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Letter from a Free State farm kid, now doing Basic Training in the Army


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Letter from a Free State farm kid, now doing Basic Training in the Army

Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well. Hope you are.

Tell my boetie Wouter and my other boetie Koos that being in the army beats working for Oom Piet by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before maybe all of the places are filled.

I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 am, but am now starting to enjoying sleeping late.

Tell Wouter and Koos all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot and shine some thing. No varke to feed, no cows to milk, no mampoer to mix or braai wood to split. Practically nothing. Manne get to shave but it is not so bad, there's warm water.

Breakfast is strong on fruit juice, pap, eggs, bacon, etc, but short on steaks, boerewors, chops, potatoes and other regular food like vetkoek. But tell my boeties you can always sit between two dorpies that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you till noon, when you get fed again.

These city boys can't walk much. We go on "route" marches, which the Sersant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it is not my place to tell him different. A "route march" is about as far as to

our postbox at home. Then the dorpies from the city get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks. The country is nice, but awful flat.

This next will kill my boeties with laughter. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don't know why. The bulls-eye is nearly as big as a dassie's head and doesn't move at all. And it isn't shooting back at you like those bleddie Venter boys from the next door plaas. All you have to do is lie there all rustig like and hit it. You don't even have to make your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with the dorpies. I have to be really careful though, they break real easy. It's not like fighting with Swart Duiwel our old bull at home.

I'm about the best they got in this platoon except for that Groot Jan Jordaan from somewhere in the Noord Transvaal. He joined the same time as me. But I am only 5'6" and 130 pounds and he is 6'8 and weighs over 300 pounds, dry.

Be sure to tell my boeties to hurry and join before other okes find out about the Army setup and come stampeding in!

Your loving daughter,


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Good one. You had me there for a second. Go girls go!!

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Oh yes, don't mess with us boys and girls from the Free State...

The three things you enjoy most about the army when you are from the Free State:

1. You can sleep late every day.

2. You are allowed to grow your hair.

3. You get to wear shoes.


Vir die wat nie weet nie, ek is 'n trotse Vrystater!!

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