Petrus Johannes and his younger sister Sophia are the only surviving children of Petrus Johannes Ernst Booyens. The young Petrus' early life is on Rietvley farm outside De Rust, which does not yet have its own Dutch Reformed parish. The head of the Booyens family on that farm is Matthys Johannes*1849, grandson of Pieter Johannes Booyens*1780.
On 28 September 1888, at the age of 17, Petrus is confirmed in the Dutch Reformed parish of Oudsthoorn and is introduced to to the congregation the very next day [#1]. Since Petrus is a few years older than the oldest son of Matthys Johannes*1849, he is fawned on by Matthys Johannes, who treats him very much as an own son. When Petrus' own father, Petrus Johannes Ernst Booyens, dies in 1897, Petrus, now 26 years old, remains on a section of the farm Rietvley.
Petrus features in Chapters 14, 15, 16, 18 and 19 of the book AmaBhulu.
On 4 January 1898 Petrus marries Elizabeth Petronella Wilhelmina Snyman, the neighbour's daughter. "Bettie", as she is known, gives Petrus nine (possibly ten) children. By now, the family is on the farm Olyvenhoutskloof, immediately outside Dysselsdorp. Within the family, it is said that young Gabriël, the third child, is one of a set of twins. By the Afrikaner naming convention, the other one of the twins, if she were indeed the third daughter, would be named Elizabeth Petronella Wilhelmina for Petrus' wife. The fact that the next daughter is named Anna Sophia, suggests that the name of the mother has been either omitted or (more likely) used for a child that died young. To date, no formal record of the birth or death of Bettie Jr. has been found, and we rely here totally on the claims of family members.
When Bettie dies on Olyvenhoutskloof during the birth of her last child Willem Gerhardus, Petrus is left with seven children under the age of eleven years to care for. This is when Bettie's cousin travels from the north of the Cape Province to marry the stricken Petrus Johannes. By a quirk of fate, this cousin has the identical triple names of his first wife, because they not only share the same grandmother, but both Betties are first daughters, named for that grandmother, Elizabeth Petronella Wilhelmina Destro, daughter of an Afrikaner farmgirl from Caledon and an Italian soldier in the 60th Regiment of the British Army who had taken discharge at the Cape in 1817.
By the early 1930s, Petrus moves with his family to a smallholding farm immediately south of Calitzdorp. Here he grows fruit near the Gamka River and keeps ostriches in the drier scrubland away from the river. With all of his children out of the house, he eventually retires to Calitzdorp town, near his son Ben (Bernardus).
Petrus is known as a strong Christian man of conservative convictions and plays a significant role in the matters of the local church. His loses his second wife in 1948. Petrus dies on 5 December 1953 at the age of 82 in the town of Calitzdorp, where he lies buried with his second Bettie.
For the references, see below#