Photographs: Paul Henman
Born and bred in KwaZulu-Natal, Derek has served his province and community well and has a reputation in his community as a “an honest, upright and highly principled man who is often sought after for his superb carpentry skills”, says friend Anthony Durnford, who introduced the team at Toyota Connect to Derek to learn more about his 1971 Toyota Hilux.
Born on 10 November 1941, Derek was educated at Merchiston Preparatory School and Pietermaritzburg Technical College, after which he joined South African Railways to do his apprenticeship as a carpenter. The training, he says, was rigorous and there was little room for error. He later spent many years working for the government in several spheres, including the Department of Education, where he was promoted to inspector in 1981 and remained there until 1999.
In 1971, Derek put his carpentry skills and passion to further use on weekends, building his own home. At the time he drove a Valiant station wagon, but soon realised that it would be far more efficient to invest in a bakkie to transport building materials for his house. So he traded in the station wagon for R450 against a brand-new, made-in-Japan Toyota Hilux. “I paid R1,750 for the vehicle on the 26th of April 1971 and paid it off over three years at R44 per month. The registration was and still is NR 5350.”