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Petrus Hanekom

Petrus Hanekom was born on a farm named Doringdraai in 1940. He is a great storyteller and has published three books of stories and experiences of the Cederberg.

Petrus Hanekom shares many valuable stories of Dirk Ligter, how honeybeer was brewed for New Year’s and of Algeria’s successful land reclamation. He speaks extensively of how people in Algeria lived many years ago.

Petrus Hanekom was born in 1940 on a farm named Doringdraai that was so isolated that he had to walk 10 miles to school. He attended school until standard 5 and then worked in forestry for 43 years. After that he worked for Nature Conservation. Petrus says that he has traversed the entire Cederberg in his years of work. He repaired walkways and footpaths. Petrus says that Algeria is a beautiful little place and that its inhabitants now have proper houses compared to the thatch houses of previous years. The highlight of his working life was carrying 18-foot telephone poles. To him, Algeria is a lovely place and he has never wished to trade his life here for a life in the city. He likes the open nature.

Petrus enjoyed the stories the older people told, and he wrote down his own stories of the Cederberg and his experiences there. His book is titled Diep Spore (Deep Tracks). Petrus describes their life growing up in Algeria as difficult, but also very enjoyable. He has planted a lovely vegetable garden for himself that keeps him busy in his old age. He submitted a land claim, which, after 10 years, was successful. He has now been living on his own land for 11 years. Petrus says that it is wonderful to own land and property at his old age, having always lived on land owned by the farmer. There are about 42 families living in Algeria and all get along.

Petrus tells of Dirk Ligter and describes him as a man who could do incredible things – a lone wolf who did exactly as he wanted. Dirk had a flat rock, black on one side and mirrored on the other. In the mirror he could see who was on his tail and when he put the rock down he could not be seen. He would shape shift into someone unrecognisable and never be caught. Dirk played an instrument that could play by itself. While he was working at Dwarsrivier, the instrument would play and change its tune on command while Petrus and his friend worked.

Back then the police rode horses. Dirk was fine with going to jail, because it gave him time to rest. When he was arrested he walked in front of the policeman’s horse, but he was so fast that he was at the jail before the policeman. From where they caught him in Algeria to Clanwilliam he would have had to walk 70km on foot. Petrus tells the story of Dirk escaping jail on New Year’s Eve, going to celebrate and returning with all the jailbirds the next day. Petrus says it is hard to believe these stories, but they are true.

The cedar tree that grew only in the Cederberg area was a form of income for many people, cutting the trees down and working them into planks to sell. Buchu, cedar, rooibos and blaarbas are indigenous to the area and were sources of income for many. The blaarbas was used to treat leather.

Things back then were much cheaper. Goats would be butchered for meat, then the meat was rubbed with salt and spices and left to dry. This way the meat kept for a long time. Each month a goat was slaughtered. Goods could be bought on account at the general stores. Because there were no stoves, askoeke, or ash cakes, were frequently made by digging a small hole, placing the dough inside and scraping hot ash over it to cook. Petrus says the most delicious thing was a hot askoek with a cup of fresh cow’s milk or coffee: a simple but very tasty meal. Petrus feels very nostalgic about this. They also baked bread in clay ovens that could hold three to four pans at a time.

Petrus tells us that coffee was bought in the form of raw beans. The beans were roasted at home and then ground by hand using a rock. The coffee we drink today simply does not taste the same, nor as good. Fresh cow’s milk was added, and an askoek or fresh bread from the oven, with a little pig’s fat or butter, perhaps, was enjoyed with it. Petrus says he mostly stayed home and helped around the house. They did not live a lavish life. Warm rye bread was also delicious. He feels grateful for the opportunities and many experiences he has had. The children of today are in awe and wonder of the stories he tells of growing up and how things were back then. Petrus says their hard work is what kept them going.

Petrus feels he has too much to say for a single interview. He tells of the times when coloured people in Clanwilliam were only allowed two bottles of wine from each of the two canteens in the town. You were not allowed to have any more than the designated amount on your person. During the festive season and New Year’s they walked from house to house to celebrate and drink wine. However, to walk 30km a day to Clanwilliam for only four bottles of wine at the most was not a sustainable plan, so honey beer was brewed in Algeria. Wild honey was collected from the veld and carried on the back in waterproof goatskin bags. People left certain hives to make use of especially during special festive time. The beer was brewed in secret, far from the houses, in case the police came by. The beer was brewed in a kalbas by the river.

Because they brewed their own special beer, the people of Algeria did not drink wine. If, in the festive times, a person passed out from drinking the honey beer, they could find the rest of the community partying and celebrating in what was called the bolling, or bundle. There was never a fight in this weeklong celebration. People took unpaid leave during this time, as they never got leave. New Year’s was celebrated as a community, as was Christmas Eve. Christmas carols were sung and echoed in the kloofs. This tradition carries on today. Petrus says he does not know whether the younger generations will continue this. If you did not attend a church service the minister would notice and ask why you were absent.

Forestry built good houses of brick and steel for the workers, which did not leak in the winter like their thatch houses. Little did they know that these government houses would one day become their own property. In the 1990s the community began to consider ownership of the land on which they had lived for more than 200 years. This was proposed to the government, and it took 10 years for their proposal to be succesful. Today they have had their own property for 11 years. The community has a constitutional law, its members have their own gardens and pay land tax to contribute some money to the community.

Petrus says it is wonderful to be living on his own land, knowing that he cannot be told to leave like in past times, when the farmer could tell people on the farm to leave whenever. In past times coloured people were only seen as workers, who had to build up the land and work hard but did not have many rights. Coloured people were not trusted. Once, in court, a farm worker and a farmer’s accounts of an incident were different, and the judge said to the farm worker, “Are you wanting to say the baas is lying?” With R16 000 worth of subsidies from the state, the people of the community came together to buy land from the government. Each house is built on the owner’s own land, owned 50/50 by husband and wife so neither can chase the other away.

The community receives certain services from the municipality, but gets fresh mountain water from the kloof. Petrus says he feels terribly sorry for people who live in bad circumstances. A piece of land is kept to become a cemetery for the community. The municipality delivers sewerage services and tends to the rugby field and performs other services that the community does not have money for.

Most people living in Algeria are pensioners. Petrus believes that God provides each day. People keep small shops at their houses, where general goods can be bought. In hindsight, times were very tough. Nothing was gained easily and people had many children. Now there is a place for people to live on their own land. There is also a 42-hectare piece of land that the community bought from the state, on which rooibos and buchu grow, and these are sold for income.

Petrus retells some stories about hunting many years ago. People trained hunting dogs. A lot of hunting stories came from those days. Dogs were trained to catch “problem animals” such as the baboon, caracal, leopard, porcupine and jackal, which caught their sheep. Each animal had a price on its head, so people made an effort to kill them. A baboon’s scalp and tail was required for a reward. At first, only the tail was needed, but when the tails were burned it was revealed that some were threaded with wire – a pretend baboon’s tail. A leopard skin was worth £5, but only a whole skin. They were a great threat and it was not an easy task to hunt a leopard. A jackal skin was worth 5 shillings and a caracal 10. The dogs were trained to go after the baboons, and sometimes the baboon’s tails were cut off while the dog held it down. Grysbok and dassies were also hunted, illegally.

Petrus tells the story of a man who wanted to catch a grysbok with his dogs, his friend waiting for him. Suddenly a leopard appeared and chased after the buck. The man got such a fright he fell over. These stories were gathered and retold with care. Petrus also tells a ghost story, which is a bit hard to follow, of a man walking from town to Algeria with a sheep to slaughter. Petrus says there are no more ghosts on the road to Clanwilliam.

 

I’m Petrus Nikolaas Hanekom, born 1956, the 22nd of June at Doringdraai, a little place next to the Rondegat River, and I grew up there. My schooldays… there was no school in Boskloof, Algeria, so I was forced to go to Ryn (?? 01:10), next to the Olifants River, and later Klawervlei. We had to walk about ten miles, in that time, from here over the mountain to school. I made Standard 5 there and in 1956 (sic) I started working for Forestry. I was only about 16. To keep the pot boiling, I had to start working.

And so I worked for 43 years for Forestry and later for Nature, Cape Nature Conservation, and in those 43 years I criss-crossed just about the whole of the Cedarberg and I worked everywhere, because the Cedarberg is criss-crossed with footpaths and jeep paths and so on. And there was always  yes, repair work that had to be done to these paths and so I spent those years there. Algeria was, is a lovely place. After the small forest town was built here, after, in the 60s we all got proper houses, before that we lived in reed houses next to the Rondegat River. And we lived far apart, and in the mornings we had to walk all the way to get to work. Later, when we came to live in this town that Forestry had built, we got transport to work. Those years were hard. We worked hard, I worked very hard, and I enjoyed it.

The highlight of my working life was to  carry the telephone poles up Middelberg, the 18 feet telephone poles. It was very difficult to do but we did it, we managed to do it. So the 43 years that I worked here, that I lived here, and still live now  were very pleasant. I’ve never wanted to live in the city, or somewhere else, because here in open nature it was… It’s very nice to be here, among the herb bushes, and you are free, and fresh air, and it can also get very cold here in the Cedarberg Mountains. There was  a time that snow fell in our little town, so in that time it was very cold. But nevertheless, it is very pleasant to live here and I enjoyed all the shenanigans and stuff of the old people who lived here, that I knew, that they told me, and in recent years I started thinking about  writing down my way of life in the Cedarberg in a book, and so I produced the book with the name Diep spore. And it’s a lovely book, and in there one can read what was, what was done here and how we grew up.

Those were difficult times. We were poor, very poor, and we earned very little, but nevertheless, it was lekker* and it was pleasant to be able to do it here. And to live like that. And today I can look back and see, and I can also say well done, because we came through those times, the grace of the Lord led us, we were spared, and today I’m already 77 years old and I can still work.  here where I’m sitting and speaking this morning, is my lovely little garden, little vegetable garden that I made myself and where I can keep myself busy today.

Later we applied, submitted a land claim for the place here and we finalised it successfully after ten years and it was transferred to us. And it is now already 11 years that we’ve been living on our own land. And it is even nicer to possess property in your old age, to have your own house and your own place. It is lovely and it is good. All those years we lived on, we first lived on farmers’ land in the area and rented it, and these days we now have our property on which we can live, and it is lovely.

We’re  a big community here, not that big, but we are 42 families that live here and we get on well with one another and we are here every day, those who are still working, and those who are retired stay at home and work in the gardens and so on. And in this way one can go on living  you always get the time of grace.

As I said, the old people told so many stories. They told us many things. Among other things, they told us about a certain man who also kept around here, Dirk Ligter, and he could do wonderful things. And he worked for the farmers in the area, and he was a man who lived on his own and he didn’t allow himself, let’s say, to be arrested and so on. Only when he wanted to, would he allow it, because as the people said in those times, he was a carrier. Well then, I have little knowledge of a carrier, but the old man who told me the stories, told me that this Dirk Ligter had a flat rock with him. Something like a flat rock and one side of the rock was black, and one side of the rock was like a mirror. Now, he was a man who could see in this rock mirror that he had  when they were looking for him. When they were looking for him and they came too close, he turned the rock over and then, then they couldn’t see him. The people said he could be among people but he would be a wall, or a, just some other thing that the people didn’t know. And at other times he went ahead of people and then he came back, but then they didn’t recognise him, then they asked, “Hey, haven’t you seen Dirk Ligter?” Then he said, “But he has just gone over there. He has just gone over that ridge.” That was the kind of man he was.

And he also had a ramkie* which he could play beautifully. He played it often, but the thing could also play on its own. The old man who told me the stories said that they were working together on the farm Dwarsriver. They were working together on a threshing floor where they were busy with wheat and beans and so on. And this thing was hanging from a pole but it continued playing. Then the guy just said “El om, duiwel” [turn over, devil], then it played another piece. Well, it is unbelievable stuff, but the guy said it was the truth, he worked there with him and he knew him. Well  Matjiesrivier in the Cedarberg was actually the farm he loved best, where he always went to work when he, as they say, became tame. And when he did something wrong there – there weren’t things like telephones and stuff – then they sent for the police. At that time the police came on a horse, on horseback. Now, the police had to come about 70 kilometres from Clanwilliam to arrest the guy. When the police got there, he said he hadn’t disappeared because he wanted to go rest for a while. When he went to jail, he went to rest.

