Chelmsford farm on the fringes of the Kalahari

In 1946 just after the second world war Corneels van Wyk was made an offer he could not refuse for his farm situated in the gold mining area of Klerksdorp in the Transvaal . He sold his cattle farm called Doornplat for 15 pounds per morgan and bought six farms north of Kuruman – Moffat, Chelmsford, Constancia , Shirley, Umtu and Mooidraai for two pounds per morgan .

Dawid , Corneels , Andries and dad aged only eight years old at the time, set off on an adventure they would never forget, driving their large herd of Afrikaner cattle, 15 Boerperd brood mares and their prize stallion known as Chaka. They were joined by two long eared stubborn mules aptly named Jacob and Esau , whose habit of wanting to return home , drove the brothers to distraction . It took them three weeks camping out on farms , to reach their new home.

Oupa and Ouma were never shy of a challenge and with their family of seven children moved to Chelmsford farm in the Northern Cape . Their rambling home was built of 18 inch white limestone walls , enclosed with deep shady verandas to keep out the heat from the intrusive desert sun , on icy cold winters nights when the temperatures plummeted below zero, the family returned from a hard days work to the warmth of Ouma’s wood stove in the large farm kitchen which kept the house warm.

They adjusted to farming in this harsh land on the fringes of the Kalahari , a family of meerkats stood to attention each day as the brothers rode out the home paddock on horses at first light . The Van Wyk men loved this new found freedom of this wild , dry wilderness they called home, very different way of life to \ commercial farming in Transvaal.

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