In the article the focus is on a small part of the poet Van Wyk Louw’s life, namely, his
friendship with his brother-in-law, Chris Neethling, to whom references are made in part one of the biography on Louw by J.C. Steyn (1998), as well as in the compilation of the letters between the brothers N.P. van Wyk and W.E.G. Louw, compiled by J.C. Kannemeyer et al in Ek ken jou goed genoeg (2004). Chris Neethling was a general (hoofgeneraal) in the “Ossewabrandwag” in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He was arrested in February 1942 and eventually interned in the Koffiefontein camp until the end of the Second World War. Exchanges between Neethling and Louw on the role to be played by nationalist Afrikaners during the World War II years, and their subsequent differences of opinion, cast an interesting light on the poet’s viewpoint, but simultaneously demonstrates how “each individual story draws on a common culture” (Samuel & Thompson, 1990:2).