Koos Verwy was a special forces operative for the South African army during the Angolan Border war in the 1970’s and 80’s. He now operates a remote lodge located in northern Namibia, on the Kunene River, overlooking Angola. Every year he takes a few adventurous Franschhoek locals on a long trek through the Marienfluss and tribal Himba land to unlock some of the secrets on this extraordinary area. Nicky Crowther has just completed a film on Koos capturing the remarkable turnaround in his life.
From special forces soldier to lodge proprietor would be a life change for any man, but Koos Verwey, the fortunate soldier of the title, experienced another seismic shift: from a strict Afrikaans upbringing in the Apartheid era to a mentor for the local traditional people. A disappointment to his stern father, Koos fought in South Africa’s prolonged border war for 17 years before retiring to Camp Syncro, in the spectacular Marienfluss valley, where he raises his adopted Angolan daughter and lives alongside the Himba community. Ultimately, Koos’ journey, revealed in a series of candid and insightful interviews elicited by first-time documentary-maker Crowther echoes that of his nation. JN