AG du Toit – Rietbrak

That is what the signboard next to the old farmgate says. On the R63. Halfway between Williston and Calvinia.

70 km from the closest little town. (Make sure you remember the milk when you are in town.)

The Great Karoo stretches it’s rocky dry plains in all directions as far as the eye can see. A soft warm breeze touches the already hot earth and sparse vegetation. It is the only sound out here.

The yellow lettering of the D, I and K have fallen off long ago.

And I wonder about AG du Toit of the farm Rietbrak. And many other farmers whose names are on a signboard outside the gates of their farms.

Some just put their own names on a small board. Like AG du Toit. Others will put their own and their wives names on there – “Pieter and Bonnie Westermann – Drinkpan”

Some boards are big and visible from far away, some are artistic, others plain with just the necessary information.

But all farms have a signboard that tell you who lives there, and what the farms name is.

I always wonder about these farmers. How do you survive on a farm in such an unforgiving area like the Karoo? How does it feel to constantly have to battle the elements for survival, year in and year out? To worry about your borehole/s running dry? When will the rains come?

Who gave the farm its name? And why? Rietbrak?

How does your kids get to school…that is at least 70 km away?

How many generations have made a living on this farm? The signboard changing with every son proudly taking over from his dad.

I don’t know. But one thing I do know.

AG du Toit of the farm Rietbrak has earned his name on that signboard.

And so has all the farmers throughout our beautiful country.