Then he used to say, the policeman had to get a move on, he was in a hurry, he wanted to be in town. Now, from there he had to walk in front of the horse to Clanwilliam. Now, you can image, 70 kilometres is a hard stretch that has to be walked. Then the horse sometimes had to jog to keep up with him, he was that fast. It is unbelievable, one cannot believe it, but the guy said it was the truth. Later on he got away from the horse, the policeman was following him or thought he was still in front of him. And then when he got to Clanwilliam, at the prison, he was sitting in front of the door. Then he said the man should come, he wanted to rest for a bit.

Well, they also say that he was in jail again one Old Year’s Day and the people were enjoying themselves so much that they could hear them playing the guitar and dancing. Then he took all the prisoners and he went and danced with them all night long and the next morning they were back inside. It’s unbelievable, one cannot believe it, but it is the truth.

Well, and then there were the people here in the – as you know, the cedar tree grows in the Cedarberg. The Clanwilliam cedar they call it, it doesn’t grow anywhere else, anywhere else in the mountains, in the veld*, in other places. Now  there were old people here, my old uncles and even older men, they were the men who handled the cedar wood, and made planks, and then they sold the planks. Forestry gave each plank a specific number that they stamped on it, that had to be on it, otherwise you were not allowed to sell it. But they did this hard work to make money from the cedar trees, and planks, and so they made a living.

There were three things here, actually four things: buchu, cedar wood, rooibos* tea, and then the Cape Sumach [Colpoon compressum, “blaarbas”.] that they made. The Cape Sumach was used to tan hides and leather and so on. Cedar wood was important and then buchu and rooibos tea. Which are still plentiful today  these are the things that kept people here alive, one can say, in the past. The work that was available around here… because there are not factories and things here where you can go and work and so on, you know, you just had to  if you weren’t working on a farm or for Forestry, then you just had to  get a permit and make buchu when the buchu was open and so on. And you had to survive that way. And, there was already a kind of pension then but it was very little. But in any case, in those days stuff was very cheap. You could… If you had a pound or ten shillings or so, then you could just about buy stuff for the whole house because in those days we got goats to slaughter, slaughter ourselves, and so. Well then, these goats cost only fourteen shillings and today that is nothing. It’s now probably easily around 1 400, yes, for a goat.

Well, then we slaughtered the goat. There were no freezers and fridges, but in those days people gutted the meat, cut it very thin and then they added spices, salt and stuff, and then it was dried in the reed houses. The meat dried, and then it kept for a long time. Because it was dry, it couldn’t spoil. Then the meat hung like that in the house. So in those days we slaughtered an animal just about every month. Now, the place where the, there was this house there, a small shop, a shop on the farm. We bought our stuff there and we could also buy a bit on credit and it helped a lot because one didn’t have cash all the time. So you could get stuff on credit, then you had to go work to get hold of money to pay so that you could get something again, but you first had to settle the account. But it was very enjoyable.

And then we also had our, our… There weren’t stoves and things like that here, we  a lot has been said about askoek*. Askoek is, the fire is made and when the ash is warm, it is raked open and then the koek, the piece of dough, is placed in the ash and covered with ash. People said you couldn’t eat that thing, because he would be full of sand but no, it makes a crust and it is just like a bread in a pan. With that crust. And it was really nice. Warm askoek and cow’s milk with it, or a nice cup of coffee. So, these were simple things, but we enjoyed doing them. The bread that were baked, there were ovens from, ovens built out of clay. Beautiful pretty oven. It could hold four, five pans of bread. Now, that oven was first heated up until it was very warm and then the bread was placed in the pans and then you scratched away the worst coals and fire out of the oven and then you put your pans in, then you placed a plate or a flat stone in front, and then you plastered it closed with clay so that the heat couldn’t escape. That way your bread baked nicely, and once your bread was baked, it was really nice. People coming from outside say it is very nice to eat the bread and to do it.

That’s how it was. In those years you didn’t get  ground coffee in packets like you do today, you bought a measure of coffee at the shop. The coffee was just like that, the beans, coffee beans just as they had come from the tree, were not, were only debarked, and then the coffee was there. So you bought this coffee by the pound, or you bought, say, half a pound of coffee. When you got home, you took your black pot, put the coffee in there and then you had a coffee ladle, a piece of wood, made from wood, then you stirred the coffee constantly until the coffee had been roasted black and was ready. Then you had a flat stone, with a round stone, a flat stone and a round stone. The round stone was used to grind the coffee on the flat stone. Then you ground the coffee finely and then you, only then could you make coffee. Now, that coffee was nice, today’s coffee is not as nice as the coffee of that time because you… no chicory was added or – what do they call all the additives and stuff? It was the pure coffee and it was very nice.

And then one had, in those days we had at least one milk cow, then you milked the cow and then the milk was poured into the coffee and you had a, the coffee that you drank was wonderful. And hot, and with the luke warm askoek, or oven bread with it, and maybe a bit of pork fat or, in many cases you also had, in a few cases I should say, you had a bit of butter and you smeared it on the bread, we also made butter from the cow’s milk, and so on. And thus people survived.

And in those days we  we actually moved around very little. You mostly stayed home. You were mostly at work and struggling to keep the pot boiling, because we didn’t have much. You didn’t, you didn’t have much food, and so.

Us children, we grew up the hard way. Now, you know how children are, we received the week’s bread and went to school for the week, and then we had the week’s bread  there was nothing else, maybe we also had a tin of jam. Well, children don’t know about saving up, they eat for as long as they are… hungry. Early in the week the bread was finished, almost eaten up. Then we had to  go there to the farm, and the people only had rye, they didn’t have wheat, only ate rye bread. Now, it was a very nice bread, rye bread. But it has to be, it must still be luke warm, or hot, then it is nice. But once it has cooled, it isn’t as nice. But it had to be eaten, because there was nothing else and we were far from home and without food. We had to provide for ourselves and so on.

So it was difficult, but I’m thankful today for the bit of learning that I received and that I can at least  let me say, read the Word, the Bible, today. And at least I, at least I have a lot of  experience of the mountains, and we were able to do many things that astound people today: “But how did you survive? How did you manage?” And then you can  you can gladly say how it was and how we were looked after and how we survived. And, and so.

That is why, because the school was so far away, in Grootkloof, or here at Algeria, there are today still many people, the old people, who are illiterate, because there wasn’t a school here, the nearest school was Clanwilliam and it was impossible to get there. Today a bus takes the children to Clanwilliam, to high school, and there is a primary school in Clanwilliam, in Algeria. The facilities are there, and one is thankful, but when you tell the children how it was, they have difficulty believing you – that, that you could have survived and that it, that it could have been like that. Those were very difficult days, and, and  but it was lekker* days. And it was lekker* to, to survive,  to suffer, we didn’t know easy work, we had to work hard, and… But as the Word says, by the sweat of your brow you will eat your bread. It was a reality. And as a result of that our community is still going strong today and today we can say thanks for those days and for the life that we were able to make here.

 

I’m Petrus Hanekom, from Algeria. I have so much to tell that I won’t be able to tell even a quarter now. In our time, here, in the early days when we were growing up here – Clanwilliam is about 30 kilometres from here and in Clanwilliam there were two canteens, bars, at the time. And we as coloured people were allowed two bottles of wine a day at each bar. You were not allowed to have more on you, you also didn’t get more. As a result, over the high days – in those years we went from house to house and danced and drank wine and so on. But because there was so little wine – you couldn’t, you couldn’t walk to town every day for two bottles of wine and there wasn’t any transport and you had to walk, that was how you got there – we made the well-known honey beer [mead] here that, that you can make yourself and that can keep for days, it can keep for years. There is a lot of wild honey in the veld*, we collected honey and then we made  beer when we wanted to celebrate. The honey was collected in goat bags, goat skin bags. It was, the goat was slaughtered in the shape of a bag and there were people who could, could treat it until it was ready and neat. Then, then that goat bag was watertight.

Now, then the, the neck side was closed up and then, then you carried it upside down on your back. There were big bags, goat bags. Some held a bucket, in those days’ measurements, some held a bushel – a bushel was two buckets and a bucket, those were the measurements in those days. Not kilogram and like it is today. Now, then the man went to the veld – there were bees’ nests that were known as, that people said, that is my New Year’s nest, bees’ nest, and I collect from it each  shortly before New Year, shortly before New Year’s Day I go and collect from it. That was New Year’s honey, to make beer, and so.

But there was a law against the making of beer and it had to be done on the sly, so we also, you didn’t keep the stuff in the house because if the police came, the thing had a strong smell, they smelled it and then you were arrested, sometimes you had to pay up to a pound, which was difficult to get hold of. Well, because of that we hid it here in the Rondegat River. The Rondegat River has many, I don’t know the thing’s botanical name, in the old days, we still call it kafferskuil*, it grows in a clump and it grows very densely and that was a nice place to hide your beer calabashes – because the beer was in calabashes, made in a calabash that was cultivated in the garden and then it was dried and then you made your beer in there. That calabash was then, that calabash was then hidden in the, there in the kafferskuil in the river, hidden away. If you didn’t know it was there, you would never find it.

And so we walked from house to house, and the houses were quite far apart here in, as the place was called then, Grootkloof. Then the people, and there were about 20, 30 houses along Grootkloof. And then the people walked from house to house. Every house had a beer calabash, we didn’t bother with wine, not then, because wine was too, you got too little, were not allowed to have more and that bit of wine only lasted a moment, then it was finished. So we made beer and, and this beer also didn’t give you much of a hangover or something, because it was pure honey and the must had fermented, so that it had a kick.

And thus we celebrated New Year, and then we had, they called it the “bolling” [Colloquial Afrikaans for “bondel” – bundle]. Now, that was where a lot of people were together, that was called the “bolling”. And if you lost track, passed out from the honey beer, you were lying somewhere, then when you woke up, you listened where the “bolling” was, because there was screaming and singing, guitar playing and dancing and so on. Then you just listened where the “bolling” was, then you just joined again and then you continued celebrating New Year.

There was never any fighting or anything like that, never. The people really celebrated New Year, and they really appreciated it. The festivities lasted about a week, and the people spent that week drinking. And when that week was over, every man made sure that he got to his workplace. And so, because in those days we didn’t get leave, you just had to take leave without pay, stay at home, and, yes, the people  worked little, but they still worked so that they at least didn’t lose their jobs, as a result of that.

So in this way we  as a community celebrated New Year, and on Christmas Eve, the 27th (sic), that night we went from house to house here in the kloof* to sing Christmas carols. It was wonderful to walk from house to house from about 12 o’clock at night and to sing Christmas carols and to wake up the people, and so. The Christmas carols resounded here in the kloofs and it was a wonderful thing that we did. Up to today we still sing right through Christmas Eve. I don’t know whether the young people will continue to do this when the old people die out. But it is unique to this place and  it is done  to announce Christmas, the birth of Lord Jesus, the words of the hymns are also fitting, and it is beautiful to be able to sing them then.

And so we, one can say, we grew up very church orientated, the church was, there was only one big house here in Grootkloof, and church was held there and all the people came from afar, on Sunday morning or Wednesday evening they walked to get to church, to the service, and so. And you were reprimanded if you were not at the service, if the elder and the deacons saw that you were not there, you were reprimanded and asked why you hadn’t been there. And then you had to explain.

Well then, things developed until, as I said previously, Forestry then built the town where they erected good houses for their workers, where one could live in a dry house, because our old reed houses leaked a lot in winter and people got wet when it rained and so on. It was unhealthy  but we lived in them. So when these brick houses, tin roof houses were built, the people were happy to live in them. And we had no clue that they would one day be our property, because we then in the 60s… in the 90s we started speaking as a community because we’d been living, as families, in this area for more than 200 years, we started asking the government whether it couldn’t become our property. And it took all of ten years, but we managed it and today it is our property. So it is already 11 years that we run the place ourselves, and that we are here ourselves.

