Kerneels Gouws

Kerneels Gouws was born on a farm near Nieuwoudtville in the Northern Cape. He started working at the age of 14 and moved around the area to work on different farms.

Kerneels Gouws tells of his different jobs throughout the years, including being a farm manager and baas van die plaas (boss of the farm). Tells a story of Tom Eksteen who saw a waterbaas (water boss).

Kerneels Gouws was born on a farm named Papkuilsfontein in Nieuwoudtville. He did not attend school, as his parents could not afford it. He started working on farms at the age of 14, planting wheat, doing stonework, working with sheep and milking cattle. He worked on various farms near Calvinia and then worked in a shop in Nieuwoudtville. He was paid R6 per week for his work, which covered his clothes, food and other expenses. He worked a variety of jobs in different places, even harvesting on a tea plantation. He moved to the Western Cape, where he was a farm manager. Kerneels says he was die baas van die plaas. He moved to an orange farm in the kloof. Kerneels is married to Johanna Cloete.

Kerneels tells the story of a man named Tom Eksteen, who could outrun the police horses. He once saw a light like a flashlight at the waterfall and was told that it was the waterbaas (water boss). He tells of a man who went to fetch water from the waterfall and fell in. Under the water was a grass lawn, dry as it would be above water, and a very pretty lady sitting there. She had long white hair and a mole next to her nose. He had never seen such a beautiful girl. Kerneels says he does not know if this story is true or not.


I was born in the Northern Cape, at Nieuwoudtville, on a farm, Papkuilsfontein. That’s where I grew up. But I didn’t have any schooling. Because of circumstances – my parents were not so privileged that they could send me to school. And from about the age of 14, I had to start working. For the farmers, in the fields, sowing wheat, and stone work, and sheep work, and milking those cattle, and those types of things. And so I grew up there and later moved from one farm to the next. I then moved from Papkuilsfontein to Oumier, also a farm in the Northern Cape, but this side of Calvinia. From there I moved to Liewerie (?? 01:25), also this side of Calvinia, to a farm that Flip Strauss managed. It was his farm. And from there I went to Nieuwoudtville, the town itself, in… Then I went to work at a shop, Sofie Toppie’s shop. But in those days it wasn’t like it is today, when there is plenty of money. You still had that old brown paper rand and the blue two rand piece of paper. Those were what you were paid with. And you got six rand a week. And with that you had to provide, for your food, and your clothes, and your feet. The money wasn’t much, but at the time you could buy something. With six rand you bought food, you bought clothes and you still had money left. It’s not like today when there is a lot of money and when you buy something there is nothing left. You have nothing left. That was how I grew up.

Then, in Nieuwoudtville, I worked at the Kennedy, in the Kennedy, at the hotel. And then for Hennie on the farm, and then I came back, then I worked for another woman, Sofie Toppie, in the shop. And so I worked here today and there tomorrow because there also wasn’t much work. And then from there I moved to Willemsrivier, Tinkie Kotze (?? 02:36). There I also worked on the farm, also farm work: sheep, wheat, threshing and horse riding and fence making, and did that type of wood. Then I came back, to Blomfontein in the Northern Cape, to work for old Frikkie Theart. Then it was tea farming. I had to cut the tea rows with the sickle, and I had to shred the tea and dry it and sieve it, and I had to work in the shed. And then I left and went to work at old Fonnie Koopman on Tengieters (??03:08). It is also in the Northern Cape. There it was also the usual farm labour, the lanes and the ploughing, and the sheep work and those types of things, tractor work, making dams, levelling the ground and… And from there I moved to his son, Colin Koopman, in the Western Cape, this side of Doringbos, Papkuilsfontein. There I was farm manager, farming with sheep and goat and cattle and pigs. I was the manager on the farm, there wasn’t a boss on the farm, I was the farm boss. And from there I moved around in the Western Cape, Clanwilliam, Grootkloof. The farm Vleity (??03:50). To Tielman Leo (?? 03:52). Here I learnt how to work with orange trees, cutting oranges, planting trees and pruning trees and that type of thing, so that I’m still here today. And here I will probably come to my end in the kloof. My stronghold in the Western Cape.

Did you ever marry?



I’m married to Johanna Cloete.

Say Thomas’s name again…

Tom Eksteen. Him and another guy used to work at a place at Nieuwoudtville, at the Brak, for a farmer. And then the two of them decided they wanted to keep in the veld. And then the old farmer apparently sent for the police to catch them. Now, when the police came to catch them, the two of them ran away. And then Tom ran, the two of them ran away together and then the other guy, old Sarel, ran into a tree. So then the police had him, and Tom escaped, and there at the Brak – there on the farm next to the town Nieuwoudtville, a little river starts – and Tom was already into the river, and the police covered both sides of the river with horses (perde ?? 00:45), they had to catch him.

Now, he showed them, he ran along the river, then he turned around and ran back, and then he took his stuff that he had there, clothes and his blankets, he took these and he ran through the town, to the other side of town as you take the one-seven towards Calivinia. There are these rocky koppies* that they call the Rooikoppies.

So now he’s there in the Rooikoppies. Then the old sergeant says to his people, “Wait, guys…” – at that time the road to Calvinia was still a dirt road – “… wait while I have a look at the abattoir. I think he ran into the koppe there.” And while the policeman is on that road, he spots Tom there in the koppe. So he signals with the flag, they have to come, he’s here in the kop. And then they surround the whole kop, the pedestrians and horses surround the kop, because he’s in the kop, isn’t he? Then they don’t find him there in the kop.

Then, then the police sergeant says, “No, wait, I’ll go and look there at the tall trees. If he crossed the road there, then he is on his way to Koebee River.”

When he gets to the tall trees, they again signal that he has gone in this direction, we can give up, we won’t find him now, he’s now gone to Koebee River. Now, at Koebee River, over there, where Nature Conservation also has land, has land at the moment, there was a place we called, Uitkoms. “He’s gone to Uitkoms, we can give up, he’s gone into the wilderness.”

And they said he remained a few days there on Uitkoms. By this time he’s hungry and he doesn’t have any food. There on the other side of the Plat River, Koebee River, is a farm, Driefontein. So he goes to Driefontein to steal watermelons.

