April Jooste

April Jooste was more than 100 years old when the interview was conducted. He is one of the oldest people in Clanwilliam and shares some of his knowledge, even though his memories are fading.

April Jooste is the centenarian of the community and shares his story despite his old age.


My name is April Jooste. (inaudible 00:40) surname is Jooste.

How old are you?

(inaudible 00:51-00:52)

… on the other side, there on the other side, the big market, I worked there. That shop.

(inaudible 01:11 – 01:16)

… every day on the road, I travelled… buying the stuff…

How old are you?


How old are you now?

O-o-o-h-h, I’m…

Third person: Daddy is 100 years old.

… 100 and something. Where is my book?

No, it is fine.

And I went up there to here, then the furniture had to be… all the way down to Springbok. Then we got to know the place there, and when we got to Clanwilliam, there wasn’t a shop or something here. This small farm, house (inaudible 02:26 – 02:29) … Then the people started having a bit of influence in the work, the farmer, farming, planting and sowing… I’d been here all the time, otherwise I’d still have been doing it. And I planned to marry, and then I went to other places again, where I stayed all those years. Up to now, always. Children were born here, wife was born in this place, but it was a small farming place. Then I later started buying all the things at the hotel, bought stuff…

You leave. Leave, please, please [addresses children].

Then later on we got streetlights here, bought stuff, a small shop, then it was still a small place, and then we met each other here. Things you travel with and so on, wardrobes and dressing tables and suchlike. And then I stayed on and I…

Hey! Hey! Go play! [addresses children]

Then I stayed on and when the hotel, the hotel was still there (inaudible 04:14), and then I had to do with the stuff all these years, baking, cooking, slaughtering, such things. So they also, the white people, those things. They later got strict… you may not leave the place, go on. So all those years  …. slaughtering, baking, bread baking and all those things… and washing and ironing, and all those kinds of stuff. Then I… later wanted to go back, then they said, huh-uh, cannot go back. Then we, then later they (inaudible 05:05) came here. And then he took over the place. There where the church is now, there our shop also stood. I would go to the Cape, give stuff, the afternoon, then I brought it back, and then, so the evening, I built up the (inaudible 05:30) again.

So I, I did everything: driving, washing, ironing and cooking, everything. And sowing, anything. I promise you, any work.

Tell us a bit about your work as reservist.


Your work as reservist, tell us a bit.

About the fish?


Oh, that was so long, it was long ago… I’d always worked in the Cape. And when I got here, it was quite a mess. It was just a little farming place… there was no direction and so on. When I started working there at the (inaudible06:29), they asked me to stay here and help. And then I helped them, so that I’m still here today. I married here and my children were all born here and I’m still… But I no longer work, I’ve retired.

Tell me, have you ever heard of Dirk Ligter?

O-o-oh, old Dirk. He was a wild one, you know.

Tell us…

That guy was hard, you thought you still saw him, then Dirk was gone. Took the farmers’ sheep and he slaughtered and lied, and carried on, he was an unbreakable old guy. He didn’t work or hurt anyone, and so on, he only did mischief. The guy was like that, as I got to know him. I don’t know if he’s still alive, I haven’t seen him in years.

Did you see him?


Did you see Dirk Ligter?

Yes. We talked to him a lot, had many deep conversations with him.

So you saw him. What type of man was he, was he a big man?

He was an ugly old guy. Big man. Became a big man. That was how I knew him.

What year was that more or less?

O-o-o-h, I can’t… It was quite a few years ago. But in any case, then we, then he went into the mountain, then the sheep worker bought the place here. Now, when they bought the place, they always… me. Then he went to the Cape, he came to meet me there. I lived in number 32, that was where I lived. The business had to buy the stuff from the shop, he met me there, and then we started talking, started talking, and he gave me information, where I could get stuff. I was working in a big shop there then, and so we knew each other from that time. Later I started working at (inaudible 09:12), they later came…

Hey! Keep quiet. Go play! [addressing children]

… so I can continue… Then I had to stay on… do anything. That work… later on the hotel was there… big money… Then I helped there, changed to a shop, from the shop to the hotel…

Did you know the cedar wood carriers?

The who?

The cedar wood carriers?

