Book: The Biography of Nena Van Zyl.

The biography includes, as an introduction, a short novel 'The Brooch, the Fur, and the Magic Hat from Virginiazstan.' Inspired by Nena's brooches...

Front cover.

Back cover.

The Brooch, the Fur, and the Magic Hat from Virginiaztan.


The silhouette of a massive tree slowly appeared in front of her. The trunk of the tree had a very large girth. The massive bulbous trunk was knobbly and uneven. The bark’s texture was rough but beautiful. On top of the trunk was grey-zigzagged sprawling ‘hair.’ Chunky, buttressed roots anchored the large bulky trunk into the ground – it looked like a giant’s hand. It anchored the big tree securely to the ground.  She looked up. The chunky tree had a crown that resembled a root ball. ‘Who has turned this tree upside down,’ she thought. There were no leaves on the branches – stripped bare.

I had never seen such an enormous bulbous tree in the forest before.’

She had ventured deep into the forest. Too deep.

OVERVIEW: The story portrays Nena (Camilla)as a young girl in a challenging forest. Her character traits and personality are illuminated throughout this story. The story of the biography section is mostly fiction. However, embedded are her true temperament, her passions, interests, love, care, faith, and dogged determination to achieve an important goal.  Her biography, history, and some interesting notes with her memoirs, pictures, and more are included at the back of this book. An intriguing, fun and exciting biography!  


Book description:

Word count = 27,200 words with many pictures. 192 Pages (size A4 pages).



Preface. Page 8

Chapter 1: A buttressed secret Page 11

Chapter 2: The Curse. Page 26

Chapter 3: A bridge too far?. 35

Chapter 4: The Bower. 59

Chapter 5: The Mould (The Making) 63

Chapter 6: Gemstones and a furry cape. 79

Chapter 7: The design. 89

Chapter 8: Fleeing. 95

Chapter 9: High tea. 107

Authors’ notes and sketches on the fantasy novel. 113

Tribute to Nena Van Zyl. 120

‘The Baobab’ 120

The Shoemaker and His Tools. 132

Bill Windell 137

The Vogelkop Bowerbird. 142

The Brazen Serpent (made from brass). 144

Short History & Timeline: Jacob Cornelia (Windell) Van Zyl 147

Gedig vir Nena. 154

Brooches, artefacts, and memories of Nena. 158

Nena’s brooches. 164

POEM/GEDIG: A Strong Tower (English version) / N Sterk Toring (Afrikaans version) 170

A Strong Tower /N Sterk Toring: 170

The Tower of Hercules. 172

Nena a Strong Tower. 174


About the authors: Page 188


Nena Van Zyl. See the renovated antique organ by her late husband, Charlie Van Zyl (framed picture of Charlie in the center of the organ).

BROOCH: One of Nena's brooches which she used to wear to church as young mother (1960 -1980). CHURCH: Apostolic Faith Mission Church, Virginia, Freestate, South Africa. This fantasy story of fiction is inspired by her many brooches.

Baobab tree. The story of 'The Brooch, the Fur, and the Magic Hat from Virginiaztan,'  is set in a forest. A huge baobab tree is part of the fiction.   

When the book is published in May 2019, the eBook will be available at Five House Publishing.