And as soon as he’s on the mountain, gets to the footpath, he sees a baboon approaching with a watermelon. So the guy takes a stick, moves in behind a rock, and there he sits, waiting for the baboon. When the baboon passes him, he pokes him with the stick. Now, you know a baboon, don’t you – it lets go, it runs away, and the watermelon falls and breaks into pieces. So now the guy has the watermelon, and he sits down and eats.

And the baboon is sitting a small distance from him. Now, the piece that he has eaten clean, he throws that at the baboon, the rind. And the baboon sits there until the guy has finished eating. Then the guy decides he’s going to turn around, he’s going back to Uitkoms, he got what he wanted, didn’t he?

Then he, they say that when he came down from the mountain, when he got to the river, the baboon also came down the mountain. And he went across the river. That evening he had to make a fire, and there the baboon sat in the firelight. He ran for about three weeks with that baboon, from Uitkoms to Loeriesfontein to Calvinia to Brandvlei, to those places.

Every night he made a fire, and the baboon sat watching him. So eventually, his feet sore from all the running, he was coming from Calvinia along the M7 – it was still a dirt road at the time… There at Soetwater, there was a, white man, Koos, Koos Stokes (??03:40). So he saw the farmer approaching on horseback, with dogs as well, so he hid in the thorn trees. Then the dogs bit that baboon to death. Otherwise the baboon would have killed him.

They say the guy ran so fast, the farmers chased him on horseback – you won’t know that kind of hare, it’s a Cape hare, it’s this, it’s a bit smaller than a scrub hare but has these red legs. A dog can’t catch it. Then that man caught up with that hare, in front of the horses, then he skinned the rabbit and threw the skin to the horses, then he ate while running and when he had that rabbit in his stomach, then no horse could catch up with him.

They say he was running from Calvinia and the police were looking for him – they wanted to catch him, he had to go to jail because he was stealing the farmers’ livestock. He had to go to jail but they couldn’t catch him, the next morning when the policeman got up, he was sitting there, in front of the cells.

What was the man’s name again?

Tom Eksteen. So he sits there in front of the cells, then he says to the policeman, “I had to bring myself, you cannot catch me.”

Then they say, “Old Tom, you have to come with me. I’ll lock you up tonight and we’ll go to Calvinia tomorrow so that you can appear in court.”

Then he says, “You can drive, I’ll come. Just leave the cell open, then you can leave tomorrow morning, I’ll come.”

So they drive to Calvinia with the van, on the road, and he runs with that police van. A short while after the police has arrived in Calvinia, he is there on his feet.

This is the same man that was chased by the baboon?

It’s the same man that was chased by the baboon. Tom Eksteen. It’s the same man, that was how that man ran.

What did people say, could he do magic, or what did he do that he could run like that?

No, I don’t know what, they didn’t say what his problem was that he could run… They said, once he was in the Rôeveld [Roggeveld] and (inaudible 05:19) short of clothes, and… So one day he’s sitting there in the mountain and sees a man walking down below. And the man stops at a bush and makes a fire. But the man has, a costina [concertina] with him, and he also has one of these old-fashioned leopardskin hats on his head. So he sees that that man is making a fire, he is braaiing* meat. So he steals up on him. And the man is lying there on his back for a bit and while the man is lying on his back for a bit, he shakes him and he says, “Hey, I’ve been looking for you a long time.”

Then the guy, the guy jumps up and he starts running.

They say he chased that man for a while, then he stood watching that man and that man was running dust out of that dry earth. And so he came back and took the costina and ate all the meat and he got the hat and then he went back into the mountain.

That evening he sees, far away in the mountains, he sees a fire burning and he follows the light of that fire. And the evening of the second day he arrives at that fire, there he finds a few guys who are also keeping in the veld. They’re staying there in a cave. When he appears in the mouth of the cave, those people are so spooked that they churn up dust in the back of the cave.

So he says, “No, no, I’m one of you, I’m one of you, I also keep in the veld.”

So they become frie-, chums. Then they ask, where is his stuff? So he says, “At Calvinia in the mountain.”

Then they say, “But then we have to go and get your stuff tomorrow.”

He said they went and came back the next day, then he ran away. Those people ran so fast through those dry bushes that he couldn’t keep up. So he left them, he didn’t go with them again. And then, what happened next to old Tom, I don’t know, I didn’t hear anything else.

Did everyone call him Tom Eksteen?

Everyone. That was how he was baptised. My pa said, this is what my pa told us, my pa crept up on him one day, he was sitting there braaiing meat, the sugar bushes were dense there.

Now, he sits there braaiing the meat. He turns the meat over, then he gets up, walks around the bush, then he sits down again, then he turns, turns the meat over again, then he gets up, walks around the bush.

Now, Pa’s name was Gert.

So he stands away from the bush and says, “Uncle Gert, don’t creep up on me, I know Uncle Gert is here.”


So my pa appears, but he and my pa are by now good friends. And when – he’s a crook, he keeps in the veld, but he and my pa are friends – when my pa comes out, he tells him, “Tom, I’m going to catch you one day.”

So Tom says, “Uncle Gert, you’ll never catch me.”

Says my father, “Watch out, I’ll catch you.”

And then one day, he’s there again, in the veld, and the guy is thirsty. Now, there’s a well where they drink water. You go down these steps. And so my pa waits and when he’s going down the steps, and disappears, my pa goes nearer. And as he has his mouth, as he’s bending down with his mouth to the water, to drink, my pa peers into the well from above. So he jumps up and he says, “Uncle Gert, Uncle Gert mustn’t do this, Uncle Gert will make me jump into the well.” He saw my pa in the water.


Now, I used to hear these things when I, people told these stories. Look, they weren’t telling them to me, but I was a child and listened to these stories. I will not be able to tell more…

You know, it was shown to me as well. Koos’s uncle, Uncle Willem, Beukes, but we call him Uncle Willem Boela, don’t we?

What did you hear?

About the water boss. Now ehh, Koos’s uncle… I was there one evening, they had a coloured area there at Meelkraal that you’ve heard about. Now, I was sitting there at his house one evening, he and I were sitting there and talking. Now, he lived in an old reed pondokkie*. Now, the pon-, the little house, was standing to one side and the, and the small kitchen to the other side. Everything was made from reed. So he and I were sitting there in the kitchen and the guy fetched some wood outside to make a fire.

Then he tells me, “Hey, come and have a look, quickly.”

I ask, “Beukes, what is it now?”

