Saturday, November 3, 2012

05: Knoppie and Other People

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After some bad tire trouble which a bicycle repairman kindly helped us solve, we went up Bain’s Kloof (canyon) for a steep shortcut to the road to Robertson. It was tough pushing up that road in the heat. At a small hotel at the top we ran into a convention of Dutch Reformed Church ministers. They invited us to sit down and have some grapes and listened to us briefly. I told them that we had the restored Gospel including authority from God. They said they believed that if what they preached and taught made people live good lives that this was sufficient. Shortly before the Dutch Reformed Church at Stellenbosch had tried a Dr. DuPlessis, one of their teachers at their school for clergymen, for heresy. He was telling them that (too) much of the Bible was figurative, including Jonah and the big fish. This story had rated headlines in the newspapers.

We were fed supper and given a good bed by a Boer family at Brede River. They had us take a swim in the shallow river, which was very welcome.

Proceeding south through barren windy country we saw about a dozen wild ostriches. Late in the afternoon as we were pedaling along we saw twin farmer boys about 13 years old. They were very eager and invited us to their home. They had a big Boer-Dutch (Afrikaans) speaking mother who welcomed us, fed us and prepared cots for us. After eating we read from the Bible and then prayed.

Then she started to pray (we were all kneeling) and she was soon shouting her prayers. They were Apostolic (I think we call them Jehovah’s Witnesses). It rained that night and in the morning the boys hitched up a donkey cart and hauled clay to bolster their adobe brick home. It had earth floors and thatched roof but it was kept clean as a pin. We rode into Robertson comfortably after leaving the Berend and Henry Visser (boys’) home in the morning.
Brother and Sister John Herbst and their four daughters welcomed us and fed us royally as well as providing a comfortable bed. The third eldest girl, Alma, was re-headed, curious, smart, and lovable. We called her Knoppie (Red Top). She would have had us talking Afrikaans with her if we had stayed more than a week with them. We tracted the town quite thoroughly, at first getting good response and being invited in about every home. We called on the Dutch Reformed Church predikaant (preacher), a Reverend Snyman. He was very polite and cordial to us and explained that we were there for only a few days. His people, he said, were friendly and hospitable as long as he told them to be, and he promised, he would say nothing bad about us.

Alma "Knoppie" Herbst
Robertson, C.P.
January 1930 

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