We have a constitution with which we manage the place and we have gardens. Where I’m now sitting in my garden, it is my garden that I rent from the community, not from someone else, from the community. I pay a small amount because we have to pay land tax, we have to, it is compulsory to contribute a small amount, and so. But so yes, today  it is really wonderful and we are grateful as a community that we have our own place, and that we can live here and can know no one can expel us. Because in the past it wasn’t like this. If you, if the farmer no longer wanted you on his land, or if you caused a problem, then you were chased away and told that you had to go. You had to go and look for another place. But now it seems that today the law is such that it cannot happen any more, and we appreciate that. We also appreciate that we don’t have to live under apartheid any more today, because those years were actually quite sad for us as coloured people. You were not appreciated and you were just the guy who had to build up the country. And you had to work, you couldn’t loaf where you were living, you had to work, and you had to do hard work. And you were behind with a lot of things. Today the law at least makes provision that you are also recognised as a South African citizen and that you also have certain rights by law, which you didn’t have then.

I know of one case here in Clanwilliam – a man had to appear in the magistrates court. I don’t know what he’d done on the farm, I don’t know, But he had to appear. Well, the magistrate was a white man, the police were white men and the farm owners were white men. When the man denied the  the charge that was brought against him, the magistrate said to him, “Are you saying that the baas* is lying?” Well then, nobody believed you, people had little trust in you, you were distrusted, and so. But I don’t want to go on about apartheid, those days are now past and they were bad days, as I said just now. But today  I’m grateful that I’m still alive and that I can experience these good things and can see what we have today. And where we can live today. And where we can live in peace in our own place.

We received a R16 000 subsidy from the government at the time and then the community pooled their subsidies and it was enough to buy the land from the government. And then the land could be transferred and we could get it as property  the title deed. And each household also got its plot and house as property, and together with that they then also got,  the title deed, as it is called. But we arranged it so that… Because many people do things like that, when he has his own place, he chases away the wife, or the wife chases away the husband, so we possess the house and plot fifty-fifty. The man cannot evict the wife, otherwise he has to pay her for her share, and the wife also cannot evict the man, then she has to pay him for his share. It is set down like that in our constitution and we live according to that here, and we’re very grateful. And everything is free, we have, the municipality provides our services, our services are provided by the municipality and ehh, as a community we decided to manage the water ourselves, because the water comes out of the mountains, from a kloof in a pipe, and it is pure mountain water. There are no impurities in that water, and the pipeline is finished, laid by Forestry, and the houses are, every house has water, has a shower, with a bathroom with a bath and everything, and, and many days when we see on the news how people are struggling  in urban areas, with housing and the terrible conditions people live in, then one feels so sorry because you realise, I have a lovely place and look how difficult are the lives of my people. You can’t do anything, you  just pray and ask the Lord for deliverance for every person, because the Word says, He has succour for an ant, well, so much more for a human being.

Well then, that’s how we  were founded. We have, we’ve also kept out the cemetery for ourselves  the municipality only provides the services. And the sewerage system and the rugby field we transferred to the municipality, and the two halls, because we don’t have, the community doesn’t have the money to maintain them. But, well, so far it is going well, we cannot complain. If we complain now, it is probably out of spite.  we now only really want to school our young people to follow these examples that are here, and to stick to it. And  there are still some of our people working at Cape Nature Conservation, who are making a living out of that. For the rest the majority of the community here are pensioners, who receive All Pay and who survive,  on that, make their living. And, and we can say that the Lord provides for us from day to day, and we are happy with that.

In the early years you had to, if you didn’t have work, you had to live by begging, or you had to go pick rooibos tea or buchu, when it was open, but it was only open at certain times in a year, and then you could make a living from that  and you could use that. To live from.

But that is how it is, here in Algeria  we don’t want to live anywhere else, we’re happy living here. It is far from the shops and the town and so on, but  we can at least live here because we have a vehicle, or so, and we do have two house shops here in the town where we can buy, and so. And so we can live here, much better than in the past.

But when we look back at what we came through, then one sees that  it was hard. In those days. Because there were no, there were no radios and telephones and so on here, before. When you had a message, you simply had to, if you had to deliver it, you had to walk, and you, you, there wasn’t any transport. And so it was difficult but, but yes, one can look back with pride and you can say that you came through all of that. And you are still going. And, yes, it is just so.

Our people growing up today are astounded when you tell them the stories, astounded by it, but  we came through it, and we… And the people brought up many children in those days. Some households had up to ten children that they had to care for and, and yes, it was, times were tough then. We got nothing, let me put it like this, cheaply, or easily.

Well then, these mountains, as I said before, are criss-crossed by footpaths that have to be maintained, or that have to be made. We made many new ones, and it is now a tourist destination, the Cedarberg. Many tourists come here, and a camping site was erected and there are also chalets where people can, that people rent and where they can, where they can overnight and stay. So everything is comfortable now, if you just have the money. It’s very expensive, of course, but one doesn’t get anything cheap any more, you must pay dearly for everything you use. But one can adapt to everything, there is no other way, you have to adapt to everything, and thus you have to live. And continue.

At least we now have 442 outside land that the government also said, gave us and there is quite a lot of rooibos tea and buchu on it. And we harvest it, so we can at least make something from it to pay for the  the land tax and so on. And to manage the place, because there are many things that one has to do to manage a place, attend meetings, and you have to have meetings, and you have to go where they invite you, and so on. There was a meeting just now with the government that wants to amend the CPA laws and so on, and we had to attend it to give our viewpoint, because the CPA law is connected to the country’s constitution, isn’t it? And so. So we can’t do whatever we want, it has to be within the limits of that. So that is what I have to say for now.

 

I’d like to tell some of the stories that people told in the past, and that I had the privilege to listen to, and  to re-tell them as they told them to me.

In the past, people had good hunting dogs that they trained to hunt, to, one can say, to supplement the need in the house with a bit of meat, venison and so on. And so people then told many hunting stories, how it went and what problems they experienced, and so.

Now, in the past there were certain animals that were classified as problem animals. Were. Like the baboon and the porcupine, and there were many other kinds of animals that were classified as problem animals like the leopard and the caracal, jackal, and so on.

To emphasise this, the, I think it was the Divisional Council, put prices on these animals. As a result people would of course make an effort to exterminate the problem animals which, one can say, reduced the game, caught the livestock and so on. So there was a price on each one’s head, as I said – the baboon’s head and scalp, tail was seven and six if you took it to the Divisional Council. At first you took only the baboon’s tail, then you got your seven and six. But then, as happens everywhere, people started getting wise and started with their tricks. They slaughtered the whole baboon when they caught it and then they took wire and made tails from baboon hides, whole tails, they put a wire inside to make the kink of the tail.

And, well, the Divisional Council, or whoever was in control at the time, burnt the stuff. You just had to prove that you had killed a problem animal and for that you received that money, and so. But then they saw, how many wires are there here? Here in, in the fireplace. So they found out, and then you also had to have the scalp of the baboon, otherwise you didn’t get the money. That you could probably not manufacture.

Well, a lot is told about the leopard which was five pound. If you caught it, you got five pounds. Now, it is a, it’s not an easy animal to catch but it caused a lot of damage among the livestock, because the farmers’ livestock had to graze in the veld*, and so on. And the leopards used to catch livestock in the kraals* as well, and so on. You got five pounds for its skin, but then you had to bring the whole skin. They didn’t believe in a tail and a scalp, you had to bring the whole skin, and it wasn’t an easy problem animal to catch to earn that money. And so the jackal was ten, ten rand, ten shillings, and the caracal – I’m not sure how much it was, probably also, no, the jackal was 15 shillings and the caracal was ten shillings.

So if you brought the hides to the people, the Divisional Council, then you got it, then you had exterminated a problem animal.

And so the guy was in the veld, the dogs caught baboons for him, but they could not, there were dogs that caught leopards, that caught leopards as well but only some dogs could do that. But the jackal and the caracal and the baboon were caught by the dogs and then people skinned them and took them in. So they said, when you only had to bring the tail of the baboon to get the seven and six, there were many stump-tailed baboons. The dogs bit the baboon, then the guy cut off the tail, because that was what he wanted to kill it for and then the baboon sometimes escaped. So you got stump-tailed baboons and if you caught one and it had no tail, then you would get nothing for it.

Well then, they caught the caracal and the jackal, and then, as I said, brought the hides. The jackal was 15 shillings and the caracal was ten shillings. Thus people went out to hunt. And then the one guy once –  but they also hunted illegal stuff like grysbok [grey buck], klipboks [a small antelope, generally called a klipspringer] and dassies*, and other things. Dassies weren’t protected then, but at least the buck, different kinds of buck, were. So the one guy had his dogs chase a grysbok many times, then the grysbok would run into a thicket ad  the dogs lost it every time that it, that the dogs had chased it out. Now, the dogs always chased it out – they have their dens, don’t they. So the dogs would chase it out of its den, then the dogs chased it and caught up to it. Then it ran through a thicket and then the dogs lost it. Then it was, then they decided, no, we’re going to try something else. So one of them had to, there was a path, a path through the, through the thicket, let’s say it was at a spring, there were these dense bushes and things. Well, then they decided that the one guy had to, because the grysbok ran through there every time after the other guy had chased it out with the dogs. And it wasn’t long before the guy got the… The dogs chased the grysbok out and there he went again, straight to this place, but what they didn’t know was that a leopard was also lying there in the thicket. It was hiding there, because it is a guy that doesn’t walk around in the daytime, it was hiding there so that its attackers couldn’t get to it.

And then, the guy was on the other side where the grysbok would emerge, to bludgeon it to death there. And so the dogs came running with the grysbok, straight to the place where it ran through every day. And so the other guy said, “No, today will be a different, there is someone there in front who,  who will finish it off.” Well then, as I said, what they didn’t know was that the leopard was also lying there in the thicket. And as the guy stood ready with the kierie to hit… the leopard was in front and  the guy was ready, any moment the grysbok would… “It’s coming”, the guy said. It was coming and  the guy saw the bushes moving, and the guy was ready. Then the leopard was in front, in front of the grysbok, and when the guy wanted to hit  the guy saw that… The guy fell flat on his back from fright, goodness, a leopard was in front, and then the leopard went past and the grysbok also went past, so the guys had nothing to show for their hunting.

These are stories that are told and they are true stories. The people  went to a lot of trouble to catch the animals and get their hands on them  only because there was nothing at home. The venison had to be cooked, and thus the people  worked and worked to get their hands on the animals.

And, well then, there are also many stories about the baboons that… As I said, when you only had to show the baboon’s tail, then they had the dogs bite it, then they cut off the tail, then the baboon escaped. When your dogs got it another time, the baboon didn’t have a tail, then it wasn’t worth catching the baboon.

But as I said, they later on said, no, the scalp had to be added to get seven and six. And  well then, when you caught a stump-tailed baboon, it was no use cutting the scalp off, because the tail wasn’t there as well, and it had to be there. Well then, this happened many times, in life, and the people did many things.

They also told, they told me… from here to Clanwilliam is about 30 kilometres, isn’t it. Now, they said this road was terribly haunted in earlier times. Well, I don’t really believe in ghosts, but that was what people said. And  one guy was walking to town, no, yes, he was walking to town, no, he was coming from town. And when he got to a certain place that they called Langleegte, at the top of Langleegte was Rietvlei height… When this guy got there… He had, he had a slaughter animal – as I said, in earlier times we bought slaughter goats and slaughtered them at home. So he had a goat for slaughter and this goat was an ewe, and then, then there was a ram, at this ewe. And he was at the guy and the guy was later crying, because he couldn’t get a fire – in those days people didn’t have matches, they used a flint. The flint was a file and a, and a stone or a piece of iron that you hit together so that it gave off sparks, then you made fire.

Now, the guy was later crying because this goat just wanted to be a ram at the guy’s ewe, and the guy couldn’t, the guy couldn’t get it to go away. My grandpa was living there somewhere next to the road, at a place with the name Vanryserskloof (?? 12:42). Then the guy came with the slaughter goat, where there was now a ghost, the ram, and thus they went on. Then the guy was so anxious – they had these circular reed kitchens in which they made fire, but the people were sitting around the fire. Sitting on little benches. Nice benches that had been made, the people sat on them. Next to the fire. Then the guy came in there in such a hurry, he entered through the kitchen door with the riem* and jumped to the other side of the fire, the people all over the place. Then the guy said the ram had chased him all the way, with his ewe, and he was, he was going to stay there until it was light, because he wasn’t going to walk any farther, or so.

