• miss-world-south-africa

Was your Ancestor a Beauty Queen?

Was your Ancestor a Beauty Queen? As we celebrate the Miss World Contest we congratulate Candice Abrahams a South African who has been crowned Miss World at the 27th Miss World Pageant held on 12th March 2016 at Dongguan, in China, we also look back at the winners of the Miss South Africa and the South African winners of the Miss Universe contest as well. Many beauty contests have been held in South Africa since 1910. The most important being those in which the winners are entered in overseas contests.

The Battle of Blaauwberg

In August 1805, while the French army with which Napoleon intended to invade England was still in waiting at Boulogne, a formidable British fleet sailed southwards on a secret mission, The Battle of Blaauwberg was going to happen. It was proposed to take the Cape - the key to India - from the Batavian Republic (which was an ally of France) by means of a surprise attack. Naval and cargo vessels, 61 in all, under the command of Commodore Sir Home Popham had 6,654 soldiers and officers under Major-General Sir David Baird on board. Baird, who had spent ten months at the Cape during the first British occupation, knew the fortifications well. Reports of a mighty fleet sailing south reached Lt.-Gen. J. W. Janssen’s, the Governor at the Cape, and he made all possible preparations, but it was the harvesting season and he could not mobilise the burghers without sufficient information of an intended attack.

  • st-stephens-church

St. Stephen’s Church

St. Stephens in Cape Town is the only Dutch Reformed church named after a saint; and its congregation used to be known as the only Coloured congregation that formed part of the Nederduitse Gereformede Kerk (the mother church), with full admission to its synod, while all other Coloured parishes of the N.G. Kerk belong to the daughter or mission church. The rectangular edifice was erected during the First British Occupation and is the oldest theatre building in South Africa, having been erected for that purpose by the Governor, Sir George Yonge, on what is now Riebeek Square,

Clues in your family house name

The names of houses are a fascinating way of tracing your ancestors as they may have been the people that actually named the house. Many people name their houses after the towns or places they originated from or places that are strongly associated with the family. These place names could be vital clues when looking for that missing link. House names also contain names of people, eg Alison & Donald become “Aldon” - they could be named after children, spouses or something special in their lives.

  • bubonic plague

Epidemics in South Africa

The term epidemic is used to indicate an unusual prevalence of a disease. The disease which most harried early navigators, occurring in epidemic form on long voyages, was scurvy. It was known that the condition was caused by absence of fresh food in the sailor's diet. Only in the present century, however, was it discovered that the factor absent from such stored or preserved foods was a vitamin. Vitamin C, the anti-scorbutic factor, is the most vulnerable of all the vitamins, readily destroyed by heating, drying and other methods of food preservation.

How to write a biography

A biography is the story of a person's life. Some biographies are just a few sentences long, others are a book. Short biographies give the basic facts of a person's life. Longer biographies include the facts with more details. Most biographies are about famous, or infamous, people. Some are about historical people, and others are about people still living. Everyone can have a biography.

Kenhardt Cemetery

Kenhardt is situated 710 km south of Upington and 74 km west of Putsonderwater, the nearest station on the De Aar - Upington railway. A bus service operates between Putsonderwater and Kenhardt. A special magistrate [...]

  • maitland cemetery

Maitland Cemetery Records

Are you looking for Cemetery records in South Africa? Are you looking for plot cards for Maitland Cemetery or personalised visits and graves photographed?

Pagel’s Circus

Friedrich Wilhlem August Pagel was born in Plathe, Pomerania, Germany on 5 February 1878 Friedrich, the 'strong man' and circus proprietor, was the 2nd of eight children born to Antonia Fraudnich and August Pagel, a huge strong man. Friedrich inherited his father's great size and strength which he enhanced by working at a smithy in his home town. He qualified as a blacksmith when he was seventeen, but became a ship's stoker and travelled widely and adventurously, finally deserting his ship at Sydney, Australia,

  • kleinmond-cemetery

Kleinmond Cemetery

Kleinmond Cemetery is situated in the town of Kleinmond which is a coastal town and holiday resort with a small fishing harbour in Sandown Bay, between Gordon's Bay and Hermanus, in the Caledon district. The [...]