So he says, “No, come and have a look.” Then he tells me, “Look, he’s grazing tonight.”

He’d come from the fa-, there was a waterfall. So the guy said to me, “He came from the waterfall, now he’s grazing there on the grass.”

But a round light like a torch was the only thing I could see. Then the guy, an older man who lived there, said to me, “It’s the water boss, he’s grazing there on the grass.” He was grazing there on the grass.

So you saw him?

I saw the light.


I didn’t see the shape of his body, But I saw the light.

Have you ever heard what he does? The water boss?

Tolla, I don’t know, man. That very uncle told me that in that waterfall – it was a place for collecting water, there weren’t taps and those things like there are now on Meelkraal, where they now have water tanks, your water comes up to your house… Everyone, no matter how far the houses were from the fall, everyone collected water with buckets there. And the guy had a five litre can – look, I don’t know whether it’s true, but it’s how he, not other people, told me – he himself. So the guy had a small bucket and a five litre can. Then he filled the bucket. Now, a five litre can has a small opening, you have to dunk it under the water by force. And when the guy dunked into the water, the backside of the can gave a kind of kick and hopped out of the water. And… I’m not speaking of a small waterfall, I’m speaking of a dangerous one. So the guy went into the water. He fell into the water. That man said, when he was under the water, it was just like on a lawn. He was on a lawn. He didn’t see water, he was on the dry earth, under the water. And an extremely beautiful girl sat there. A s-n-o-w-white… the hair hanging in the water, with a pitch black mole next to the nose. That man said he had never seen such a beautiful person in his life.


Now, that was what… I mean, what the guy told me. I don’t know whether it was water boss, or what it was. He didn’t say, he just said it was a beautiful girl.

Now look, that’s why I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about those things.

Tell us…

Police issues, and those things.

Tell us, Uncle Kerneels…

Well then. You will probably also know the man, from when you were growing up. Look, here at, Auntie Lea had, I don’t know, a cousin or, who has the name, we called him Jan Bles [Bald Jan]… Jan Kotze.


He was actually that Toppie and them’s cousin.


Now he was a terribly offside (sic) kind of man. Now, he set fire to his grandma’s shelter, actually set fire to the house. And then Grandma sent for the police and he ran away.


Tall Uncle Jan, Lea’s pa, had this long bath that was about up to the wall [gestures], in which the guy gave eight donkeys their food. Now, as you turned off the big road, then you came with a kind of path up to Meelkraal, to Jan’s house, the first house, on top of the rise. And, when you saw the vehicle – you could see the roof of the vehicle before you saw the front, so that they couldn’t see you. Now, this Jan Bles was sitting on the bath. The bath had been overturned for the water. So Jan was sitting on the bath. Next thing they knew, the roof of the van was just becoming visible – those old-fashioned vans with the high roofs. They could just see the roof. Then Jan Bles saw he couldn’t run away, and something was wrong. So he just lifted the bath and crawled underneath, then he lowered the bath over him.

So the policeman comes and the policeman asks Lea’s father, “Old Jan, have you seen Jan Kotze?”

So Uncle Jan says, “Sergeant, he was here this morning, but I don’t know where he is now.” And as the sergeant’s places one foot on the bath, he says, “Sergeant, go ask down there at his grandma’s, Old Anna, where he lives.”

When the van arrives down there at Grandma’s – Old Anna was old, they still said “Aia”: “Aia Anna, is old* Jan not here?”

“No, Sergeant, Jan hasn’t been here. He was still here last night.”

Okay, leave her be, and the sergeant goes off again. And, as the sergeant is driving over the rise and the van is disappearing, Jan crawls out from under the bath, then Jan goes deeper into Meelkraal.


But Sergeant always said – man, that policeman was wide awake.


Yes, that policeman was like… Tolla, if you made a mistake, and he, you sent for him, you were living here and you made a mistake and sent for the guy…

What was the name of the policeman?

Sergeant Jooste. But he’s already dead. Ah, and, and you sent for the sergeant, then the sergeant came, then the sergeant said, “No, leave him be,” when he got here.

“No, he has run away.”

“No, leave him be, let him go. Sergeant* isn’t interested in you any more.”

He said a policeman, ah, should probably not say that, then these police will also do it. When a policeman had to fetch you, it was from two o’ clock to three o’ clock, when you were having a really good sleep. Then, then you no longer, didn’t expect a policeman any more, that time of the night, you were having a really good sleep, then you had to, then I had to come get you.

And, so the policeman says, “No, leave Jan be.”

So he brings along another one who (inaudible 03:03) you have to be hit. So he brings that one along. When they get there at Aia Anna, as they spoke in those times: “Aia Anna, where’s Jan?”

So Grandma says, “No, he was here this morning, but I don’t know where he is now.”

Then the one policeman syas, “Okay, leave him be, I will be back with him just now.”

So now he’s disappeared. Now, there at the waterfall, you come, when you come from below, it’s almost like a barrier and you have to walk around it, but it’s a bit narrow, so you cannot go around there. Now, you can climb down from the top, but it isn’t very wide. So Jan comes, then he climbs down from the top, down, then he goes into the hole there. Now, you can search the whole of Meelkraal, you will not find him. So that policeman comes down to the waterfull with the footpath, and goes to stand just opposite the waterfall. Then he says, “You have to come out of the hole, or I will shoot it full of bullets.” Then Jan jumps out, because he doesn’t want to be shot. This is how they catch him.

I’m telling you, what the man was doing there, the Lord only knows. Now ehh, Uncle has probably told you about the bags that they had in those times, about the goat bag that they made and carried stuff in. Now, Koos had one uncle… We’re talking about high up in a krantz. Now, there was a bees’ nest with honey there, no one could reach it.

So he goes to empty that one. And then he comes down with the bag, the bag full of honey, because it is a big rock hive. Bag full of honey. When he wants to go down, he can’t. See. Then he thinks, he cannot die here, what can he do? And no one knows where he is. And so he sits there and in the late afternoon when it becomes lower, when the shadows start appearing, the guy decides to make a plan. He has to get out. Now, under the krantz are a lot of slangbosse [snake bushes]. So the guy stands up there and he takes that bag of honey and throws it into the slangbosse. Then he sees those slangbosse bending, hopping, there on the slangbosse. So he sits there, looking down, then he says, “Jan, grab above and let go below.” So the guy hangs from a branch. Then he jumps from that high krantz into the slangbos. As he hits the earth, he can feel he didn’t (inaudible 01:18), then he says, “Jan, I said, let go above and grab below.”

