Stoffel Kok

Stoffel Kok was born on a farm just outside Porterville, where both his parents worked. He worked as a truck driver for many years.

Stoffel Kok and his family were asked to leave when the farmer’s children inherited the farm. He tells of moving to Porterville and living in a house with 21 family members.

Stoffel Kok was born on a farm just outside Porterville. His parents worked on the farm. His mother was a housekeeper to the farmer, and Stoffel says he grew up in the kitchen of the farmer’s house. After the farmer died his children took over and Stoffel’s family was told to leave.

They moved to Porterville in an area where whites and non-whites lived among each other. As children they played in the water furrows and the vlei, swimming and catching things. They had a big house with many rooms for their 21 family members – 15 boys and 6 girls – but then the area was declared whites only. The family had to move to a house with three rooms.

Stoffel met his wife in 1973 and they had four children together – two boys and two girls. His eldest daughter is now 40. He and his wife also raised a foster child from when she was three months old. Stoffel has worked as a driver for many years, driving trucks for long distances. In 1999 he developed back problems and was told by the doctor to stop working. For a few years he received money from the government, but when that stopped he had to continue working as a taxi- and bus driver. Stoffel says he was expelled from school around the age of 13 or 14 for getting his wife pregnant and had to start working to provide.


I’m Mr Stoffel Kok, Porterville, born on a farm outside the town, Molvlak [plain of moles]. I lived (inaudible 00:17) Molvlak, at a farmer. That farmer has now passed. Has passed away. My parents worked on the farm. My pa and my ma. My ma was a servant in the house. I was born, I grew up in the farm kitchen. I always sat in a wooden case under the table. And so. My ma used to look after me there. After three months that farmer died. Then the old man was dead. And eh, after he died, the children took over. Then we were removed from the farm. Then I went, Porterville, the town Pella. The name of the place was Pella.

The coloured and white areas were still together there. Up to… I grew up there, lived there all those years, I can’t say exactly what we did as children. We played a lot, played in the vlei* a lot, also swam in water canals, caught… caught many things.

And then, when we were moved, out of Porterville, out of the town’s white areas, then that place, that was ahh 1962, then us Pelladers (??01:59) were moved, then that area was proclaimed a white area. Then we had to be moved, to (inaudible 02:07), the suburb made for the coloured people, made specially. Built. So, so we had to leave. Then we got this small three-roomed house there; we had a big house before, then we got a small three-roomed place to live in.

There was my pa, and my pa, and our family was really big – we were 21 altogether, my ma and pa’s children. Most of us… only two are now left. Of the 21. Everyone died, my brothers. I had, I had uhh, 15 brothers and the others were girls. All girls. So they died one after the other until me and my one sister, just us, us two are left. The others have all died.

Then, what I want to say, then, what happened in Pella. But look, I grew up, then decided in ’73 to… then I was half grown up, but I’ve already, in the end I have 58 years. Going on 60. In 2019 I’ll be 60. Then I turn 60 years old.

Then… I met my wife, ’73, as it happened in, in (inaudible 03:51), the place where we were moved, I met him* there. There we were… four children together, two girls, two boys. She a lot with boys, now… 20 (inaudible 04:12). My eldest daughter is 40 years old. She was, the 15th she turns, she turned 40.  (inaudible 04:26) 96 years old. Family keeps growing, and then there are the bunch of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, you know, don’t you, the whole caboodle.


I have a big family. See, it is my family. I have a, I have a small four-roomed house. Two bedrooms, lounge and the kitchen. Now, I have, altogether we have… Look, there are four, I have the four children and my foster child, I also have a foster girl that I brought up. The parents left her with us, she was a small baby, three months old. We brought her up. Up to where she is now 28 years old. Her, she also has two children, those children are all in my house. We all live in one house. And that place is so small, but I don’t know, when you don’t have a choice… I’m not a rich man, I don’t have money. We all have to bunch together.

Me and my wife, we struggle along like this, we go… we, I… (inaudible 05:41). I was a driver all those years. I drove long distance, drove trucks. Then I got, in… 1999 I got a back problem. Because of the years of driving. You’re behind the steering wheel of the truck, your back sweats, you get out, walk around the truck and check that everything is okay and then you get back in. Stretch your legs, you get in, to drive again. Get going again.

