This section of my website has been create to promote and bring an awareness to the historical value of the town Clanwilliam, This is aimed at the forgotten people in the Cederberg with references to deaths, burials, farm graves, farm names and historical properties as well as any scandalous events you may know of. This is an ongoing project. Anyone willing to contribute can contact me.
Clanwilliam is a Principal town of the magisterial district and division of the Cedarberg Municipality, situated at the foot of the Cedarberg Range where the Jan Dissels River flows into the broad Olifants River, 232 km by the national road from Cape Town and 35 km from the nearest railway station, Graafwater.
Clanwilliam, formerly Jan Disselsvlei (after Jan Dissel, a botanist who lived ‘at the Rhenosterbosch along the Piquetberg Mountains’), celebrated its 150 th anniversary in Sept. 1964. The district originally formed part of the district of Stellenbosch. On 1 February I808 the Earl of Caledon, Governor of the Cape Colony (1807-11), after a thorough investigation by Col. R. Collins, annexed that part of the district lying north of the Berg River to the new district of Tulbagh, at the same time declaring it a sub-drostdy, with Daniel Johannes van Ryneveld as assistant magistrate. Jan Disselsvlei, a loan farm of S. van Reenen, was bought for 6,000 rix-dollars to serve as the headquarters of the assistant magistrate. On 21st January 1814 Caledon’s successor, Sir John Cradock (1811-14), renamed the sub-magistracy after his father-in-law, the Earl of Clanwilliam. In 1820 efforts were made to settle four groups of Irish settlers under William Parker along the Jan Dissels River, but with little success. In 1822 the magistracy of Tulbagh was moved to Worcester, but on 1st January 1837 Clanwilliam was separated from Worcester and proclaimed a district. In 1901 the village of Clanwilliam became a municipality, the first mayor being Charles Fryer, an Irish descendant of the 1820 Settlers. A coat of arms, symbolising the citrus industry and the Olifants River, was adopted in 1964, the device Toujours pret (Always ready) being borrowed from the arms of the earls of Clanwilliam. Water is obtained from the Jan Dissels River and electricity supplied by a hydro-electric plant below the Clanwilliam Dam in the Olifants River, completed in 1935.
This picturesque town has a veldskoen factory as well as the Rooibos Tea factory which is the headquarters of the Rooibos Tea Control Board. The town is compliments by many other shops and Bed and Breakfasts in historic homesteads in old Park Street as well as on surrounding farms. It is the headquarters of the Rooibos Tea Control Board. A memorial library in honour of Dr. C. Louis Leipoldt, who spent his childhood at Clanwilliam, and his bosom-friend Dr. P. le Fras Nortier, was inaugurated on 11 October 1958. Leipoldt’s ashes lie buried in a cave in the Pakhuis Pass near the town.