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The true story of a young woman from Münster in Germany, who follows her heart and moves to Namibia, was shown on German television channel ZDF on Pentecost Monday. The film ‘Emigrating to paradise: a new love’, follows her everyday life in Windhoek, a safari through Namibia, her wedding in Swakopmund and it also features Namib Desert Lodge: the love-struck couple has a champagne sundowner on top of a Namib dune and drink a toast to their future.

Namibian Jochen Henke and his German wife Lisa on a Namibia safari in May 2011. Photo: MiraMedia

In the media release issued by the production company, MiraMedia, the couple’s story is outlined like this: “In a discotheque in Paderborn 28-year-old Lisa Wülfing meets Jochen Henke (37) from Namibia who is in Germany to visit relatives. It is just a little flirt, nothing more. Jochen returns to Namibia, they lose track of each other. But then they meet again – on Facebook. In the virtual realms of the internet they fall in love. Lisa visits Jochen in his home-country. Infatuation turns into love. Lisa decides to move to Namibia. She quits her job, leaves friends and family behind and sets off to marry her sweetheart. However, the great surge of love soon starts to abate somewhat as everyday realities in the African country start to catch up with Lisa and Jochen. Will love conquer all or will Lisa return to Germany?”

The 45-minute programme ‘Auswandern ins Paradies: Eine neue Liebe’ (Emigrating to paradise: a new love) is aired by German television channel ZDF on Monday, 28 May, at 13h40. Apart from Lisa and Jochen in Namibia it also features a couple in Bolivia. Viewers are welcome to address their comments to zuschauerredaktion@zdf.de.

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More than 12,000 metres in altitude / Wanted: 12,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook

Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers training for the Trans Andes Challenge on the mountain bike trails of Klein-Aus Vista. Photo: Sophia Snyman

Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers training for the Trans Andes Challenge on the mountain bike trails of Klein-Aus Vista. Photo: Sophia Snyman

Namibia is represented at the brutal mountain bike race through the Chilean Andes for the first time: Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers are taking part in the Trans Andes Challenge from 23 to 28 January as individual bike riders. They are sponsored by Toshiba Namibia and the Gondwana Collection Namibia. Their wives Sophia and Christine are in Chile with them to lend support. But Namibians and Namibia fans can also help them to conquer the amount of more than 12,000 metres in altitude – by ‘liking’ them on Gondwana’s Facebook page to spur them on. The demanding six-leg race through the heart of the Patagonian Andes in Chile is driven on single tracks, off-road vehicle tracks and open terrain. Panguipulli is the start, Pucón the finish. The challenge is not posed by the distance that has to be covered per leg (50 to 82 km) but by the altitude that has to be negotiated: differences in altitude of between 1,780 m and 2,500 m have to be overcome every day. Of course there are plenty of downhill stretches as well, but the mountain bikers have to ‘climb’ 12,250 m in total. This race demands the utmost from the bike riders, physically as well as mentally. The number of participants is limited to 250. Piet Swiegers (Klein-Aus Vista/Gondwana) drives in the men’s Elite Category (under 45 years), Frank Snyman (Toshiba Namibia) in the Veteran Class (over 45 years).

Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers training for the Trans Andes Challenge on the mountain bike trails of Klein-Aus Vista.  Photo: Sophia Snyman

Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers training for the Trans Andes Challenge on the mountain bike trails of Klein-Aus Vista. Photo: Sophia Snyman

None of the two wants to compete with the professional mountain bikers but both of them are determined to represent Namibia as best as they can. They have prepared for the event for a long time. The grounds of the Klein-Aus Vista Gondwana lodge near Aus in south-western Namibia were ideally suited for training: The mountain bike trails in the Aus Mountains are a mountain biker’s paradise. The first Klein-Aus Vista MTB Challenge was held there on 30 April and 1 May last year; the next one is scheduled for 29 and 30 April this year. All Namibians and Namibia fans are kindly asked to actively support Trans Andes mountain bikers Frank Snyman and Piet Swiegers. On each of the six days of the race ‘likes’ are collected on the Facebook page of the Gondwana Collection Namibia (www.facebook.com/gondwana.collection.namibia). The aim is one ‘like’ for each metre in altitude which the two Namibians have to conquer. Each morning the accompanying team on site, Sophia Snyman and Christine Swiegers, will upload pictures and information on the previous leg and the progress of the race.

Conquering the Andes for Namibia (l.t.r.): Frank and Sophia Snyman as well as Christine and Piet Swiegers.  Photo: contributed

Conquering the Andes for Namibia (l.t.r.): Frank and Sophia Snyman as well as Christine and Piet Swiegers. Photo: contributed

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