The Cradock Four Garden of Remembrance

Standing on a hill as you come into the Karoo Heartland town of Cradock from the south are four tall concrete pillars. The four pillars are the main focus point of the Cradock Four Garden of Remembrance in Lingelihle township. The memorial was unveiled in 2007 and upgraded in 2019 and includes a visitor center, amphitheater, and research and exhibition areas. The Cradock Four were a group of four anti-apartheid activists who were abducted and murdered by South African security police in…

Comments Off on The Cradock Four Garden of Remembrance

Jansenville Townhall and War Memorial plus a bit of history

The town of Jansenville is located in the Noorsveld, an area about 90 kilometers south of Graaff-Reinet and known for its dry, arid climate and its abundance of succulents. The need for a new parish in the district was evident from 1848 and the establishment of the village is largely due to the efforts of Minister Alexander Smith from Uitenhage who visited the congregation once a quarter.  In 1853 Petrus Fourie arranged for the layout and survey of about 80…

Comments Off on Jansenville Townhall and War Memorial plus a bit of history

The Bloukrans Bridge on the border of the Eastern and Western Cape

The Bloukrans Bridge in the Tsitsikamma is famous for being the site of the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee jump, operated by Bloukrans Bungy (previously known as Face Adrenalin) since 1997. The N2 national road along the Garden Route between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town crosses over the bridge and I'm sure somebody who has never pulled over to the view site probably doesn't know what's happening below them. Construction on the Bloukrans Bridge started in February 1980, running through…

Comments Off on The Bloukrans Bridge on the border of the Eastern and Western Cape

The Concentration Camp Memorial at Norvalspont

The Anglo Boer War (1899 – 1902) is one of the big turning points in South Africa’s history along with the arrival of Europeans in the country, the Great Trek, the Apartheid years and a new democratic South Africa.  Okay, so our history is about more than just those five turning points but that is what came to my mind just now.  One of the most significant things that happened during the Anglo Boar War was that it was the first time ever that…

Comments Off on The Concentration Camp Memorial at Norvalspont

Graaff Reinet Kruithuis on Magazine Hill

The hill behind Graaff-Reinet is known as magazine Hill. But do you know why it has the name? Perhaps there was a battle fought here during the Anglo Boar War. Maybe local Burgers shot at the British from here while the town declared independence. Could a rebel have been shot here at some stage during the history of the town? The answer isn't quite as tragic or exciting, but it could easily have been linked to such an event. Also,…

Comments Off on Graaff Reinet Kruithuis on Magazine Hill

Gill College, the Somerset East school that was supposed to be a university

The history of Somerset East dates back to 1815 when Lord Charles Somerset established an experimental farm at the foot of the Boschberg. Somerset Farm was started to supply food to the British troops manning the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony, provide their horses with feed, and partly to cultivate tobacco for export purposes. By 1825 Lord Charles stood on the stoep of the house in 9 Paulet Street and surveyed Somerset Farm, dividing it into erven, thus starting the…

Comments Off on Gill College, the Somerset East school that was supposed to be a university

From a pear tree to a beautiful church – the story of the Pearston Dutch Reformed Church

I get disappointed if I visit a small town and find that there isn't a historic church somewhere to visit and photograph. One of the towns that didn't disappoint was Pearston. Located on a very flat landscape the church is easily spotted in the town's very limited skyline. The village of Pearston is located 48km west of Somerset East in the Eastern Cape's Karoo Heartland. Like so many of the small towns and villages of the Karoo, the village had…

Comments Off on From a pear tree to a beautiful church – the story of the Pearston Dutch Reformed Church

The old mill building in Somerset East

One of the buildings in Somerset East that I find the most interesting is the little building on the corner of Paulet and Beaufort Streets. It is one that draws a lot of comments and speculation about its origins although the general thought is that it was a mill dating back to the early days of Somerset Farm. Information collected by Sheila van Aardt suggested it was used as a mill with the water wheel on the Beaufort Street side…

Comments Off on The old mill building in Somerset East

Water over the multi arches of the Churchill Dam

After the big rains in October (2023) both the Kouga and Churchill Dams overflowed. Following a visit to Storms River Village I decided to detour via Kareedouw to the Churchill Dam, somewhere I've never actually been to. I wasn't disappointed that I did. What a sight, especially with the water flowing over the multiple arches. The Churchill Dam is located on the Krom River at the bottom end of the Langkloof between Kareedouw and Humansdorp. The dam has a capacity…

Comments Off on Water over the multi arches of the Churchill Dam

The Chair Monument in the Karoo

Monuments and memorials come in all shapes and sizes and by different names. By name, the Chair Monument outside Middelburg in the Karoo Heartland may have you confused. Why would they put up a memorial to a chair? Was it a simple wooden stool or is somebody celebrating their beloved lazyboy? In fact, although a chair was involved, the monument is an Anglo Boer War related memorial and commemorates Commandant J. C. Lötter and his right-hand man, Lieutenant Pieter Wolfaardt.…

Comments Off on The Chair Monument in the Karoo