"Welcome to our antique of a town," is the greeting I got after bumping into an old friend. He's right. Keetmans' feels like a place back in time. So much is old with at best a new coat of paint. The town is not a place for an architect's dreams. It doesn't take well to new and fancy. Build there and you'll find yourself conforming. This is a commercial town, meant to support farmers in the region. Business and residence coexist. Karakul used to be king here. The black pelts were sold up in Europe with news of the prices at auction making or breaking just about everyone's financial year. Fashion changed, demand for karakul dropped, farmers switched to sheep farming for mutton. Keetmans' remained, a crucial road and rail junction. Move goods to and from Windhoek, Luderitz, Cape Town, Johannesburg and beyond and you need to pass through. Other, smaller farming towns in the South tried for decades to hang on while the highways made the long distance lorries keep on going. Keetmans' is just far enough from everywhere to make the idea of a stop over acceptable. Keetmans' is a place of divided space. There's a wall, chain link or mesh wire (often used on farms for jackal proof fencing) telling you that on one side it's ok for you, on the other, well ...
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