Cedar wood? Yes. It came from (inaudible 0:14), I knew cedar wood there. Where we lived, always worked with cedar wood and so on. It was still a small place at the time, there were a few people who did it themselves, saw that you had something, your sheep, your goats, so it was a small place. And then it expanded to here.

Where did Dirk Ligter live?

He lived everywhere. He didn’t have a fixed place. No, he didn’t have a fixed home. He would live here for a while, [scolds children] live here for a while, then after a few days, he was gone. Would come back, and so he carried on, old Dirk. His mischief was breaking into shops and stuff, he was untameable, but he never assaulted people and so on, never. But he liked doing mischief.

You saw him, what did he look like?

Sure, I saw him. He came and gave, no, he was then an old man, must be. … Went to the herd of livestock, and caught a thing, slaughtered, sold among the people, or…

Was he a small man or a big man?

Just started becoming a young man, but he was very naughty when he was a child. But he didn’t hurt people and so on. Huh-uh, he just did mischief.

When he came here, did he have anything with him?

Yes, he often came, then he slept here, ate and drank, yes… So he carried on until he died. He didn’t hurt workers or attacked them, he just did mischief. Broke into houses, and took food and whatever he wanted to take, then he left again, so he messed around. Except if you… then he harassed you  … slept there in the veld*, in the mountains, there he slept… the other people. So he just broke into the shops, broke open the shops, and slaughtered, the farmer lost his sheep, then he was gone again… He carried on like that. Didn’t hurt people, that kind of thing, huh-uh. Thus I got to know him, until he died. He lived at… what is the name of the place? Ah, he lived there and he also died there… as I said… But when he didn’t have something, he broke in, and then he took what he wanted, then he was gone. Then they had to search again, then he was in the veld.

What did they say, was he a paljas* carrier?

Yes, they often said he carried paljas, but I can’t say, because I didn’t see it. But I heard the things they said. He was very unruly.  … the old peoples’ stories Hello, my grandchild [greets someone]. Old people, would go to the veld and so on, he stayed… He was just quite unruly. He didn’t harm people, or so. He just took what he wanted to eat, meat, he took the sheep, then he slaughtered it, ate it, when he was done, he hung it from a tree, that was how he was. Just did unlawful things, stealing…

How was Clanwilliam in those days, when you arrived here?

At that time Clanwilliam was (inaudible 14:37). Look, Clanwilliam was only… When I got here, Clanwilliam was still quite wild, the people were still quite wild… drinking and fighting and so on. Then I started speaking… said how we should live with one another, then I tamed them, like they are today. Had many… with the people, white and black… you get to a point… just to help people, from the dangers to the wrong things, theft and those things, stealing a lot and so on, they did all those things. Assaulted people… Later joined the police.

Did you see Location Two at the dam?


See Location Two at the dam?


… the people who lived there?

Yes. Yes, yes…

Tell us how it was there.

Man, it was an area… had small houses, they also had livestock… They planted next to the river and sowed, and so on. … And then it later, then the people decided, no, I must now, then I went back to the Cape. We were there, then the guy came, then they asked, they’d seen how I did homework, cooking, and baking, washing and ironing, then they suggested that I went to work for them, then I helped them all those years, then later… also did the bakery, and washed and ironed, then I helped to build it up, the hotel, higher, bigger. So I went on all these years. Everything, children born… So I can’t say there was… There was a time that I joined the police, also helped them. I also did it in the Cape. And so I helped, until later…  brought to a stop… white and black, selected like that, then everyone was caught… And there was also the fighting with the people… locked them all up. Said, huh-uh, people are people. So I worked hard here to get to this age, but he* was wild, wild, but I tamed them. Tamed them. And I’ve lived here for all these years, the government workers bought the place, when they saw what I’d done, that I’d worked for them all those years, then retired… But there were dark days and light days… But there is nothing that is above something else..

Can you remember when you were born?

O-o-o-h, golly.

[looking for someone to find ID]

April Jooste was ouer as 100 jaar ten tyde van die onderhoud. Hy is een van die oudste mense op Clanwilliam en deel sy kennis, al kan hy nie meer so goed onthou nie.

April Jooste is die oudste in die gemeenskap – ouer as 100 jaar – en deel sy storie ten spyte van sy hoë ouderdom.


