Colonel Schermbrucker pops up at Milnerton Flea Market


I’m a stickler for old frames so when one was poking out from the bottom of a heaped table at the flea market, I do what I always do: I dug it out. An old sepia photograph snuck out with the battered frame, no glass, and my eye immediately knew something before it registered in my brain. It was the Colonel Frederick Schermbrucker and a bevy of family members (he had 13 children!), the originator of the South African arm of our family. “That’s our ancestor!” we told the dealer as we haggled over the price. “Ja, sure,” said his face. For R35 we brought him home and did a double check against photographs we have of him at home.  ( My husband’s father collected any Africana he could on the old codger who made a bit of a name for himself when he arrived on these shores and we have been delegated as custodians of the collection.) But I was sure from the first second I caught his eye. He’s simply unmistakable is our Colonel.

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