Michael Cronjé Kromberg

  • Født: 6. januar 1931
  • Død: 31. oktober 2019

Obituary

Pictures from Michael’s life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ain0a1KRGaA Michael Cronjé Kromberg born 06.01.1931 in Swellendam, South Africa died 31.10.2019 in Kongsberg, Norway Michael was born to Alida Susanna Cronjé and Johann Peter Kromberg while Johann was town clerk in Swellendam. He was the second of five children, Johann, Michael, Lois, Conrad, and Anne. The little family soon moved to Mosselbaai, where Michael spent happy days roaming around, taking “a goof” at Die Poort, the dramatic rock formations that created a rock pool in the warm Indian Ocean. At age 8, at the start of World War II, the family switched from being an Afrikaans-speaking family that attended the Dutch Reformed Church, to being an English-speaking family that attended a Baptist church, and they made the move to Johannesburg to complete their cultural transformation. Michael excelled in academics, especially English literature, and in sports, especially tennis. All three Kromberg boys were sent to Spurgeon´s college in London to become Baptist ministers. While at Spurgeon’s, Michael made a holiday trip to Norway, where he met a young Marit Vassbotn. When Michael went back to South Africa to pastor a Baptist church, he quickly discovered - the hard way - that he had been trained in a social justice oriented Baptist tradition, while the church he pastored was partially funded by the Southern Baptist Church in the USA, and was correspondingly socially conservative and racist. He soon was forced out of the South African Baptist church, and spent a few years studying and doing sundry church work. Meanwhile, he had been corresponding with Marit in Norway, who was by now a medical student. When she came of age, they married, and while studying, had twin boys in 1960, both of whom died within hours of their premature birth. Joy was added to the mix with the birth of Morten in 1962. The South African embassy declined, without explanation, to renew Michael’s passport, and he became a Norwegian citizen. While Marit was doing her residency in Bagn, Susanne was born in 1966. When Botswana became an independent country and Marit graduated from medical school in 1966, there was little doubt about where to go. They couldn´t go to South Africa, not even as visitors, but Michael’s South African family could visit Michael in Botswana. Michael and Marit’s intention was to emigrate as a family. Michael was an administrator and English literature teacher at Swaneng Hill School the first five years, then administrator of a women’s weaving cooperative, and finally secretary of a small aid agency in Botswana until 1977, with intermittent short stays in Norway. At that time, it had become clear that Botswana wasn’t eager to grant citizenship to Europeans, and South Africa was increasingly destabilizing Botswana. It was time to adjust the emigration plan and go back to Norway. Michael and Marit divorced soon after the return. Michael worked for a series of international aid agencies in Norway, Denmark, and Tanzania, and also had shorter stays in Zambia and Bangladesh. He also took up running, completing a number of Nordic marathons and even the route of the original run from Athens to Marathon. After Morten and Susanne left home, and Michael was single, he was motivated to take on more intense and potentially dangerous international refugee deployments. “Of course I’m scared”, he said, “but this kind of work is for people like me. I have no spouse, no-one depends on me. It’s not for a family man” He was sent to Northern Iraq for two stints, once for UN High Commissioner for Refugees and once for UNICEF. He survived being kidnapped by the Iranian Hizbullah one night and had various other encounters with sometimes unidentified Kurdish militias. Having an AK47 poked in his chest was almost commonplace when he was out running, and he had to use his quick wit and sense of humor to be released by his captors without harm. He spent two years working for the UNHCR in Bosnia after the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. The main safety challenge left behind was to avoid landmines and various undetonated devices that had been scattered and abandoned during the war. His job was to resettle internally displaced persons back in the villages they had fled from during the war. Sadly, none of the refugees within his area felt safe enough to return other than for brief visits. Of one village, Michael said that the only way any refugees would return was if there were a UN tank permanently stationed at each end of the village. By then Morten was already living near Copenhagen, Denmark with his partner Gitte and their son and daughter, Kristoffer and Kirstine, and Susanne was settled in Seattle in the USA with her husband Doug and their two daughters, Marika and Alida. Michael had corresponded with Anne Karin since their relationship ended 15 years previously, but now he sought her out again and courted her vigorously. She agreed to marry him, and they lived happily ever after…
 Both were now retired and free to travel together to places like Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco, where they were treated like royalty because there weren’t many other Western tourists travelilng in the Arab world after 2001. They also built a cabin in the mountains in nearby Tuddal and bought a house near Cape Town, where they spent 3 months every winter for years. They also traveled in Norway, including visits with her children and grandchildren. Michael began to show signs of forgetfulness, but was able to travel with Anne Karin’s help for several more years. By 2015, his memory problems fed an increasing anxiety because he never seemed to know what was going to happen next, with whom, or where. His mental capacity diminished little by little, but even as his vocabulary and conceptual framework shrank, he remained unfailingly polite and solicitous, and generous with everything he had. In October 2019, he survived a medical emergency, but depleted his resources in the process. Michael lost interest in food, drink, and conversation, and resisted getting out of bed. After two weeks, he died peacefully with Anne Karin at his side.

