Gareth Going Paul Roux Farmer Spaza shop story with bakkies
Gareth Going's encounter at a spaza shop in Paul Roux is going viral and lifting spirits nationwide. Photo: Gareth Going (used with permission)

A story about a farmer’s encounter at a spaza shop in Paul Roux, Free State, is lifting spirits around the nation. The farmer, Gareth Going, shared his incredible experience on Facebook yesterday (Wednesday), a day after hundreds of farmers turned up in front of the Senekal Magistrate’s Court where two suspects in the Brendin Horner case appeared for the first time.

Gareth, who describes himself as a “husband, father, son, brother, friend and farmer” who is “striving to be best at all the things I am”, shared the following amazing story.

He said: “I have just had an experience that I feel in my heart that I need to share with my friends and family. I just hope that I can do it justice by putting it into words.

“I’ve just got back from our quaint little village of Paul Roux after doing the usual mundane tasks of going to the co-op, getting feed for the animals and other odds and ends. Almost routinely stopping on my way out at our local Spaza for a cool drink for today and a box of cigarettes.


“When I walked in it was rather crowded but funnily quiet with a few hushed whispers every now and again. All with masks on which has now become the norm and doesn’t make one feel uncomfortable anymore.

“An old man shuffled towards me and smiled at me and we had the good old greeting and normal pleasantries towards me. He then asked me, sir were you one of the guys in Senekal yesterday? The Spaza went quiet. I said yes that I was.

an explosion of emotions from young and old. The ladies started singing and dancing.

“What happened next still has me feeling overwhelmed. There was an explosion of emotions from young and old. The ladies started singing and dancing. The men all came forward to shake my hand where I realized my African handshake needs some work! But I can say that after today it’s mastered.”

One extremely well dressed young man approached Gareth, shook his hand, and said “thank you sir”, before continuing – in perfect English – to say something that really touched Gareth, and apparently all in the spaza shop agreed with him. The young man said:

Sir, yesterday when all the boere drove past us it became quiet. We all knew that today is the day that change will come. We have been waiting for the farmers to stand up and decide it’s enough! We are all scared at night and nobody is safe, we know having worked on farms where our food comes from. We know that it’s not the farmers fault for job losses. We are tired!

But that wasn’t all. What really bowled Gareth over was what the young man said next:

will the boere please stop with all their white bakkies so that we can fill them and join you

Sir, we know that next week the court date is coming up. What we ask is, will the boere please stop with all their white bakkies so that we can fill them and join you. We need to all come together!

Gareth says: “A lot more was said and many a cheer and smile was made. Driving back, a load of feed and my mind racing with all my thoughts. I now realize that the time has come, we lost another young man with his entire life ahead of him. But his life has started a movement. One that I don’t believe we have any idea of how powerful it is. I have hope again, South Africa will come right. We must just stand together and make ourselves heard!

I have hope again, South Africa will come right.

“God bless you all and stay safe. Keep the fire going in your hearts!”

Since sharing his post, it has gone viral with many people copying and pasting it without crediting Gareth so that by this afternoon some thought it may just be an urban legend. But SAPeople caught up with Gareth tonight and he confirmed this amazing scene happened yesterday. He has been blown away by the response.

“My experience was wonderful,” Gareth told SAPeople, “but the response that it’s had is incredible. So happy to give some people a form of hope again…”