Well then, there are many wonderful stories that they told of this kind of haunting, and those things, but  as I said, today people drive vehicles and stuff, you probably don’t have ghosts now. They, they, it isn’t something that, as they say, haunt in the light, and because of that people don’t have to be afraid to walk to Clanwilliam any more, because the ghost isn’t there. If you have to walk, but no one walks any more today, if you don’t have a bicycle, he is on a vehicle. So, one will probably not find them any more, that is what I want to say about that.

 

 

Petrus Hanekom is in 1940 op ’n plaas genaamd Doringdraai gebore. Hy is ’n goeie storieverteller en het drie boeke oor stories en ervarings uit die Sederberge gepubliseer.

Petrus deel talle waardevolle stories oor Dirk Ligter. Hy vertel ook hoe hulle heuningbier vir Nuwejaar gebrou het, en van die suksesvolle grondeise op Algeria. Hy vertel breedvoerig hoe die mense op Algeria jare gelede geleef het.

Petrus Hanekom is in 1940 op ’n plaas genaamd Doringdraai gebore. Dié plaas was so afgeleë dat hy 10 myl skool toe moes stap. Hy het tot standerd 5 skoolgegaan en toe vir 43 jaar lank vir Bosbou gewerk. Daarna het hy vir Natuurbewaring gewerk. Petrus sê hy het die Sederberge as deel van sy werk deurkruis. Hy het staproetes en voetpaaie herstel. Petrus sê Algeria is ’n pragtige plekkie en dat sy inwoners nou behoorlike huise het, anders as die rietdakhuise van vroeër. Die hoogtepunt van sy werkslewe was om 18-voet telefoonpale te dra. Vir hom is Algeria ’n lieflike plek en hy wou nog nooit sy lewe hier vir die stadslewe verruil nie. Hy hou van die vrye natuur.

Petrus het die stories wat die oumense vertel het, geniet en het sy eie stories oor die Sederberge en sy ervarings daar neergeskryf. Sy boek se naam is Diep Spore. Petrus beskryf sy kinderjare op Algeria as moeilik, maar baie lekker. Hy het ’n pragtige groentetuin aangeplant wat hom op sy oudag besig hou. Hy het ’n grondeis ingedien wat na 10 jaar suksesvol was. Hy woon nou al vir 11 jaar lank op sy eie grond. Petrus sê dis wonderlik om op sy oudag grond en eiendom te besit nadat hy nog altyd op die boer se grond gebly het. Daar is nou omtrent 42 families wat op Algeria woon en almal kom met mekaar klaar.

Petrus vertel van Dirk Ligter en beskryf hom as ’n man wat ongelooflike goed kon doen – ’n alleenloper wat gedoen het net wat hy wou. Dirk het ’n plat klip gehad, swart aan die een kant en soos ’n spieël aan die ander kant. In die spieël kon hy sien wie hom agtervolg en as hy die klip neersit, was hy onsigbaar. Hy kon verander in iemand heeltemal anders en is nooit gevang nie. Dirk het ’n instrument bespeel wat op sy eie musiek kon maak. Op Dwarsrivier het die instrument self gespeel en op Dirk se bevel van deuntjie verander terwyl Petrus en sy vriende gewerk het.

Destyds het die polisie nog op perde gery. Dit was nie vir Dirk ’n probleem om tronk toe te gaan nie, want dit het hom ’n ruskans gegee. Wanneer hy gearresteer is, het hy voor die polisieman se perd uit geloop, maar hy was so vinnig dat hy lank voor die polisieman by die tronk aangekom het. Van waar hulle hom op Algeria gevang het tot op Clanwilliam, was dit 70 km wat hy moes loop. Petrus vertel die storie van Dirk wat op Oujaarsaand uit die tronk ontsnap het, Nuwejaar gaan vier het, en toe die volgende dag saam met al die tronkvoëls teruggekeer het tronk toe. Petrus sê dis moeilik om hierdie stories te glo, maar hulle is waar.

Die sederboom wat net in die Sederberge groei was ’n bron van inkomste vir baie mense. Hulle het die bome afgekap en in planke opgesaag, wat hulle dan verkoop het. Boegoe, sederhout, rooibos and blaarbas is inheems tot dié gebied en was vir talle mense ’n bron van inkomste. Die blaarbas is gebruik om leer te behandel.

Destyds was alles baie goedkoper. Hulle het bokke geslag, die vleis met sout en speserye ingesmeer en dit gelos om te droog. Op dié manier het die vleis lank gehou. Elke maand is daar ’n bok geslag. By die algemene handelaar kon ’n mens goed op rekening koop. Omdat daar nie stowe was nie, het hulle dikwels askoeke gemaak deur ’n klein gaatjie te grawe, die deeg binne-in te sit en die as bo-oor te krap sodat die askoek kon gaar word. Petrus sê die lekkerste ding was ’n warm askoek saam met ’n koppie vars beesmelk of koffie: ’n eenvoudige maar smaaklike maal. Petrus raak nostalgies as hy hieroor praat. Hulle het ook brood in klei-oonde gebak waarin drie tot vier panne op ’n slag kon pas.

Petrus vertel dat hulle koffie as rou bone gekoop het. Die bone is tuis gerooster en dan met ’n klip met die hand gemaal. Die koffie wat ons vandag drink proe nie dieselfde nie en is ook nie so lekker nie. Hulle het vars beesmelk bygevoeg en dit saam met ’n askoek of vars brood uit die oond, met ’n bietjie varkvet of botter daarop, geniet. Petrus sê hy het meestal tuis gebly en in die huis gehelp. Hulle het nie in weelde gelewe nie. Warm rogbrood was net so heerlik. Hy voel dankbaar vir die geleenthede en talle ondervindings wat hy gehad het. Die kinders van vandag se monde hang oop van verwondering as hy vertel hoe hy grootgeword het en hoe dinge destyds was. Petrus sê harde werk het hulle aan die gang gehou.

Hy voel hy het te veel om te sê vir een onderhoud. Hy vertel van die tyd toe Kleurlinge in Clanwilliam net twee bottels wyn by elk van die twee kantiens op die dorp kon koop. Dit was onwettig om meer as die toegelate hoeveelheid by jou te hê. Gedurende die feesgety en met Nuwejaar het hulle van huis tot huis geloop om makietie te hou en wyn te drink. Maar om 30 km per dag Clanwilliam toe te loop vir net vier botels wyn was nie ’n volhoubare plan nie, daarom het hulle heuningbier op Algeria begin brou. Hulle het wilde heuning in die veld gaan uithaal en dit in waterdigte bokvelsakke op hulle rûe aangedra. Hulle het sekere korwe gelos om gedurende spesiale feesvierings te gaan uithaal. Die bier is in die geheim gebrou, ver van die huise af in ’n kalbas by die rivier, ingeval die polisie daar sou opdaag.

Omdat hulle hulle eie spesiale bier gebrou het, het die mense van Algeria nie wyn gedrink nie. As iemand gedurende die feesgety sou omkap van te veel heuningbier, kon daardie persoon die ander mense weer opspoor want hulle het in ’n bolling makietie gehou. Daar was nooit ’n bakleiery tydens hierdie weeklange feesviering nie. Mense het in hierdie tyd onbetaalde verlof geneem omdat hulle nooit verlof kon kry nie. Net soos Oukersaand, het hulle Nuwejaar as ’n gemeenskap saam gevier. Hulle het Kersliedere gesing wat in die klowe weergalm het. Hierdie tradisie word vandag nog voortgesit. Petrus sê hy weet nie of die jonger geslag daarmee sal voortgaan nie. As jy nie by ’n kerkdiens was nie, het die predikant dit opgelet en jou gevra hoekom jy nie daar was nie.

Bosbou het goeie huise van baksteen en staal vir die werkers gebou. In die winter het hierdie huise nie soos die ou rietdakhuise gelek nie. Min het hulle geweet dat hulle hierdie staatshuise eendag sou besit. In die 1990s het die gemeenskap daaraan begin dink om aansoek te doen om eienaarskap van die grond waarop hulle al meer as 200 jaar woon. Dit is aan die regering voorgelê en dit het 10 jaar geneem voor die aansoek goedgekeur is. Vandag woon hulle reeds 11 jaar lank op hulle eie grond. Die gemeenskap het ’n grondwet, sy lede het hulle eie tuine en betaal grondbelasting om geld in die gemeenskap terug te ploeg.

Petrus sê dit is wonderlik om op sy eie grond te woon en te weet dat niemand hom kan aansê om te trek, soos wat in die verlede gebeur het toe die boer vir mense op die plaas die trekpas gegee het nie. In die verlede is Kleurlinge net beskou as werkers wat die land moes opbou en hard moes werk, maar min regte gehad het. Daar was geen vertroue in Kleurlinge nie. Eenkeer in die hof het ’n plaaswerker se weergawe van ’n voorval verskil van die boer s’n. Die regter het vir die plaaswerker gevra, “Wil jy dan nou sê die baas lieg?” Met ’n staatsubsidie van R16 000 het die mense van die gemeenskap saamgespan om die grond van die regering te koop. Elke huis is op die eienaar se eie grond gebou, wat 50/50 deur man en vrou besit word, sodat die een nie die ander kan wegjaag nie.

Die gemeenskap ontvang sekere dienste van die munisipaliteit, maar kry vars bergwater uit die kloof. Petrus sê hy voel baie jammer vir mense wat in slegte omstandighede woon. ’n Stuk grond is uitgehou vir ’n begraafplaas vir die gemeenskap. Die munisipaliteit lewer riooldienste en sien om na die rugbyveld. Hulle lewer ook ander dienste wat die gemeenskap nie sou kon bekostig nie.

Die meeste mense wat op Algeria woon is pensioenarisse. Petrus glo dat God elke dag voorsien. Mense bedryf winkeltjies vanuit hulle huise, waar ’n mens algemene ware kan koop. By terugblik was daar baie moeilike tye. Niks het maklik gekom nie en mense het baie kinders gehad. Nou is daar ’n plek waar mense op hulle eie grond kan bly. Daar is ook ’n stuk grond van 42 hektaar wat die gemeenskap van die staat gekoop het. Daarop plant hulle rooibos en boegoe, wat verkoop word om ’n inkomste te verdien.

Petrus vertel jagstories uit die ou dae, en daar is baie. Mense het jaghonde geleer om “probleemdiere” wat hulle skape gevang het, soos bobbejane, rooikatte, luiperds, ystervarke en jakkalse, te jag. Daar was ’n beloning vir elke dier, daarom het mense moeite gedoen om dié diere dood te maak. ’n Bobbejaan se kopvel en stert was nodig om die beloning op te eis. Eers was net die stert genoeg, maar toe die sterte op ’n keer verbrand is, was daar draad in sommige van hulle – dit was nie regte bobbejaansterte nie. ’n Luiperdvel was £5 werd, maar net as die vel heel was. Luiperds was ’n groot bedreiging, maar dit was nie ’n maklike taak om een te vang nie. ’n Jakkalsvel was 5 sjielings werd en ’n rooikatvel 10 sjielings. Die honde is geleer om die bobbejane te agtervolg en soms is ’n bobbejaan se stert afgesny terwyl die hond hom vaspen. Grysbokke en dassies is onwettig gejag.

Petrus vertel die storie van ’n man wat graag ’n grysbok met sy honde wou vang. Sy vriend het vir hom gewag. Skielik het ’n luiperd uitgespring en die bok gejaag. Die man het so groot geskrik dat hy net daar neergeslaan het. Hierdie stories is ingesamel en met sorg oorvertel. Petrus vertel ook ’n spookstorie, wat ’n bietjie moeilik is om te volg, van ’n man wat met ’n slagskaap van die dorp af Algeria toe geloop het. Petrus sê daar is nie meer spoke op die pad Clanwilliam toe nie.

