Landisa: We lost everything on that piece of land

2019-10-31 07:39
Peter Felander

Peter Felander

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I grew up in the Brooklyn/Milnerton area. I was born there and I went to school at the Holy Cross Catholic school. My father worked at Wellington Fruit Growers in Paarden Eiland. My father was from the Darling District.

The story of my father is a different story; it is heartsore. My father had the farm Slangkop in Darling. He inherited it from his father. That is what he said to me. He owned a piece of land and we had cows and chickens. I don’t know how it became my father’s land. No one knows. But I know the piece of land that my father lived on.

He named it Kalkgaatjie, but the big farm’s name was Slangkop. The former owner who was on the farm first – his son inherited the farm. The son decided that no, this man’s cows and bulls can’t roam on my farm. The farmer came to tell my father that my father’s cows were eating the feed on his land. My father then needed to go to Cape Town to work for food for the animals on the farm.

I remember I was very little – I was about six years old – and my father said, ‘Let’s go to Cape Town’. When we went back to the farm everything was gone. My father’s cows were gone, his kraals were gone, his chickens were gone. We lost everything on that piece of land.

My father taught us so many things there. You could get away with no money there. We were near the sea. We didn’t fish, but we used to wait for the red boats to go out. The fishermen had nets, and then we would wade out and all the fish that fell out on the sand – it wasn’t their fish; it was ours. We each used to take a sack of fish home.

My father showed me how to catch crayfish. He would take mussels out and break it and put it in my mouth and I would eat it. It was nice.

When we moved from Brooklyn to Kensington it was fine and we could keep chickens. But when we moved here to Bonteheuwel, we weren’t allowed chickens and cows. We had to get rid of them. It was a double knock for my father.

A couple of years later we went back and the farmer was building over the graves. He had no respect for them. There is nothing you can do. They constantly talked about a piece of paper, a piece of paper and have you got proof? Where would our forefathers get proof from?

*Felander's story is from These are the things that sit with us, edited by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Friederike Bubenzer and Marietjie Oelofson, published by Jacana Media.

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