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‘He will be missed’
Herbert Kretzmer
Herbert Kretzmer

When I read the article about my good old friend Herbert Kretzmer (95) – the well-known South African-born British journalist and lyricist – in the last edition of VrystaatKroon, I was thrilled.

It was good to see that tribute was paid to my longtime, dear friend, but it also saddened me to learn of his passing.

I had emailed Herbert on two occasions in the last couple of months, but got no reply. This was so unlike him.

I mentioned to my wife, Noreen, that I feared that he was either unwell or had passed away.

A few years ago Noreen and I spent a holiday in Paris, France. We got to the Eiffel Tower and, lo and behold, a huge poster declared: Les Misérables – Herbert Kretzmer.

You can imagine the memories it brought back.

I told Noreen that when we got back to South Africa, I would make a determined effort to contact Herbert and renew our friendship forged many years ago.

Modern technology made this easy, and soon I had his email address and phone number.

At first I was nervous and wondered if he would remember me, but Herbert soon eased my worries. He clearly remembered how we met on a bus many years ago. This correspondence took place more than 72 years after we had met.

He will definitely be missed – not only for his great work, but also for his loyal friendship over the years.

May his soul rest in peace.

Zan Swartzberg,
Bethlehem
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