Stoep Stories No 34

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Tuesday, 3rd June 2014

Stoep Stories - Tales from the Karoo
Published by the Graaff-Reinet Heritage Society 

EARLY ENTREPENEURs IN THE KAROO

By Marj Noel

A familiar sight in the Camdeboo Valley years ago was the itinerant tinker who travelled from farm to farm to ply his trade.  Equipped with simple tools he carried spare galvanised sheets on the ricket two wheeled cart drawn by a donkey. Also aboard the cart was the entire family and all their possessions. Blackened cooking pots swung beneath the cart and the vital water bottle of canvas was always there.

This outfit became known as “die fektery’ among the farm labourers. There were always small jobs for the tinker and while the work lasted he camped out on the site.

Another similarly skilled travelling tradesman was the basket maker whose study wares saw service on many farms. He too owned a donkey cart and took his family wherever he could find work and materials. For the base of the basket he used laths of fine Kareehout which also served for the handles and the finished edge. Where cane was available that was split and used for the sides.

What a fine combination of independence useful skills and a cheerful all weather lifestyle sadly of a time gone by.

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