Ek is Petrus Nikolaas Hanekom, gebore 1956 die twee-en-twintigste Junie,  by Doringdraai, ’n plekkie hier langs die Rondegatrivier, en daar het ek grootgeword. My skoolgangjare – in Boskloof, Algeria, was geen skool nie, toe was ek verpligtend om na Ryn (?? 01:10), daar teen die Olifantsrivier en Klawervlei later skool te gaan, dis so ongeveer tien myl, in daardie tyd, van hier af, wat ons oor die berg moes gestap het na die skool. Daar het ek standerd vyf gemaak in die skool en 1956 het ek toe by die Bosbou begin werk, toe was ek maar so sestien jaar gewees, maar om die pot aan die kook te hou, moes ek toe begin werk het.

En so het ek dan vir drie-en-veertig jaar by Bosbou en later Natuur-, Kaapse Natuurbewaring aan gewerk, en in daai drie-en-veertig jaar het ek omtrent die hele Sederberge deurkruis en was ek oral werksaam gewees, want die Sederberg is deurkruis met voetpaaie en jeeppaaie, ensovoorts. En daar moes altyd,  ja, herstelwerk gedoen word aan hierdie paaie en so het ek dan so hierdie jare van my, het ek dan daar deurgebring om te werk. Dit was, dis ’n lieflike plek, Algeria. Nadat die bosdorpie hier na, hier in die sestigerjare gebou is, het ons almal toe nou ordentlike huise gekry, want voorheen het ons nou in riethuise hier langs die Rondegatrivier gebly. En was ons ver uitmekaar uit, en moes ons smôrs al die pad werk toe gestap het om by die werk uit te kom. Later, toe ons nou eers in dié dorpie kom woon het wat die Bosbou gebou het, het ons toe vervoer gekry om te werk. Dit was harde jare gewees. Ons het baie swaar, ek het baie swaar gewerk, en, dit was vir my lekker gewees.

Die hoogtepunt in my werktyd was om,  die telefoonpale Middelberg uit te dra, die agtienvoet-telefoonpale, en dit was baie swaar om dit te doen, maar ons het dit, het dit kon doen. So, was in hierdie drie-en-veertig jaar wat ek hier gewerk het, wat ek hier gebly het, en wat ek nou nog bly,  was dit vir my baie aangenaam. Ek het nooit verlang om in die stad te bly, of om iewers anders te bly nie, want hier in die oopte natuur was, is dit so baie lekker om hier te kan wees, en hier tussen die kruiebosse en jy’s vry, en vars lug, en dit kan ook baie koud word hier in die Sederberge. Hier was,  ’n tyd gewees wat die sneeu tot in ons bosdorpie gelê het, so, in daardie tyd was dit baie koud gewees. Maar nietemin, dit is vir my baie aangenaam om hier te kan bly en al die kaskenades en goeters wat die oumense wat hier gebly het, wat ek geken het, vertel het, dit baie geniet, en nou kon ek, die laaste tyd van my jare het ek toe begin om te dink aan,  om die leefstyl van my in die Sederberge neer te skryf in ’n boek, en so het ek die boek na vore gebring met die naam Diep spore. En dis ’n baie lieflike boek, en daar kan ’n mens nou lees, wat was, wat was gedoen hier en hoe ons grootgeword het.

Dit was baie swaar tye gewees. Ons was arm, baie arm, en ons het baie min verdien, maar nietemin, dit was lekker en dit was aangenaam om dit hier te kan doen. En so te kan lewe. En vandag kan ek terugkyk en sien, en dan kan ek ook sê dis welgedaan, want daardie tye het ons deurgekom, die genade van die Here het ons gelei, ons is uitgespaar en vandag is ek al sewe-en-sewentig jaar oud en ek is so dat ek darem nog kan vir myself werk. Hier waar ek vanoggend sit en praat, is hier in my lieflike tuintjie, groentetuintjie wat ek vir myself aangeskaf het en waar ek vir my darem besig hou, vandag.

Ons het later, het ons toe aansoek gedoen, ’n grondeis ingestel vir die, vir die blyplek hier en ons het dit suksesvol, ná tien jaar het ons dit suksesvol ge-, afgehandel en is dit oorgedra aan ons. En nou is ons al elf jaar,  wat ons op onse eie grond bly. En dis nou nog liefliker om in, op jou oudag eiendom te besit en jou eie huis en jou eie plek te kan hê. Dis so lieflik en dit is so goed. Al die jare het ons maar nou op, eers op van die boere in die omtrek se grond gebly en gehuur, dit gehuur en nou in die laaste tyd, het ons darem ons eiendom wat ons kan op bly, en is dit so lieflik.

Ons is,  ’n groot gemeenskap hier, nie so groot nie, maar ons is so twee-en-veertig huisgesinne wat hier bly, enne, ons kom lieflik klaar met mekaar en ons,  is, elke dag is ons hier, en dié wat nou nog werk, en dié wat nou afgetrede mense is, bly by hulle huise en werk in die tuine, ensovoorts. En so kan ’n mens die lewe maak,  die genadetyd is vir jou altyd daar,  soos ek sê, hier was so baie stories vertel deur die ou, ou mense. Hulle’t ons baie dinge vertel.

Onder andere het hulle ons vertel van ’n sekere man wat ook hier in die omtrek rond was, Dirk Ligter, en hy kon wonderlike dinge kon hy gedoen het. Enne, hy het dan ook hier by die boere in die omtrek gewerk, en hy’s was ’n man gewees wat op sy eie was en wat nie vir hom gelat, sal ek maar sê, arresteer, en so nie. Al wanneer hy wil, dan sal hy dit doen, want soos die mense nou in daai tyd gesê het, hy was ’n draer. Nou ja, ek het maar min kennis van ’n draer, maar die ou man wat vir my die stories vertel het, het vir my gesê dat dié Dirk Ligter het ’n plat klip by hom gehad. So iets soos ’n plat klip, en een kant van die klip was daar, was swart gewees, en een kant van die klip was soos ’n spieël. Nou, hy was ’n, ’n man wat nou kon sien in dié spieël wat hy die klip van het,  wanneer hulle hom soek. As hulle hom nou soek en hulle kom te naby hom, dan het hy die klip omgedraai, en dan, dan kon hulle hom nie sien nie. Die mense vertel dat hy is dan nou sommer hier by die mense, maar hy’s nou ’n muur, so, of hy’s nou ’n, sommer ’n ander ding, wat die mense nou nie ken nie. En dan, op ander tye weer, het hy nou weer ’n ent ge-, voor die mense uitgegaan en dan kom hy terug, maar dan ken hulle hom nie, dan vra hulle nog: “Jong, het jy nie vir Dirk Ligter gesien nie?” Dan sê hy: “Maar hy’s nou net daar oor. Hy’s nou net daar oor die rantjie.” So ’n man was hy. En dan het hy ’n ramkie gehad wat hy kan lieflik op speel. En so het hy dan,  baie kere gespeel, maar die ding kan ook self gespeel het.

Die ou man wat vir my die stories vertel het, het vertel dat, hulle het saam op die plaas, Dwarsrivier het hulle saam op, op ’n dorsvloer gewerk waar hulle besig was om graan en boontjies, en so aan, uit te, uit te maak. Toe hang dié ding daar aan die paal, maar hy speel aanhou. Dan sê die oukêrel net hier “el om duiwel,” dan speel hy ’n ander stuk. Nou ja, dit is ongelooflike dinge, maar die ou sê, dis die waarheid, hy’t daar met hom gewerk en hy’t hom geken. Nou ja,  Matjiesrivier in die Sederberg was eintlik sy geliefde plaas wat hy altyd gaan werk het as hy nou, soos hulle sê, mak, mak geword het, daar gewerk. En as hy nou dan daar kwaad gedoen het, daar was nie so iets soos telefone en goeters nie, dan’t hulle nou die polisie lat kom. Die polisie het dan nou daai tyd nog met ’n perd, te perd gekom. Nou, dit is omtrent amper in die sewentig kilometer, vanaf Clanwilliam, wat die polisie nou moet die ou kom arresteer. Daar het ’n, hy altyd gesê, as die polisie nou daar kom, dan’t hy nou nie weggeraak nie, want hy wil ’n slag gaan rus, sê hy. As hy tronk toe gaan, dan gaan rus hy.

Dan hy nou altyd gesê, die poliesman moet roer, hy’s haastig, hy wil nog in die dorp wees. Nou, daarvandaan moes hy nou voor die perd ge-, geloop het, Clanwilliam toe. Nou, die sewentig kilometers, kan ’n mens dink, is ’n hard stuk pad wat moet geloop word. Dan het die perd sommer partykeer moet draf om by hom te bly, so vinnig is hy. ’n Mens, dis ongelooflik, ’n mens kan dit nie glo nie, maar nou sê die ou, dis die waarheid. Nou, dan het hy ook later weg van die perd af, poliesman kom nou agter aan, of geloof, hy is nog hier, voor. En dan as hy by Clanwilliam, by die, by die gevangenis kom, dan sit hy voor die deur. Dan sê hy, nee, maar die man moet kom, hy wil ’n bietjie rus.

Nou ja, so word ook vertel dat hy die een Oujaarsdagaand was hy ook in die tronk gewees en toe hou die mense so lekker Oujaarsdag hier, hulle kan nou hoor hoe speel hulle kitaar en dans. Toe vat hy al die bandiete en hy gaan dans met hulle die heelnag en die anderdagmôre toe sit hy hulle weer daar in. Dis ongelooflik, ’n mens kan dit nie glo nie, maar in werklikheid was dit so gewees.

Nou ja, en dan was hier by ons nou die, die, die mense – in die, in die,  Sederberg groei mos die, die Sederboom, Clanwilliam-seder wat hulle noem, hy groei ook mos nêrens anders, ander plek in die berge, in die veld, in die plekke nie. Nou,  dan was hier nou die oumense, my ou ooms en dan nou nog ouer manne, hulle was die manne wat die sederhout gewerk het, en tot planke, en dan het hulle nou die planke verkoop, wat jy nou by die Bosbou die planke kry, die planke ’n sekere nommer wat hulle hom op tjap, wat jy hom moet op hê, anders mag jy hom nie verkoop nie, maar hulle het hierdie harde werk gedoen om die sederbome te ontgin, en planke, en so het hulle dan, dan hulle lewe gemaak.

Daar was drie dinge hier, vier dinge eintlik – boegoe, sederhout, rooibostee, en dan die blaarbas wat hulle gemaak het. Dit was gebruik vir, om velle en leer te looi, en so aan nou, die blaarbas. Die sederhout was ’n belangrike ding en dan die boegoe en die rooibostee. Wat vandag nog volop is,  dit was die dinge wat die mense destyds aan die, kan ’n mens sê, aan die gang gehou het. Die werk wat hier rond was, want hier is mos nou nie fabrieke en goeters wat jy nou by kan werk nie, en so aan nie, jy moet nou maar,  as jy nie ’n werk op ’n plaas of by die Bosbou het nie, dan moes jy nou maar,  permit gevat het en boegoe gemaak het wanneer die boegoe oop is, en so aan. En so moet jy dan nou aan die lewe gebly het. En, daar was destyds darem al so ’n soorte pensioen, maar dit was baie min gewees. Maar in elk geval, in daardie tyd was die goed baie goedkoop. Jy kon, as jy ’n pond gehet het, of ’n tien sjielings, of so, dan kon jy omtrent vir die hele huis goed gekoop het, want ons het destyds het ons slagbokke gekry wat ons nou slag, self slag, en nou so. Nou ja, dan het dié maar veertien sjielings gekos, en dit, dit, in vandag se tyd is dit niks nie. Hy’s nou seker amper duisend vierhonderd rand ’n bok, maklik, ja.

Nou ja, dan het ons dan so die bok geslag, daar was nie vrieskaste en yskaste nie, maar die mens van destyds het, het kan vleis, hulle noem dit vlek, hulle’t hom baie dun gevlek en dan het hulle hom speserye, sout en goed gegooi, en dan was hy drooggemaak in die rietdakhuisies. Die vleis was lekker drooggemaak, en dan het jou vleis lank gehou. Want hy is mos nou droog, hy kan nie bederf nie. Dan het die vleis nou so in die huis gehang. Nou so ons het, ons het, in my tyd het ons so elke maand darem so ’n slagding geslag. Nou, die, die plek waar die, hier was so ’n huis, so ’n winkeltjie, buitewinkeltjie op die plaas. Nou daar het ons onse goedjies gekoop, en daar kon ons darem so bietjie op rekening ook gekry het, en dit het dan ook baie gehelp, want ’n mens het nie altyd die kontant gehad nie. Dan kan jy darem eers op rekening kry, nou moet jy gaan werk om die geld nou weer in die hande te kry om te betaal, dan kan jy weer darem ’n ietsie kry, maar jy moes eers die rekening gebetaal het. Maar dit was baie aangenaam.

