Home of famous Afrikaans poet destroyed in Paarl blaze

The homestead on Tuesday morning (Jean Oosthuizen, Facebook)
The homestead on Tuesday morning (Jean Oosthuizen, Facebook)

Cape Town – The home of the prominent Afrikaans writer and poet better known as Totius was destroyed by wildfires on the Augusta Kleinbosch estate on Tuesday.

Totuis, whose real name was Jacob Daniël du Toit, was largely responsible for translating the Bible into Afrikaans.

He died in 1953 and left behind several collections of poems, including Trekkerswee (Trekkers' Grief) and Passieblomme (Passion Flowers).

According to a waitress at the Augusta Kleinbosch estate, the restaurant on the estate was still open on Monday evening.

"We had some guest from Germany, Hamburg, and we had dinner. The wind was blowing... it was like tornado, it was blowing heavy," Susan Arendse told News24 on Tuesday.

The flames spread to the property in the early hours of the morning.

"In the early morning, half past three, the fires started on the [Du Toit’s Kloof] mountains and within minutes the fires came down here," Arendse said.

'Many memories are gone'

Arendse, who has worked on the farm for four years, said she was heartbroken by the incident.

"[I am] shocked. This is a historical place and these many memories are gone and it’s sad. It’s sad. We are like a family here," she said.

The owners of Augusta Kleinbosch were seen on the property, but did not want to speak to News24.

News24 reported that fires on the Du Toit’s Kloof Mountain started at 23:00 on Monday. Winds quickly fanned the flames, spreading the fires to several farms in the area, and damaging at least eight buildings.

Incident spokesperson Justin Lawrence said that the South African Airforce has been deployed to the area to water-bomb the blaze.

According to incident command head Derrick Pearce, 100 firefighters were currently fighting the fires on the Wellington side of the mountains.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
14% - 382 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
24% - 663 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
63% - 1769 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.15
(-0.00)
ZAR/GBP
20.40
(+0.01)
ZAR/EUR
18.43
(-0.13)
ZAR/AUD
11.27
(+0.10)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(+0.11)
Gold
1841.14
(+0.07)
Silver
24.18
(+0.69)
Platinum
1044.00
(+2.06)
Brent Crude
48.78
(+0.95)
Palladium
2330.32
(+1.24)
All Share
59346.54
(+0.68)
Top 40
54504.54
(+0.61)
Financial 15
11598.93
(+1.75)
Industrial 25
79875.58
(+0.24)
Resource 10
56973.06
(+0.62)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo