Elon's Grandfather - Part 4

Finally in 1950, he decided to move to South Africa, where he knew no one (except, via mail, one chiropractor in Cape Town). He gave reasons including the deteriorating political system in Canada & overbearing government, and the country's drop in moral standards. It is suspected a major reason may have been his "adventurous spirit" and better climate for the family. Joshua and Wyn decided they could live in 1/4 of their current income, and in 1950, sold their house, studio, and chiropractic practice, crated their Bellanca airplane, and took a 30 day freighter ride to Cape Town, South Africa.

Quoting from the chiropractic journal again:

"On November 21, 1950 the Haldeman Chiropractic Clinic opened in Pretoria, South Africa." Joshua would soon report in the ICA's International Review of Chiropractic that his practice had grown to 25 patients by mid-January, 1951 and 37 patients by early February.4" Eventually, Haldeman would build one of the largest chiropractic clinics in the country, and would treat one of the country's presidents, whose hillside home overlooked the Haldeman clinic, as well as a number of cabinet ministers. He and his associates reputedly cared for as many as 175 patients in a day. Following the family's relocation to South Africa, they commenced a number of inter-continental aerial tours which caught the attention of the international press. These included flights throughout Africa, Europe and Australia. Haldeman's enhanced mobility enabled him to accommodate a number of international speaking engagements, including a 1952 address to the European Chiropractic Convention47 and a 1954 presentation at an Australian convention of chiropractors. The roundtrip voyage in 1954 extended thirty thousand miles: up the coast of Africa, over parts of Asia, across the open sea to Australia and back; Joshua Haldeman is thought to be the only private pilot to make such a trek in a single-engine plane. He is also remembered as a co-founder of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of South Africa, which he served as president for four years and as a member of the society's national council for eight or more years. The chiropractor's wings also encouraged his career as an explorer. Haldeman became intrigued with the legend of a lost city in the desert of South Africa and made numerous trips by air and ground over extremely hostile terrain. Rehm has noted that Haldeman was: 

Also an explorer, sportsman and political activist, Dr. Haldeman perhaps became best known in South Africa for his expertise in the 'Lost City of the Kalahari Desert.' His first expedition into the Kalahari desert was in 1953 to look for the Lost City described by Farini in 1885. The second was an 8,400-mile aerial search at 200 feet off the ground in uncharted desert. Altogether, he made 12 expeditions searching for the Lost City. On every occasion he was accompanied by Mrs. Haldeman and those of his children who were home. Two books on the Lost City (by F. Goldie and A.J. Clement) devoted large sections to his travels. Though he found no evidence, Dr. Haldeman remained convinced there was indeed a Lost City in the Kalahari desert."

Also, from a memoir from Joshua's son Scott:

"Most dogged among Lost City searchers, however, was Haldeman, who led nine expeditions between 1953 and 1965, counting an initial exploratory trip to gather information, and several more afterwards. His search began in earnest in 1957 with an 8,400-mile air-ground search in the area around the Nossob River and followed with ground searches along Farini’s suspected route each year beginning in 1959 and continuing to 1965.4, 5 On every occasion he was accompanied by his wife, Wyn, and those of his children – Scott, Lynne, Maye, Kaye and Angkor Lee – who were around. One Haldeman chronicler reckoned that he was unique in the history of African exploration because he routinely took his whole family with him and two books devoted to attempts to locate the Lost City report extensively on his explorations.6 According to his son Scott, “Josh and Wyn Haldeman carried out sixteen expeditions looking for the Lost City of the Kalahari, most of which included their children. The last was in 1969. These expeditions were into remote areas of what is now Botswana (at the time the Bechuanaland Protectorate). I went on the first six expeditions in 1953, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1961 through my school years and before I left South Africa to study. The first expedition was when I was 11 years old and the last at age 18 when I had my driver’s license and drove a Second World War Willy’s Jeep as the second car on that expedition. Prior expeditions had been by a single small truck. Each of these trips lasted approximately one month and was mostly in the bush without a road or even a track. We would go from one area to another using a standard compass and sleeping under the stars in sleeping bags on a tarpaulin.” LIONS, LEOPARDS, HYENAS AND JACKALS Life in the bush frequently brought the Haldeman clan into close association with the local wildlife. Haldeman describes one occasion when, upon hearing prowling animals, Wyn spent the night guarding the camp with pistol at hand. “Scott and I were too sleepy to stay awake,” Haldeman remembered, “but ... felt perfectly safe with such a good camp guard. She can shoot faster and more accurately than either of us.”7 In the morning, leopard spoor was found all around the camp, yards from where they slept. The youngest, Angkor Lee, routinely slept in the truck to optimize his chances of not being dragged off in the night by large predators.

Scott writes: “We had lions in the camp so close my father could almost touch them. The camps were often surrounded by hyenas, jackals and leopards that would keep the air full of wild sounds. I carried a pistol on my hip most of the time to protect against animals and would often have to ride on top of the truck with a 375 mm Winchester rifle hoping that the truck would flush a buck and I could get in a shot.

We only killed animals for the pot, and if we did not kill an animal every few days we had to eat canned sardines. Dad never allowed hunting for hunting’s sake although on one occasion we had to help out a village and hunt a lion that was killing the village goats as he was old and could not hunt wild animals.” KI KI MOUNTAIN Perhaps the closest Haldeman came to discovering the site of the ruins was his investigation of the Lost City bearings submitted in Farini’s report to the Royal Geographical Society in 1886. Discovery of the ruins hinged on locating the Ki Ki Mountain described by Farini. According to Clement: “The nearest landmark agreeing with the co-ordinates was situated in an inaccessible and little known district. Led by a guide and the local Kgalagadi chief, Haldeman and his son”, Scott ... “ploughed their way through the sand to Bohelo Batu Pan (meaning ‘the people died’) – on to the Kgalagadi village at Manung Pan, which they learnt had been visited by only one other European.” From Manung they proceeded to the specified co-ordinates. “Although the surrounding country fitted Farini’s description of the Lost City area, there were no signs of ruins.”8 Though Haldeman never did locate the Lost City, he remained convinced of its existence. For Haldeman, Farini’s story simply felt right. He based much of his belief on first-hand knowledge: many expeditions into the Kalahari convinced him that Farini had actually been in the places he wrote about. He found Farini’s descriptions accurate and his comments about his surroundings convincing and continued to find locals who recognized depictions of the ruins.9 He stated unequivocally in an account of his aerial search in The South African Archaeological Bulletin that “someday the Lost City of the Kalahari will be found”10 and, in a letter to one of Farini’s descendants, “We do not feel he made the ‘Lost City’ up as we have confirmed everything else in the book.”11 After 1969, however, Haldeman’s rotating gaze fixed on other priorities and the search for the Lost City was not continued."

He would later pass away in a plane crash in 1974, when Elon was 3 years old.

You should also check out 'Summary of Familial Influence'  - where we have an interesting list of core similarities between the image of Elon's grandfather, described above, and various actions in Elon's life.


  1. The life in the start would be very difficult for all of them as the time passed so the things would have started settling down and the same has happened with Physiotherapy North Ryde as well because struggle is every thing in this scenario and a person just has to wait for the right time.


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