En dan het ons ook ons, ons, daar was nie so iets soos stowe en goeters hierso nie, ons het,  daar’s mos nou al baie gesê van in die askoek. Askoek was nou, die vuur was gemaak vir die as nou warm is, en dan word hy oopgekrap en dan word die koek, die stuk deeg daarin in die as gesit en toegekrap. Die mense het gesê, maar jy kan nie daai ding eet nie, want hy binne mos nou vol sand, maar nee, hy gee ’n kors, en hy’s net soos ’n brood wat in ’n pan is. So ’n kors het hy. En dit was tog te lekker. Warm askoek en dan beesmelk daarby, of ’n lekker beker koffie dan daarby. So, dit was eenvoudige dinge, maar dit was baie lekker om dit te doen. Die brood wat gebak was, daar was oonte van, oonde met klei gebou. Mooi pragtige oond. Hy kan so vier, vyf panne brood hou. Nou word daai oond eers warm, baie warm gemaak en dan, dan kom die brood nou in die panne en dan krap jy die ergste kole en vuur uit die oond uit en dan sit jy jou panne in, dan sit jy ’n plaat of ’n plat klip voor, en dan pleister jy hom met klei toe, lat die warmte nie kan ontsnap nie. Nou, so word jou brood lekker gaar, en, en, jy’t jou brood is gebak, en dis te lekker. Mense wat van buite af kom, sê dis te lekker om die brode te eet en te werskaf.

So was dit gewees. Jy het nie, in daardie tyd van die jare het jy nie,  gemaalde koffie soos nou vandag gekry in pakke nie, jy het ’n hou koffie gekoop, by die winkel. Die koffie is net so, die bone, koffiebone net soos hulle van die boom af kom, is nie, is net ontbas, en dan is die koffie daar. Dan het jy so ’n koffie by die pond koffie gekoop, of ’n halfpond koffie, of so het jy gekoop. Nou kom jy by die huis gekom, dan het jy nou jou swart pot gevat, die koffie daarin gegooi en dan het jy ’n koffiespaan gehad, ’n stuk hout, wat van hout gemaak is, daar het jy nou gedurig die koffie geroer tot die koffie nou swart gebrand is en reg is, dan het jy ’n plat klip gehad, met ’n ronde klip, ’n plat klip en ’n ronde klip. Die ronde klip was nou om die koffie te maal, op die plat klip. Dan’t jy die koffie fyngemaal en dan, dan het jy eers kan koffie maak. Nou daai koffie was lekker, vandag se koffie is nie vir my so lekker soos daardie tyd se koffie nie, wat jy … daar’s nou nie chicory by of, wat noem hulle al die byvoegsels en goeters by nie. Dit was die suiwer koffie en hy was baie lekker gewees.

En nou het ’n mens, daai tyd het ons darem so, een of so melkkoei gehad, dan het jy nou,  die koei gemelk en dan was melk gebruik om in die koffie te gooi, en jy het ’n, dis heerlike koffie wat jy gedrink het. En nou warm, en nou met die lou askoek, of oondbrood daarby, en miskien beitjie varkvet of, of, in baie gevalle het jy darem, in min gevalle sal ek sê, het jy darem so bietjie botter gehad en gesmeer, die beesmelk was ook ge-ontwerp op in botter, en so aan. En so het die mense oorleef, en dan het ons maar baie in daai tyd,  het ons maar baie min, kan jy sê, rondgegaan. Jy’t maar meesal hier gebly by die huis. Jy was maar meesal in die werk en gesukkel om die pot aan die kook te hou, want daar was nie oorvloed nie, jy’t nie kan, jy’t nie kan,  oorvloed eet, en so nie. Ons kinders, ons het maar swaar grootgeword. Nou, soos, soos ’n mens nou weet hoe kinders is, het ons dan die week se brood gekry en nou het ons vir die week skool toe gegaan, en dan het ons nou die week se brood,  daar’s nie iets anders by nie, miskien ’n blik jêm, of so, wat ons by het. Nou ja, kinders het mos nou nie spaarsaam nie, hulle eet mos nou maar solank hulle … honger is, eet hulle nou. Vroeg in die week, dan is die brood op, omtrent opgeëet. Nou moet ons,  daar na die plaas toe, en die mense het net rog gehad, hulle’t nie koring nie, net rogbrood geëet. Nou, dit was ’n baie lekker brood gewees: rog, rogbrood. Maar hy moet nou, hy moet darem nou nog lou wees, of warm, dan’s hy nou lekker. Maar as hy nou eers koud is, dan’s hy nie so lekker nie, maar, maar dit moet geëet word, want daar is nie ander nie, en ons is ver van die huis af, enne,  ons is sonder kos, ons moet vir onsself sorg, ensovoorts.

So, dit was moeilik gewees, maar ek is dankbaar vandag vir die bietjie geleerdheid wat ek gekry het en wat ek vandag darem kan,  kan ek sê, die Woord lees, die Bybel. En ek het darem, ek is darem, ek het baie,  ondervinding van die berge, en baie dinge kan ’n mens gedoen het wat mense vandag verwonder, maar hoe het julle oorleef? Hoe het julle dit reggekry? En dan kan ’n mens nou,  jy kan met gelukkigheid sê hoe was dit en hoe was vir ons gesorg en hoe het ons oorleef. En, en so.

Daarom, as gevolg van die skool wat so ver was, het in Grootkloof, of hier op Algeria, baie mense tot vandag toe nog wat, van die oumense is ongeletterd, want hier was nie skool nie, die naaste skool is Clanwilliam, en dis vir jou onmoontlik om daar uit te kom. Vandag loop die bus met die kinders Clanwilliam toe, hoërskool toe, en hier is ’n laerskool op Clanwilliam, op Algeria. Die geriewe is daar, en ’n mens is dankbaar, maar as jy nou vir die kinders vertel hoe was dit, dan kan hulle jou amper nie glo nie dat, dat jy kon oorleef het en dat dit, dat dit so kon gewees het nie. Dit was baie swaar dae, en, en,  maar dit was lekker dae. En dit was lekker om, om te kan oorleef,  om swaar te kry, ons het nie ligte werk geken nie, ons moes hard werk, en … Maar soos die Woord dan nou sê, van die sweet van jou aangesig sal jy jou brood eet. Dit was ’n werklikheid gewees. En as gevolg daarvan is ons as gemeenskap nog vandag aan die gang en ons kan nog vandag sê, dankie vir die tyd en vir die lewe wat ons hier kon gemaak het.

 

 

Ek is Petrus Hanekom, hier van Algeria. Ek het so baie om te vertel in die lewe dat ek kan nie eers ’n kwart daarvan nou kan vertel nie. In ons tyd, hierso, vroeër jare wat ons hier grootgeword het, Clanwilliam is omtrent dertig kilometer hiervandaan en op Clanwilliam was destyds twee kantiene, bare. En ons as kleurlingmense was geregtig vir twee bottel wyn by elke bar op ’n dag. Jy mag nie meer by jou hê nie, jy mag, jy kry ook nie meer nie. As gevolg daarvan het ons altyd so met die feestye in hierdie jare het ons mos nou van huis tot huis geloop en so het ons nou danse gewerskaf, wyn gedrink, en so aan. Maar omdat die wyn so min was – jy kan nie, jy kan nie elke dag vir twee bottel wyn dorp toe loop nie, en daar was mos nie rygoed en moes jy gestap het, dit was hoe jy daar gekom het – het ons die bekende heuningbier hier gemaak wat, wat ’n mens nou ’n mos vir jou maak, en daai mos kan vir jou dae, jare kan hy vir jou hou. Nou, dan het jy nou, in die veld is baie wildeheuning, het ons heuning uitgehaal en dan het ons ’n bier gemaak, daardie tye wat ons nou wil fees hou. Die heuning was in die boksakke uitgehaal, bokvelsak; hy word, die bok word sak geslag en dan was daar die mense wat hom nou kan, kon gebrei het tot hy nou, hulle hom genoem het, hy’s nou gaar en hy’s nou netjies, dan het, dan was hierdie boksak was waterdig.

Nou, dan is, die nekkant was toegedraai en dan, dan was hy nou onderstebo was hy ge-, agter die rug ge-abba. Jy’t groot sakke gekry, boksakke, party het, in daai tyd se mate, ’n emmer gehou, party het ’n skepel gehou – ’n skepel was nou twee emmers en ’n emmer, daai tyd was die mate mos so gewees. Nie kilogram en soos dit nou vandag is nie. Nou, dan het die man veld toe gegaan, daar was ook byneste wat bekend gestaan het, wat die mense genoem het, dit is my Nuwejaar-nes, bynes, en ek gaan haal hom net elke,  kort voor Nuwejaar, kort voor Nuwejaarsdag dan gaan haal ek vir hom uit. Dit is nou Nuwejaar-heuning daai, om bier te maak, en so.

Maar die wet was teen die biermakery en dit moes skelm gedoen het, maar nou, soos ons nou ook dit gedoen het, was dit, jy het nie die goed in die huis gehou nie, want as die polisie hier kom, en die ding het mos ’n skerp ruik gehad, dan het hulle dit geruik en dan was jy gearresteer vir, partykeer moet jy tot na ’n pond toe betaal, wat jy maar swaar in die hande gekry het. Nou ja, as gevolg daarvan het ons hom maar hier in die Rondegatrivier gebêre. Die Rondegatrivier het baie, ek weet nou nie hoe die ding se botaniese naam is nie, in die oudae, ons noem dit nog steeds kafferskuile, so ’n ding wat so ’n pol groei en hy groei baie dig en daar kan jy lekker jou bierkalbasse, want die bier was in kalbasse, in ’n kalbas gemaak wat in die tuin gekweek word en dan word hy uitgevars en dan maak jy bier daarin. Word daai kalbas, daai kalbas word in die, daar in die kafferskuil in die rivier gesteek, weggebêre, jy sal hom wat nie weet waar hy is nie, sal hom nooit kry nie.

Maar so het ons dan van huis tot huis geloop, en die huisies was maar taamlik wyd uitmekaar uit hier in, soos die plek destyds genoem was, Grootkloof. Dan het die mense nou, en hulle was omtrent so twintig, dertig huise teen die Grootkloof op. En dan het die mense so huis tot huis geloop. Elke huis het ’n bierkalbas, ons het glad nie met wyn gelol nie, dan nou nie, want die wyn is te, jy kry te min, mag nie meer hê nie en daai bietjie wyn hou mos net ’n oomblik, dan’s dit op. So het ons dan bier gemaak, en, en dan, hierdie bier het mos ook maar nou nie eintlik mens babelas, of so, gegee nie, want dit was mos nou suiwer heuning en die mos het hom dan uitgewerk, dan het hy ’n skop.

En so het ons dan nou Nuwejaar gehou, en dan het ons nou, hulle’t genoem die bol-, bolling, bolling. Nou, dit is waar ’n klomp mense bymekaar, dan word dit nou die bolling genoem. En as jy nou uitgeraak het, uitgepass het van die heuningbier, jy’t nou gelê op ’n plek, dan, as jy nou daar wakker skrik, dan luister jy maar net waar die bolling is, want daar word geskree en gesing, kitaar gespeel, uhm, en gedans en gewerskaf. Dan hoor jy maar net waar die bolling is, dan gaan sluit jy maar weer daar aan en dan gaan jy maar aan met jou Nuwejaar-houery.

Daar was nooit so iets soos baklei, of so iets was daar nie gewees nie. Die mense het regtig die fees gevier, Nuwejaar, en hulle het regtig gewaardeer. Dit is omtrent so ’n week was die fees gewees en daai week het die mense nou gevat vir drink en as daai week dan nou verby is, dan het elke man nou weer gesôre lat hy by sy werkplek kom. En so, want ons het mos in daardie tyd het jy mos nie verlof gekry nie, mens moes sommer verlof sonder betaling, by die huis bly, en, ja, die mense het ook maar,  min gewerk, maar hy het darem nog so gewerk dat hy nou darem nie sy werk verloor nie, as gevolg daarvan nie.