The guy that I let fall into the waterfall, but he’s dead. He’s dead. He died a few years back.

What was his name?

Uhh, uhh. Willem Beukes.

Willem Beukes.

Is that thing fully charged? [addressing third person]

Tell stories you cannot believe. But you’ll want the other – I want to tell you one more story about Grandpa Damoet (?? 00:05) that Dawid [laughs] … Koos told me, him and his uncle sat drinking beer in the house and ehh, they were sitting on the floor, in the old reed house with the earth floor – “We were sitting on the floor, legs stretched out” ehh – when he saw the Cape cobra rushing through the door. And he just cursed. “Oh hell, Uncle, look, the snake is coming through the door!” Then he was up and he ran alongside the bed and he couldn’t get out, because there wasn’t a (inaudible 00:34), he couldn’t get out through the door and the snake had come in through the door, the snake was now under bed. And then that man stood on his knees and he stuck the upper part of his body in under the bed and there was this old chest underneath the bed. Then he pulled the chest out and he said, “No, Koos, there’s no snake in this house, I’m staying here.” But Koos said he’d seen the snake entering the house. [laughter]

Dawid told me a story. He knew lots of stories. I laughed myself silly. So, Damen from up here, Koba’s Damen (?? 01:07)… I don’t know whether Damen was working, but Damen was standing on all fours and a mountain eagle hanging above Damen thought Damen was a buck*. So then the eagle came down and scooped Damen up. The eagle was holding on to Damen’s sides. Here from the house to your car. And the eagle couldn’t get Damen into the air. Damen was too heavy. So it let go of Damen. Damen ran on all fours for a few metres before he got upright, as fast as that eagle had grabbed him.

Kerneels Gouws is op ’n plaas naby Nieuwoudtville in die Noord-Kaap gebore. Hy het op die ouderdom van 14 begin werk en het op verskeie plase in die kontrei gewerk.

Kerneels vertel van die verskillende werke wat hy deur die jare gedoen het – van ’n plaasbestuurder tot baas van die plaas. Hy vertel ’n storie van Tom Eksteen wat ’n waternooientjie gesien het.

Kerneels Gouws is op ’n plaas genaamd Papkuilsfontein in Nieuwoudtville gebore. Hy het nie skoolgegaan nie omdat sy ouers dit nie kon bekostig nie. Op die ouderdom van 14 het hy op plase begin werk – koring gesaai, klipwerk gedoen, met skape gewerk en beeste gemelk. Hy het op verskeie plase naby Calvinia gewerk, en later ook in ’n winkel op Nieuwoudtville. Hy het R6 per week verdien. Daarvan moes hy klere, kos en ander benodigdhede koop. Hy het verskillende werke op verkillende plekke gedoen en selfs tee op ’n teeplaas geoes. Hy het na die Wes-Kaap verhuis en as plaasbestuurder gewerk. Kerneels sê daar was hy die baas van die plaas. Daarna het hy op ’n lemoenplaas in die kloof gewerk. Kerneels is getroud met Johanna Cloete.

Kerneels vertel die storie van ’n man genaamd Tom Eksteen, wat vinniger as ’n polisieperd kon hardloop. Hy het eenkeer ’n lig soos ’n flitslig by die waterval gesien en hulle het vir hom gesê dis die waterbaas. Hy vertel van ’n man wat by die waterval gaan water skep en ingeval het. Onder die water was dit soos ’n grasperk, op droë grond, net soos wat dit bo die water sou wees. ’n Pragtige meisie het op die grasperk gesit. Sy het lang, spierwit hare gehad en ’n moesie langs haar neus. Volgens die man het hy nog nooit tevore so ’n mooi meisie gesien nie. Kerneels sê hy weet nie of hierdie storie waar is of nie.


Ek is daar in die Noord-Kaap, daar by Nieuwoudtville op ’n plaas, Papkuilsfontein, gebore. Dis waar ek grootgeword het. Maar ek het nie skool gehad nie. Deur omstandighede, my ouers was nie so bevoorreg om vir my ook in die skool te sit nie. Enne, seker van veertien jaar oud af, toe moet ek begin werk. By die boere op die landerye, by die koringsaai, en klipwerk, en skaapwerk, en daai bees melk, en daai tipe van goete. En so het ek nou maar daar grootgeraak en toe later verskuif van die een plaas na die ander plaas. Ek het toe van Papkuilsfontein geskuif na Oumier, ’n plaas ook in die Noord-Kaap, maar duskant Calvinia. Van daar het ek geskuif na Liewerie (?? 01:25), ook duskant Calvinia by ’n plaas wat Flip Strauss bestuur het. Dit was sy plaas gewees. En daarvan af is ek Nieuwoudtville, die dorp self, in, toe het ek by ’n winkel geloop werk, Sofie Toppie (?? 01:39) se winkel. Maar in daai tyd toe was dit nie soos vandag nie, lat die geld volop is nie. Jy kry nog daai ou papier bruin rand en die blou tweerand-papiertjie. Dit was jou betaalgeld. Dan kry jy ses rand ’n week. En daaruit moet jy vir jou, vir jou kos, en jou klere, en jou voete sorg. Die geld was nie baie nie, maar jy het daai tyd iets gekoop. Met ’n ses rand dan het jy jou kos gekoop, jy het vir jou klere gekoop en jy het nog geld uit ook gehad. Dis nie soos vandag dat daar nou klomp geld is, en as jy koop, is daar niks nie. Jy’t niks oor nie. So het ek nou grootgeraak.

