Alexandria ox expert receives master’s degree at 75

A 75-YEAR-OLD Alexandria area farmer has become the toast of the town after getting his master’s degree at North-West University (NWU) in Potchefstroom.

CELEBRATING A STELLAR ACHIEVEMENT: Marius Oosthuysen and his family who attended his graduation ceremony in Potchefstroom. From left are Prof Fika Janse van Rensburg (rector of the Potchefstroom Campus), Prof Kobus du Pisani (supervisor), Hester Oosthuysen (spouse), Oom Marius, Sanderi Oosthuysen (daughter), Marie Roodt (daughter), Bennie Roodt (grandson), Tarien Roodt (granddaughter) and Sreandi Bronn (granddaughter)

Ever since he was a little boy, Marius Oosthuysen learnt how to work with draught oxen by listening to the “old people” and experts, and today he is one of the few experts in the country on this topic.

Oosthuysen recently received his master’s degree, the oldest student to be conferred his master’s degree at NWU’s autumn ceremony.

The title of his dissertation, “Die Trekos en trektoerusting in Suid-Afrika: ʼn historiese perspektief” (The draught ox and draught equipment in South Africa: a historical perspective), is the product of all the knowledge and experience that he has gained over the years.

Oom Marius said the purpose of the dissertation was to record all his knowledge in order to preserve it for future generations.

Oom Marius, as he is known, said the purpose of the dissertation was to record all his knowledge in order to preserve it for future generations. His supervisor, Prof Kobus du Pisani, said that he corrected very little in the dissertation, as it was clear that Oom Marius had a passion for and an amazing knowledge about draught oxen. His co-supervisor was Prof Matilda Burden of the University of Stellenbosch.

Oom Marius has been married to his wife Hester for 52 years. They met each other at school in Kirkwood. He completed his undergraduate studies (BSc) as well as his BSc Hons at the University of the Free State.

Oom Marius said he saw and learnt how to work with trek oxen ever since he was a little boy. His other hobby, processing hides for riems for draught oxen, was a natural outcome of this interest.

His two daughters, Sanderi Oosthuysen and Marie Roodt, also attended his graduation ceremony, together with three of his grandchildren. The youngest, Tarien, is currently a first-year dietetics student at the NWU’s Potchefstroom campus, while the other two have already obtained their degrees at the NWU. Benn Roodt is currently a pharmacist in Moorreesburg and Sreandi Bronn an industrial psychologist in Port Elizabeth.

Marie said that her father started his studies in 2011 when Sreandi and Bennie were first-year students at the NWU-Puk, and received his degree in the year that the youngest grandchild, Tarien, was a first-year student.

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