Northern Transvaal Branch - Memory Lane 2021

We live through history daily – and eventually it all becomes part of our own personal history. The world is changing so rapidly that those memories of our childhood years already elicit amazement in today’s young people: evenings without TV, using a ‘tickey box’ to phone someone, church services under a big tree during holidays at the seaside …  Genealogy demands that we also pen our own stories with which to walk others down our own memory lane.
Navigate to the presentation video, text or slide set. Each presentation is in the language of the topic. View below the English summaries of stories as told by our branch members.
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 Nerine Haddad
 Die Haddads al die pad van Beit Mery Libanon
 Neëltjie Zehnde
 Grandma and Grandpa Theron - present in the years I grew  up
 John Boje
 Riebeek Street, Wynberg around the 1950s
 Hettie Muller
 My peetmoeders
 Louna Bischoff-Coetzee
 Die lemoenboere van Rustvoorbij
 Ina Hattingh
 ‘n Tolletjiestoel en ‘n handsak met slegte medisyne
 Sam Basch
 Rentia Landman Reid
 My ouma Esther Reid (geb. Eksteen)
 Pieter van Aardt
 Genealogie verryk MaHlogola (die Reënmaker) se lewe
 John Boje
 Moenie oordeel nie
 2022  Northern Transvaal Branch - Memory Lane
 2021  Northern Transvaal Branch - Memory Lane
 2020  Northern Transvaal Branch - Memory Lane

The Haddads all the way from Beit Mery Lebanon

Nerine HaddadNerine Haddad, 01 November 2021
At the beginning of the twentieth century, three Haddad boys emigrated to South Africa from Lebanon, while some of the other children of the family went to the USA. The reasons for the immigration are touched upon and in 1906 Nerine's grandfather returned to Lebanon to get married.
He was a successful businessman who was hit hard by the depression and he died at 56 as a result of the complications of diabetes. One of his sons, Admoun (Nerine's father), ended up as a teacher at Sannieshof where he made a great contribution to the beginning of the school and the school residences. He was assimilated into the Afrikaans community, he learnt to speak Afrikaans fluently, married an Afrikaans girl, and was confirmed in the Dutch Rreformed Church (DRC) where he later served as an elder.
She writes about school life, rural life and her parents. Her father is portrayed as a firm but sympathetic man.
There are photos of all the generations in South Africa.
This Down Memory Lane is probably the only account in the Genealogist that begins in Lebanon and ends in the Transvaal countryside.

Grandma and Grandpa Theron - present in the years I grew up

Neëltjie ZehnderNeëltjie Zehnde, 01 October 2021
As remembered by their granddaughter Neëltjie Zehnder nèe Strydom, 1 October 2021
The grandparents lived with Neëltjie's parents on the farm in the Heilbron district because they had no other place to go.
Neëltjie was named after her grandmother and had a special bond with her.
She was much younger than her husband (18 years) and because she was "young", she had to, for example, walk to the nearest farmhouse to get fuel if their car ran out of petrol on their way to Wolwehoek (general dealer, post office and station).
Neëltjie experienced him as cantankerous. He was an unsuccessful farmer and a frustrated politician. He fought under General Smuts during the Anglo-Boer War and thought that Smuts ‘’lost it’’ with his pro-British attitude in his later political career.
She liked to tell stories about her experiences during the Anglo-Boer War and she taught Neëltjie to crochet and make buttonholes.
One of the highlights of her life was that she was able to visit her son in the USA.