My naam is April Jooste. (onhoorbaar 00:40) van is Jooste.

Hoe oud is Oom Theunis?

(onhoorbaar 00:51-00:52)

… oorkant, daar aan die oorkant, die groot mark, ek het daar gewerk. Daai winkel.

(onhoorbaar 01:11 – 01:16)

… elke dag op die pad, maar ek travel … koop die goeters …

Hoe oud is Oom Theunis?


Hoe oud is Oom Theunis nou?

O-o-o-h-e, ek is …

Derde persoon: Pappa is honderd.

… honderd en iets. Waar is my boekie?

Nee, dis reg, oom Theunis.

Enne, ek was daar op tot hier, toe moet hulle mos die meubels … af onder tot by Springbok. Toe’t ons die plek daar geleer ken, en toe ons in Clanwilliam kom, was daar nie ’n winkel of iets hier nie. So ’n klein plasie, huis (onhoorbaar 02:26 – 02:29) … toe begin die mense bietjie invloed in die werk, die boer, boerdery, plant en saai … toe’s ek al die tyd nog hier, anders sou ek dit nou nog doen. Enne, plan getroud wees, enne, toe’t ek weer na ander plekke gegaan, waar ek gebly het toe al die jare. Tot nou toe, altyd. Kinders hier gebore, vrou is gebore by hierdie plek, maar dit was maar ’n plaasplekkie. Toe’t ek later by die hotel beginne al die goete, goeters gekoop …

Gaan julle eers uit, gaan eers uit, ’seblief [praat met kinders].

Toe’t die straatligte later ook ingekom hier, goeters inkoop, ’n winkeltjie, toe’s dit nog ’n klein plekkie, en toe ontmoet ons mekaar hier. Waarmee mens travel en so aan, klerekaste, en spieëlkaste en sulke goed. En toe’t ek aangebly en goeters …

Hei! Hei! Gaan speel! [praat met kinders]

Toe’t ek aangebly en so toe die hotel, was daar nog die hotel (onhoorbaar 04:14), en toe’t ek al die jare met die goeters te doen gehad, bakkery, kosmakery, slagwerk, sulke goeters. So, hulle het ook, die wit mense so, hierdie goeters. Toe’t hulle later die in vasgevat, jy moes nie uit die plek nie, aangaan. So al die jare … slagwerk, bakkery, broodbak, en al hierdie goeters … en was en stryk, en al dié klas van goeters. Toe’t hulle vir my … later teruggaan, toe sê hulle, huh-uh, kan nie weer teruggaan nie. Daarvan af het ons, toe’t hulle later die (onhoorbaar 05:05) hier ingekom. En toe’t hy die plek oorgevat. Daar waar die kerk nou is, daar’t ons nou ook ’n winkel gesit. Dan gaan ek Kaap toe, gee ek goeters, die middag het, dan bring ek dit uit, en dan, so die aand, toe’t ek die (onhoorbaar 05:30) weer opgebou.

Enne, so toe ek, ek het alles gedoen, rywerk, was, stryk, en kosmaak, en als. En saaiery, enigiets. Ek belowe jou, enige werk.

Vertel vir ons ’n bietjie van oom Theunis se werk as reservis.


Se werk as reservis, vertel vir ons so ’n bietjie, Oom Theunis.

Van die vis?


O, daai was so lank, dis al lankal se … ek het altyd in die Kaap gewerk. Enne, toe ek nou hier kom, was dit taamlik deurmekaar. Dis maar so ’n ou plaasplekkie … daar is nie rigting nie, en so aan. Toe ek so daar by die (onhoorbaar 06:29) kom werk, toe’t hulle my gevra om hier te bly en te help. En toe het ek vir hulle gehelp, dat ek vandag nog hier is.  Toe’s ek hier getroud, en my kinders almal hier gebore en ek is nog altyd … maar ek werk nie meer nie, ek is afgetree.

Sê my, oom Theunis al van Dirk Ligter gehoor?