That sweat, that moisture, dries out on your body, gets wet again, then dry again. Then in ’99 I developed a back problem. So the doctor booked me off permanently. They gave me about, about three years’, four years’ money from the government. Full pay. They also call it (inaudible 06:39). Okay. After four years they decided this… Around 2001 they decided they were going to take away that money. Then I had to, then I didn’t work. I wasn’t on the road. I wasn’t a driver, I stayed at home.

Luckily, I first met Brother Boois, (?? 07:01)he was driving and he offered me a small job, driving a taxi. Drove seven years for him, driving a taxi. Then I went to Koos Nieuwoudt. Bus. Then I started again with that bus. I did that for about, up to ahh, 2005 I worked for Koos.

From then, 20-, 19-, no, 20-, what was it, I was on the (inaudible 07:47) for five years. Five years 2070…


2012. Then I met him, you see. I live in Porterville, he lives in Citrusdal, but he was looking for a driver from Porterville. That time I was driving… I had to [drive] the school children… he was looking for a driver. From Porterville. Then another friend of mine gave his to me, gave his permit to me. Ouboet, Ouboet gave the number to him. I phoned him and he said yes, and he said to me, I must just wait until he comes to Porterville, he will bring it to me. And up to today I’m with him.  All these years.

Do you still remember stories, or ghost stories, or something like that?

Ghost stories? I tell you, my ma… They told many stories.

Tell us one?

My ma told so many stories, but I didn’t, I’m not one to, I didn’t actually take much note of the stories that the people told, that my ma told. I was, I was more set on, more set on, I was, wanted to become an engineer, you understand? But then I couldn’t. Twenty, two, ’73 the principal expelled me, at the time (inaudible 09:24). I was about 12, 13, 14 years when they expelled me from school. Because I uhh, made my wife pregnant.


Then I had my child at 13, 14 years. So they said, no… expelled me from school. The principal told me he couldn’t have parents in his school. I was now a parent, I now had to be a father, had to get work, look after the child. Then I had to – I suffered at the time. I couldn’t even lift a wheelbarrow… but I had to go work on a building site. Then I had to learn how to work, I didn’t have any choice.

I couldn’t lift the wheelbarrow. The guys said, “Lift it, up to your shoulder, and then, and then…” I couldn’t… I had to tip it, but the front part was in the way. That was how I became a worker. That was how I grew up, you see.

That is a story that I know of. No, man, I don’t really have stories to tell, do you understand?

You don’t remember a ghost story?

No. I’m telling you, at the time I lost my schooling and had to work. I couldn’t listen. You fell asleep over your food. Because you were too tired. From the day’s sweat, all that work.

Growing up was hard. I suffered.

Stoffel Kok is op ’n plaas net buite Porterville gebore. Sy ouers het op die plaas gewerk. Sy ma was ’n bediende in die huis. Stoffel sê hy het in die boer se kombuis grootgeword. Na die boer se dood het sy kinders kom oorneem en toe moes Stoffel se familie die plaas verlaat.

Hulle het Porterville toe getrek na ’n area waar blankes en Kleurlinge saam gewoon het. As kinders het hulle in die vlei en waterslote gespeel, geswem en goed gevang. Hulle het eers ’n groot huis gehad met baie kamers vir hulle 21 familielede – 15 seuns en ses meisies – maar toe word die area as ’n blanke gebied verklaar. Die familie het ’n drievertrekhuisie gekry om in te woon.

Stoffel het sy vrou in 1973 ontmoet en hulle het vier kinders gehad – twee seuns en twee dogters. Sy oudste dogter is nou 40. Hy en sy vrou het ook ’n pleegkind grootgemaak vandat sy drie maande oud was. Stoffel het vir baie jare as ’n langafstand-trokdrywer gewerk. In 1999 het hy ’n rugprobleem ontwikkel en sy dokter het aanbeveel dat hy ophou werk. Hy het ’n paar jaar geld van die regering ontvang, maar toe dit ophou het hy as ’n taxi- en busbestuurder begin werk. Stoffel sê hy is uit die skool geskors toe hy 13 of 14 was omdat hy sy vrou swanger gemaak het, en hy moes gaan werk om vir haar en die kindjie te sorg.

Stoffel Kok is gebore op ’n plaas net buite Porterville, waar albei sy ouers gewerk het. Hy het vir baie jare as ’n trokdrywer gewerk.

Stoffel en sy familie moes die plaas verlaat toe die boer se kinders die plaas geërf het. Hy vertel hoe hulle Porterville toe getrek en as ’n familie – altesame 21 mense – ’n huis gedeel het.


