Penney Ellis

Documentary photography

Stewart moved back to the plot at about the time it was put up for sale. He was unemployed when the sale to the dog-rescue charity fell through. It seemed obvious he should take over the kennels and get them up and running again. Mom and Dad raised a bank loan to cover living costs and pay wages for a few months.

A desperate effort followed to rebuild the kennels and revive the business. Dad was forced to step aside, an acrimonious eviction.

A different dog-rescue charity moved thirty dogs into the kennels, a reliable if inadequate income.

The pressure of their situation weighed heavy and tensions intensified between Mom, Dad and Stewart. They pressed on.

Then came a bill from Eskom, the national electricity provider. For years they’d miscalculated the energy bill for the plot and after rectifying the meter, presented a backdated bill for R97,000 (£4,850).

During a call with Mom, she tells me that Frank has died. Frank’s farm borders the edge of Smokedown and he supplies water to the settlement. He was about the same age as Dad. A couple of years previously, intruders managed to get into their house through the roof at night. Frank and his wife Marietjie were beaten and tortured for hours, a kettle of boiling water poured down Frank’s back and over his genitals. Mom said he never recovered after the incident.

Not long after that incident, intruders were caught on the roof of the cottage of Frank’s son, next to his house. Frank’s two sons shot at the intruders and caught them as they jumped off the roof.

The plot is still for sale. The asking price has been lowered and the estate agent has refreshed the online advert with new photos of the house.