The Ceaser Family

Plot 19 & 20

Husband:Piet Ceaser
Wife:Sara Ceaser
Their children were:Sophia Manuel - deceased
Sara Hector - deceased
Piet (Oom Piet) - deceased
Anna - deceased
Hendrina (Tietie Babie) - deceased
Stephanus (Faan) - deceased
Adonis - deceased
Dorie - deceased
Martha - deceased
Kristina - deceased
Florina - deceased
Salmon (Salie) - deceased
Eva (Nanny Dice) - deceased
Annette (Minettie) - living
The Ceaser family had one of the largest plots in Oukloof. Sara Ceaser first lived in the coloured settlement of Vaalkamp, Riebeek West before moving to Oukloof. Piet Ceaser had a contract with farmers in the valley to fell the trees and sell wood.

Suzette Thomas is the daughter of Sara Hector and grew up in the Ceaser house.

This is an extract from Suzette Thomas’s interview:

“My mother is Sara Hector (nee Ceaser), but I was brought up by my ouma and oupa, Sara and Piet Ceaser. We were a lot of kids in the house. They had 14 children of their own and then there was me, the oldest grandchild. Those days were the hardest but also the best. The house had two spacious rooms. Since the plot was so big, Oupa Piet erected shacks for us to live in. Behind the shacks was a big piece of land where he grew vegetables and kept chickens and pigs. Everything was very clean. We had to make sure of it. He also had donkeys and a cart that we used to transport the wood.

We stayed on the edge of the location next to the blue-gum trees. First there was a row of houses, then there was a canal and our house was on the other side at the top of the Oukloof.

We stored a lot of the food that we grew during summer for the winter months. There was a small room on the side of the kitchen where the food was stored in large barrels. The fruit was dried and Ouma Sara even made jams.

If there was something that we were short of in the house, Oupa Piet would take one of the chickens and exchange it at the shop for what we needed. It would mostly be for sugar or coffee.

Ouma Sara on the other hand was a very soft spoken woman. She didn’t work because there were so many children to look after. There was always the smell of bread baking in the house. Ouma Sara had a big wood burning stove where we made a fire on the one side and on the other side was the oven. We had to get rid of all of that when we moved. A lot of the stuff we left behind because we couldn’t bring it with us.

We belonged to the Old Apostolic church and every Sunday we rode with the donkey cart to Riebeek West to attend church. The older children walked alongside the cart while the small children sat with Ouma Sara and Oupa Piet on the cart.

School started 8 o’clock and if you only left the house at ten to eight you had to run because Mr Damon would be standing by the gate, waiting for you with the cane.

We were too many children in the house and money was scarce so we couldn’t afford to go to school full time. By standard two or three I had to leave school to work with the oupa collecting wood. All of the older children had to this. It was only the younger children who could finish standard five.

If I think back then it was nice days in the old location. We were happy to be living there. We felt safe. We could walk alone to the shop. Nobody would bother us.

I remember my oupa being very angry and disappointed when he first heard we had to move. He had to slaughter most of his animals and in those days we didn’t have freezers where we could store the meat so there was no way to keep it. He sold the donkeys and the pigs to the white farmers.

Our donkeys were already sold by the time we moved so we only had the donkey cart. We packed everything on the cart and all the children pushed the cart down from Oukloof to Esterhof. It was about two kilometres walk.

We were one of the first families to move down. Once the first phase of houses was built, people were told to start moving. When we moved down we all lived next to each other in the front street as you enter Esterhof. There was just dust roads and it was very quiet here. There was no electricity but there was also no electricity in the Oukloof. We had to collect water outside by the tap next to the road. The house we moved into was a four roomed house but it wasn’t as spacious as the Oukloof house.

I could see my grandparents were not happy about the move but they just had to accept it. There was nothing they could do. The old people could not really speak up in those days. There were a few who tried to and even refused to move but that didn’t help. The white people didn’t listen. They did as they pleased and we just had to fall in line with what they decided.”