Nou, so het ons dan,  as gemeenskap Nuwejaar gehou en ons het dan Ou-, Oukersnag, die sewe-en-twintigste, daai nag was nou in die Kloof van huis tot huis het ons gegaan om Kersliedere te sing. Dit was wonderlik om hier so van twaalfuur in die nag af huis tot huis te loop en Kersliedere te sing en die mense, en so, wakker te maak, en so. En, die Kersliedere het geweerklink hier in die klowe en dit was ’n wonderlike ding wat ons gedoen het. Tot vandag toe is ons nog besig om Kersnag deur te sing. Ek weet nou nie as ons oumense nou uitsterf of die jongmense nou sal voortgaan daarmee nie. Maar dit is eie aan dié plek, en,  dit word gedoen,  om nou dan die Kersfees te verkondig, die geboorte van Here Jesus, die gesange se woorde is ook daarvolgens, en dis pragtig om dit dan te kan sing.

En dan so het ons ook, kan ’n mens sê, jy was, ons het baie kerklik opgegroot, ons het, die kerk was, daar was net een groot huis hier in die Grootkloof, en daar was die kerk gehou en alle mense het ver, Sondagoggend of Woensdagaand, gestap om by die kerk te kom, by die diens, en so. En jy was ook gevermaan as jy nie by die diens was nie en die ouderling en die diakens het jou nou gesien jy was nie daar nie, dan word jy gevermaan, en gevra hoekom lat jy dan nou nie daar gewees het nie. En so moet jy verslag gee.

Nou ja, so is dit verder gegaan dat ons nou later die, die, soos ek voorheen gesê het, die Bosbou het dan toe die dorpie opgerig waar hulle darem nou goeie huise vir hulle werkers gebou het, en waar ’n mens darem in ’n droë huis kan gebly het, want ons ou riethuisies het maar baie hier in die winter gelek en mense is maar natgereën, en so aan. Dis ongesond,  maar ons het daarin gelewe. Nou, maar toe hierdie steenhuise, sinkdakhuise gebou geword het, was die mense verheug om daarin te kan bly. En min te wete dat dit eendag ons eiendom gaan wees, want ons het toe hier in die sestiger-, hier in die negentigerjare het ons toe begin praat as ’n gemeenskap omdat ons al meer as tweehonderd jaar verlede, familiegewys, in dié omgewing bly, het ons beginne vir die staat vra of dit nie ons eiendom kan word nie. En dit het mooi tien jaar geduur, maar ons het die knoop deurgehak en vandag is dit ons eiendom. So, dis al elf jaar wat ons die plek bestuur, self, en wat ons self hier is.

Ons het ’n grondwet waarvolgens ons die plek bestuur en ons het tuine, waar ek nou op die oomblik hier in my tuin sit, is dit my tuin wat ek huur by die gemeenskap, nou nie by iemand anders nie, by die gemeenskap. Nou betaal ek ’n klein bedraggie omdat ons mos nou grondbelasting moet betaal, moet ons, is ons verpligtend om dan so ’n bedraggie by te dra, en so. Maar so, ja, nou vandag,  is dit so wonderlik en is ons so dankbaar as gemeenskap dat ons ons eie plek het, en dat ons hier kan leef en kan weet dat iemand ons sal kan verdryf nie. Want vroeër jare was dit so gewees as jy nie meer, die boer jou nie meer op sy grond wil hê, of jy doen kwaad daar, was jy weggeja en was jy gesê jy moet maar loop. Jy moet maar vir jou ander plek loop soek. Maar nou lyk dit vir my die wet is darem vandag so dat dit nie meer gedoen kan word nie, en dit waardeer ons. Ons waardeer ook vandag dat ons nie meer in apartheid hoef te lewe nie, want dit was maar baie droewige jare vir ons, as kleurlingmense gewees. Jy was maar min gereken en jy was maar die ou wat die land moet opbou. En jy moet werk, jy mag nie leeggelê het op ’n plek waar jy bly nie, jy moet werk, en harde werk moet jy doen. En, jy was maar baie agter by baie dinge. Vandag is dit darem so dat die wet darem voorsiening maak dat jy ook erken word as ’n Suid-Afrikaanse burger en dat jy ook sekere regte deur die wet het, wat jy daardie tyd nie gehad het nie.

Ek weet van, een slag het, hier op Clanwilliam, die landdroshof, het ’n, het ’n man voorgekom, uhh – wat hy gedoen het, weet ek nie, op die plaas, maar hy het toe voorgekom. Nou ja, die magistraat was ’n blanke man, polisie is blanke manne en die plaaseienaars is blanke manne,  toe’t die man dan nou,  teen-, teenstaan die klag wat teen hom ingedien is, toe’t die magistraat net so vir hom gesê: “Jong, wil jy dan nou sê die baas lieg?” Nou ja, so was jy nie geglo nie, daar was maar min vertroue in jou, jy was gewantrou, en so. Maar ek wil nou nie uitwei oor apartheid nie, dit is dae wat nou verby is en dit was maar swak dae, soos ek nou gesê het. Maar vandag,  is ek dankbaar dat ek nog lewe en dat ek kan hierdie goeie dinge deurmaak en sien wat ons vandag het. En waar ons vandag kan lewe. En waar ons in vrede op ons eie plek dan nou bly.

ons het dan nou destyds toe mos by die staat gekry sestienduisend rand subsidie, en, toe het die gemeenskap se subsidie nou bymekaargereken is, toe was dit nou genoeg om die grond by die staat te koop en toe kon die grond oorgedra word en ons kon dit as eiendom,  kaart en transport kry. En elke huisgesin het dan ook sy erf en sy huis as eiendom gekry en daarby het hulle dan ook,   titelakte, kaart en transport, soos dit genoem word, gekry. Maar ons het so gewerk dat, want baie mense maak mos so as, as hy ’n eie plek het, of so, dan jaag hy miskien die vrou weg, of die vrou jaag die man weg, so die huis en die erf besit ons nou vyftig-vyftig. Die man kan nie die vrou daar uitsit nie, anders moet hy haar deel betaal, so die vrou kan nie die man wegjaag nie, dan moet sy sy deel betaal. So, dis ’n vasgemaakte iets wat in ons grondwet verskyn en daarvolgens bly ons hier, en is ons baie dankbaar. En, alles is vry, ons het, die munisipaliteit doen vir ons dienste, ons dienste word gedoen deur die munisipaliteit, enne, ons het as gemeenskap het besluit ons die water sal ons maar self onderhou, want die water kom hier uit die berge uit, ’n kloof uit met ’n pyp, en dis suiwer bergwater. Daar is geen onreinheid in daardie water nie, en die pypleiding is klaar, klaar mos gelê deur Bosbou, en die huise is, elke huis het water, het ’n stort, met ’n badkamer, met sy bad en alles in, en, en, baie dae as ons so op die nuus sien hoe swaar mense kry,  in stedelike gebiede, met behuising en die haglike omstandighede waar mense woon, dan voel ’n mens so jammer omdat jy nou sien, maar ek het ’n lieflike plek, en hoe swaar lewe my mense. Dan is dit nou maar so, mens,  bid maar net en vra vir die Here vir uitkoms vir elke mens, want die Woord sê mos: Hy’t vir ’n mier ’n uitkoms, nou ja, soveel te meer vir ’n mens.

Nou ja, so het ons dan,  hier tot stand gekom, ons het ons, die begraafplaas het ons ook vir onsself uitgehou,  die munisipaliteit doen nou net die dienste en die rioolstelsel en die rugbyveld, en dit het ons aan die munisipaliteit oorgedra, en die twee sale, want ons het nie, die gemeenskap het nie geld om dit te onderhou nie. Maar nou ja, dit gaan, so ver gaan dit goed, ons, ons kan nie kla nie, en as ons nou kla, dan’s dit nou seker moedswillig.  ons wil nou net graag ons jongmense ook skool om nou die voorbeelde te volg wat hier is, en om daarby te bly. En,  daar is nou nog mense van ons wat by Kaapse Natuurbewaring werk en wat dan nou daaruit hulle bestaan maak. Verder is die meerderigheid van die gemeenskap hier is maar pensioenarisse wat All Pay kry en wat nou daardeur,  hulle lewe, bestaan maak. En, en, ons kan sê dat die Here voorsien vir ons dag vir dag, en ons is gelukkig daarin.

In die vroeë jare was dit so gewees lat, jy moet maar, as jy nie werk het nie, moet jy maar gelewe het van bedel, of jy moet maar rooibostee of boegoe gaan maak het, wanneer dit nou oop, maar dis net sekere tye van die jare wat dit oop was, en dan kan jy darem daaruit ’n bestaan ook gemaak het,  en jy kan daarvan gebruik gemaak het. Om te lewe. Maar so is dit, hier in Algeria,  ons wil nie ’n ander plek hê om te bly nie, ons bly so gelukkig. Dis ver van die winkels en die dorp af, en so aan, maar,  ons kan nou ’n bestaan maak, want ons het darem ’n voertuig, of so, en ons het darem, hier in die dorpie het ons darem twee huiswinkeltjies waar ons by kan koop, en so. En so kan ons ons bestaan maak, baie beter as destyds.

Maar as ons terugkyk na waardeur ons gekom het, dan sien ’n mens dat,  dit swaar was. In daardie tyd. Want dit was so gewees, hier was mos nie draadlose en telefone, en so, voor was dit nie hier gewees nie. Jy moet maar, as jy ’n boodskap het, moet jy hom maar gaan wegbring, stap, en jy, jy, daar was nie vervoer om te ry nie. En so was dit maar moeilik, maar, maar, ja, ’n mens kan terugkyk en met trots, en dan kan jy sê, daardeur het ek gekom. En jy is nog altyd aan die gang. En, ja, dit is nou maar so.

Ons mense wat vandag grootword, verwonder as jy vir hulle die stories vertel, verwonder daaraan, maar,  ons het daardeur gekom, en ons het, en die mense het in daardie jare baie kinders grootgemaak. Party huisgesinne het tot tien kinders gehad wat hulle voor moet sorg, en, en, ja, dit was, dit was moeilike tye gewees. Ons het niks, kan jy sê, op ’n goedkoop manier, of ’n maklike manier, sal ek nou maar sê, gekry nie.

Nou ja, in dié berge, soos ek voorheen gesê het, is deurkruis met voetpaaie wat in stand gehou moet word, of wat gemaak moet word. Ons het baie nuwes gemaak, en dit is mos nou ’n toeriste-aangeleentheid, die Sederberge. Daar kom baie toeriste hier, en dis ’n kampterrein daar opgerig en daar is ook chalets waar mense kan, wat mense kan huur en waar hulle kan, waar hulle kan oornag en bly. So, dit alles is gerieflik nou, en as jy nou net die geld het. Dit is natuurlik baie duur, maar ’n mens kry mos nou niks goedkoop nie, jy moet nou maar alles ten duurste moet jy nou maar gebruik. Maar nou, mens moet jou mos maar aanpas by alles, jy kan nou nie anderster nie, jy moet jou aanpas by alles, en so moet jy lewe. En so moet jy voortgaan.

Ons het darem nou ’n, twee-, vierhonderd twee-en-veertig buitegrond wat die staat ook kan vir ons, gesê het, gegee het, uhm, en daarop is heelwat rooibostee en boegoe. En ons ontgin dit dan, dan is daar darem ’n bestaan wat ons maak om die,  die ge-, die grond se belasting, ensovoorts, te kan betaal. En om die plek te bestuur, want daar’s mos maar baie dinge wat mens moet doen om ’n plek te bestuur, vergaderings buite bywoon en jy moet vergaderings hou en jy moet uitgaan na waar hulle jou uitnooi, ensovoorts. Daar was nou juis weer ’n vergadering met die regering wat hulle nou die CPA-wette wil aanpas, ensovoorts, en ons moet dit bywoon om nou ons standpunt ook te noem en te sê, want die CPA-wet is mos maar gekoppel aan die land se grondwet ook. En so. So, ons kan nie sommer los dinge maak wat ons wil nie, dit moet nou binne die perke van dit bly. So, dit is darem nou in dié oomblik eers wat ek te sê het.

