Botswana, TSHABONG district, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Polentswa, single grave
eGGSA captions by: Riana le Roux
Additional information available on the GGSA Cemetery DVD:-
Cemetery ID: 5502
Number of names: 1
Google Earth Cemetery Initiative Information:-
GPS: -25 05.425, 20 25.438
Taken from the book: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – by Peter Derichs
The tragic tale of Hans Schwabe
20 or 21 October 1958
Hans Schwabe, a German geologist, met with Joep le Riche and asked for permission to prospect for diamonds in the Nossob River Valley. Joep refused and told him he must leave the park. Schwabe told Joep that he would leave the Park at Mata Mata, (in those days there was an exit gate at Mata Mata), and drove off.
Near the confluence of the Auob and Nossob rivers he hid his car in the blue pea bushes. Hans waited a few hours… making sure no one followed him. He then drove to Kwang Pan and left his car there.
A day or two later the Botswana police telephoned Joep and informed him that they had found an abandoned car at Kwang Pan and that they did not have time to search the area. Joep, his son Stoffel, two constables and a tracker left Twee Rivieren to investigate. Joep noticed the place where Schwabe had hidden his vehicle at the confluence and realized that the abandoned car must belong to Hans Schwabe.
180km further north they found the abandoned car with a note that read, “No water for car, no water for myself, no food, follow this road. Monday 8am. H Schwabe”.
Something was wrong. The radiator was full of water and two sets of tracks led away from the car and one set returned. Why did he travel north to look for water when there was water south? Joep came to the conclusion that Schwabe left the car and started walking north. After a while, (he may have become frightened), he returned to leave a note so that others could find him in case of problems. He then walked north again.
The party followed the spoor, realizing that they were more than a day behind Schwabe. After a few kilometers, Schwabe left the valley and walked along the crest. Every now and then, they found signs of prospecting. Joep remarked that Hans was busy digging is own grave. Before sunset, they saw the first vultures. The spoor became erratic, but still there were signs of prospecting! When they found the body, it had already been disfigured by animals.
The following day the police and a doctor from Witdraai arrived at the scene. The body could not be moved because of legal implications of being found on the Botswana side of the border. It was decided to bury Hans Schwabe under a small Camel thorn tree with a cross made of two Camel thorn branches. On his grave they placed his tin containing half a dozen Marie biscuits, a few cigarettes and a bottle of pills. On an empty water bottle, Joep engraved the following words. “Hier rus Hans Schwabe. Oorlede 22.10.58” (Here rests Hans Schwabe. Died 22.10.58 ) The grave site is a few hundred meters from the Grootbrak water point on the Botswana side of the border.
Date: 22 Oct 2018
Contributed by: eGGSA
Size: 3 items