Roses-Round-up

Fascinating factual tales and stories on South Africa history by Rose Willis. Read all about her here and subscribe to her newsletter Rose’s Round-Up for a small fee.

Rose’s ROUND-UP – A privately-published monthly newsletter mainly covering snippets of Karoo history * Copyright: Rose Willis * Cellphone: 082-926-0474
email: rosewillis705@gmail.com. P O Box 28636, Danhof, 9310

 

Rose’s Round-up September 2017 No 285

FESTIVAL NOT TO BE MISSED A literary festival to honour South African author, Etienne van Heerden, will be held in Cradock from September 22 to 24. Arranged by well-known Karoo festival organizer Darryl David, it is the first event of its kind and promises to be a winner. “Van Heerden’s work is fiction at its best,” says Herman de Coninck, (NRC Handelsblad, Amsterdam), adding that: “You will have to read Van Heerden if you want to know anything about South Africa.” As the winner of two Hertzog prizes, and almost every Afrikaans literary award, Van Heerden, a son of the Karoo, is [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2017 No 284

IT’S ALL IN THE RECORDS Church records are the oldest records in South Africa. Churches keep records of baptisms and burials performed from the church or on church property. Church Minute books also have a great deal of interesting information, depending on how efficient the minister was Beaufort West’s Anglican Rev Guy Gething kept detailed notes, particularly on burials. Until 1778 the Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk or NGK) was the only official church in South Africa. This church's records date from 1665. The next oldest church is the Lutheran Church with records dating back to 1778. Anglican Church [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2017 No 283

BOER WAR SERVICE MEN HONOURED DOWN UNDER Canberra, in Australia, now has a National Boer War Memorial after 115 years and it looks great reported John Sweetman. The official dedication took place on May 31, this year. This was followed by Boer War Day on June 4, 2017, when the Boer War Memorial Society of Western Australia paid tribute the 16,000 Australian men and women who served in South Africa from 1899 to 1902. For this anniversary commemoration and reconciliation service, held in Kings Park, Perth, the Botanical Parks and Gardens Authority completely restored and upgraded the memorial and 77mm [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2017 No 282

NEW BOOK HIGHLIGHTS COLLECTORS AND COLLECTIONS An exciting new “bird book” has just been released. Entitled Warriors, Dilettantes and Businessmen - Bird collectors during the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries in southern Africa, it was written by Prince Albert’s Dr Richard Dean, a man who is widely known and highly respected in birding and history circles. The book covers the collectors and collections of bird specimens, from 1850 to 1950, across an area immensely rich in bird life. This was a period during which the interest in Africa was high and museum collections, in Britain in particular, were growing rapidly. Natural [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2017 No 281

BRIEF TOWNSHIP TOUR ENDS IN A BOOKLET A tour of Lingelihle Township during a Cradock Karoo Writers Festival led to a booklet. Some time ago, Brian Wilmot, curator of the Schreiner House Museum in Cradock joined a tour to this township and found it inspirational. “So much general information and first-person anecdotal material was shared, particularly about the part erased by Apartheid, that I felt it should be preserved in a booklet,” he said. He immediately went to work and now an informative 42-page, well-illustrated, full-colour guide, entitled In the Footsteps of James Calata and Matthew Goniwe - a Tour [...]

Rose’s round-up April 2017 No 280

CALITZDORP – THE INSIDE STORY Malan Roux’s Calitzdorp Cameos is a gem. As it takes a look at the growth and development of Calitzdorp, this book examines several old houses and, in the most charming way, brings their former inhabitants to life, while also introducing some present-day owners. This is no dry architectural history; the book is full of excitement and surprises. While learning interesting and often amusing facts about places like De Oude Pastorie, Die Dorpshuis, Homestead, Aletta’s House, as well as Klaas Fouche’s House, Siesta and the Van Tonders, the reader discovers that Calitzdorp had a nobility and [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2017 No 279

A CLOSER LOOK AT KAROO BATTLEFIELDS In 2016 the Karoo Development Foundation received funding from the National Heritage Commission to establish a Battlefields Route. Work is now starting. “We aim to include Griqua and Anglo-Boer War history,” says Professor Doreen Atkinson. The battles of Swartkoppies (1845) and Boomplaats (1848), the Boer incursion of the Cape Colony, The Third “De Wet Hunt”, battles and skirmish sites as well as towns, such as Colesberg, Burghersdorp and Aliwal North, that were occupied, will be included. Concentration camps at Springfontein, Bethulie, Norvalspont, and Orange River will be on the route as well as places [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2017 No 278

ATTENTION ALL BOER WAR BUFFS Exciting plans are on the cards to host an Anglo-Boer War weekend at Matjiesfontein. It will be held in The Lord Milner Hotel from April 7 to 9. A “boutique collection” of top speakers will present a series of talks on various aspects of the war. Among them will be the eminent historian, Dean Allen, author of Empire, War and Cricket and an authority on “old Matjiesfontein”. He will lead a walking tour around the village during which visitors will be allowed to explore some of the unique Victorian buildings, many of which have fascinating [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2017 No 277

ON THE MOVE AGAIN I am on the move again. This time to our family farm, Chez Nous - which means home - 60 km south of Bloemfontein. There my youngest sister and I have built a lovely, two-bedroomed wooden cottage and hopefully will be living in it towards the end of January, with sheep, cattle, and donkeys as our nearest neighbours. Preparing to go has not been easy as we have had to pack up the memories of all who lived in this huge old family home. Everyone who has ever been part of this house seems to have [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2016 No 276

SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH FOR THE YEOMEN Yeomen of the Karoo, the story of the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein, was successfully launched at the Richmond Book Festival in October. One of the authors, Dr Arnold van Dyk gave talks in town and at the actual hospital site where there was a great deal of interest in the ruins of the old Adamstein Hotel and the two graveyards. This occasion was turned into a celebration by Mark Borrie, of Hawksmoor wines Paarl, who sponsored a wine tasting in the front yard of the once elegant old Yeomanry Hotel. Festival organiser Peter Baker [...]