Interviewer: Ek gee toestemming..

Ek is meneer Stoffel Kok, Porterville, gebore op ’n plaas buite die dorp, Molvlak. Ek het (onhoorbaar 00:17) Molvlak gebly, by ’n boer. Daai boer is nou dood. Is oorlede. My ouers het op die plaas gewerk. My pa en my ma. My ma was bediende, in die huis. Ek is gebore, ek het grootgeword in die boer se kombuis. Ek het altyd in ’n kis, onder die tafel gesit. En so. My ma het altyd vir my gesorg daar. Ná drie maande toe sterf daai boer af. Toe’s Oumeneer dood. Enne, na hy dood is, kom die kinders mos in. Toe word ons verwyder van die plaas af. Toe gaan ek, Porterville, die dorp, Pella. Die plek se naam was Pella.

Daar was die kleurlinge en die blanke gebied nog ineen. Tot, ek het grootgeword daar, daarso gebly al die jare, ek kan nie presies sê wat ons gedoen het as kind nie. Ons het baie gespeel, baie in die vlei gespeel, ook geswem in slote water, goeters. Baie goeters gevang.

En toe, toe ons verskuiwe word, uit Porterville, uit die dorp se blanke gebiede, toe daai plek, daai was neëntien, ahh, twee-en-sestig. Toe word ons Pelladers (??01:59) verskuiwe, toe is daai gebied as ’n blanke gebied verklaar. Toe moet ons verskuiwe word. (onhoorbaar 02:07) toe, die woonbuurt wat vir die kleurlingmense gemaak is, spesifiek gemaak is. Gebou is. Toe, toe moes ons uit. Toe kry ons so ’n drievertrekhuisietjie daar, ons het ’n groot huis gehad, kry ons ’n klein drievertrekkie om daar in te woon.

Daar is my pa, en my pa en ons familie was so groot – ons was een-en-twintig bymekaar, my ma en pa se kinders. Die meeste van ons, op die huidige oomblik is net twee oor. Van die een-en-twintig. Almal het uitgesterwe, my broers. Ek het, ek het, uhh, vyftien broers gehad en die res was meisiekinders. Almal meisiekinders. So het hulle een-een uitgesterwe tot ek en my een suster, net ons, ons twee is oor. Die ander het almal uitgesterwe.

Toe, nou wat ek wil sê, toe, wat gebeur in Pella. Maar kyk, ek het mos grootgeraak, toe in ’73 besluit om … toe’s ek half al groot, maar ek het al, ek het op die einde agt-en-vyftig jaar oud. Gaan deur sestig toe. Op twintig neëntien is ek sestig. Dan word ek sestig jaar oud.

Toe … ek en my vrou ge-ontmoet, ’73, juis in, in (onhoorbaar 03:51), die plek waar ons verskuif word, ook ontmoet ek vir hom daar. Daar was ons … vier kinders bymekaar, twee meisiekinders, twee seuns. Sy baie by seuns, nou … hardloop twintig (onhoorbaar 04:12). My oudste dogter is veertig jaar. Sy was, die vyftiende word sy, het sy veertig geword. (onhoorbaar 04:26) ses-en-negentig jaar oud. Al groter familie, en verder is daar mos die klomp kleinkinders, agterkleinkinders, jy weet mos, die hele boksemdaais.


Ek het ’n groot familie. Sien, dis my huisgesin. Ek het ’n, ek het ’n viervertrekhuisie. Twee slaapkamers, voorkamer en die kombuis. Nou, ek het, ons het altesaam, kyk dis vier, ek het die vier kinders, enne, my pleegkind, ek het ook ’n pleegmeisiekind ook, wat ek grootgemaak het. Die ouers het haar by ons gelos, sy was ’n klein babatjie, drie maande oud. Ons het haar grootgemaak. Tot op waar sy nou agt-en-twintig jaar oud. Haar, sy het ook twee kinders, daai kinders is almal in my huis. Ons bly almal in een huis. En daai plek is so klein, maar ek weet nie, as, jy het nie ’n keuse nie. Ek is nie ’n ryk man nie, ek het nie geld nie. Ek moet maar op ’n knop sit.

