Looking at the problem with their experienced eyes, the men saw most of the countries around them were largely hostile to whites and if it wasn’t that much better, at least Namibia had enough whites of its own, so they reckoned the best that could be done was to at least arrange safe harbor for their families, but they also felt it was their duty to help the millions of whites who now faced extinction. It was at this moment the Colonel dropped his bombshell. He’d found out a few weeks earlier that he had Stage IV cancer. His chances of survival were slim to put it mildly, and the guys needed to know that he might not be able to fight like before. His friends were stunned and began to offer their sympathies as well as help, but The Colonel cut them off with a reminder there were more important things to consider at this time. The old guys knew some whites from the “old days” by whose side they had fought against SWAPO, and believed it was time to reach out to them. Thinking about the South African whites at large, their earliest idea was to come up with extraction routes and figure out the logistics involved. The preliminary peek at the problem told them it was going to be a huge effort and The Colonel would have to start playing with his trucks again…

Armand told them straight, “I know what you’re asking me to do, and I will certainly get on it right away. Make no mistake, I will do my best, but I will need help in case I feel crappy, so one of you will have to work with me on this at my house.” They settled on former major general van As, a tanker in his youth, who understood what it took to move large forces and keep them supplied. Going back to the Namibian matter, they recognized that if they intended to even try rescuing millions of South Africans, the cooperation of the Namibian government was paramount, but if that wasn’t available, the least requirement was willingness to stay out of the refugees’ way until they left. This wasn’t going to be easy, especially since the Namibians remembered quite well what the SADF had put them through until independence, and while they would’ve preferred having at least a former Cabinet minister on their side, all they had was Henk van Jaarsveld, a former senior diplomat who specialized in European matters. Henk wasn’t stupid or incompetent. Before being pensioned off, he’d served pretty close to Pik Botha and even went on a few delegations. His contacts in foreign affairs weren’t what they used to be and he’d never met those currently in charge of the Namibian side of these things, but he knew how to behave at that level and was willing to give it a bash. The next problem was how to get to Windhoek…

It wasn’t going to be child’s play, but it was doable. Among them was an ex-Recce major named Johan “Arsonist” Aarsen. Though he’d jumped out of C-130s in his youth, he’d caught the flying bug. By dint of hard work, saving his pennies and of all the fucking things winning the lottery, he’d managed to buy himself a Cessna Caravan back in 2010, which he used to indulge his passion while making money by alternating between bush flying around southern Africa, especially in Botswana, and ferrying corporate passengers from Lanseria airport. A qualified commercial pilot, he had logged over 2.000 hours and knew what he was doing. Generally speaking, the Cessna Caravan had the range, but it was reckoned they’d have to fly under the South African and Namibian radars, and that would eat up his fuel. As such, it was imperative to land somewhere to refuel, and it couldn’t be anywhere official, like the airport in Upington. By a stroke of luck, he knew a guy who had a small business dusting crops around the Louisvale area and he had a small grass strip by his house in the bush in order to save on commute and hangar costs.

So, Aarsen got on the phone. He punched in the number and waited. Nothing. Puzzled, he looked at the display, and found it said “No Network”. His companions took out their cell phones and tried. They had no network access either. This was bad… Undeterred, Aarsen pulled out his other phone, an Iridium. It was expensive, but in his line of work it was imperative to be reachable. A good investment as it turned out, because this one wasn’t reliant on the local networks. So, he called up his old acquaintance to ask for a favor. The guy agreed to it quickly, especially when he was told it would be a quick in and out with cash payment for the fuel, a 20% gratuity and no receipt required, thank you very much. In short order the group decided immediately that Aarsen would have to fly van Jaarsveld to Namibia under the radar, land somewhere outside Windhoek and go in from there. To do that, they called retired major Kurt Bergmann in Windhoek and explained they needed a pick-up outside of the city and a place to stay for a while no questions asked, for which they’d pay cash with South African rands. Business was bad in Namibia too, but when they hinted it was a lot more interesting than that, major Bergmann got a flash of the old days’ adventures and bit the hook big time. It would indeed get interesting… Arsonist knew one thing- they might not be given clearance for a flight plan to Namibia, especially with wives in tow, but a VFR quickie to a game farm outside Durban for a supposed executive meeting of some tourist outfits might fly with the airport authorities. Even if it didn’t he’d still fly out, but then they’d have the cops and the air farce on their asses. Either way, there was no coming back from this, so van Jaarsveld and Aarsen were told to pack up their stuff and arrange with their wives to drive to the farm outside Louisvale that evening, while the men would meet them there later next day. From there they would climb aboard the Cessna and fly to Namibia, never to return.

Sad though they were to send old friends on such a journey, the old men knew it had to be done. In short order they fired up Armand’s computer and typed a letter which explained the situation as it currently was in South Africa, how the bearers of the letter ended up in Namibia and the the reason. They also gave authority to van Jaarsveld and Aarsen to negotiate for the Namibian government’s help with an expected influx of white South Africans, made photocopies of their IDs and signed everything. It was a Hail Mary and they knew it, but that’s how it sometimes happens in life. The old men finally decided to name their group. From that moment on, they’d be known as the Exodus Consortium, and named their still infant plan Omega Exodus. End of Part VII. To be continued…

 

Mircea Negres

Port Elizabeth

South Africa

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