Toe’t ek van Nieuwoudtville af by die Kennedy, in die Kennedy gewerk, by die hotel. En toe by Hennie op die plaas, en toe’t ek teruggekom, toe werk ek by ’n ander vrou, Sofie Toppie, in die winkel. En so het ek maar, dan’t ek vandag het ek hier gewerk, en môre daar gewerk, want daar was maar ook nie werk nie. En toe’t ek verskuif daarvan af Willemsrivier toe, Tinkie Kotze (?? 02:36). Daar’t ek ook gewerk op die plaas, ook maar plaaswerk: skaap, koring, stroopdery en perdry en draadspan, en daai tipe hout gedoen. Toe’t ek teruggekom daarvan af toe kom ek in die Noord-Kaap in Blomfontein, toe kom werk ek by ou Frikkie Theart. Toe’s dit ’n teeboerdery. Toe moet ek teelane met die sekel sny, en ek moet tee kerf en dit moet droogmaak en dit moet sif en dit moet in die stoor werk by, en toe’t ek gekom daarvan af, toe kom werk ek by ou Fonnie Koopman op Tengieters (??03:08). Dit is ook in die Noord-Kaap. Daar was dit ook maar gewone plaasarbeid, die lane en die ploegtery, en die skaapwerk en daai tipe van goed, trekkerwerk, damme maak, grond level sleep en … En daarvan af het ek verskuif na sy seun toe, Colin Koopman, in die Wes-Kaap, duskant Doringbos, Papkuilsfontein. Daar was ek ’n plaasbestuurder, met skaap, en bok en bees en vark geboer. Ek was die bestuurder op die plaas, daar was nie ’n baas op die plaas nie, ek was die baas van die plaas. En daarvan af het ek verskuif in die Wes-Kaap, Clanwilliam, Grootkloof. Die plaas Vleity (??03:50). Na Tielman Leo (?? 03:52) toe. Hier het ek met die lemoenbome gekom leer werk, lemoene knip, bome plant en bome snoei en daai tipe van goed, lat ek vandag nog hier is. En hier sal ek seker my einde maak in die kloof. My vesting in die Wes-Kaap.

Het Oom getrou ook?


Getrou …

Ek is getroud met Johanna Cloete.


(04:30 min.)

Sê weer Thomas se naam …

Tom Eksteen. Hy en ’n ander ou het altyd daar in ’n plek by Nieuwoudtville, by die brak gewerk, by ’n boer. En toe besluit hulle twee nou hulle moet in die veld loop. En toe het die ou boer glo die polisie gelaat kom om hulle nou te vang. Nou met dié wat die polisie om hulle nou te vang, toe hardloop hulle twee nou weg. En toe hardloop Tom nou, hulle twee nou saam weg en toe hardloop die ander ou, ou Sarel, hardloop in ’n boom vas. En toe het die polies hom, en toe glip Tom, en daar by die brak, daar by die plaas langs die dorp, Nieuwoudtville, daar kom so ’n riviertjie uit, en toe is Tom nou al oor in die rivier en toe maak die poliese nou toe met die perke (perde ?? 00:45), alkant om die rivier, hulle moet hom nou vang. Nou, toe het hy hulle nou net gewys, hy hardloop rivier af, toe sit hy net daar om, en toe kom hardloop hy terug, en toe vat hy sy goedjies wat hy daar het, kleertjies en sy komberse vat dié daar en hy hardloop deur die dorp, daar anderkant die dorp soos jy die een-sewe Calivinia se kant toe ry. Daar’s so ’n klipkoppie, wat hulle sê die Rooikoppies.

Toe’s hy daar in die Rooikoppies in. Toe sê die ou sersant vir die mense: “Wag, kêrels …” – toe’s dit nog grondpad Calvinia toe – “… wag lat ek daar by die slagpale loop kyk. Ek dink hy het daar in die koppe ingehardloop.” Enne, toe die poliesman nou daar op die pad loop kyk, toe sien hy Tom ís daar in die koppe. Toe wys hulle daar met die vlag hulle moet kom, hy’s hier in die kop. En toe omsingel hulle die hele kop, die voetgangers en perde omsingel die kop daar, want hy is mos in die kop. Toe kry hulle hom nie daar in die kop nie.

Toe sê, toe sê die polisiesersant: “Nee, maar wag, ek loop kyk nou by die lang bome. As hy daar oor die pad is, dan’s hy Koebeesrivier toe.”

Toe hy by die lang bome kom, toe wys hulle weer daar, maar hy’s diékant toe, ons kan maar los, ons sal hom nie nou meer kry nie, hy’s nou Koebeesrivier. Nou, by Koebeesrivier, daar oorkant, soos waar Natuurbewaring die grond ook het, daar op die oomblik het, daar was ’n plek, ons het hom genoem, Uitkoms. Hy’s Uitkoms toe, ons kan maar los, dan’s hy in die wildernis in. Enne, toe vertel hulle hy het ’n paar dae daar nou op Uitkoms gelê, nou’s hy mos honger, en hy’t nie kos nie. Daar oorkant die Platrivier, Koebeesrivier, lê ’n plaas, Driefontein. Toe’s hy nou Driefontein toe, daar waatlemoen loop steel.

En toe’t hy nou net op die berg, by die voetpad uitkom, toe sien hy, hier kom stap ’n bojaan met ’n waatlemoen uit. Toe vat die ou daar ’n stok, toe skuiwe hier agter ’n klip in, en nou sit wag hy die bobbejaan. Toe die bobbejaan verby die ou kom, toe steek hy hom met die stok. Nou ken jy mos ’n bobbejaan, toe los hy, toe maak hy oop, toe val die waatlemoen daar breek. Toe het die ou nou die waatlemoen, nou sit eet hy.

Toe sit die bobbejaan net so ’n entjie van hom af. Nou die stuk wat hy afgeëet het, nou gooi hy die bobbejaan met die stuk, die skil. En die bobbejaan het nou daar gesit tot die ou nou klaar geëet het, toe sien die ou maar hy draai netnou, dan gaan hy weer Uitkoms toe, hy het mos nou klaar gekry wat hy wil gehad het. Toe’t hy, hulle sê toe hy die berg afgaan, toe hy oender in die rivier is, toe kom die bobbejaan ook die berg af. En hy’s oorkant uit, daai aand moet hy stuk vuur maak, en daar sit die bobbejaan in die vuurlig. Hy’t omtrent drie weke met daai bobbejaan gehardloop, hier van Uitkoms af, Loeriesfontein toe, Calvinia om, Brandvlei, daai plekke om.

Elke aand met die vuurmaak, dan sit kyk die bobbejaan hom. Toe’s sy voete later seer gehardloop, toe kom hy hier van Calvinia af, in die M7 af, toe’s dit nog grondpad. Daar by Soetwater, daar was ’n, witman, Koos, Koos Stokes (??03:40). Toe sien hy, hier kom die boer met die perd, met die honde ôk, toe kruip hy daar in die doringbome weg, toe byt die honde daai bobbejaan dood, of anders het daai bobbejaan hom doodgemaak.

