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

Take Graaff-Reinet Anglo Boer War memorial

Graaff-Reinet isn't just the sixth oldest town in South Africa or the town with the most historical monuments in the country. The town and its district also have a rich history of Voortrekker history, Anglo-Boer War history and history connected to the freedom struggle. One of the monuments in town that not a lot of people get to see is the Anglo-Boer War Memorial on the corner of Donkin and Somerset Streets. It's a pity because it's actually a striking…

Comments Off on Take Graaff-Reinet Anglo Boer War memorial

An angel of victory and peace in Graaff-Reinet

When you drive up the main road through Graaff-Reinet the magnificent Dutch Reformed Church (Groot Kerk) awaits you at the top of the street. As you drive around the church you find the town's beautiful Town Hall hiding behind it and perched in the Mayor's Garden stands a statue of an angel holding a sword. Three months after the end of the First World War a decision was made to erect a monument in honour of the gallant Graaff-Reinet men…

Comments Off on An angel of victory and peace in Graaff-Reinet

The war memorial in Somerset East

No matter how big or small the town in South Africa, you are very likely to find a war memorial of some sort somewhere in or close to it. As you come into the Karoo Heartland town of Somerset East from the Graaff Reinet side the town's war memorial stands on an island on the left-hand side. The War Memorial commemorates the men of Somerset East and the surrounding district who lost their lives in the First and Second World…

Comments Off on The war memorial in Somerset East

The Bethulie Concentration Camp cemetery – a sad part of our history

Bethulie in the southern Free State is one of those places not many people pass through as it's not really on any of the main thoroughfares going south (or north, depending how you look at it).  On my last trip up to Johannesburg I deviated off the normal route to see what this town on the banks of the Orange River is all about.  One of the things I found out was that Bethulie was the site of one of…


Graaff-Reinet town hall and the Victory Peace Angel war memorial

Statues is a bit of a sore point in South Africa at the moment (referring to the Cecil John Rhodes statue at UCT and and and...) but there are some truly special ones out there.  One of these is the War Memorial or "Victory Peace Angel" outside the town hall in the Karoo Heartland town of Graaff-Reinet.About three months after the end of World War One, the Mayor of Graaff-Reinet called a public meeting to discuss the erection of a war memorial. …

1 Comment

My Old Fort adventure in Durban

I get to visit Durban once a year during the annual Tourism Indaba but other than stopping in Umhlanga and taking walks on the beachfront, I've never really had an opportunity to explore the city much.  This year I decided to pinch off an hour to explore and discover at least one new place and the choice fell on The Old Fort.  From outside the place didn't look like much but I pressed on and in and was pleasantly surprised by what…


South African Heavy Artillery Memorial in Durban

I wouldn't really call war memorials a specific interest on my side, but I really enjoy discovering historic sites and attractions.  Just about every city and town in South Africa has a war memorial of some sort and Durban is no different.  Usually cities have a number of war related memorials and the first one I found in Durban was the city's South African Heavy Artillery Memorial, one of six around South Africa.  After the end of World War I the Imperial Government…


Uitenhage War Memorial

I'm fascinated by a lot of things so I won't say that war memorials fascinate me, although I find it very interesting how the war memorial in every town - because yes, just every town has some kind of war memorial - looks different.  Ranging from cenotaphs to historic cannons and massive monuments to small simple objects.  This is the war memorial in Uitenhage containing a list of men from the town who died during the two World Wars.

1 Comment

South African Museum

I'm a museum kinda guy.  There is always something new to discover even if you have been to it so many times before.  My favorite museum to go to is the South African Museum in Cape Town.  Its the oldest museum in sub-Saharan Africa and was established in 1825 by Lord Charles Somerset.  It is both a research and educational institution and offers collections of natural history and anthropological objects that document all forms of life - living and extinct - from…