Ek en my vrou, ons sukkel maar so aan, gaan ons … ons, ek … (onhoorbaar 05:41). Ek is al die jare mos driver gewees. Ek het op die langpad gery, trokke gebestuur. Toe raak ek mos in … 1999 toe kry ek mos ’n rugprobleem. Van al die jare se gery. Jy’s mos agter die trok se stuurwiel, jou rug sweet, klim jy uit, loop ’n draai om die trok en tjek dat alles reg is en dan klim jy weer in. My bene rek, klim jy in, gaan weer ry. Gaan jy weer.

Daai sweet, daai nattigheid, word nou weer droog op jou liggaam, raak weer nat, dan weer droog. Toe ’99, toe ontwikkel ek ’n rugprobleem. Toe’t die dokter my permanent afgeboek. Toe’t hulle vir my so ’n, so ’n omtrent, drie jaar, vier jaar geld gegee van die staat af. Vol-pay. Hulle noem dit ook (onhoorbaar 06:39). Oukei. Ná vier jaar moet hulle besluit hierdie, so twintig een, toe besluit hulle, hulle gaan daai geld afvat. Toe moet, toe werk ek nie. Ek is nie op die pad nie. Ek het nie driver, ek bly net by die huis.

Gelukkig, ek het eers ontmoet vir Broer Boois (?? 07:01), toe ry hy, toe bied hy my ’n joppie aan, taxi-ry. Sewe jaar gery vir hom daar, taxi-ry. Toe gaan ek hier oor na Koos Nieuwoudt toe. Bus. Toe begin ek weer met daai bus. Ek het daai ook omtrent so, tot in twintig, twintig, u-u-h vyf vir Koos gewerk.

Daarvan af toe, twintig neëntien, nee, twintig, wat is hy, ek is nou vyf jaar op die (onhoorbaar 07:47). Vyf jaar twintig sewentig …

Twintig twaalf.

Twintig twaalf. Toe’t ek vir hom ontmoet, sien jy. Ek bly in Porterville, hy bly in Citrusdal, maar hy’t ’n driver gesoek van Porterville. Daai tyd toe drive ek moes die skoolkinders …. toe soek hy driver. Van Porterville. Toe’s ’n ander vrind van my, syne nou vir my gegee, sy permit vir my gegee. Ouboet, Ouboet het die nommer vir hom gegee. Toe bel ek hom, toe sê hy ja, toe sê hy vir my, ek moet net wag, tot hy Porterville toe kom, hy kom bring vir my. En tot vandag is ek nog by hom. Al die jare.

Oom, onthou Oom nog stukke, of spookstories, of so iets?

Spookstories? Jong, my ma, hulle het baie stories vertel.

Vertel vir ons so enetjie?

My ma het so baie stories gepraat, maar ek het mos nie, ek is nie ’n man, ek het eintlik nie baie notisie gevat van die stories soos wat die mense vertel het, my ma gepraat het. Ek was, my kop was op, meer op ’n, ek was, wou ’n ingenieur geword het, verstaan jy? Maar toe kan ek nie. Twintig, twee, drie-en-sewentig toe skors die skoolhoof vir my, daai tyd (onhoorbaar 09:24). Ek was so opgeskoot van twaalf, dertien, veertien jaar, toe skors hulle my uit die skool uit. Want ek het, uuh, my vrou swanger gemaak.


Toe’t ek my kind op dertien, veertien jaar. Toe sê hulle, nee … Skors hulle my uit die skool uit. Toe sê die hoof vir my, hy kan nie ouers in die skool aanhou nie. Ek is nou ouer, ek moet nou pa wees, werk kry, kind versorg. Toe moet ek, ek het maar swaar gekry, daai tyd. Ek kan nie eens ’n kruiwa op … maar ek moet op ’n bouplek gaan werk het. Toe moet ek leer om te werk, daar’s nie ander keuse nie.

Ek kan nie die kruiwa optel nie, die manne sê: “Tel op, tot by jou skouer en dan, en dan …” Ek kan nie daai ding … ek moet hom tip, maar die mikke keer hom. So het ek ’n werker geword. So’t ek grootgeword, sien jy.

Daai’s nou ’n storie wat ek van weet. Nee, man, ek nie eintlik baie stories om te vertel nie, verstaan jy?

Oom onthou nie nog ’n spookstorie nie?

Nee, want ek sê vir jou daai tyd ek my skool verloor, toe moet ek werk, kan ek nie luister nie, jy gaan by die kosbak aan die slaap val. Want jy’s te moeg. Van die dag se sweet, al daai werk.

Ek het swaar grootgeword, swaar gekry.