The beauty of fatigue and the thrill of conquest

Rosaleen “Poppie” van As still can’t believe she’s on her way to Italy. Her incredible journey started over 9 years ago when she started preparing her now-famous 'roosterbrood' with cheese and jam or butter at a small red roadside stand in Laingsburg.

Roosterbrood is a traditional homemade bread, which is baked on an open fire. It takes years to master the art of getting the bread just right without burning it. And hardy fingers too!

Poppie and her friend Stan Engelbrecht met by chance over 6 years ago, while he was scouting routes for the first Tour of Ara ( He asked her to come and prepare her roosterbrood at the race and she quickly became part of the family. Over the years she has made roosterbrood at all of the races he organizes, including Eroica South Africa.  

Her incredible life story, her boundless energy and warm smile, touched the hearts of the Eroica people, so much so, that they invited her to Gaiole, Italy to attend the main Eroica event as a special guest.

At 63 and being from a poor community, Poppie has never left the Western Cape in her life. Stan setup an incredible fundraising campaign to take her on a 10-day road trip to show her some of the wonderful things Italy has to offer. It has always been her dream to travel overseas, and she might never have the opportunity to do so again. This is a dream-come-true for her, and this experience will change her life forever. 

“Bring me the tired and the hungry. Roosterbrood will repair them!” she says, embodying the spirit of “rare humanity” that is quintessentially Eroica.

We can’t wait to meet you in Gaiole Poppie!


Over the last couple of weeks Poppie’s documentary fundraising campaign received an overwhelming response. This documentary will be exploring her personal history, her life today and of course her trip to Italy and how it will shape her life. Stan and his girlfriend Donnet, plan to invest the profits of the potential sales of this documentary into a long-term solution to break through the cycle of poverty Poppie and her family are stuck in.

Although they have met their fundraising target, the more donations they receive the better they are able to make the final product. The more they are able to raise now, the bigger the impact on Poppie’s life in the long run.

So please spread the word – this is the final week! You can help to tell her story by donating here!

Search for @poppievanas on Instagram and follow her adventure!