Hulle sê die ou het so hard gehardloop, dan ja die boere hom met die perd. Tolla (?? 03:57) sal nou nie daai haas ken nie, ons noem hom daar by ons, dis ’n vlakhaas. Is so ’n, hy’s bietjie kleiner as ’n ribbokhaas, maar hy het sulke rooi beentjies. ’n Hond loop nie vir hom in nie. Dan hardloop daai man die haas van agter af in, voor die perde, dan trek hy die vel so af, dan gooi hy die vel terug vir die perde, dan eet hy hom sommer so in die hardloop op en as hy daai haas in sy maag gekry het, dan hardloop ’n me-, die perd hom nie in nie.

Hulle sê hy hardloop van Calvinia af en dan soek die polisie hom, hy moet nou gevang word, hy moet tronk toe, want hy steel die boere se vee. Dan moet hy tronk toe, dan kry hulle hom nie gevang nie, môreoggend as die poliesman opsit, dan sit hy daar voor die selle.

Wat was die man se naam nou weer?

Tom Eksteen. Dan sit hy daar voor die selle, dan sê hy vir die poliesman: “Ek het my nou maar gebring, julle kan my nie gaan vang nie.”

Dan sê hulle nou: “Ou Tom, dan moet jy nou kom, dan maak, sluit ek jou vanaand toe, en as ek môreoggend Calvinia toe ry, dat jy kan voorkom.”

Dan sê hy: “Julle kan maar ry, ek kom, los net die sel oop, dan kan julle maar môreoggend ry, ek kom.”

Dan ry hulle met die van Calvinia toe, met die pad, dan hardloop hy saam met daai poliesvan, die poliese is so ’n tydjie op Calvinia, dan’s hy ook daar met sy voete.

Dis nou dieselfde man wat die bobbejaan geja het.

Dis dieselfde man wat die bobbejaan geja het. Tom Eksteen. Dis dieselfde man, so’t daai man gehardloop.

Hoe’t die mense gesê, kon hy gegoël het, of wat het hy gemaak dat hy so kon gehardloop het?

Nee, ek weet nie wat het hulle’t nie gesê wat sy probleem is dat hy so … Hulle’t vertel, daar in die Rôeveld loop hy, maar nou sy (onhoorbaar 05:19) skaars van klere, en… Toe sit hy eendag daar in die berg, toe sien hy daar in die vlak in opkom, daar stap ’n man. En die man loop sit daar by ’n bos en hy maak vuur. Maar die man het kostina by hom, en dan het hy nog een van hierdie voortydse tierbandhoede op. Toe sien hy maar daai man maak vuur, hy is besig om vleis te braai. Toe bekruip hy die plek daar. En die man lê nou daar so bietjie op sy rug en toe die man so bietjie op sy rug lê, toe kom skud hy hom, toe sê hy: “Hei, ek soek al lank vir jou.”

Toe vlie, toe vlie daai man op en toe raak hy aan die hardloop. Hulle sê hy ja daai man so ’n ent, toe staan kyk hy daai man, toe hardloop daai man stof uit op daai droë grond. En toe kom hy nou terug en toe vat hy die kostina en eet die vleis op en hy het die hoed en toe gaan hy weer daar in die berg.

Die aand toe sien hy bitter ver in die berge in, sien hy ’n vuurlig brand en toe volg hy daai vuurlig. En die tweededagaand toe kom hy by daai vuurlig uit, dis ook so ’n paar wat in die veld loop. Toe bly hulle daar in ’n grot, toe’t hy voor in die grot se bek inkom, toe’t daai mense so wind dat hulle agter in die grot draai dat die stof draai.

Toe sê hy: “Nee, nee, ek is ook van julle, ek is ook van julle, ek loop ook in die veld.”

Toe’t hulle nou daar maa-, tjommies gemaak. Toe vra hulle, nou waar is sy goed dan? Toe sê hy: “Hier by Calvinia in die berg.”

Toe sê hulle: “Maar dan moet ons môre jou goed loop haal.”

Hy sê hulle is net sountoe en terug, kom daai anderdag, toe loop hy weg. Daai mense hardloop deur daai droë bosse lat hy nie kan byhou nie. Toe’t hy hulle gelos, hy het nie weer saam met hulle gegaan nie. En toe, wat verder toe nou van ou Tom geword het, weet ek niks verder gehoor nie.

Het almal vir hom gesê Tom Eksteen?

Almal. Dit was sy doopnaam. My pa sê, dis wat my pa nou vir ons vertel het, my pa bekruip hom eendag, nou sit braai hy vleis, die suikerbosse staan dik daar. Nou sit braai hy die vleisie, nou draai hy die vleis om, dan staan hy op, dan loop hy om die bos, dan kom sit hy, dan draai hy, draai weer die vleis om, dan staan hy op, dan loop hy om die bos. Nou, Pa se naam is Gert.

Toe staan hy so van die bos af, toe sê hy: “Oom Gert, moenie vir my bekruip nie, ek weet van oom Gert.”


Toe kom my pa nou uit, maar hy en my pa was nou goeie vriende. En toe, hy’s nou ’n skelm, hy loop in die veld, maar hy en my pa was vriende, toe kom hy uit, toe sê my pa vir hom: “Tom, vir jou vang ek op ’n dag.”

Toe sê hy: “Oom Gert, vir my sal jy nie gevang kry nie.”

Sê my pa: “Jy moet oppas, ek vang vir jou.”

En toe eendag, toe’s hy ook daar, in die veld, toe’s die ou nou dors. Nou daar’s ’n puts wat hulle water drink. Nou jy gaan nou met trappies af. En toe wag my pa nou net, toe hy nou die trappie afgaan, lat hy wegraak, toe draf my pa die plek nader. En toe hy nou op sy mond, wat hy met sy mond op die water sak, om te drink, toe loer my pa hier bo in die puts in, toe vlie hy op, toe sê hy: “Oom Gert, oom Gert moenie so maak nie, oom Gert sal lat ek in die put spring.” Toe sien hy my pa nou in die water.


