Norwegian tourist in SA for murder trial

2012-10-30 10:03

Johannesburg - A Norwegian tourist who loves court cases is in South Africa to attend the murder trial of Maartens van der Merwe in Virginia, in the Free State, it was reported on Tuesday.

Hans Christian Haugen, 62, was in the public gallery in the circuit court in Virginia on Monday, with his South African pen-friend Lenie Engelbrecht, waiting for the start of the trial, Beeld reported.

He understood every word being spoken, because he taught himself to speak Afrikaans 26 years ago, after finding a book of Afrikaans poetry in a library in Oslo, the newspaper wrote.

He subsequently completed an Afrikaans language course, and had since visited South Africa about 20 times.

He told Beeld that Norwegian and Afrikaans had many similar-sounding words, and that he "finds it enriching" to attend court proceedings.

Haugen said that many years ago, as an employee at a brewery in Oslo, he became interested in newspaper reports about trials, and had since attended more than 8000 in Norway.

In November 2011, he found out that Maartens van der Merwe's trial would be held this week, and it gripped his imagination.

He said the South African trial would be the first big trial he attended in this country.

  • Andrea - 2012-10-30 10:11

    Change the headline, it sound like a Norwegian man is on trial for murder in SA.

      siphom.mnguni - 2012-10-30 11:48

      Exactly, my point Andrea. At first glance I thought are referring to one Anni Dewani, but I remembered he is in Britain. Very bad word order.

  • lorain.maseko - 2012-10-30 10:12

    It's impossible for me to care any less.Why is this news?

      sanda.mnyazi - 2012-10-30 10:39

      I hope when i visit court or Pick n Pay it makes it on NEWS24

  • sarecen.smith - 2012-10-30 10:19


  • robert.c.tomsett - 2012-10-30 10:24

    The tourists now come to our country not because of game reserves or good weather, they come now because of our major attraction, MURDER, RAPE, HIGHJACKING ETC

      sudika.harkhu - 2012-10-30 12:26

      We don't care how we get them here, tourism generates revenue!

      karin.lore.5 - 2012-11-04 07:33

      Sudika.harkhu - you make it so obvious - here we cry over the vicious cycle of crime in South Africa and all you can think of is income generating tourism. Where's your heart girl? Not everything is about money.

  • johanna.vandokkum - 2012-10-30 10:55

    So what is Mr Maartens van der Merwe being tried for in Virginia? It seems relevant. It is fascinating though that a Norwegian man would learn Afrikaans from afar, and then come here to attend a trial. Nothing wrong with attending trials for a hobby. I've always liked reporting on trials when still a working journalist - loved listening to the story develop in the court as the testimony was being presented, and hitherto-unknown details would come to light. It's like reading a detective-story only better because everyone involved in the story is real, and giving life testimony. Internationally, TV-court dramas also prove that lots of other people also like it.

      gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-10-30 11:07

      For skinning the head of his victim and keeping parts of him in the fridge.

  • porshe.vrebec - 2012-10-30 18:19

    The book of your attendence is coming out too,in Afrikaanse i guess Sir...!!!

  • parwezslipknot.cullen - 2012-10-30 21:53

    Must be a listener of Dimmu borgir

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