Obituary

Pictures from Michael’s life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ain0a1KRGaA Michael Cronjé Kromberg born 06.01.1931 in Swellendam, South Africa died 31.10.2019 in Kongsberg, Norway Michael was born to Alida Susanna Cronjé and Johann Peter Kromberg while Johann was town clerk in Swellendam. He was the second of five children, Johann, Michael, Lois, Conrad, and Anne. The little family soon moved to Mosselbaai, where Michael spent happy days roaming around, taking “a goof” at Die Poort, the dramatic rock formations that created a rock pool in the warm Indian Ocean. At age 8, at the start of World War II, the family switched from being an Afrikaans-speaking family that attended the Dutch Reformed Church, to being an English-speaking family that attended a Baptist church, and they made the move to Johannesburg to complete their cultural transformation. Michael excelled in academics, especially English literature, and in sports, especially tennis. All three Kromberg boys were sent to Spurgeon´s college in London to become Baptist ministers. While at Spurgeon’s, Michael made a holiday trip to Norway, where he met a young Marit Vassbotn. When Michael went back to South Africa to pastor a Baptist church, he quickly discovered - the hard way - that he had been trained in a social justice oriented Baptist tradition, while the church he pastored was partially funded by the Southern Baptist Church in the USA, and was correspondingly socially conservative and racist. He soon was forced out of the South African Baptist church, and spent a few years studying and doing sundry church work. Meanwhile, he had been corresponding with Marit in Norway, who was by now a medical student. When she came of age, they married, and while studying, had twin boys in 1960, both of whom died within hours of their premature birth. Joy was added to the mix with the birth of Morten in 1962. The South African embassy declined, without explanation, to renew Michael’s passport, and he became a Norwegian citizen. While Marit was doing her residency in Bagn, Susanne was born in 1966. When Botswana became an independent country and Marit graduated from medical school in 1966, there was little doubt about where to go. They couldn´t go to South Africa, not even as visitors, but Michael’s South African family could visit Michael in Botswana. Michael and Marit’s intention was to emigrate as a family. Michael was an administrator and English literature teacher at Swaneng Hill School the first five years, then administrator of a women’s weaving cooperative, and finally secretary of a small aid agency in Botswana until 1977, with intermittent short stays in Norway. At that time, it had become clear that Botswana wasn’t eager to grant citizenship to Europeans, and South Africa was increasingly destabilizing Botswana. It was time to adjust the emigration plan and go back to Norway. Michael and Marit divorced soon after the return. Michael worked for a series of international aid agencies in Norway, Denmark, and Tanzania, and also had shorter stays in Zambia and Bangladesh. He also took up running, completing a number of Nordic marathons and even the route of the original run from Athens to Marathon. After Morten and Susanne left home, and Michael was single, he was motivated to take on more intense and potentially dangerous international refugee deployments. “Of course I’m scared”, he said, “but this kind of work is for people like me. I have no spouse, no-one depends on me. It’s not for a family man” He was sent to Northern Iraq for two stints, once for UN High Commissioner for Refugees and once for UNICEF. He survived being kidnapped by the Iranian Hizbullah one night and had various other encounters with sometimes unidentified Kurdish militias. Having an AK47 poked in his chest was almost commonplace when he was out running, and he had to use his quick wit and sense of humor to be released by his captors without harm. He spent two years working for the UNHCR in Bosnia after the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. The main safety challenge left behind was to avoid landmines and various undetonated devices that had been scattered and abandoned during the war. His job was to resettle internally displaced persons back in the villages they had fled from during the war. Sadly, none of the refugees within his area felt safe enough to return other than for brief visits. Of one village, Michael said that the only way any refugees would return was if there were a UN tank permanently stationed at each end of the village. By then Morten was already living near Copenhagen, Denmark with his partner Gitte and their son and daughter, Kristoffer and Kirstine, and Susanne was settled in Seattle in the USA with her husband Doug and their two daughters, Marika and Alida. Michael had corresponded with Anne Karin since their relationship ended 15 years previously, but now he sought her out again and courted her vigorously. She agreed to marry him, and they lived happily ever after…
 Both were now retired and free to travel together to places like Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco, where they were treated like royalty because there weren’t many other Western tourists travelilng in the Arab world after 2001. They also built a cabin in the mountains in nearby Tuddal and bought a house near Cape Town, where they spent 3 months every winter for years. They also traveled in Norway, including visits with her children and grandchildren. Michael began to show signs of forgetfulness, but was able to travel with Anne Karin’s help for several more years. By 2015, his memory problems fed an increasing anxiety because he never seemed to know what was going to happen next, with whom, or where. His mental capacity diminished little by little, but even as his vocabulary and conceptual framework shrank, he remained unfailingly polite and solicitous, and generous with everything he had. In October 2019, he survived a medical emergency, but depleted his resources in the process. Michael lost interest in food, drink, and conversation, and resisted getting out of bed. After two weeks, he died peacefully with Anne Karin at his side.

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