Into a world 1960’s

Svein Åge Mathisen Larvik  20/11/1960 Solveig Mathisen Cape Town 20/10/1961     Father: Åge Oskar Mathisen. Norwegian seaman. Twice married and divorced, five children,  his life ended alone in Spain some years ago. Never got to know him, spent a week together on the ship. That was when he came to get me in South Africa at the age of nineteen. He never showed any interest in his family, must have gone … [Read more...]

Faith as a child.

As a young boy we were forced into the Roman Catholic system, catechism on saturday mornings and church every sunday. Catechism at the monastery some saturdays, was a kind of sunday school. Where there were nuns and priests clothed in black, and a cold erie feeling in the buildings. We were forced into church on sundays, the services were long enough to bake a chicken in the oven. Granddad never went into the church, heard he was a … [Read more...]

Reckless, bad boy.

Destructive The government started building a new highway just up the road from us, through the boundary dividing the whites from the coloureds. During construction where they excavated a huge ditch for the new highway, the winter rains had filled it to make a lake. Here we made rafts with polystyrene sheets and played pirates, the coloureds were our enemies. We fought with clay balls on the end of sticks, flicked like a catapult. Long … [Read more...]

A new start.

In my teens there was suddenly also other denominations, completely different than what we were used to. And we were allowed to go with friends to youth camp and visit other church youth groups. Like the Methodists and Baptists. Youth camps were just a way to meet new friends, never got involved in the evangelical side of things. Good place to meet girls, and make new friends. At the age of fifteen I left my grandparents in Cape … [Read more...]

Wrong choices.

After my grandfathers funeral, and coming back to this place that had so many ghosts. Life seemed meaningless, my glory days were over. Started school at Norman Henshilwoods, to get away from the locals that I grew up with. A school with a little more free reputation, where I could start over anonymous. It was now half way through the first year of high school, and all seemed well. Didn't want to participate in sports even though we … [Read more...]

Muizenberg dayz.

Muizenberg was a special time in my life, deep roots to my past. We stayed in a brown house right on the vlei, so it was natural to fish and spend time on the beach. Bully was my favorite dog, a white mix that looked like a wolf. We were always together, me with dirty jeans,green parker jacket , light blue woolen cap and I walked around with a stick. He would come running every time I whistled for him, a true friend. Many people … [Read more...]

Border War 1978 – 1980.

It's  july 1978 and I'm leaving home for the army. Took the train into town and met up at the Cape Town castle. Suddenly I released that I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life.  They shouted and cussed us telling us what to do, stealing all our freedoms. Informing us that our lives were not our own anymore, we now belonged to the army and there was no way back.   Basic training Few hours later we were on the train … [Read more...]

Saved and Baptized! – 1980

One friday evening after I had come home from the army, I was walking along the road on my way to make a score ( buy some dope). When suddenly I was stopped, and found myself walking back to a church that I had just walked past. I went in and was surprised by the noise and everyone standing there with their hands in the air speaking different languages. Found a place near the back but before I knew what was going on I saw in the front … [Read more...]

A new world – 1980.

After nineteen years, along comes my father with promises of a new life and a family in Norway. All I had to do was get my papers in order and the necessary vaccines. My grandmother was very happy for me, and I was very excited. Thought I was only going away for a while to work on the ships and see the world. Got on the plane and flew to Durban, there I would meet my dad and board the ship. What I didn't know was that my dad had gone … [Read more...]

Ships I sailed.

Spent over five years at sea, on many kinds of ships. Travelled most of the world except the far east and Australia. Been to many countries and met a lot of people, many of these experiences would scar my life forever. A sailors life is both tuff and rewarding, the ideal life for one without family responsibilities. … [Read more...]

Devine intervention.

Its 1982 and my life was crushed, a relationship gone terribly wrong. I was in a mess in a strange land and no one to turn to. Had to come crawling to my father for help, the government would not help me because I couldn't speak the language and was from the apartheid South Africa. Alone and lost. Well my dad got me onto a ship in a few days, that was a relief. I signed on in Aqaba in Jordan, after a few days I received a letter from … [Read more...]

They preyed for me!

After a few years at sea, while onboard ship in the Cayman Islands, Cayman Brac. Here the waters of the Caribbean are so clear even at 100m, and so tempting. We used to dive off the bridge wing to get speed to dive under the ship while anchored in the bay. Well one day I blew my eardrum and was taken to hospital there, and had to spend a week in bed. The ship left and I had to go back to Norway from there, an experience I'll … [Read more...]


Rotterdam 1982 Had an apartment in Fredrikstad with my girlfriend whom I had gotten together with again. The first salary was supposed to be sent to her, money for rent and so on. Instead I received a fax that evening from her, saying that she had left home to go to sea on another ship. I had a few drinks and was now walking along the pier on my way to town, angry as hell. And I said to myself that I'd spend the rent on a … [Read more...]

Another close escape.

Cádiz on the border to Gibraltar, one of my favorite places where I spent some time in the early eighties. Loved the atmosphere of the place with the view of Gibraltar and the smell of the sea. Good food and coffee, and a very laid back culture. Friends were easy to find, and plenty of drugs and party life, sin city. Here I lived a life without shame, would never dare tell of the things I did there. Well one day that I'll never … [Read more...]

He never gave up on me – 1985

It was to be my last trip to sea, had just boarded ' MS Vikara' in Sweden. Life was in a terrible state, so it was a relief to get work again. We were just entering the North Sea on our way to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I entered my cabin that evening after dinner, only to experience something that would mark my life forever. He came to me! As I closed the door I was suddenly taken into a new dimension. Standing into my bunk I … [Read more...]

A ‘trip’ home.

Remember watching the news here in Europe, there was so much propaganda  that I didn't know what was truth or lies. They said a bloodbath was sure to happen and that the whites would all be murdered. Was so worried about my family and friends that I just had to get there. Overdrew my account when my pay came in, new that if I was quick enough I could withdraw all my salary at least twice in two different ATM's. Got a ticket to South … [Read more...]

Deepest pit.

Leaving my family in South Africa to the promised land, as I was told. The journey went deeper into darkness. The best times were while on the ships, where I had a roof over my head. Good food and earned good money. So I spent only a short time in Norway during those years, staying in hotels  and hostels while the money lasted. The next few years at sea life was just a big party, with no responsibilities. High every single day, … [Read more...]

Tell me the truth?

In 1987 went back home to South Africa after been away for about four years. Had been working in a factory in Fredrikstad my girlfriend was pregnant and I needed to get away. Asked my grandmother if she could help me with some money if I came home, funds were low and I'd scraped enough to get a flight down, a one way ticket. Wasn't planning on returning to Norway. Everything about my life was a mess. My grandmother got so angry with … [Read more...]

A small world

It was my first week in Fredrikstad, sitting in a bar with some other sailors. One Norwegian guy asks where I was from, so I tell him. He gets up and uses the telephone in the corner and calls a friend, then tells me to come and talk with his friend. Suddenly I'm talking with a girl who had just come back to Norway from Cape Town. She had an aunty that lived in the same area that I grew up in, and she had also been engaged with a boy … [Read more...]

Along came Nadia.

Returned to Norway and my girlfriend Catharina, who was now five months pregnant. Got my old job back and tried to make the best of the situation. I was working in her fathers sign factory, had a good job working in production. We were still using drugs at this time, then one day Catharina got alcohol poisoning and was sent to hospital to get pumped out. Now I really believed we would loose the baby, but by the grace of God she came … [Read more...]