Nou, so die ou goedjies het ek altyd gehoor as ek, vertel die mense nou dit. Jong, hulle vertel dit nou nie vir my nie, maar ek is kind, nou luister ek dié goed. Tolla, verder sal ek nou niks vir jou kan ve- …

Wee’ jy, dis vir my gewys ook. Hier, Koos se oom, oom Willem, Beukes, maar ons noem hom mos oom Willem Boela …

Van watter goed het Oom gehoor?

Van die waterbaas. Nou, Koos se oom, ek was een aand daar, hulle het mos ook ’n kleurlinggebied, -grondgebied daar op Meelkraal, wat Tolla nou mos al gehoor het van. Nou, ek het een aand daar by sy huis gesit, sit ek en hy daar gesels. Nou, hy het ook so sommer onder ’n ou rietpondokkie gebly. Nou staan die pon-, die huisie nou eenkant en die, en die kombuisie staan eenkant. Maar dis alles nou maar van riet gemaak.

Toe sit ek en hy daar in die kombuis en die ou loop haal, buitekant, ’n houtjie om vuur te maak. Toe sê die ou vir my: “Jong, kom kyk gou hier.”

Ek vra: “Beukes, wat is dit nou?”

Toe sê hy: “Nee, maar kom kyk hier.” Toe sê die ou vir my: “Kyk, hy wei vanaand.”

Hy’t nou van die va-, daar’s ’n waterval. Toe sê die ou vir my: “Hy het nou van die waterval af gekom, nou wei hy daar op die kweek.”

Maar dis net so ’n ronde lig soos ’n flitslig. Wat ek toe nou sien. Toe sê die ou nou vir my, wat nou ’n grootman is wat daar bly, toe sê hy vir my: “Dis die waterbaas, hy wei daar op die kweek.” Dis nou daar op die gras wat hy wei.

So Oom Kerneels het hom toe gesien.

Ek het toe die lig gesien.


Ek het nou nie die vorm van sy lyf gesien nie, maar ek het die lig gesien.

Het Oom Kerneels al gehoor wat maak hy, die waterbaas?

Tolla, ek weet nou nie, man. Juis daai oom het vir my vertel, in daai val, dit was mos nou ’n waterskepplek, daar was mos nou nie krane en daai goeters soos nou op Meelkraal nie wat daar watertenks, jou water gaan tot by jou huisie. Julle’t almal, al is die huise hoe ver van die val af, julle het almal met die emmertjies daar loop water haal. En toe’t die ou nou ’n vyfliterkan gehad, man, ek weet nie of dit ’n waar, maar dis soos hy, nie ander mense my vertel het nie – hy self. Toe’t die ou nou ’n emmertjie gehad, en ’n vyfliterkan. Toe’t die ou nou die emmertjie volgeskep. Nou ’n vyfliterkan het maar ’n klein bekkie, jy moet hom mos nou in die water indruk. En toe die ou hom nou in die water indruk, toe skop die kan se gat net so, toe hop hy nou uit die water uit. En, ek praat nou nie van ’n valletjie nie, ek praat van ’n gevaarlike val. Toe’s die ou nou sommer binne-in die water in. Val hy binne-in die water in. Daai man sê toe hy oender die water kom, toe’s dit soos op ’n grasperk. Op ’n grasperk wat hy is. Hy sien nie water nie, hy is op die droë grond, oender die water. Toe sit daar ’n bitterlike mooi nooi. ’n Sp-i-i-e-e-rwit, die hare hang so in die water se punt, met ’n pikswart moesie langs die neus. Daai man sê so ’n mooi mens het hy in sy lewe nog nie gesien nie.


Nou, dis wat, ek meen wat die ou nou vir my vertel het. Ek weet nie of dit ’n waterbaas of wat is nie. Hy’t nie gesê wat dit is nie, hy’t net gesê dis ’n mooi nooientjie.

Nou sien, dis hoekom ek wil nie van dit praat nie. Ek wil nie van daai goed praat nie.

Vertel Oom …

Poliessake, en daai goed.

Vertel, oom Kerneels …

Nee, man. Jy sal seker ook die man ken. In jou grootmaaktyd. Kyk, hier by, antie Lea het mos, ek weet nie, ’n neef of, wat die naam van is, ons het vir hom gesê Jan Bles … Jan Kotze.


Dis eintlik daai Toppie-hulle se neef.


Nou, hy was mos ook maar ’n vreeslike onkant man. Nou, het hy sy ouma se skerm brand gesteek, eintlik die huis brand gesteek. En toe laat kom Ouma nou die polies en toe hardloop hy mos nou weg.


Lang oom Jan, Lea se pa, het so ’n lang bad gehad wat nou omtrent na die muur [wys], wat die ou sommer agt donkies in kos gee. Nou soos jy nou van die grootpad afdraai, soos die mense daai tyd sê, die grootpad, dan kom jy met ’n los paadjie hier op na Meelkraal in, na Jan se huis is die eerste huis, bo-op die bult. Enne, nou as jy die, die ryding sien, dan sien jy die kap al, dan sien jy nog nie die voorste, dat hulle jou kan sien nie. Nou dié Jan Bles het ook so op die bad gesit. Die bad staan nou omgekeer vir die water. Nou sit Jan op die bad. Toe hulle sien, toe steek die van se dak nou net uit, daai outydse vanse met die hoë kappe. Toe steek die dak nou net uit. Toe sien Jan Bles maar hy kan nie nou weghardloop nie, hier’s nou fout. Toe lig hy net die bad op, toe kruip hy oender die bad in, toe lat sak hy nou die bad bo-op hom.

Toe kom die poliesman, toe vra die poliesman vir Lea se pa: “Ou Jan, het jy nie vir Jan Kotze gesien nie?”

Toe sê oom Jan: “Sersant, maar hy was nou vanmôre hier, maar waar hy nou is, weet ek nie.” Toe trap die sersant so op die bad, toe sê hy: “Sersant, nee, maar, daar onder by ons by sy ouma waar hy bly, ou Anna, loop luister waar hy is.”

Toe die van nou weer daar onder by Ouma aankom, ou Anna is ou Ja-, hulle sê mos nog “aia”: “Aia Anna, is ou Jan nie hier nie?”

“Nee, Sersant, Jan was nie hier nie, hy was nog gisteraand hier.”

Toe maar, los haar maar, en die sersant is nou weer weg. Enne, Sersant toe nou weer hier oorgaan dat die van wegraak, toe kruip Jan hier onder die bad uit, toe gaan Jan nou Meelkraal, dieper in.


