By Gabriel Maritz AOR and Suzi Marsden AOR
First published in OR Briefing 114, Spring 2260
Dutchman Jan Van Riebeek was the first to establish a colony in South Africa in 1652 and my direct ancestor, Johann Maritz, was one of the first German settlers to come to South Africa in 1675. In other words, my people have been living here for 334 years. It might seem like a long time but not in the grand scheme of things and not in context of our whole Germanic heritage and history.
We as white South Africans have kept our European heritage alive, adjusting it here and there to suit the African sun., but there is another part of European heritage that we unfortunately kept alive through all these years and that is Calvanism. Still we have “Volkspele” (Folk Plays) which is closely linked to Swedish folk dancing and Morris dancing (they also dance around the Maypole in Volkspele). Some Boeremag groups have used the Odal rune as their symbol. Boeremag groups are seen as “far right” organisations, but they are in reality merely nationalist organisations, dedicated to keeping the Afrikaner (African Germanic) nation alive and well.
Perhaps the most striking example of how we kept the European heritage alive and perhaps this one delves deeper into folk memory, is the suburb of Valhalla in Pretoria. In Valhalla you will find Valkyrie street and Woden street, amongst others. The interesting thing is the fact that Valhalla is built right next to the Military Base and a lot of servicemen and women go to Valhalla to retire.
So, the whole point in this article is to try and establish in my own mind whether there is a real chance of an Odinic revival in South Africa and also whether there should be one, considering the fact that this is not European land. Yet, the same thing could be said of Vinland and Australia, yet these places are experiencing significant Odinic revivals.
Every time I Blot in this beautiful country, I can feel the land wights and nature spirits welcome me. The Gods speak to me and our Galdrs echo through the landscape. It re-energises and revitalises me, just like it did in England. It feels completely natural and right, ancient and true, thus I respond with my whole heart and soul and do not hold back.
If you look at the things our people have done for this country, the infrastructure we have built, the rich cultural tapestry that we brought and refined here, you would believe that we are also owed a right to practice our folk religion here. We are encouraged to practice Calvanistic beliefs here and the Dutch Reformed church all but ruled the whole country at some point, so I believe that a South African extension of Odin’s Nation would be a welcome and meaningful thing to have. That’s one of the main reasons I returned to this troublesome but beautiful place, the place that has been the home of me and my ancestors for the last 334 years.
Its been over 11 months since I left dear old England and set sail for the African sun ( well by set sail, I mean… flew). To be totally honest, I am not the kind of person who “misses” things, however I knew I was going to miss England, those rolling green hills, ancient forests and woodlands, those beautiful mountains and lakes, all tipped off with the added bonus that it was all mine …. My home land, where I was raised.
Now to leave all that behind for a land that belonged to another kind of folk who worship another kind of God was a pretty scary thought . Would I still be connected to my Gods, the land Wights and Mother Jord there in Africa ? Would any connection to my Gods be as strong as it was in England ? Would I be welcomed there by a land that wasn’t originally mine ?
As you can see there were a lot of questions flashing through my head, along with the added extra sadness of leaving my beloved Hearth ( Frey’s Beacon ) behind. I was going to miss our Blots, they were always eventful and fulfilling. But now I was starting over… AGAIN. Just me and my husband.
After a month or so, once we were settled we decided to Blot with just the two of us . I was pretty nervous not knowing what kind of response we would get and whether I would feel the same as I would have back home. Luckily I did.
We Blotted while we were away for the weekend at a beautiful place called Dikhololo surrounded by amazing wildlife. A big part of my life involves Bats, they pretty much have always follow me around all the time, and I knew if they come out to see me that night, then everything is going to be alright, and that I was welcome here in my new home.
Sure enough during the Galdr I think every Bat in Dikhololo pretty much came out to say hello, squeaking and flying around my head frantically like little excited children happy to see me, this happened non stop for about 5 minuets .
After many more Blots and a lots of reading, I realised that it doesn’t matter where you are, the Gods never loose you, although sometimes you may feel a little lost yourself. The land Wights where there long before any folk had inhabited the land, and they where happy to have me there, recognising, appreciating and loving them. This all shows no matter how tough something is ( like leaving everyone you know and love behind, and moving to the other side of the world) sometimes there are just things you’re meant to do and places you have to be.
The web of Wyrd will be weaved wherever our folk go and we are always connected to our Ancestors and our Gods, no matter how foreign or how familiar some places might be.