Pietsap van Rensburg - Mr John Deere!

Mr John Deere was the only way of describing Pietsap and his collection when Senwes Scenario, branch manager Waldo Venter and agricultural business manager, Marietjie Grobler, visited him.
Showcase upon showcase filled with models brought us to the first question, namely how many models he has. He quickly answered 5001 17 13 24, and we could not get any other figure out of him. However, a quick calculation indicated that he definitely has a few thousand scale models. 
There are everything from John Deere tractors, ploughs, belts and buckles and pedal tractors -  name it and he has it. Even John Deere snowmen, houses and magazines - the list is never-ending. The number plate of his Ford bakkie reads JD TOYS and everything in his house is John Deere branded, even the fire extinguishers are green, and trademarks are everywhere. The tray, glasses and cups with which we were served - all John Deere.
Where did it all begin?
Pietsap's collection started at the age of eight when his father, Hennie, gave him a Ford model tractor after having given him a hiding. However, it broke in no time. They worked with Ford tractors on the farm Doornbult, until they switched over to John Deere in 1977. He jokingly said: “A puppy's eyes open after seven days. My eyes only opened after 17 years.”
Doornbult until now
He has a special place in his collection for scale models of their farm tractors at Doornbult, where he grew up and farmed until 2010, namely the 8630, 3130, 3140, 4430, 4440, 2140 and 965.
He tells us tongue-in-cheek that the farming with Simmenthalers, merinos, maize and beans was of such a nature that the co-ops were not interested in him.  “But as a result of my collection, I have met a number of important guys from large agri-companies.”
The actual beginning was in 1989, during a John Deere tour to the USA, when he realised that one could import model tractors. He has been back six times since to, as he puts it, “play with model tractors.”
“In 1990 Jim Procter exhibited his John Deere 820 at Expo 3 under my name.” At  Expo 4, Henry Lindemann also exhibited his John Deere 730 under Pietsap's name. “My country's flag was there, which made me feel very small,” he said with a lump in his throat. And everything snow-balled until now.
When he moved to Schweizer-Reneke in 2010, the tractors moved with him. He carefully packed and unpacked each one, and each one has its own unique story.
The model tractors are in many respects not really important - SAMTA (South African Model Tractor Association) is really the important aspect. He was the chairman of SAMTA for years and they had as many as 300 members. His view is that he doesn't want to know how thick your cheque book is. If you pay your membership fees, you are a member and all members are equal. He is very proud of the current chairman, Frans Jacobs, who learned everything here. SAMTA is about the love of the cause, being together and working together. But a model tractor is always a good excuse.
Which one is the most important to him? “They are all important. Tell me this - which one of your children would you choose? You simply can't choose” – although he did mention that the first wooden scale model in his study is very unique.
He is known for his restoration work on model tractors and he showed us his working space. He laughs and concludes with: “ You fix a John Deere  - the rest you throw away.” Who does he look up to? Definitely Groen Karel Bezuidenhout from Elliot – “Now there is a John Deere man with passion.”
Riches and number of models
And value-wise? He jokingly says that the collection is worth one pound ten and six, but according to this observer one cannot attach a value to this collection. Money simply cannot buy it, although many have tried. The only thing Pietsap says, is: “It doesn't matter how many models you have, whether you have 1 or 1001 - it depends on how you deal with them.”
He measures his riches by his John Deere pedal tractors. When he was a child his father used to say that only the rich people on the Glaudina side, had John Deere tractors, a Ford bakkie and a Mercedes car and the children had John Deere pedal tractors, which he was not allowed to ride on. Now he has quite a few, and in this respect he is stinking rich.
Visit Pietsap personally
Don't accept my word. Pietsap has regular visitors to his collection - visit him personally and sign the register to make it official. Seeing is believing! He also has a garage full of Mercedes-Benz models!
Should you be interested in such a visit, contact Pietsap van Rensburg at 082 772 7200. When you take the last turn to his house, you will see the green and yellow street kerbs. Drive to John Deere Road - where you will find Pietsap.