Klein Japie’s Family Stuff, and Friends
~ SmiffieNews would be happy to pass on to Jenny Vorwerk, now living in Spain, details of any of our readers who would like to make contact with her.
As kids at the hostel, we made many friends, and were lucky enough to be invited to some of their farms, although my ouma and oupa seldom permitted us to return the favour. I guess, having brought up three sons, and had to do with all their goings on, they were not that tolerant of having to endure that all over again.
So we really only got to know our friends and their families via the hostel.
Folk such as Annatjie Bekker, a beautiful girl, who was sadly, killed in a road accident, together with her parents and I think a young brother, and one of her sisters. I gather that Tienie Bekker is still around, and so is his surviving sister, a twin, I do not know where she is nowadays.
And Maria Gouws, who was such a gorgeous girl, together with her lovely little sister, was part of our gang, as also was a Neethling girl. I do remember that the farm is on the Bloem road, but cannot remember her name. And also, a Lategan.
And Louise Pieterse was kind enough to invite both me and middle sister, to a weekend at her parent’s farm, and did we have fun!
First of all, we nicked a cigar or cigarette, forget which, and decided to smoke it underneath the dining room table, of all places. Which meant we were quickly discovered. Then we went on a long hike (I guess) along the stroompie. And,I was standing underneath an overhanging tree, when I suddenly received a whoosh! On my head, and it turned out that I was under the nest of a hamerkop. At which everyone declared that I was hugely fortunate, and blessed, to be shat upon by a hamerkop. I do hope so.
Middle sister and I had great fun on our farm. We would herd sheep if they wandered out of their fields; we would chuck stones at the poor turtles, if they stuck their heads out of my oupa’s big dam, and we would lie down and whisper, if we came across a colony of meerkats, or saw an aardvark.
When lambing season was ongoing, my ouma would give us baskets of bottles of warm milk, and we would go around, back of the house, feeding all the abandoned lammetjies. Their moms would be tethered to the cyprus trees, and we would be making sure their babies were fed.
We would marvel at my oupa’s old oxwagen, which was still in use, to load up wheat and maize from the fields, during harvest time. My oupa had a wonderful team of Afrikander oxen, and to this day, I can think of nothing else as beautiful as those cattle.
My ouma would care for any animal, and very often, she would adopt cats, which had been dumped at the top of our farm road, so we always had lots of cats around.
And once upon a time, when my ouma called out to oupa, that she could hear birds carrying on, around a cypress tree at back of the house, and he should go check, I dutifully trotted after him. He found a huge Koperkapel, raiding the bird’s nests, and shot at it with his everyready shotgun. At which, the cobra, came charging down the tree, and chased us. oupa grabbed my hand, and we set off at a pace!
Finally, oupa turned around and finished off the very big snake.
And we sisters had huge fun ‘entertaining’ our city cousins from Pretoria etc, and introducing them to the wilds of Africa. Most of them had some very interesting adventures on our farm. Which I do not think they will ever forget. Such as having a stinkmuishond spray all over them, plus on their pet dogs. Wonderful experience! And setting fire to a haystack, where we were having ‘tea’ and had lit a candle, which went astray. So had to evacuate pretty fast. Oupa was not amused.
I also appreciated food production, when my biggest job was turning the handle of the big separator, and the milk, freshly brought in from the waenhuis, would be poured into the big dish, and I would churn and churn, and create buttermilk and cream, which would be made into butter. And the days when my oupa and ouma would slaughter a pig and an ox, and the entire neighbourhood would gather to help them make boerewors, and put aside chunks for biltong, and etc. My oupa only used packets of dried fish entrails for making the boerewors, something I still take note of today. A major undertaking. And all the neighbours took turns to help their other neighbours to do all of this, as it was a whole lot of work.
And jamming time, when my ouma and her maids would gather all the perskes and other fruit, and peel and peel, forever, from huge old zink baths, and then can and can, also forever, all this fruit. My ouma made wonderful canned peaches and also jams, and she would compete, along with the other farmwomen, at the plaasskoue which were held every so often, at the showgrounds in Smithfield.
As I grew up, in other places, and also of course, older, I discovered more about my Afrikaner heritage. As well as my English Settler heritage, and also, more about the history of the amaBantu.
On a lighter note, again, twenty or more years ago, when I spent a night in Smithfield Hotel, (what has happened to it?), we went into the bar to buy a beer, and a fellow sitting there said, ‘Klein Japie!! Hoe gaan dit?’ And it turned out to be Dolfie Jonker, from the farm behind my oupa’s. Wolwekop, or Wolwe- whatever, I forget.
He had been in my class, junior school, Smithfield, all along, and he had recognised me some fifty or more, years later? Geewhiz.
I guess, Rooikoppe, sometimes, have an advantage. THE END