He would hold his grandchildren’s hands gently in his calloused hand, pulling them to their feet, on wobbly baby legs. He would pull them upward, from his lap onto his large belly, hard from years of manual work. “Walk up your Oupa’s corporation!” He would talk to them. Why he called his large, hard protruding stomach his corporation was never asked and therefore never explained! Gently he would repeat this walking up the mountain over and over to the shrieks of a delight of the child.
He was a strong, stocky man. He grew up in the wild Kalahari when lions were still a force to be reckoned with. He was a good runner with his older brothers taking advantage of his strong, fast legs to lay claim to tracts of land for diamond mining in the Kimberly district. In those days the runner was an important person to set the boundaries of the claim in a certain time, giving the circumferences of the claim its size. He could talk for hours about this exciting time in his life as a young 16-year-old boy. His staunch background never allowed drinking and smoking. He grew up eating what came from the ground or whatever could be hunted to augment the meagre diet of vegetables and fruit from the semi-desert area. This no doubt contributed to his robust health and stamina
He married the only women he ever courted. At the time of her death they had been married for more than 50 years. They had 3 sons who were all raised with the value system carried from his youth. Work hard and fear God. Two of the sons brought him pride in his endeavours as their father. The other one was an enigma to his understanding, causing him to feel frustrated and angry at his son’s lack of integrity. At difficult times within the family, he would retreat into himself, silently doing his daily tasks while seeking solace in prayer.