Thursday, October 8, 2009


'Papkuilsfontein?' everybody asks, ' Is that a real place or have you made it up?'

Oh yes its real, although I've half a mind to tell you that it isn't, and keep it to myself!

'Papkuils' are the bullrushes that grow on this beautiful farm. And the fountain (fontein) that was once the source of household water to the families that lived there, is still here, beside the swaying rushes. As are the ruins of the bywoners cottages, before their Afrikaans inhabitants were offered work in nearby towns, by the ruling National Party.

Politics in South Africa. Jobs for pals! Will it ever change?

All these things Oom Willem discusses with me, as we tour the land that has nurtured his family for six generations. He is the quintessential Afrikaans gentleman. Oom Willem tells me that his use of English is 'daring' and I am instantaneously smitten with his gracious, old fashioned charm. We walk the wild flowered veld, and he guides us up between the towering rocks to find the ancient drawings of San Shamen, who have marked the land with their spirits.

In the small, stone-walled cottage, parts of which are three hundred years old, Mr Nielson better known as Sid and I watch the fire burn hot in the iron grate, and hear the wind sigh through the wild grass that blankets the rough earth. We light the parraffin lamps, and bathe by candlelight. We walk at moonlight along the sandy paths, watching wild hares, weave through the bushes startled by our presence.

Our dear friends and travel companions, The Schneiders commune with all the children, and we join them for meals, hikes, card games, camp-fires,

and riversong.

It is a period of grace.
Hidden from the world. Relieved of cell-phones, computers and television.
We find the beauty of self, land and family in these quiet moments.

And now we are back.

Bringing with us the peace of country roads and the hope of another visit to Papkuilsfontein.

When we return, beautiful Alrie who was round with child will have given birth. There will be new life at the old homestead. Another generation of Van Wyk's to take care of and pride in this beautiful land.


  1. Mmm... Seems like summer is starting there. It's weird when it's starting to get all greish and rainy here in the North. *sigh*