Kevin left just after 6am this morning, just as the sun was coming up. I rode with him for the first 14km, to Musina, then he was on his own for the next 120km or so, at times in temps of 40C. Dillon and I then hit the road, exploring a tiny dorp that he would be passing close to – Buysdorp.
This dorp, consisting of a general store and a PO and a scattering of small houses, owes its existence to Coenraad de Buys. He was a Boer, born in 1761 in the Cape. He stood at almost 7ft, and has been described as the “living figure of a Hercules”. He was the country’s first trekboer and fought on the side of the Bushmen, the Xhosa and the Khoi, taking wives from these groups. He eventually ended up in Limpopo, near present-day Louis Trichardt.
But when his favourite wife died he disappeared into the bush, and was never seen again. His large family settled in the area, and Buysdorp was born. Buys graves fill the cemetery, and Buys folk, young and old, walk the single street of the dorp. They know of their great ancestor, and some say they have tall relatives, like him. They vary from dark skinned to caramel-coloured, and are proud of Coenraad. One of the gravestones carries his name.
A local cyclist, Johan rode 80km with Kevin today, and he now will spend the night at Johan’s house.