Basters of Little Namaqualand

The Basters of Little Namaqualand lived in the five Coloured reserves - Concordia, Komaggas, Leliefontein (Lily Fountain), Steinkopf and the Richtersveld - in the magisterial district of Namaqualand, Cape Province, provide nowadays a field in [...]

Moving home with your Family Tree

The decision to move will inevitable come at some stage of our life where we need to downscale and get rid of stuff. Whether it’s your own decision or be it a parent going into frail care or even you, when you are forced to make decisions on those precious family items and heirlooms we all hang on to its going to be a difficult one.

Was your ancestor a petty criminal?

Some years ago whilst searching through the Government Gazettes I came across an interesting list of Criminal Offences from 1855 and a List of Prisoners Committed to the Cape Town Goal. By PE de Robaix Esq. Justice of the peace. These were true extracts by N. Stewart Gaoler. Browse below and see if one of your ancestors appear,

Dirk Ligter Clanwillam

Dirk Ligter a renowned stock theif  of a singularly engaging temperament and with characteristics all his own, who became a legendary figure in Afrikaans literature. He is believed to have been born in the vicinity of [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2013 No 238 – Special Book Lover’s Issue

BOOKS GALORE FOR THE 7TH YEAR Richmond celebrates the seventh anniversary of Booktown this year from October 24 to 27. As ever the programme for this immensely popular “Boekbedonnered” festival, as it has become known, is jam-packed with interesting talks, presentations and launches. The programme (on page 2) includes exhibitions and outings. Among these is an early afternoon “walkabout” conducted by local resident, Dave Clemens, an authority on Karoo architecture, as well as a short walk up Vegkop conducting by Anglo-Boer War experts, John Donaldson and Chris Sheldon. This stroll trails off from the Supper Club at 17h00 and [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2013 No 237

NEW BOOK FOR LOVERS OF KAROO CUISINE There’s a new book for Karoo and Karoo cuisine enthusiasts. Veld to Fork, written by Gordon Wright, a Graaff-Reinet chef and guesthouse owner, is more than just another collection of recipes. This 160-page, soft-covered book, published by Struik Lifestyle, showcases delicious dishes against awe-inspiring and beautiful Karoo landscapes. Gordon combines tradition and culinary flair with fresh local ingredients to present 82 mouth-watering dishes for every occasion. Obviously, Karoo lamb, beef, free-range chicken and venison take pride of place, but soups, side dishes and superb desserts are included along with preserves and baked goods. [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2013 No 236

NEW FOCUS ON CONCENTRATION CAMPS On the subject of Anglo-Boer War concentration camps many might argue that it’s all been said. Not so Elizabeth van Heyningen. For years she waded through long-forgotten, dusty archival material in South Africa and Britain to produce a fresh perspective, a social history of the camps. The result is a comprehensive, well-balanced and immensely interesting 400-page book covering everything from overcrowding, poor rations, malnutrition, disease, death and orphans, to music and inmate employment. Elizabeth also scrutenised camp mythology. “These were not simply places to which women, children and old men were sent. Neither were [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2013 No 235

ONE WEBSITE SAYS IT ALL The popular www.karoospace.co.za website is being relaunched in Beta format. “The site, which is dedicated to the promotion, celebration and protection of the Karoo, has been upgraded and greatly improved,” says photojournalist, Chris Marais. “It is now designed bring a huge collection of pictures and stories of the region, it’s people, their cultural and heritage, to the widest possible audience in the most user-friendly way.” The Great Karoo, once a swamp, now a semi-desert and the largest plateau of its kind outside of Asia, is a constant source of fascination to many. Generally, about 4 [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2013 No 234

CRADOCK WRITERS FESTIVAL DRAWS BIG NAMES Cradock’s 4th Annual Karoo Writers Festival, scheduled for August 9 to 11, promises to be the best yet, say organisers. The programme includes internationally known authors, top South Africa writers, and some exciting excursions. “The festival has grown steadily since its inception, but as far as interest and input are concerned, it has truly ‘taken off’ this year,” says Brian Wilmot, one of the organisers and curator of Cradock’s Olive Schreiner Museum. “An excellent mix of new and well-loved writers will talk, read, socialize at leisurely meals and participate in fireside chats. Among [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2013 No 233

