The Ton­tel­doos of times past

go! Platteland - - LETTERS -

From 1953 to 1955, I vis­ited Ton­tel­doos in my ca­pac­ity as a so­cial worker for the NG church (the Mid­del­burg ring). My gen­eral im­pres­sion of this area? Iso­la­tion, poverty and in­cred­i­bly bad roads!

I had to visit a fam­ily at the ad­dress “Snuif in die oë, PK Ton­tel­doos”, but never got there, be­cause the road was so im­pas­si­ble that I turned around half­way, with a great back­wards-and-for­wards strug­gle. I also re­mem­ber hav­ing to reg­is­ter a baby’s birth at the po­lice sta­tion – the child was at least two weeks old al­ready.

The peo­ple lived in iso­la­tion and didn’t have trans­port – ex­cept per­haps a bi­cy­cle or a don­key – and sel­dom vis­ited the town, mostly on pen­sion-pay­out days and to buy gro­ceries. Most had a shel­ter, a patch of mielies, maybe a cow, a few chick­ens and a pig. They were re­ally poor.

By the Fifties, the school had closed. The teach­ers, Oom Adam Willemse and Tant Issie, had re­tired and were liv­ing with their daugh­ter in Hen­d­rina. I think the cheese shop used to be their house.

My im­pres­sion of the area from those days tends to­wards the de­press­ing, so I am re­ally glad that things are hap­pen­ing again in Ton­tel­doos – a name like that is enough to pique one’s cu­rios­ity.

Agnes Matthee (de Clercq),


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