The spontaneous joyful celebration of rain after six years of drought has made Aberdeen farmers Gert and Pietie van Rensburg into instant internet stars!
During a trip to Graaff-Reinet last Tuesday morning, a despondent Pietie was encouraged by a pharmacy assistant to have faith that the rain would come. They last had significant rain on their farm Herbousvlei, 60 km outside Aberdeen, in March 2011, and since 2016 have had to feed their stock every day. Many times they have been ready to give up.
Later on Tuesday, a friend sent them a video of rain falling in Aberdeen, and they were thrilled when heavy soaking rains started to fall on the farm during the afternoon.
The couple decided to get into their bakkie to see whether there was water flowing into their dam, but found only mud. Whilst driving through the veld, to their great delight they then saw a river of water flowing strongly across the track towards the dam. “The excitement was just too much,” said Pietie, relating how Gert jumped out of the bakkie and ran into the water. She started filming his antics as he jumped around in the water, then lay down and was tumbled along by the fast-flowing stream.
As well as Gert’s happy frolicking in the water, what caught the imagination of viewers of the video was Pietie’s uninhibited singing. “I even got the words wrong, I was so excited and the moment was just too much!” she confided to the Advertiser. Pietie said that she originally took the video to send to Burre Burger, whose drought relief organisation has helped keep them going with donations of feed. However the sheer delight of the couple caught everyone’s imagination, and by the weekend, the video had been viewed over 100 000 times, with many thousands of shares. Initially the couple was rather reluctant to share what had been a private moment of celebration, and they were amazed at the interest it generated. “If it can help make people aware of how bad the situation is for our farmers, and perhaps they can donate towards drought relief, then I am happy,” said Pietie. She has asked that anyone who has been moved to make a contribution gives to Droogtehulp Met Burre Burger, FNB cheque account 62721858522 at branch 200406.
Two days later, the river was once again dry, but there was some water in the dam. “Our hearts feel so much lighter now. The dam didn’t get much water but at least it’s a start,” said Pietie. “I believe the Lord is preparing the dam to be filled soon.”