Photo: Instagram / Poppie van As
Photo: Instagram / Poppie van As
In about a week from now, Rosaleen ‘Poppie’ van As — or Tannie Poppie as she is famously known in Laingsburg — will be boarding an aeroplane for the first time in her life, thanks to the incredible work done by Stan Engelbrecht and his team.
In the above video, Tannie Poppie introduces herself way better than we ever will. Her lovely personality and cheerful aura are what drew Engelbrecht to her story.
Poppie is a 63-year-old entrepreneur from Laingsburg, a friendly, modern Karoo town, only 280km from Cape Town. Engelbrecht met Poppie six years ago by chance after he’d purchased the roosterbrood (braai bread) she sells along a small roadside on the N1.
The two struck up a friendship that saw Poppie extending her business to newer heights.
“I asked her to come and prepare her now-famous ‘roosterbrood’ at a few of the bicycling races I organise. Over the years she has made ‘roosterbrood’ at all my races, and she has become part of the family,” Engelbrecht said.
As the years went by, Engelbrecht got to know Poppie and learn about her poor background. This prompted him to give the 63-year-old a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel abroad and experience life in Italy.
“Since Poppie has never left the Western Cape in her life, we decided to take this opportunity to show her Italy for 10 days and take her on a road trip. It has always been her dream to travel overseas.
“At 63 and being from a poor community, she might never have the opportunity to do so again. Having known Poppie for 6 years I know that this is a dream-come-true for her, and this experience will change her life forever,” Engelbrecht added.
One of the events Engelbrecht organises is Eroica South Africa, a cycling event that takes place in Montagu, a small town nestled in western Little Karoo, 180km from Cape Town.
During one of the events, Italian representatives who met Poppie were very impressed by her “and so touched by her incredible life story, that they invited her to Gaiole, Italy to attend the main Eroica event as a special guest.”
According to Engelbrecht, Eroica Italy have sorted Poppie out with a plane ticket and will host her during the three-day event. However, the plan to allow Poppie an opportunity to remain in Italy for another seven days, where she can get as much of the majestic country in as possible,
All of this is ideal, of course, because the finances attached to realising Poppie’s dream are pretty costly. Engelbrecht launched a Backabuddy crowdfunding campaign with a goal of raising R100 000 for Poppie’s trip.
With a week to go before they jet off to Italy, they have already gone beyond their goal, and garnered R101 211.47 in donations. But, the more that they can get, the better Poppie’s experience in Italy will be.
“In Italy, the funds will provide a bit of spending money for Poppie, and will go towards accommodation, food and travel expenses while we are there. We have this one opportunity to show her Venice, Rome, and some of the wonderful things Italy has to offer, and it would be sad to miss out on something simply because we can’t afford it.
“We want to give Poppie the best, richest possible experience, and every little bit will help to make this a life-changing trip for her,” Engelbrecht explained.
This trip is also important because it will form part of a documentary Engelbrecht is filming about her life, titled A Diamond in the Sand: The Story of Poppie van As.
All profits made from the documentary will be invested in her little business “to make her life a bit easier in years to come.”
While the Backabuddy campaign has already achieved its crowdfunding goal, Engelbrecht has left it open for as many more donations as they can get before it closes on Monday, 23 September.
There is no minimum donation amount that you can make. However, if you donate R250, Poppie will be sure to send you a personalised postcard all the way from Italy.
You can click here if you would like to make a donation.