ABANDONED FARM HOUSE

This is one of several abandoned dwellings in the rural areas of this country: built during a time of hope from materials that were available locally. Each suggests a story of hardship as a family set out to tame a wild area enough to earn a living. Tales of hardship abound in the early diaries and letters of the people who settled in this area as they contended with unfamiliar landscapes, unfamiliar plants, diseases, the drought, wars, pestilence, loneliness, rustling, and the ever-present need for water.

This fairly substantial building consists of a combination of local sandstone and sun-baked clay bricks. Whether the depression in the foreground was a dam once or has been made since, it is hard to tell. Every time we pass this building, I think of the people who once inhabited those rooms; who set about their daily tasks with the grim determination of those who have to be self-sufficient because there is no other way. Why did they leave? Did the burden become too great? Did the youngsters turn their back on this kind of lifestyle to seek their fortunes in the developing towns? For whatever reason, time has taken its toll as the buildings are taken over by grass, trees and prickly pears.

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11 thoughts on “ABANDONED FARM HOUSE

  1. The number of individual farmers has shrunk greatly these past years. It seems that only large concerns can still make a go of it in these times of global competition. Small scale farming is probably just not competitive enough to be able to withstand pressures for lower production prices as exerted by the likes of retailers like PnPay and Checkers and food conglomerates like Tiger, Pioneer, Tongaat, etc.

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    • You are spot on with today’s farming issues. This particular dwelling is in the Eastern Cape, and is reminiscent of many farm that were carved out in the virgin bush by Dutch- and English-speaking people moving here for a variety of historical reasons. Some of these original farms have been amalgamated with others, making the dwellings superfluous, while others seem to be a lasting testimony to barriers that became too much.

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  2. Anne, you have touched a part of me that shares your thoughts on this. I alway wonders these kind of things when I see abandoned houses. I wish I could here their stories.. thank you for this post

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