go! Platteland

180º For rugby star Pieter-Steph du Toit, the Riebeek valley remains home

Springbok flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit has the world at his feet, especially after his performanc­e at the Rugby World Cup in Japan*. But his heart will always belong to the Swartland.

- * Pieter-Steph was named the Player of the Tournament at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, and he was awarded the title of World Rugby Player of the Year for 2019.

Kloovenbur­g, Riebeek Valley, Swartland

Kloovenbur­g, where my parents, Pieter and Annalene, farm – producing wine and olive products, among others – is my special place, even though I live in the Boland now with my wife and our son. Kloovenbur­g is where I grew up, where my three brothers and I stomped grapes, where we played, carefree, in the veld.

My dad’s two grandfathe­rs, Oupa du Toit and Oupa de Kock, bought the land in 1956, and the next year Oupa Piet “Spiere” du Toit started to farm on Kloovenbur­g. And when my dad was

9 or 10 years old, he told the owner of the neighbouri­ng farm, De Hof, that if he ever wanted to sell his farm, he should let him know! Without my dad’s knowledge, the man later approached my grandfathe­r and indeed sold the farm to our family.

My grandfathe­r, a keen hiker, built a lovely concrete dam and braai area on De Hof, high up on Kasteelber­g near two old oak trees. The view across the valley is incredible: You see vineyards, then the town of Riebeek-Kasteel, beyond that wheat fields and, in the far distance, the Groot Winterhoek Mountains under a blue-blue sky.

This is where my grandfathe­r and his friends would come to braai and swim after a hike up the ravine. Today, we still come here to throw some chops or chicken on the braai. And this is where you’ll find us when we just want to relax or enjoy some quiet time.

I would like to return to the farm one day and get involved in the business, especially since nature is close to my heart. Earth is under threat in so many ways. It’s our duty to conserve the environmen­t for future generation­s.

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