Front cover of book. E-book and softcover published on the 25 th of May 2017. 

Back cover of book. Photo of Charlie and Nena on their wedding day. Published on the 25 th of May 2017.     



'Tomatoes in the morning, tomatoes in the afternoon, and tomatoes in the evening...tomatoes, tomatoes...'     

The follow on business project, after the chicks, was ‘maantonnels’ (hot houses) growing vegetables and selling them. They planned and built these arc shaped tunnels which were constructed from metal pipes welded together and covered tightly with high quality translucent plastic. They installed some sprinklers, and voila they had a small farm running at the back of the section. They were now ready to make biiiggg money, after all they had all the business experience they needed! You know the saying: ’If you don’t succeed at first, try and try again!’ Lol! Tomatoes were the secret, it was in demand and they could supply it to everyone in Virginia and Welcome (town close to Virginia - RSA), and on the up side, they both loved tomatoes. Needless to say we had tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and supper, and during the day for a long time. Ha, ha! Piet had tomato jam, tomato cocktails, tomato soup, tomato pasta, tomato pie, tomato on the side, tomato juice, tomato muffins, dried tomatoes, tomato salad dressing,... lol! even the dogs and cats had to eat! You get the picture? The saying: ‘You make your bed and lie in it gets a new meaning...!’, Lol! Piet and Charles used to just laugh and laugh when they talked about their collaborative efforts to make large sums of money. I think the friendship and the bonding were really what it was all about. The money spent was not lost, but invested in developing a quality friendship...!. Ha,ha! What impressed us was their deep friendship and camaraderie. As long as I can remember the two brothers visited each other regularly, even when Piet and wife Hessie moved to Hennenman (Free State, South Africa), they visited one another at least once a week.    

Who poured the salt into the sea?

Piet would sit with his fly swatter and white vest staring into the unknown, waiting for a conversation to start. At times they would suddenly get very serious: ‘Charles wat se die Engelse?’[’Charles what does the Mine bosses say?’], Piet would ask. Dad would scratch his head and say: ‘James Bourke says he poured all the salt into the sea to get it salty’, there would be a short silence, and then the room would erupt with laughter. ‘And where did he get all the salt?’ Piet would ask. Dad would swiftly respond with ‘He used to work at the salt mines in Siberia, he probably smuggled it from there!’ Again they would erupt with laughter.     

A Tribute to Charlie van Zyl (28/5/1937 - 7/3/2017) by his eldest son William van Zyl

Contact the authors to purchase a hardcopy of the biography:

Unshaken (Onwankelbaar)

If I could only be half the man you are, I would be perfect

If only I could fill half your shoes, I would be a great man, but I can’t...

If only I could walk and talk like you, I would be a saint of the Most High God

If I could have half your legacy, my chest would swell with pride...

If only I could have your tithe history, service record, and faithfulness as registered in His Kingdom and His church, I would be a person of stature...

If only I could take my heart and replace it with your pure and loving heart, I would be perfect and pure in God’s eyes.

But when the time comes to say goodbye, we will embrace this great man of God with all our love and accolades and hand him up to his divine Master.

You have served your wife and family well. With deep convictions and dedication, you have given more than what was required and expected...

Our words do not have the weight to carry this great saint to his everlasting home and resting place when the time comes...

So we will hand our final words, on that day, to heaven and the angels who will carry you, Charles, our dad, on their loving arms: ‘Sir Charles, we salute you, you have run the race with patience, you have completed the race as a conqueror, enter into the everlasting dwellings of your King and Master!’     

By William van Zyl

Ebooks are available at:


Poem: "Unshaken/Onwankelbaar" (Charlie Van Zyl). N gedig vir Charlie Van Zyl, die pa van William, Martin en Deon. A poem for his dad Charlie Van Zyl. Charlie is the dad of William, Martin & Deon Van Zyl. "He is unshaken-able... his roots are firmly set ... " 

Poem: "A Strong Tower/N Sterk Toring" (Nena Van Zyl). N gedig vir Nena Van Zyl, die ma van William. A poem by William for his mum Nena Van Zyl. "She is a tower of strength..."

"Family Culture: Predictability, Stability and Security" Great stories by William of his family...

"Leadership: Two things you could do today to create a culture in your family or organisation." Telling stories and using metaphor... (By William). Visit Five House Publishing to view the available ebook:

"Katjiepieringboom" (Inspired by Deon Van Zyl). Geinspireer deur Deon Van Zyl - sy 'memories' van sy pa Charlie Van Zyl...dit begin met n krieketwedstryd in die voortuin - 76 Marico Drive, Saaiplaas, Virginia, RSA. The story is inspired by Deon and includes his memories about his dad Charlie when Deon was a  young boy (76 Marico Drive, Saaiplaas, Virginia, RSA.) It starts with a cricket match in the front garden...

Poem: "Tieka" (Tieka Windell). Ouma Tieka/ Nana Tieka - memories of Tieka who lived at 70 Berg Weg, Florentia, Alberton... (By William)

"Strings of the Photo/Die Foto se Snare" (Poem). 'Memories of the past." (By William)

Afrikaanse gedig: Uit Dikmelk en Nettige-vet -"Hantam staan in Steenbok-se-Pan" (Ernst Kleynhans). Ernst Kleynhans voormalige boer in die Vrystaat distrik (Suid-Afrika).

"Ringetjies in die bos" (Doringkuil farm/plaas, RSA). Gedig deur Malinda - haar kinderjare op die plaas Doringkuil (Suid-Afrika). "Sy draai die 'kopseerplant' vinning in ringetjies om haar  vingertjie..." (Poem by Malinda Van Zyl).  

"Bloemhofdam" (Ernst, Theuns & Deon Kleynhans). Poem/Gedig. Ernst Kleynhans en sy seuns - visvang by die Bloemhofdam! (Suid-Afrika). Poem by William and Malinda. 

Dad Charles signs the wedding register at Mike and Sone Moriarty's wedding in 2011 (Hamilton, New Zealand), Credit photo: William & Malinda Van Zyl.