Interview with Isaac Joubert:
29 years old when his family were removed from Oukloof
Extract from Isaac Joubert’s interview:
I was born in the Oukloof and when I was nine years old I stood at my fathers deathbed. He died in the house where we were all born.
In those days at 6 years old, you had to go to school. The school was in the church on the hill. It was so close to my house, I only had to walk across the road, climb through the wired fence and then I was there. We had a very strict teacher who we called Miss Maree. She was a white teacher. In those days we weren’t allowed to sit and talk like the geese go on in the schools now. They wouldn’t just tell us to keep quiet. It was almost like a shock that went through you when they made you quiet. Then she would tell us “go to the headmaster and pick up three stones on your way”. I would still be impressed that I am at least getting a job to do. I would gladly go and pick up the stones but little did I know, the three stones were for the three lashes he had to give me.
The policeman, Mr Miller, wasn’t too bad. I liked him. On a Saturday he would come to the field to referee the rugby matches for us. We didn’t have stuff like goal posts but we played. The ground was so hard we scraped the skin off our bodies when we fell. I was always so scared when I got the ball, that I threw the ball away as soon as I saw somebody coming for me.
There was another policeman before him who we called Winterbach. The name sounded just like him, loud and rude. He was a stubborn man. They would always say “is Winterbach here again”. He was a hard policeman. He wore gaiters around his boots that was so shiny you could see yourself in it. The prisoners used to shine them. He used to ride a motorbike with a sidecar. It looked almost like those Harley Davidsons. He used to hit the people and then afterwards still threw them in jail.
In those days there was a police station in Riebeek Kasteel but it’s not there anymore.
Esterhof for me was a situation of, if I wanted a house then I had to move here. I had to make the effort to get our stuff down here and say our goodbyes to Oukloof. It was not a nice period. Many people in our family went their separate ways when we were told to move here. We moved into a two roomed house. It took a long time for me to settle into Esterhof. I still felt the Oukloof memories inside me.
When they demolished the church it was a sad time but for me a building is a building and that is what a church was. A building can do nothing. It only shelters you against the rain and wind. Your body is the temple of God. A church is a community of people who come together in prayer. A place where people come together to serve god. I don’t want to talk about a dead building because then I might as well talk about my house. I love my house a lot. I don’t need a church to serve God.
People must look at the deeper issue of this whole situation. There are always consequences to people’s actions. What happened to us had deep consequences. Now white people say it was wrong but the lord always says look deeper into the situation. The white people did things as they wished back then. They didn’t think how many people this thing was going to touch. And it did. For many years. We were deprived of the freedom that we once enjoyed. Our freedom was taken away from us.