Harrismith has always had Spies families. The ones I remember were horsemen; or at least, the times I saw them they were usually riding horses at our agricultural shows, playing polo or competing at gymkhanas. Leon Strachan, Harrismith’s historian, tells of one family of four brothers who all had different characters or traits – and how one became world-famous!
I found this lovely series of articles by Leon at a website promoting Stephen Reed’s hometown Clarens, Free State – inclarens.co.za. I have simply taken snapshots of the articles to save them and be able to access them again. I must check in which of his four books on Harrismith characters Leon wrote about Andries ‘Caveman’ Spies.
I have now tidied and stitched them together in sequence. If you can read Afrikaans – go for it. It’s a fascinating story, which I have translated into English here with Leon’s and the inclarens.co.za editor’s permission. Summarised, mind you, so it loses some of Leon’s spice and story-telling vernuf!