O-o-o, ou Dirk. Hy was mos ’n wilde kol gewees …

Nou vertel vir ons …

Daai ou was hard, nee wat, jy kan hom nog hier sien, dan’s Dirk weg. Vat hy die boere se skape en hy slag en lieg, en gaat tekere, hy was ’n onbreekbare ou kêrel. Hy’t nie gewerk of seergemaak of so nie, maar hy’t net kwaad gedoen. So was die ou, so het ek hom geleer ken, ek weet nie of hy nog lewe, ek het hom jare laas gesien.

Het oom Theunis hom gesien?


Het oom Theunis vir Dirk Ligter gesien?

Ja. Ons het baie gesels met hom, baie diep punte met hom gehad.

So, oom Theunis het hom gesien. Hoe ’n tipe man was hy, was hy ’n groot man, of …?

Hy was ’n lelike ou jong. Groot man. Groot man word. Daarvan ken ek hom.

Watter jaar was daai omtrent gewees?

O-o-e-e-e, nou kan jy my … dit was ’n klompie jare terug. … Maar in elke geval, toe’t ons, toe’t hy daar in die berg in, toe koop die skaapwerker die plek hier. Nou toe hulle die plek koop, toe’t hulle my altyd, toe’t hy in die Kaap gekom, daar’t hy my gekom ontmoet, ek’s in nommer twee-en-dertig, daar het ek gebly. Daar moet die saak die goed inkoop by die winkel, het hy my daar ontmoet, en toe het ons beginne gesels, raak ons aan die gesels, en my inligting gegee, waar kan ek goeters kry, ek werk toe in ’n groot winkel daar, en so het ons aangekom van daai tyd af. Later het ek kom werk by (onhoorbaar 09:12), kom hulle later …

Hei! Bly stil. Gaan speel! [praat met kinders]

… so ek kan aangaan. … Toe moet ek maar aanbly … enige ding doen. Daai werk … later was daar die hotel, … grootgeld … toe’t ek gehelp daar, verander na ’n winkel, uit die winkel uit in die hotel …

Sê my, het oom Theunis die sederhoutdraers geken?

Die wie?

Die sederhoutdraers geken?

Sederhout? Ja. Dit het gekom uit (onhoorbaar 0:14), daar’t ek die sederhout geken. Ek het anderkant, het ons gebly, altyd met die sederhout gewerk, en so aan. Toe’s dit daai tyd nog ’n klein plekkie, ’n paar mense toe daar het gewees, wat dit self, kyk om ietsie te hê, jou skapie, jou bokke, so dit was maar ’n klein plekkie. En toe’y hy uitgebrei hiernatoe.

Oom Theunis, Dirk Ligter, waar het hy gebly?

Hy’t orals gebly. Hy’t nie ’n vaste plek gehad nie. Nee, hy’t nie ’n vaste woonplek gehad nie. Hy bly nou hier ’n tydjie, [raas met kinders] hy bly nou hier ’n tydjie, ná ’n paar dae, dan’s hy weer weg daar. Kom hy weer, en so het hy aangegaan, ou Dirk. By kwaaddoenplek is, winkels oopbreek en goeters, hy was ontembaar, maar hy het nooit mense aangerand of so, niks nie, maar hy hou van kwaad doen.

Oom Theunis het hom gesien, hoe hy lyk?

Ja-nee, ek het hom gesien mos. Hy kom en gee, nee, hy’s nou ook al ’n ou man, moet wees … na die trop vee gegaan, en ’n ding te vang, slag, verkoop tussen die mense, of …

Was dit ’n klein mannetjie of ’n groot man gewees?

Net mooi beginne ’n jong man word, so was hy gewees, maar hy was baie onhebbelik in sy kinderdae, maar hy’t nie mense seergemaak of so nie. Huh-uh, maar hy’t net kwaad gedoen.

So, het hy altyd as hy hiernatoe gekom het, iets by hom gehad?