Riebeek Street, Wynberg around the 1950s

John BojeJohn Boje, 1 September 2021
Today a Wynberg address is a "good" address - in the forties it was not.
John remembers the inhabitants of the semi-detached houses - one of the houses was inhabited by English speakers who were Roman Catholic.and therefore doubly foreign. There was another English family, but they were "only" English.
The landlord was elderly – he turned one hundred and received a telegram from the king.
Furthermore, the fact that South Africans were under the rule of England is evident from the rhyme they had to learn at school that "they had to fight for Great Britain to be great".
There was a shop that played Indian music and where they could buy sweets such as magic balls and free sweets.
Opposite their house was Gurbakh Singh's house and his ginger beer factory. He sometimes pushed a sixpence into the children's hand. For them, it was a lot of money.
John writes about the Lutheran school he attended, the teachers and the class division. Before school, the pupils who wanted could attend German classes and there he learned German songs. He remembers the names of his classmates.
The spirit of the times emerges clearly. The injustice of apartheid is experienced through the eyes of a child - one classmate who disappeared because his hair was too frizzy, "old" Emmie next to the shop had to move, there were two entrances to the post office…
The Down Memory Lane narrative is illustrated with beautiful contemporary photos of the street.

My godmothers

Hettie MullerHettie Muller, 1 August 2021
On Mother's Day Hettie thought of her two godmothers, both her mother's sisters and nurses.
In an era when letters were still being written, letters to her mother were concluded with: "Give Hettie a kiss."
The two were in close contact with the sister and children in the Petrusburg area. The three sisters had the same physique and clothing, such as shoes, were sent and for the children shells from East London.
The bond with the godmothers was further strengthened after Hettie's mother died when she started university. They looked after her with love.
The husband of one of them died and she married a Scot in her fifties and moved to Glasgow. She went to visit her godmother and could see more of her when they returned to SA to escape the cold winters in Scotland.
They had a far-reaching impact on her life and they enriched her life as a rural Afrikaans daughter and contributed to her development.
Hettie concludes with a matriarchal and patriarchal lineage of the three Cloete sisters.

The orange farmers of Rustvoorbij

VAN AARDT Die Reenmaker DML Foto 2021 03 01Louna Bischoff-Coetzee, 1 July  2021
Her grandmother explained the striking farm name thus: When the family settled on the farm after the Great Trek, the time for rest was over and now the work will start.
Louna takes us back to a bygone era and the farm life of that time.
Her grandfather and his two brothers inherited the farm. There were orchards with oranges. The orchards were irrigated in the traditional way with furrows and Louna remembers how much fun she had playing in the water.
The family was also affected by events experienced by many Afrikaner families – the Dorsland Trek, the concentration camps, participation in and the aftermath of the Anglo-Boer War.
They were more affluent Afrikaners as evidenced by the export of oranges to England, the import of a pump organ (harmonium) from England and they their second car in 1949.
They were leaders in the community.
The memorial path is illustrated with beautiful photos.

A chair made out of yarn spools and a handbag with bad tasting medicine

VAN AARDT Die Reenmaker DML Foto 2021 03 01Ina Hattingh, 1 June 2021
Ina introduces us to her grandfather Hansie (Johannes Gerhardus Schoeman) and grandmother Ellie (Ellie Catharina Holtzhausen).
Grandpa Hansie was a farmer, with a love of woodworking. Through the woodwork, his love for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren is evident. He used yarn spools to make chairs for them. Ina still has the trousseau chest he made out of soapboxes as well as her chairs. As befits a true farmer and grandfather, he always had a pocket knife. He was a specialist in peeling oranges and he shared it with Ina.
Grandma Ellie was slender and attractive. And strict. With bad tasting medicine for every ailment - from Lennon medicine to castor oil - in her handbag. No one dared to cough in her presence or complain of a stomach ache.
Ina had a special bond with her grandfather and her love for him radiated from her contribution to the feature “down memory lane”.
The contribution is beautifully illustrated with photos.