FANCY AN ICE SWIM? The annual Speedo Ice Swim Africa is scheduled to take place in Fraserburg's Nuwe Dam on the weekend of July 12 to 14. Normally, the water temperature in this dam, which is close to Sutherland, one of the coldest places in the country, is 5ºC or less in July and average winter temperature in this area is about -11ºC. Buffelsfontein, a farm in the district, holds the country's official record for the lowest temperature of -18,6ºC and Sutherland itself experienced an extreme low of -16,4ºC on July 12, 2003. So, Nuwe Dam, l 400 metres [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2013 No 232

FIRST RUN IN JUNE Cross-country trail running is becoming popular across South Africa. To meet the needs of this market Fernkloof Wine farm, outside Prince Albert, has created a new 15km trail. This inspiring, challenging route, the brainchild of trail runner and winery owner, Diederik le Grange, passes through some picturesque and breathtaking scenery - kloofs, vineyards, water tunnels and streams. It includes steep climbs and demanding declines. The focus is on the enjoyment of running, so the trail meets the needs of beginners and experienced enthusiasts. The inaugural run, on Saturday, June l, will be sponsored by Fernkloof Wines [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2013 No 231

RARE POTS FOUND IN PRINCE ALBERT Two clay pots, typical of those used by early Khoekhoe (Hottentot) people, were recently found in the Prince Albert area after a heavy rainstorm. They had been washed out of a natural drainage channel at Waterkop smallholdings, on the outskirts of the village, and were discovered by Gareth Williams and his friend Willem Mathee, a student at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. One pot was intact and contained a dark glistening substance; the other had been broken into a number of large and small fire-blackened shards. The find greatly excited the archaeological world and [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2013 No 230

RICHMOND HOSTS TOP LITERARY FESTIVAL Richmond is hosting a Fugard Festival in May. The aim is to pay tribute to Athol Fugard, the greatest living dramatist in the English-speaking world who turns 80 this year. Fugard's home town New Bethesda, launched the festival last year, but was unable to continue due to lack of funding. The Fugard Festival will run back-to-back with Richmond's J M Coetzee Festival from May 23 to 26 and organiser Darryl Earl David says: “Richmond is immensely proud to be hosting this top South African literary event and so has planned a bumper weekend. The festival [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2013 No 229

TIGHTER FOCUS ON SLAVERY Marthinus van Bart, specialist heritage writer of Die Burger, has placed slavery in South Africa under the microscope. In his recently published book Kaap van Slawe, which took a decade to research, he has dug up some startling facts relating to the little-known transatlantic slave trade in general and the role of the British Empire in particular. Few realize that British slave ships plied the oceans for well over 300 years causing unimaginable misery while amassing vast fortunes. The book reveals some critical errors and inconsistencies currently available on slaves, slavery and slave route in [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2013 No 228

FESTIVAL TO TICKLE THE TASTE BUDS The first annual Karoo Food Festival is scheduled to take place in Cradock from March 21 to 23. “Our aim is to use Karoo and its food to turn the area into a culinary destination,” says organiser Lisa Antrobus. “We hope to inspire ‘foodies’, who travel in search of new tastes, to adventure into the Karoo, but we also hope those who simply love the region will come to Cradock at the end of March to enjoy a feast of Karoo fare. The festival will not only focus on traditional Karoo dishes, it will [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2012 No 227

JUST THE THING FOR CHRISTMAS Anyone interested in South Africa’s ecclesiastical architecture and church history will find A Platteland Pilgrimage fascinating. Designed as a companion publication to the successful 101 Country Churches, which Darryl Earl David and Philippe Menache produced in 2010, this 132-page A4, soft cover, full-colour book is packed with information on 102 churches across South Africa’s nine provinces. However, their new book, with foreword by Gabriel Fagan, offers much more than the first. Excellently compiled and beautifully illustrated, it includes a series of photographs of each church as well as interesting interior details, such as pulpits, organs, [...]

