Back in the Day

go! - - Contents -

HEN­DRIK LE ROUX FROM CLANWILLIAM WRITES: The hik­ing club of Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity, known as the Berg- en To­erk­lub (BTK for short), will cel­e­brate its 90th an­niver­sary this year. The club, founded on 4 June 1928, ar­ranges moun­tain-climb­ing out­ings and hik­ing tours for stu­dents dur­ing the hol­i­days. A lot has changed over the years. The hik­ers (called BTKan­ers) used to travel to the moun­tains on a truck; we stayed in big army tents when we weren’t sleep­ing un­der the stars and we all cooked to­gether. Ev­ery stu­dent was as­signed a job for the du­ra­tion of the tour – the “stok­ers” had to build the fires, the “blik­wassers” had to wash the cook­ing pots and the tent com­mit­tee had to make sure the tents were pitched when re­quired. The more trips you did, the bet­ter your jobs be­came. Nowa­days, the tours are mostly multi-day hikes: The stu­dents carry their own back­packs and equip­ment and sleep in small tents. They’re di­vided into small groups that cook and eat to­gether. Each group still has a “stoker”, re­spon­si­ble for the gas stove, and a cook who takes the lead with the food prepa­ra­tion. There are also still “blik­wassers”, but the pots that have to be washed are much smaller. The BTK is in­grained in my fam­ily life. I’ve hiked thou­sands of kilo­me­tres with the club and made won­der­ful friends. My mother Leonie (88) did her first BTK tour in 1947. She grew up in the Bushveld and the 1 800 km train ride home from Stel­len­bosch was too far to do af­ter ev­ery term, so she ex­plored the moun­tains of the Boland and the South­ern Cape with the BTK in­stead. A few years later, when one of her class­mates, Piet le Roux, was court­ing her, he signed up for a trip – they got mar­ried in 1952. Piet and Leonie sent their four chil­dren to Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity in the 1970s and 1980s. De­spite liv­ing much closer to the univer­sity, in Good­wood, we also didn’t go home for the hol­i­days and spent time ex­plor­ing with the BTK in­stead. My sib­lings Japie, Marié, Pi­eta and I did more than 20 trips in to­tal. My sis­ter Marié met her hus­band Jo­han Schutte on a BTK out­ing near Fran­schhoek in 1979. They did more trips to­gether and got mar­ried in 1982. Two of their chil­dren, Lionie and Hen­drik, also be­came BTKan­ers. My four chil­dren – Piet, Ester­beth, Ger­rie and Gri­etjie – were mem­bers of the BTK be­tween 2003 and 2015, clock­ing up an­other 20-odd trips be­tween them. Ester­beth also met her hus­band Fran­cois Sin­gels on a BTK trip to the West Coast in 2015!

The BTK re­union will take place from 27 April to 1 May in Jonker­shoek, Stel­len­bosch. All for­mer BTK mem­bers are wel­come – visit btk.org.za for more in­for­ma­tion. We want your pho­tos! Do you have old black-and-white pho­tos of tours, fam­ily hol­i­days and ad­ven­tures? Send them to edi­tor@go­mag.co.za

Tone” blik­wasser”

IN THE BE­GIN­NING. Piet le Roux (above, hold­ing a con­tainer of Vim) was a “on his first BTK tour in the Koo dis­trict in 1950. New mem­bers (called “eerste­to­eriste”) were usu­ally the dish wash­ers. Af­ter 70 years, Leonie le Roux is still known as “tan­nie Dok” – a nick­name she ac­quired thanks to her abil­i­ties as a “toe doc­tor” on BTK tours. Ev­ery group has one mem­ber as­signed to first-aid duty, called “be­cause he or she is re­spon­si­ble for treat­ing blis­ters.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.