Day 36: The Scourge of the Kaiserbird: Meeting: Wulf Haacke

I interrupt the current story of our search for the Lost Battlefield to introduce one of South Africa and Namibia’s remarkable personalities who have played a major role in the search for the Lost Battlefield – Wulf Haacke.

Wulf Haacke with The Scourge of the Kaiserbird and the Journal of the Namibia Scietific Society, containing his famous article which have launched so many expeditions by myself and Carsten Möhle.
Wulf Haacke was a well known herpetologist. Here he is standing with his snake hook in front of a picture of Captain Friedrich Von Erckert at the start of the 1908 Kalahari Expedition to eliminate Simon Koper, which backfired for the Captain.
Wulf Haacke is a native Namibian with a love of Land Rovers. On the shelf is a number of his Land Rover Club Badges.

I met Wulf briefly in 1986 in another capacity. He was then a renowned herpetologist associated with the Transvaal Museum. He has lived a very interesting life and is a man with many interests.

In 1993 he published an article in the Journal of the Namibia Scientific Society- Simon Kopper and the Kalahari Expedition of 1908. This article has become the standard reference work for researchers who are interested in finding the Lost Battlefield. Wulf went on 5 expeditions himself to find the battlefield, in the nineties of the previous century, also without success. In 2010 I chanced upon this article when I was researching the Nama War in Windhoek. Since then I must have read the article more than 20 times. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have become obsessed with finding the battlefield and that my last attempt took place as recently as October.

I have tried to contact Wulf before but he was unwell and could not see me. This morning I finally managed to meet him in his home. Wulf, a native Namibian is 84 now and has suffered a number of strokes. Unfortunately he has no other information to assist us in our struggle.

Wulf fondly remembers the old days. He used to be an avid Land Rover fan, having owned five of these vehicles. I asked him about the burnt out Land Rover quite near to the camp at Sesatswe which we have driven past a few times, but he was quick to make the point that it was not his. He said the only relics they ever found was the tins of which we also found many.

I presented Wulf with a copy of The Scourge of the Kaiserbird in which I credit him for his article which forms the basis of chapter 37, the story of Simon Koper and Friedrich Von Erckert.

I came away from Wulf with a feeling of profound respect for this remarkable man whose work has enriched my life so much, without even knowing about it.

The Scourge of the Kaiserbird,” originally published in Afrikaans as “Die Keiservoël Oor Namaland,” is available from all leading bookstores in Namibia, through Namibian Book Market, and in South Africa from Upper Case, formerly Graffiti, in Menlyn Maine. Copies can also be ordered from  It is available on Kindle and worldwide in paperback from Amazon. Visit my Amazon author’s site by clicking on where you can also place orders. 

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