VAN AARDT Die Reenmaker DML Foto 2021 03 01Sam Basch, 1 May 2021
Were my grandparents small? - People with Big Hearts
Sam writes with compassion about his grandparents. He did not know his grandfathers. Looking at available photos, it creates the impression that both were short as opposed to his grandmothers.
Even though he did not know his grandfathers, he has a lot of information about them. Grandpa Basch was a farmer and it as a family they struggled financially, especially during the Depression years. Grandma Alie Basch lived with them for some time and he got to know her well.
His other grandparents were Karoo people. He was 11 years older than she. They also suffered financial hardship. He could work with water and irrigated lucerne and other crops - he pumped water from the Buffalo River with a steam engine. His grandmother Martha also stayed with them at times.
Sam writes with empathy and he wonders if living with children was due to financial reasons. Or did children take care of their parents years ago?
Sam has photos in his story and it gives one a glimpse of the clothing and in one photo, in the background, of a house.

My grandmother Esther Reid (née Eksteen)

VAN AARDT Die Reenmaker DML Foto 2021 03 01Rentia Landman Reid, 1 April 2021
This walk down memory lane is mainly about events during the Anglo-Boer War and is based on letters that Esther received from her 21-year-old brother-in-law, Charlie Reid. Esther Eksteen was born in 1869 and she married William George Reid in 1896.
What can be deduced from the letters is that Esther was a good cook and worried about her brother-in-law on commando - she gave him cooking tips before he left on commando. He writes: "The training you gave me in the kitchen stands me in good stead".
During the siege of Ladysmith, Esther receives many letters that give one insight into life on commando during the siege (almost four months). They even counted ticks on their legs: ‘’…we caught no less than 13 ticks on to our legs…’’
Charlie died on 22 January 1900 at Spioenkop.
Esther is the example of the iron women at the time who stood behind their husbands on the battlefield, as can be seen from her letter to General Ben Viljoen. She ends up in the Howick concentration camp. Her husband survived the war. He was a Bittereinder.

Genealogy enriches the life of MaHlogola (the Rainmaker)

VAN AARDT Die Reenmaker DML Foto 2021 03 01Pieter van Aardt, 1 March 2021
Pieter was born in 1935 in Chrissiesmeer.
Initially Pieter grew up on a farm but moved to Middelburg during the Second World War - his father joined – later the family moved to Pretoria. After he matriculated in Pretoria he had to find a job. He carved out a career at the Land Bank after successful studies at various institutions, like Unisa.
He was cutting and polishing semi-precious stones as a hobby before he “discovered” his interest in his family history. In 1976 he read the book Slagtersnek en sy mense by J A Heese and was surprised by the role of the Aardts at Slagtersnek and wanted to know more.
He pursued the new interest in his family history with zeal. He visited archives, even obtained information from Delft in the Netherlands and traced the family back to 1590.
He gives a lot of interesting information about Chrissiesmeer and Nu Scotland and the attempt to settle Scots there. It was not successful and many of the farms in the area still have Scottish names.
He published a booklet, Die Van Aardts van Chrissiesmeer, in 1985.

Judge not

BOJE My oupa DML Foto 2021 02 01John Boje, 1 February 2021
Named after his grandfather Johannes Gerhardus Bornman, John recalls that this grandfather was the only one who called him by the name Johannes, shortened to Jaans. Everyone else called him John. His grandfather, unlike many others who ignored children, had conversations with him and on one occasion took them along to bid farewell to a friend. It was a comrade from the Anglo-Boer War who, like Oupa Johannes and six thousand other combatants, had laid down arms with the fall of Bloemfontein.
This brought the insult of hensoppers to them. For John, it was unacceptable for people to judge others without knowing the choices leading to it. Therefore, with Prof. Fransjohan Pretorius as promotor he completed a thesis on this issue, dedicating it to his grandfather.
Before moving to England in 1957, John learnt that his grandfather was at death's door and went to see him. It turned out that Grandpa would survive his wife to live in a second marriage for another six years. On John's return to South Africa in 1961, when he introduced his young wife to Oupa Johannes, the old gentleman of 90 apologised for his English: "I have not spoken it since the Boer War."
John considers it a privilege to have had such a grandfather.