Carefree barefoot days

ZEHNDER Sorgvrye kaalvoetdae DML Photo 2020 11 30Neël tjie Zehnder 30 November 2020
Neëltjie Zehnder says she knows one's memory is unreliable when it comes to historiography; therefore, she writes down her memories. Born in 1943 in Heidelberg in the Transvaal, she was named after her maternal grandmother.
The school on Schaapplaats (Dutch form of the name) was a one-room corrugated-iron building without running water, with a stove that only properly heated up after the worst morning cold had already subsided. They took a 'trêppie' (horsedrawn cart) to school. Her first teacher, originally from the Cape, sent them home as soon as heavy weather built up, for which he was apparently afraid.
Her parents were very poor, but were later able to buy a piece of land, Skaapplaas, which her father partly cultivated with an uncle. He farmed with maize and later purchased a Munktell tractor. Both parents were hardworking and served the community, including the Landbou-unie (agricultural union) and the church. They also treated the farm workers well. She and her siblings used to play with the children and also acquired Sotho names.
Eventually, an opening emerged from the cocoon of carefree barefoot days on the farm. She went on to university to study and later married a Swiss man.