3 min read
The memories of my Veldskoen conjure up all sort of emotions. To me, my Vellies are synonyms with being South African along with Biltong (dried meat), Boerewors, (farmers sausage) the Springboks,(national rugby team), Nelson Mandela and the rolling hills of the Natal Midlands. They are part of our very DNA. Being African is not about your skin color it is not about the language you speak. Although these add to myriad cultures and customs that make Africa so special, being African is something in your soul that can’t be explained it doesn’t matter how long you are away for there is always a piece of you that is missing, that only standing staring out across an empty savannah or taking in the breathtaking view on the top of Table Mountain can fill.
To try and explain it, there is a scene in Blood diamond the 2006 movie that in my mind came close to describing what it is to be an African. Arnold Vosloo playing Leonardo Dicaprio characters sergeant gets down on one knee and picks up the red earth and says “This red earth. It’s in our skin…. You’ll never leave Africa. I can speak from experience, I left when I was 22 to wander the earth, but I have never truly left Africa. That red earth is in my skin, it is in my blood and it’ll always be there. For me wearing my Vellies gives me a piece of home and being involved in what quite possibly could be the very first shoe ever made is a true honor and something I take very seriously with all my soul. We have some seriously large shoes to fill and there is no way we let our ancestors down.
Veldskoen orVellie, is a term that has been used they are part of our in South Africa for centuries. The name Veldskoen (pronounced "FELL-skoons") comes from Afrikaans meaning "field shoe."
Veldskoen is an iconic symbol to the Rainbow Nation since being the footwear worn by the first Dutch settlers in South Africa during the Great Trek from 1836 and onwards after they saw the ancient Koisan tribe wearing them. Easy to make, lightweight and extremely tough wearing the Veldskoen could withstand the harsh conditions of the great migration north. Since those days the Veldskoen (or much easier to say - "vellie") has become a huge part of South African and Namibian and African society, worn by all classes and professions.
We took this traditional South African shoe and injected it with colors of youth, energy, and happiness and kept the precise design standards set forward by the centuries of South African shoe making traditions making our shoes exceptionally comfortable and durable.
Bringing Veldskoen to the U.S. will keep our history and traditions alive and we feel proud to bring this shoe to America. Veldskoen USA is urrently based out of the perfect Californian beach town of San Clemente.
"The year was 1941, and the soldier, well he wasn't just any infantryman, he was Nathan Clark, and he'd been sent to war with two missions. First and foremost to protect his country, and, secondly, to discover some new shoe designs for his family's company. As a member of the Eighth Army, Clark had been deployed to Burma, and it was here that he noticed that the officers in his formation were wearing these strange, sand colored chukkas during their downtime. Clark investigated the shoes and learned that they had originally been commissioned to Cairo cobblers by South African soldiers whose old-military issue boots had failed them out on the desert terrain. They wanted something that was both lightweight and grippy which led to the creation of a boot with a suede upper on a crepe sole"