Caprivi diehard historian dies at 73

By Risco Lumamezi

THE diehard historian of the Caprivi Strip, Mr Fredrick Kruger has died at the age of 73 May 20, 2017.

The deceased is the First born son of the former Administrator and Magistrate of the then Eastern Caprivi Strip Captain C.E. Kruger.

PHOTO taken  during visit to Singalamwe on 28 April 2015: Fred Kruger and researcher Lieneke de Visser at the beacon where Namibia, Zambia and Angola meet

According to Ms Lieneke de Visser a PhD Researcher on African Conflict from the Netherlands, who compiled the book of history containing old pictures of the Caprivi Traditional chiefs of the Mafwe and Masubia tribe described the late, as a diehard icon who paid homage to the traditional leaders with a book of history profiling some old photographs taken by his late father, the former magistrate.

Mr. Fred Kruger son of former Caprivi Administrator holds a book of history, in
this picture from left is,Masubia Chief Chikamatondo and Chief Simasiku Mamili
of the Mafwe tribe in 1940. Photo taken by Risco Lumamezi

“In April 2015 the late returned to the Caprivi now renamed as Zambezi Region after a long absence. He took this opportunity to present the Traditional Authorities with a book of photos taken by his father between 1940 and 1946. During that same time he was interviewed by Caprivi Vision, when he stated that he was most impressed with the way the region had developed, and especially happy to meet with childhood friends and acquaintances.” Noted Lieneke in her obituary statement sent to Caprivi Vision.

Lieneke, a close friend further described Frederick Kruger that he was a forester, and a pioneer in the field of forest hydrology, fynbos ecology and invasive species. “He left an indelible mark on science in South Africa.”

Late Mr. Kruger, was the holder of the degree in BSc, MSc Forestry (Stell), PhD (Wits), up to his untimely death, he was commonly known to colleagues and friends by the name of Fred. He was brought to Katima Mulilo as a two year old infant, and as he often said: the man he became was formed by the child who grew up in ‘the Caprivi’.

His memorial service was held at Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch in South Africa on Saturday 27 May, and Stellenbosch University is planning a memorial lecture in the near future. He is survived by three brothers and four children. 

Background (Caprivi Vision Edition of May 8, 2015)

In exclusive interview with Caprivi Vision, before his death in 2015, he said it was important to reflect on the past on how the Eastern Caprivi Strip developed from the time of immemorial. In his capacity as a biological son, a native resident of South Africa residing in Mpumalanga province the former eastern Transvaal, was proud to come back to Caprivi with the book featuring old photographs taken by his late father who was the magistrate at the time.

Fred Kruger with his favourite tree at Singalamwe on 28 April 2015

Most of the items published in the book were taken in 1940 – 46 when magistrate Kruger succeeded his predecessor Major Trollope after the Second World War. He worked closely with the two tribal chiefs of the Caprivi at the time, Chief Chikamatondo of the Masubia Tribe who died on 18 July 1945, and Chief Simasiku Mamili who also died on 22 June 1975.

The book of history was made possible with contributions from Mr Kruger and Ms Lieneke de Visser a PhD Researcher on African Conflict, who compiled the book.

He met several descendants’ of the late Chief Simasiku Mamili and Robert Nchindo a former policeman at the time who worked with the former magistrate.

According to him, “when my father was here was administering the territory, it was not permitted for the white person to make business here.”

Late Mr Fredrick Kruger, diehard historian of the Caprivi Strip, speaking to Caprivi Vision during interview in 2015

He was impressed about the town of Katima Mulilo, which has improved into a well developed area compared to the past when it was called a garrison town.

When asked on the political and social supremacy, Mr Kruger pointed out that although, political conflict is very rear in Africa but what is important is democracy.

“The reason is to present the book even though it is very little, we must develop the story” Mr Kruger noted that the next project will be to write the article which describing the photographs.

The book was printed in Holland in the Netherlands as part of the token to the respected traditional authorities in the region.

“It is very important to capture your history so that the present generation can be aware of the past of what has been learned, and where we come from, the people they told me that the history book in schools for Namibia it has only a short section on the Caprivi that section must become a chapter” He stressed.

 He was born on the 9th of March 1944 in Pretoria, he grew up in Namibia and South Africa, he went to the University in 1960, and took a degree in Forestry Science and forestry research. In 1994 he took public policy in the new government of South Africa. He is an academic specialising in forest science and ecology.

He has four children two boys and two girls he raised, as all have completed their post graduate degrees.

“ My profile was formed here as a child, with experiences in Caprivi and Kavango were that, people taught me how to make bows, arrows and traps to catch birds and they told me what plants I must not disturb and I learnt important things.”













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