Not smiling, but happy


Poppy in vineyard 01 07

Remember when no one ever smiled for the camera? In 2008, deadpan is still the style for Poppie (left), Krisjan van Rooyen (rear) and Basjan Manus.

When Basjan first came to work at Stormhoek 40 years ago (he’ll be 63 this year), there were two vineyard horses, Violet and Debbie.

His job was to feed and water them and get them ready for vineyard work. They were eventually replaced by Polka and Jan, and finally in 1993, a two year old Percheron filly called Poppie arrived at the vineyard.

Poppie still has about 2 weeks’ work every year, removing weeds in between the rows of very old vines, planted just a metre apart.

During her vacation, she gets fatter and ever more spirited. "We need to find some more work for her", says Basjan. "She’s a handful every morning".

Basjan and his wife Anna have raised seven children at Stormhoek. Most of them now live and work in Cape Town.

Krisjan has seen a few changes at Stormhoek since he arrived 18 years ago. "We used to work every day of the week. On Saturday and Sunday, we worked in the mornings. Now we have weekends.  There’s electricity in the houses and a school where we’ve learnt to read and write". 

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