It’s always a pleasure spending time with my patients and during the eye exam we normally have time to talk about matters of life in between all the ‘Which is better, One or Two’s’.

So it came to be that Mr van Zyl and I had a long conversation about his colorful 91 years of life. Amongst other things he was held captive as a prisoner of war in Italy during the Second world war and later escaped from the prison camp and spend almost a year hiding from the Nazi army in the rural areas of Italy.

I asked him if her ever wrote down any of these war stories and he said not too much but he did write a small piece for a local newsletter which he duly send me, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Gedurende die Tweede Wereldoorlog het die troepe van New Zealand en Suid Afrika saam aan die kant van die gealieerdes geveg. In daardie tyd was die wedywering tussen die twee lande op die rugbyveld selfs strawwer as vandag.

Oral waar die manne mekaar raakgeloop het, was daar groot bekgevegte, gespot en gespog. ‘n Groepie het selfs op ‘n dag in ‘n besige straat in Kairo ‘n skrum gevorm en mekaar rondgestoot.

Ek onthou nog ‘n mooi rympie wat een oggend op die Kennisgewingbord verskyn het:

An All-Black stood at the Pearly Gate

his face was worn and old.

He weakly asked the man of Fate

admission to the fold.

What have you done? St Peter asked

to seek admission here?

I’ve played against the Springboks, Sir

for many and many a year!

The gate swing slowly open

as St Peter pressed the bell.

Come in and take a harp my man

You’ve had your share of Hell!