Rose’s Round-up November 2012 No 226

OUTRAGE AT THE ARREST OF TOP MEDICAL MAN Outrage has been expressed across the world regarding the arrest in Dubai on August 18, of Beaufort West-born Professor Cyril Karabus, 77. Cyril, one of the world’s top paediatric oncologists, was returning from Toronto in Canada where he had gone to attend a family re-union and the wedding of one of his sons. “This was the first time in many years that all five siblings were together in one country with their parents,” said his son, Michael. Cyril’s wife, Jennifer, their daughter, Sarah (also a well-known paediatrician) and her two children, [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2012 No 225

NO HOLIDAYS FOR THESE LEARNERS The quality of schooling and state of education is given much publicity these days, but in 1851 a frontier school mistress stood no nonsense and took an arbitrary decision. Mrs. Eedes principal of the Retreat Boarding School for Young Ladies in Grahamstown, simply informed parents that half year school holidays had been cancelled. According to the Cape Frontier Times of June 1851, she took this step because she was not entirely satisfied with the performance of the girls in her care. They were not doing as well as they could in all subjects, so [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2012 No 224

A JOURNEY OF TASTE TREATS, SURVIVAL AND EMPOWERMENT Sydda Essop’s cookery book, Karoo Kitchen, is set to find a place on the bookshelves of all Karoo lovers. Much, much more than just a recipe book, it pays homage to the Karoo, the rich cultural diversity of the region and its people. A well-illustrated, worthwhile read it is a journey of discovery, survival and empowerment and it does not pull the punches when it comes to isolation, political turmoil, and poverty. The recipes are as varied and interesting as the people of the Karoo. The book includes a wide variety [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2012 No 223

IN SEARCH OF SOLUTIONS A two-day TEDx conference, scheduled to be held in Prince Albert on September 1 and 2, will search for creative ways of helping the community solve ecological problems. TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a non-profit organisation, which was started in 1984, to investigate, explore and identify environmental problems and share ideas on solving these. The Prince Albert conference, entitled Meet Me There: Working Beneath, Between, Beyond and Towards a Thriving Planet, aims to assist the local community to find solutions to difficult conflicts, through group discussion, says organiser Hélène Smit. The programme features some top [...]

Rose’s Round up July 2012 No 222

SPOTLIGHT ON THE FUTURE Two top conferences will be held in the Karoo in October. The first, the Second Karoo Development Conference, takes place in Beaufort West from October 14 to 17. Discussions will focus on the future of the region, its people, and their environmental, ecological and economic role in South Africa. The programme will include talks on the effect of the SKA (Square Kilometer Array) and “fracking”, the gas exploitation of the Karoo’s shale beds. Tourism, mining management, agricultural development, the role of small towns in the general economic infrastructure, poverty alleviation and job creation, will also be [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2012 No 221

FOR MUCH MORE THAN A MEAL A new cookery book, to be launched in August, promises to be a valuable addition to any Karoo library. Written by Beaufort West’s Sydda Essop, it comprises a rich collection of recipes and stories from the many diverse cultures that make up the Karoo. Sydda interviewed over 70 cooks and healers, varying in age from 20 to 90, to compile this book which contains recipes ranging from the traditional to the more exotic and including a variety of herbal remedies. Basics such as bread, beer, curry and sweets, as well as some easy-to-prepare meals, [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2012 No 220

TITUS OATES REMEMBERED IN ABERDEEN The centenary of the death of Captain Lawrence “Titus” Oates was recently commemorated in the little Karoo village of Aberdeen. On March 16, 1912, Oates, a member of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole, stepped out tent during a blizzard saying: “I’ll am going out. I will be some time.” He was suffering badly, and in severe pain. He never returned. Scott, and his companions, died waiting for his return. While Oates died on the ice, his death is linked to wounds received on the sun-scorched plains, outside Aberdeen in the [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2012 No 219

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN It is time to visit the Karoo once more for the ever-popular annual Prince Albert Olive Festival. This year’s event, scheduled for April 27 and 28, will centers around the Fransie Pienaar Museum, Market Square and spill out across the nearby school’s sports fields. Highlights will include stargazing, history and ghost walks, witblitz, wine and olive tasting, plus an olive pip spitting competition, a half marathon for the energetic and trips across the Swartberg Pass and into Gamkaskloof, The Hell, for explorers. Entertainment will be provided by Chris Chameleon, The Eden Minstrels and a Boeremusiek orkes [...]