A paved area fronting a building. It usually has a low wall or balustrade along its length and from the second half of the nineteenth century it was covered by a curvilinear corrugated iron roof which was supported by wooden or cast iron posts or pillars and was painted in alternate stripes of different colours. It is often screened at each end by a wall with a small diamond-shaped or circular window.
The stoep is the gathering place of the family and friends and passers-by on warm summer days and it serves the same social function as the hearth in north European houses.
(Walton, 1993: 110)