Shortly after our arrival on the farm in 1964, I accompanied my Dad to a livestock auction near Bellville in search of a draught horse to work in the vineyards. “No pull no pay” declared the auctioneer, as my Dad successfully bid for Sussie.

It soon transpired that Sussie was in foal. I don’t recall whether it was just before the end of the year or just in the new year that Justin, a strapping young colt, was born.


On the farm, Sussie’s main function was to plough a furrow on both sides of the vineyard rows, the so called “bankie”, from which the weeds were later manually cleared or “geskoffel” using a long handled spade. After delving into family albums we found the photograph below which, with some technological wizardry, was converted to digital format. A little unclear but one can see Sussie ploughing a “bankie”, with Justin getting an early introduction ahead.

Sussie & Justin

Sussie’s duties were relieved when we acquired Mr Plod, our part Flemish draught horse.

Mr Plod

It was however, time for mechanisation and we soon acquired a 1949 Ferguson tractor, locally known as the Vaaljapie.

Vaaljapie 1 B & W

After years of working in the vineyards and trundling 2.5 ton loads of grapes to Stellenbosch Farmers Winery, our Vaaljapie was retired.

Load of Grapes

Fortunately, I not only have photographs, I still have the real thing!

Vaaljapie 2


And so began a refurbishment project.


Vaaljapie 3


2016-11-28 08.12.00


Vaaljapie 4


Vaaljapie 5


Vaaljapie 6


Now fully reconditioned and running!


2017-09-28 17.12.53