Ja, hy’t baie dan kom hy, dan slaap hy hier, eet en drink, ja, gaan hy … so het hy aangegaan, tot hy dood is. Hy’t nou nie werkers seergemaak of aangeval, hy’t net kwaad gedoen. Huise oopbreek, en kos vat en wat hy wil vat, dan gaan hy weer, so mors hy. Behalwe as jy hom nou … dan hinder hy jou  … slaap daar in die veld, in die berge, daar slaap hy … die ander mense. So, hy’t net kom, by die winkels gebreek, die winkels oopgebreek, en slag die boer verloor sy skape, dan’s hy weer weg … so’t hy aangegaan. Nou nie mense seergemaak of dit gedoen nie, huh-uh. So het ek hom geleer ken, tot hy dood is. Hy’t op, hy het … wat is die plek se naam? Ai, daar’t hy gebly en daar’s hy ook oorlede … soos ek sê … Maar as hy nou nie ’n ding het, dan gaan breek hy oop, en dan vat hy wat hy wil vat, dan’s hy weg. Dan moet hulle maar weer soek, dan’s hy in die veld.

Hoe’t hulle gesê, was hy ’n paljasdraer, of hoe?

Ja, hulle sê taamlik van paljas gedra, maar ek nou nie sê nie, want ek het nie gesien nie. Maar gehoor dinge sê hulle. Hy was baie onhebbelik.  … die grootmense se stories. Hallo, my kleinkind, [groet iemand] grootmense so bietjie afvat, veld toe gaan, en so aan, bly hy … hy was net gruwelik gewees. Hy’t nie mense skade aangedoen of so nie. Hy’t net gevat wat hy wil eet, ’n vleisie, dan vat hy die skaap, dan slag hy hom, eet hom, as hy klaar is, dan hang dit maar aan die boom op, so was hy. Doen net so onwettig, maar steel …

Hoe was Clanwilliam daai tyd gewees, toe oom Theunis hier gekom het?

Daai tyd was Clanwilliam (onhoorbaar 14:37), kyk, Clanwilliam was eers hier … toe ek hier gekom het   . toe was Clanwilliam nog ’n bietjie wild, die mense was nog ’n bietjie wild … suip en baklei en so aan. Toe’t ek gaan beginne praat … gesê hoe ’n mens moet lewe met mekaar, toe’t ek hulle mak gemaak, soos hulle vandag daar is. Baie … gehad met die mense, wit en swart …. julle gaan op ’n punt … net om mense te help, van die gevare af na die verkeerde dinge toe, diefstal en daai goeters, baie te steel en so aan, hulle het daai goeters als gedoen. Mense aanrand, slaan … later om aan te sluit by die polisie.

Het oom Theunis vir Lokasie Twee gesien by die dam?


Vir Lokasie Twee by die dam gesien?


… die mense wat daar gebly het?

Ja. Ja, ja …

Vertel vir ons bietjie hoe was dit daar by daai mense gewees.

Man, dit was ook gronde … ou huisies gehad, so het hulle ook maar vee gehad … daar’t hulle teen die rivier geplant en gesaai en so aan … Enne, toe’t dit later, toe’t die mense later besluit, nee maar ek moet nou, toe gaan ek weer terug Kaap toe. Ons was ook daar, toe kom die ou ???, toe vra hulle, toe’t hulle ook gesien hoe ek huiswerk doen, koskook, en bak, was en stryk, toe’t hulle aangeraai dat ek vir hulle kom werk, toe’t ek al die jare vir hulle gehelp, toe later … is die bakkery ook gedoen, en gewas en gestryk, toe’t ek help opbou, die hotel, hoër, groter. So het ek al die jare aangegaan. Alles, kinders gebore … So, ek kan nie sê daar was … daar was tye wat ek by die polisie aansluit, hulle ook daarlangs gehelp. Ek het dit in die Kaap ook gedoen. Enne, so het ek nou gehelp, tot later … tot stilstand gebring … wit en swart, so uitgesoek daai tye, toe’s almal oor een … vasgetrek. En, daar was ook die bakleiery gewees met die mense … vir hulle almal toegesluit. Gesê, huh-uh, mens is mens. So ek het hard hier gewerk om tot ’n ouderdom te kry, maar hy was wild, wild, maar ek hulle mak gemaak. Vir hulle mak gemaak. En al die jare bly ek hier, die staatwerkers het die plekkie gekoop, toe hulle loop sien wat ek doen, wat ek al die jare vir hulle gewerk het, nou afgetree het … maar daar was donker dae en lig dae … maar daar’s niks wat bokant mekaar sit nie.

Oom Theunis, onthou Oom Theunis neëntien hoeveel Oom gebore is?

O-o-o, hene.

[soek na iemand om ID te vind]