THE HOMEOWNER Pieter Hoffman
WHERE The farm Twist Niet, between Vanwyksvlei and Carnarvon
Pieter Hoffman believes that here under the hotKaroo sun you have to create your own magic with whatever you can lay your hands on. For him, it all started one day in his post-matric year while sitting on Twist Niet farm’s stoep in that blissful silence so synonymous with the platteland. In solitude. No dogs at his feet, but a supply of wors and salted rib drying in the air-drying cabinet on the stoep. It was the year 2000, and Pieter had come to the realisation that he had no clue where his life was headed.
Twist Niet, the farm his dad Stephen bought before he retired, is situated about 30km from Vanwyksvlei and 110km from Carnarvon, the kind of small towns where the local kids gather round when a city car stops in front of the co-op.
At first, very little magic was to be found in this place. And no electricity either. Pieter had done the necessary repairs to the dams, and in the evenings a PM9 battery radio was his only company. “I made the house just liveable and had a simple cement screed cast over the earthen floor,” he says. “The farm needed so much work.”
His ultimate goal was to have a beautiful farmhouse with wooden floors and timber doorframes. “I was so disappointed. The run-down house with its earthen floors and layers of carpets seemed far removed from my dreams. You could see that the farm had provided the bare minimum for previous generations. Their progress could be measured by the layers of carpets and paint,” he says in his laid-back Karoo accent.
And this is how the house remained for almost 18 years while Pieter first went to Stellenbosch College (now Boland College) to study tourism, and then to London on a work visa. While life was one big party for many other 20-yearolds, Pieter saved every pound he could. His dad, a bank manager at Carnarvon at the time, relayed many heartrending stories of farms that had to be sold out of necessity, and this left a lasting impression on Pieter.
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