slogans or smoke pot. It simply did not appeal to me and I did not want to embarrass my mother, even if she was the cause that I was where I did not want to be.

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Creating a new home

Posted by Egonne Roth on August 10, 2017 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (1)

Week 1


Today a week ago, we awoke for the first time in our apartment here in Berlin. Around us was total chaos. After a seventeen hour drive from Mama’s house in south Germany and a lunch break close to the Dutch border to collect some wonderful things from our friends in Kleve, we had arrived and unpacked into the night. As we could not lock the trailer filled to capacity with furniture and lots of small parcels, we had had no choice but to unpack. Once everyt...

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Surprising class

Posted by Egonne Roth on May 27, 2017 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (1)


A few weeks ago in my English class for software students, I asked a group of students to meet me at the end of the class as I had a problem to discuss with them. At the end of our discussion most of the students drifted away not very happy about the talk. However, one student, Hadi, with whom I have a good relationship, asked me, “Egonne, why did you only keep back the Arab students?” I gave him my reasons and he said he accepted them.

But lat...

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Africa in Berlin

Posted by Egonne Roth on April 15, 2017 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (23)

Shortly after I joined the Facebook page “South Africans in Berlin”, there was a message of a gig announced to be played by a Gauteng group called Thabang Tabane | Sibusile Xaba at a café called Prachtwerk.


I listened to them on YouTube and decided it would be fun. I googled Prachtwerk – directly translated ‘wonderful creation’ and discovered they were in Neu...

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Fasnacht in Basel

Posted by Egonne Roth on March 15, 2017 at 4:00 AM Comments comments (0)


It’s just after 3.30am when we leave the apartment to make our way to the old inner city of Basel. We’re not alone – many people are on the move, some in elaborate costumes, some with kids in carrier bags, all of us warmly dressed with scarves and hats and heavy jackets. It is cold – barely about 3* or 4*C. In the inner city up on the Münsterplatz, where it all began many centuries earlier there is a festive atmosphere in a manner peculiar...

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