Celebrating Huibrecht Nieuwoudt

Mothers Day at Cederberg wines is an opportunity to celebrate an exceptional woman and mother. Her strength, determination, and selflessness left an incredible mark on those who live in and those who visit our mountains. Through her life story, we find inspiration, treasure photos and look back on how her industrious vision paved the way for the farm to be the space it is today.

Healthcare and healing a community

Her journey began with her passion for healthcare. As a registered nurse specializing in general and maternity training, she gained experience at Carinus Maternity Facility and Groote Schuur Hospital. She became a pillar of support in the Cederberg region, assuming the role of a clinic sister. Beyond routine care, Huibrecht or Tannie Huipie as she was known, fearlessly handled emergencies and ladies in labour – most of the members of the farm working community on the farm today were delivered by Tannie Huipie. Her diverse roles within healthcare were transformative in the community, exemplifying the power of selflessness and perseverance.

Connecting the community

Being a gatherer of people she assumed the role of the postmistress of Cederberg, ensuring that the community stayed connected through the post office. She enjoyed gathering the community through communication and was always in the know of any news or recent happenings.

Family and farm life

The Nieuwoudt family’s life on a fruit farm was filled with traditions and a love for nature’s bounty. As summer arrived each year, the orchards flourished with apples, pears, peaches, figs, cherries and quinces, each ripening under the warm Cederberg sun. The fruit harvest season was a time of abundance and hard work. Excess fruits were worked into jams, preserves, and delightful fruit rolls, a tradition that united the family in laughter and conversation. Beyond the farm and her family, Tannie Huipie had an established market for all the fruit products created from the produce on the farm.

Fresh mountain air and fresh fruit and vegetables were a fundamental part of the Nieuwoudt family and the farm working communities existence. Rural living meant that access to store bought goods was limited. Tannie Huipie navigated this by rationing meat every Thursday for the family and farm working community – cut to perfection parcels lovingly wrapped in newspaper and delivered fresh.

Supplies from Cape Town were ordered in bulk and brought to the farm. David and his sisters were put to work opening and sorting through the goods – paid for their help in sweets which was a welcome and much anticipated treat.

Soap Making: A Symbol of Resourcefulness

Another tradition Tannie Huipie fostered was the art of soap making. With careful precision, fat was rendered and stored in large cans, awaiting the winter months when it would be used to make soap. The family and staff on the farm would gather around large cast iron pots, tirelessly stirring the mixture with long wooden paddles throughout the day. Fires were continuously stoked until the lye separated from the soap. Once set, the soap was cut into wide strokes and carefully removed. The stones used were washed and dried before being stored in the attic. This homemade soap, borne out of resourcefulness, possessed the strength to tackle even the toughest dirt – her consideration, resilience and ability to create something valuable from the simplest of ingredients.

The fat required for soap making was obtained from livestock. After separating the fat from the meat, it was carefully packaged in newspaper parcels and delivered to members of the farm working community.

These are just a few snippets and stories – there are so many more to share. Family members, visitors to the farm, locals in the Cederberg and those living in Clanwilliam – everyone who knew and loved her was in awe of her ability to mobilise a community, see a vision come to life and be so industrious and resourceful.

Her legacy lives on through her children, grand children and great grandchildren, the farm working community on Dwarsrivier and in the town of Clanwilliam. She is remembered when the Summer vineyards hang heavy with fruit, on the Autumn mornings when the sun warms the farm, during the Winter when the rains fall and in Spring when the vineyards come into bud. Most of all she is remembered on Mothers Day – the Mother in a million who moved the Cederberg Mountains.

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