The Old Homestead

I didn’t really know what to expect when I decided to go and see the house where I grew up (ages 3 – 23). Given that Johannesburg has turned into a series of walled fortifications, I expected not to be able to see the house at all. Here’s an example of the security almost all houses surround themselves with these days:

…and mostly, the gates are solid wood or steel, to prevent “crash” robberies.

So my heart sank a little when I turned onto the old road, and saw this:

…but when I got to the old house, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the current owners have not succumbed to paranoia (or, to be cynical, prudence):

The place has changed quit a bit (and for the better, I think), as it now has a Mediterranean feel to it. When my father originally built it back in 1957, it was the height of 1950s architecture — i.e. pig-ugly by today’s standards — but now its design is almost timeless.

And having just come from the south of France, I like this far better.

Some details: it sits on a hectare (about 2.5 acres), and while some of the other places have been subdivided into two, old Number 7 hasn’t. The house is about 4,000 sq. ft in size, unless they’ve added on some more in the back, which I couldn’t see through the trees.

It looks quite lovely, and I’m glad I got to see it.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what I’ve seen in and around Johannesburg.



  1. I’ll defer to you on the paranoia vs. prudence debate. The stories coming out of South Africa are disturbing but I assume the situation on the ground varies quite a bit regionally. Would love to get your impression of what’s going on.

  2. My third world dwelling self looks at the lack of barriers, and shudders.
    Most Americans don’t realize how good they have it.

  3. Wow. traveling the world. Does some good to go back. Not sure but walled compounds might be coming to the USA. That is one good looking house.

    1. The “Latins” are bringing walled compounds with them.
      We see that in SoCal as a neighborhood changes, the fences and walls with gates go up.

  4. It might have been a good opportunity to visit the current occupants and give them a history lesson on the early years of Casa DuToit. Maybe they’d let you see what they’d done to the place, too.

  5. I’d have knocked on the door and introduced myself and asked if a look around could be granted. It’s not unheard of in this neck o’th’woods, can’t speak for what’s left of Boer Nation. Oh, if you happen to trip over the Orangutan, Hamster, and CPT Slowly in your travels please don’t try to stuff the Hamster down Jezza’s throat. I like their show. 😉

  6. You can never really go home. Be glad that another family is giving it the same love that you did.

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