Maar Sersant het mos gesê, jong, dit was ’n uitgeslaapte poliesman daai.


Nee, daai poliesman was so, Tolla, as jy nou fout maak, en hy, jy laat kom, jy bly nou hier en jy maak ’n fout en laat kom die ou …

Wat was die poliesman se naam?

Sersant Jooste. Maar hy’s al dood. Ah, en, en jy laat kom die sersant, dan kom die sersant nou, dan sê Sersant: “Nee, los hom maar,” as hy nou hier kom.

“Nee, maar hy het weggehardloop, nee, los hom maar, laat hy maar gaan. Sersant stel nou nie meer verder belang in jou nie.”

Hy sê maar ’n poliesman, ag, mag seker nie dit sê nie, dan doen hierdie poliese dit ook. Wanner ’n poliesman jou moet kom haal, dis van, twee-uur af na drie-uur toe, dan slaap jy op jou lekkerste. Dan, dan, het jy nie meer, verwag jy nie meer ’n poliesman nie, daai tyd van die nag nie, dan slaap jy op jou lekkerste, dan moet jy, dan moet ek jou kom haal.

En, uh, toe sê die poliesman: “Nee, los maar vir Jan.”

Toe bring hy ander een saam wat (onhoorbaar 03:03) jy moet geslaan word. Toe bring hy daai ene saam. Toe kom hulle daar by aia Anna, soos hulle nou sê: “Aia Anna, waar’s Jan?”

Toe sê Ouma: “Nee, maar hy was vanmôre hier, maar ek weet nie waa’s hy nou nie.”

Toe sê die een poliesman: “Nee, maar los hom, ek kom nou met hom.”

Hy’s mos nou weg. Nou daar by die waterval op, kom jy nou so, as jy nou van oender af kom, dan’s dit nou amper soos ’n belet wat jy om loop, maar hy’s bietjie smal, nou loop, nou kan jy nie daar om nie, nou van bo af, kan jy nou afklim, maar dis nie baie breed nie. Nou kom Jan, dan klim hy van bo af, af, dan gaan hy daar in die gaat in. Nou kan jy die heel Meelkraal plat soek, jy sal hom nie kry nie. Nou kom daai poliesman met die voetpad hier by die val af, loop staan hy so oorkant die val. Toe sê hy: “Jy moet uitkom daar uit die gat uit, of ek skiet hom vol koeëls.” Toe dop Jan daar uit, want hy wil nie geskiet wees nie. So kry hulle hom in die hande.


Man, wat die man daar loop soek het, weet die Here alleen. Nou, Oompie het seker al vir Tolla vertel van daai sakke wat hulle dourie tyd gehad het, van die boksak wat hulle gemaak het wat hulle die goed in dra. Nou, Koos het een oom, is nou bo in ’n hoë krans. Nou sit die heuningnes daar, daar kan geen mens kom nie. Nou loop haal hy daai een uit. En toe’s hy nou af met die sak, die sak vol heuning, want dis ’n groot klipnes. Sak vol heuning, toe’t hy nou uit, toe kan hy nie uit nie. Sien. Toe dink hy, maar hier kan hy mos nie dood nie, hoe kan hy nou maak? En geen mens weet waar is hy nie. En hy het toe daar gesit in die namiddag toe dit begin laer raak, toe die skade kom, toe besluit die ou, hy maak nou ’n plan. Hy uit nou hier. Nou, onder die krans staan nou so ’n klomp slangbosse. Toe staan die ou nou hier bo, toe vat hy nou daai sak heuning, neuk dié nou in die slangbosse in. Toe sien hy daai slangbosse sak, hop, daar op die slangbosse. Toe sit kyk hy daar af, toe sê hy: “Jan, vat bo en los onder.” Toe hang die ou hier af aan die tak. Toe spring hy daai hoë krans in die slangbos. Toe’t hy daar grondvat, toe voel hy hy het niks (onhoorbaar 01:18), toe sê hy: “Jan, ek het mos gesê, los daar bo en vat onder.”

Die ou wat ek netnou in die waterval laat val het, maar hy’s dood. Hy’s dood. Hy’t nou ’n paar jaar terug gesterf.

Wat was sy naam gewees?

Willem Beukes.

Willem Beukes.

Is daai ding volgelaai? [vir derde persoon]

Sê wat ’n mens nie kan glo nie. Maar dan wil jy nog die ander, dan wil ek jou nog een stuk vertel van Oupa Damoet (?? 00:05), wat Dawid vir my [lag] … Koos het vir my vertel, hy en sy oompie drink in die huis bier, enne, nou sit hulle sommer so plat, en die ou riethuis met die grondvloer, nou sit ons sommer so plat op die vloer, langbeen, toe hy sien, toe kom hardloop die geelslang by die deur in. En toe sê hy net ’n vloekwoord: “O mot, Oompie, daar kom die slang by die deur in!” Toe’s hy op en hy hardloop die kooi langs en hy kan nie uit nie, want daar’s nie (onhoorbaar 00:34), by die deur kan hy nie uit nie en die slang het by die deur ingekom, die slang is onder die kooi in. En toe staan daai man nou op sy knieë en hy steek sy voorlyf onder die kooi in en daar’t so ’n ou kas onder die kooi gehad. Toe trek hy die kas uit, toe sê hy: “Nee, Koos, hier’s nie slang in dié huis nie, ek bly hier.” Maar Koos sê hy het dan gesien daar kom die slang in die huis in. [lag]

Dawid sny vir my ’n stuk. Hy het die stukke. Ek het my disnis gelag. So Damen van hier bo, Damen van Koba (?? 01:07). Ek weet nie of Damen gewerk het nie, maar nou staan Damen dan nou mos viervoet, toe hang die berghaan nou hier bokant Damen, toe bekyk hy nou vir Damen in as ’n wildsbok. Nou, toe kom die berghaan af en hy toe skep hy nou vir Damen. Toe het die berghaan nou vir Damen aan sy sye. Hier van die huis af daar na Tolla se kar toe. Toe kom die berghaan nie op met Damen nie. Toe’s Damen te swaar. Toe los hy Damen nou daar. Damen het seker so ’n paar meter al so viervoet gehol voor hy tot staande kom so vinnig soos daai berghaan met hom opvlie.