 

Ek wil graag vertel van die, sekere van die stories wat die mense nou oorvertel het destyds, en ek die voorreg gehad het om na te luister, enne, dit te kan oorvertel, soos hulle dit vir my gevertel het. Destyds het die mense ook goeie jaghonde gehad wat hulle opgelei het om nou te jag, om dan nou ook, kan ’n mens sê, die behoefte in die huis aan te vul met ’n vleisie, wildsvleisie en so aan. En so het die mense dan baie stories ook vertel van die jag’ry en hoe dit gegaan het, en watter probleme hulle ondervind het, en so. Nou, destyds was daar mos sekere diere wat as probleemdiere geklassifiseer is. Was. Soos die bobbejaan, en die ystervark, en dan was daar baie soorte diere wat nou as probleemdiere geklassifiseer is soos die luiperd en die rooikat, jakkals en so aan.

nou, om dit nou te beklemtoon het destyds die, ek dink dit was die Afdelingsraad, het toe pryse op dié goed gesit. As gevolg daarvan sal die mense mos nou moeite doen om die probleemdiere uit te roei, wat dan nou, kan ’n mens nou sê, vir die, die wild verminder, die vee vang, ensovoorts. Nou, soveel so was daar ’n prys op elkeen se kop, soos ek sê, die bobbejaan se kop en kopvel, stert was destyds sewe en ses, as jy dit nou na die Afdelingsraad toe bring. Eers was die bobbejaan net die stert wat jy kan gebring het, dan het jy jou sewe en ses gekry. Maar toe, soos dit nou maar orals gaan, het die mense beginne slim word, en hulle skelmstreke uit-, uithaal. Hulle het toe die bobbejaan heel afgeslag as hulle hom vang en dan het hulle nou draad gevat en dan het hulle nou sterte gemaak, van heel bobbejaanvel, heel sterte, en dan het hulle nou ’n draad binne gesit sodat hulle kan die knak van die stert daar kan insit. En, nou ja, die Afdelingsraad, of wie in beheer was in daardie tyd het, toe nou seker maar die goed uitgebrand. Dit was mos nou maar net ’n bewys dat jy het ’n probleemdier uitgehaal en daarvoor kry jy mos daai, daai geld, en so.

Maar toe sien hulle, maar hoeveel drade is dan nou hier? Hier in, in dié vuurmaakplek. Toe’t hulle uitgevind, en toe moet jy die kopvel ook van die bojaan by hê, anders kry jy nie die geld nie. Jy kan hom seker nou maar nie maak nie. Nou ja, so word daar baie vertel van die luiperd was dan nou vyf pond, dit was nou, as jy hom nou vang, dan’t jy vyf pond gekry. Nou dis ’n, dis mos nie ’n maklike ding om te vang nie, maar dis ’n ding wat destyds baie skade gedoen het onder die vee en goete, want toe het die boere se vee mos nou moet in die veld wei, en al dié klas dinge. En, die luiperd was mos geneig gewees om destyds sommer maar in die krale ook te kom vang, en so aan. Maar jy het vyf pond vir sy vel gekry, maar dan moet jy die hele vel bring. Hulle’t nou nie aan ’n stert en ’n kopvel geglo nie, jy moes die hele vel gebring het, en dit was nie ’n maklike probleemdier om te vang om daai geld te verdien nie. En so was die jakkals was tien, tien rand, tien sjielings gewees, en die rooikat, ek is nou nie seker hoeveel hy gewees het nie, seker ook, nee, die jakkals was vyftien sjielings en die rooikat was tien sjielings.

So was dit nou gewees as jy nou die velle gebring het vir die mense, die Afdelingsraad, en dan het jy nou dit gekry, dan het jy ’n probleemdier uitgeroei. En so het die ou dan ook in die veld, die honde het vir hom die bobbejane gevang, maar hulle darem nou nie dat jy – daar wás honde wat die luiperd, wat die luiperd ook gevang het, maar dit was nou maar enkele honde. Maar die jakkals en die rooikat en die bobbejaan is deur die honde gevang en dan het die mense die velle afgeslag en dan nou ge-, gegee. So sê hulle, wat ek nou wil sê, so sê hulle, toe jy net die bobbejaan se stert gewees het wat jy moet bring om die sewe en ses te kry, toe’t jy baie stompstert-bobbejane gekry wat – die honde byt nog die bobbejaan, dan sny die man sommer die stert af, want dis waarvoor hy hom wil laat doodmaak en dan nou glip die bobbejaan partykeer. Nou kry jy die stompstert-bobbejaan en jy vang hom nog daar, en dan is daar nie eers ’n stert aan hom nie, dan sal jy niks kry vir hom nie.

Nou ja, die rooikat en die jakkals, dié het hulle gevang, en dan, soos ek sê, die velle gebring. Die jakkals is vyftien sjielings en die rooikat was tien sjielings gewees. Nou, so het die mense nou dan uitgegaan om te jag. En toe het een ou nou een slag – maar hulle het nou sommer onwettige goed ook gejag, soos grysbokke, klipbokke en dassies, en meer goeters, maar dassies was toe nou nie in bewaring gewees nie, maar die bokke, boksoorte was darem. Toe het een ou nou al baie kere het hy ’n grysbok sy honde gejaag dat, dan hardloop die grysbok daar in ’n ruigtekol deur, enne, raak die honde uit hom uit, dan, elke slag dat hy, die honde hom nou uitsteek. Nou, die honde het hom altyd uitgesteek, hulle het mos lêplekke waar hulle lê. Dan steek die honde hom nou uit, nou ja die honde hom en dan loop hulle hom nou in. Nou, dan gaan hy by daai ruigplek deur en dan, dan’s die honde uit hom uit. Toe is dit, toe besluit hulle nou maar, nee, ons gaan nou anderster maak. Die een moet nou daar, daar loop so ’n pad, ’n paadjie deur die, deur die ruie, sê maar dis ’n fonteinplek, daar’s nou sulke ruie bosse en goete. Nou ja, toe besluit hulle nou maar die een ou moet nou, want elke slag hardloop die grysbok daardeur, die ander ou steek hom dan nou uit met die honde. En dit was dan nou ook nie baie lank nie, toe kry die ou dan die, steek die honde die grysbok uit, en daar kom hy nou weer, reguit uit na die, dié plek toe, maar wat hulle nou nie geweet het nie, is die luiperd lê ook daar in die ruigtekol. Hy skuil nou daar, want dis ’n ou wat nie bedags daar loop nie, hy skuil nou daar dat sy aanvallers hom nou nie kan kry nie.

En toe is die ou dan nou daar voor waar die grysbok nou anderkant uitkom, hy sal hom nou sommer doodslaan daarso. En, nou ja, daar kom die honde met die grysbok, reguit na die plek toe weer, waar hy nou elke dag deurgaan. En toe sê die ander ou: “Nee, vandag sal dit ’n anderster, daar is ’n man voor wat, wat,  wat hom, wat vir jou sal klaarloop.” Nou ja, en soos ek sê – wat hulle nou nie geweet het nie – die, die luiperd lê daar in die, in die ruigteplek ook. En toe die ou staan nou gereed met die kierie om te slaan, toe’s die luiperd nou voor, enne, die ou is nou al oorgehaal, die grysbok sal nou enige, “Kom hy ook,” sê die ou. Hier kom hy ook aan, enne, die ou sien die bosse roer en so, en die ou staan reg. Toe’s die luiperd nou voor, voor die grysbok uit en toe die ou nou uithaal om te slaan,  toe sien die ou maar, val die ou op die rug van skrik, wêreld, is daar ’n luiperd wat voor is, en toe is die luiperd verby en die grysbok is ook verby, daar’t die ouens nou niks van die jagtery nie.

Maar dit is stories wat vertel word en dis waar stories en dan het die mense,  so moeite gedoen om die goed gevang te kry en in die hande te kry,  en dis nou alleenlik want daar is niks by die huis nie. Die wildsvleis moet gekook word, en so het die mense dan nou,  gewoel en gewerskaf om die goed in die hande te kry. En, nou ja, daar’s ook baie stories agter die bobbejane wat, soos ek sê, die bobbejaan se stert net op prys gewees het, dan’t hulle die honde byt nou daar, dan sny hulle die stert af, dan glip die bobbejaan nou, nou kry jy hom ander slag kry jou honde hom daar, dan het die bobbejaan nie stert nie, dan’s dit nie die moeite werd om hom te vang nie.

Maar soos ek sê, hulle het toe later gesê het, nee, maar die kopvel moet ook bykom, voor jy nou dan sewe en ses kan kry. Enne, nou ja, toe as jy die stompstert-bobbejaan kry daar, dit help nie jy slag die kopvel af nie, want die stert is nie by nie, en dit moet by wees. Nou ja, so het dit baie keer gegaan, in die lewe, en die mense het baie dinge gedoen.

Toe vertel hulle nou, soos hulle my vertel het, hier van ons af Clanwilliam toe, is mos nou so dertig kilometers. Nou, toe sê hulle nou op dié pad het vreeslik vroeër jare gespook. Nou ja, ek glo mos nou nie juis aan spoke nie, maar dit is dan nou soos die mense vertel het. Enne, toe het die een ou nou dorp toe geloop, nee, ja, hy het dorp toe geloop, nee, hy kom van die dorp af. En toe hy nou, ’n sekere plek het hulle genoem Langleegte, daar bo-op die Langleegte was nou Rietvlei se hoogte. Toe dié ou nou daar kom, toe, toe het hy nou, hy’t nou ’n slagding, soos ek nou sê, ons het vroeër dae ’n slagbokke gekoop en daar by die huis geslag. Toe’t hy nou ’n slagbok, nou, en, dié slagbok is nou ’n ooibok, en toe, toe’s hy nou ’n ram, by dié ooibok. En hy’s nou hier by die ou en die ou het nou al later gehuil, want hy kry nie vuur op die, destyds het die, het die mense mos nou nie vuurhoutjies gekry nie, dit was nou met die vuurslag. Die vuurslag was nou ’n vyl en ’n, en ’n klippie, of ’n stuk yster wat jy nou teen mekaar slat lat hy vonke gee, dan’t jy die vuur op gemaak. Nou dié ou het later al gehuil, want dié bok wil nou net ’n ram wees hier by die ou se ding, en, maar die ou kan nou nie, die ou kan nou nie, die ding wegkry nie. So’t my oupa daar iewers langs die pad gebly, by die plekkie met die naam van Vanryserskloof (?? 12:42). Toe kom die ou nou maar so gekom met die slagbok, waar daar nou ’n spook is, die ram, en so het hulle nou gewoel en gewerskaf. Toe’s die ou so in die nood, hulle het sulke ronde rietkombuisies gehad waar hulle in vuur gemaak het, maar dan sit die mense nou rondom die vuur. Sit die mense nou op bankies. Lekker bankies wat gemaak is, dan sit die mense nou daarop. Teen die vuur. Toe kom die ou so haastig daar in dat die ou by die kombuisdeur inkom met die riem en anderkant die vuur spring, die mense in die war. Toe sê die ou, dié ram het hom nou geja tot hier, met sy ooibok, en nou, hy’s, hy bly nou hier todat dit lig is, want hy loop nou nie verder, of so nie. Nou ja, dan’s daar nog baie wonderlike stories wat hulle vertel het van dié spokery, en dié goeters, maar,  soos ek sê, vandag ry die mense darem met voertuie en goed, nou het jy darem seker nie die spoke nie. Hulle, hulle, hulle, dis mos nie ’n ding wat, soos hulle sê, in die lig is nie, spook nie, en as gevolg daarvan hoef die mense darem nou nie bang-bang Clanwilliam toe te loop nie, want die spook is daar mos nou nie. As jy nou moet stap, maar niemand stap vandag nie, as jy nie ’n fiets het nie, dan is hy op ’n voertuig. So, mens sal hulle seker nie meer kry nie, maar dis maar wat ek daaromtrent wil sê.