Rose’s Round up November 2016 No 275

PRINCE ALBERT TAKES THE GOLD Gold medals went to two Prince Albert farms in the 11th Annual South African Olive Association award presentations in September. Kredouw Olive Estate won a gold medal for its Frantoia oil, as well as silver medals for their Italian Blend and Favalosa oils, while Fred and Hein Badenhorst of Prince Albert Olives were awarded a gold for their Karoo Blend. This well-balanced, soft, medium-style extra virgin olive oil is blended from a seasonal selection of Frantoia, Leccino, Coratina, Barnea, Dor Carlo, Koroneiki or Favolosa cultivars. Fred and Hein also grow figs, grapes, pomegranates and citrus [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2016 No 274

ART BOOK HIGHLIGHTS RESTORED HOPE Professor Brenda Schmahmann’s new book, The Keiskamma Art Project - Restoring Hope and Livelihoods, will be launched in Johannesburg on November 30. Pre-launch copies of this excellently illustrated book can now be ordered from Print Matters. “The book, the first to be devoted to this project, is a definitive and authoritative resource covering the project’s extraordinary achievement,” says Print Matters creative and publishing director, Robin Stuart-Clark. He explained that the Keiskama Art Project was started by Carol Hofmeyr, in 2000 to provide opportunities for hundreds of people in the little Eastern Cape village of Hamburg. [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2016 No 273

BEAUTIFUL NEW BIRD BOOK A new and beautifully illustrated bird book, entitled Levaillant’s Legacy – a history of South African Ornithology, has just been released. Written by emeritus professor W Roy Siegfried, it pays tribute to the French author, François Levaillant, a noted ornithologist, explorer, naturalist and zoological collector, who visited South Africa in the 1780s. He described many new bird species, and several are named in his honour. He was among the first to use colour plates as illustrations. Opposed to the binomial nomenclature introduced by Linnaeus he preferred instead to use descriptive French names such as the bataleur [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2016 No 272

KAROO PARLIAMENT CANCELLED The 3rd Karoo Parliament, which was to have been held in Laingsburg in September this year, has been indefinitely postponed. “Several factors, beyond the control of the organisers, have led to the Trustees approving this decision,” says Professor Doreen Atkinson. YEOMEN SOLDIERING ON Yeomen of the Karoo, the story of the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital, near Richmond, is now in its final stages of production. “Working on this incredible story of a unique hospital, never seen before, nor again, was a fascinating journey,” say authors Rose Willis, Dr Arnold van Dyk and Professor Kay de Villiers. “While working [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2016 No 271

ATTENTION WRITERS AND READERS The 7th Annual Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival takes place in Cradock from July 21 to 24 this year. “This is the perfect place to indulge in warm Karoo hospitality; feast on fabulous farm food, mingle with like-minded spirits and marvel at the wonders of the Karoo,” says organiser Lisa Antrobus Ker. “Visitors will be able to meet old friends, make new ones; enjoy fireside chats and open microphone sessions.” The programme is packed with top level speakers and interesting outings. “Visitors should not miss the literary walk, a drive to the Mountain Zebra National Park, a tour [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2016 No 270

IN SEARCH OF VULTURE PHOTOS Well-known ornithologist, Richard Dean, is writing a book on the bird collectors in southern Africa. Part of the story includes information on the military men who collected birds. The army section includes information on the two men who helped Colonel Sloggett collect material around the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein during the Anglo-Boer War. Richard is now searching for photographs of the vulture colony at Nelspoort – it was one of the largest in the Karoo. Richard says: “The colony became extinct in the early 1900s.” There was also a huge vulture colony at Gamkaspoort, [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2016 No 269

OH YUM – IT’S CRADOCK The Karoo Food Festival, a feast of food and fun, takes place in Cradock from April 29 to May 1. Festivities kick off with a carnival, which promises to be highly entertaining, at the Meeting Ground at Cradock High School. Tickets cost R20 per person and children under 5 will be allowed in for free. “Live music and great food will set the pace,” says organizer Lisa Antrobus. “Visitors will be able to “build” their own feasts and choose their own portions. Among the typical Karoo dishes on offer will be skaapstertjies, bazaar-sosaties, gourmet boeries, [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2016 No 268

ALL FOR THE SAKE OF THE RABBIT The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Drylands Conservation Programme has proved successful, reports senior field officer, Bonnie Schumann. This programme focuses not only on the conservation of the critically endangered riverine rabbit, but also on socio-economic upliftment opportunities for the rural community in this area and the provision of jobs during habitat restoration. “The restoration techniques improve habitats and the biodiversity of the ecosystem to ensure the survival of this unique, threatened species, and the other species sharing the riparian areas,” said Bonnie. “With quite some trepidation we planted out about 3 000 nursery-grown Karoo plants [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2016 No 267

DESERT TOURISM GROWS APACE Desert tourism is growing steadily. Previously a difficult product to sell, “dryland tourism” has now become a recognized niche market across the world for discerning arid zone travelers. “Perceptions have changed from down market and cheap to exciting and adventurous. Remoteness, bareness, silence and solitude have become drawcards,” says Doreen Atkinson, an authority on Karoo tourism. In an article in the Journal of Arid Environments, she states that the Karoo is reaping dividends from the trend towards “getting away” and really exploring the great outdoors. “The Karoo is no longer considered hostile, dangerous or boring. It [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2016 No 266

FOR ALL WHO LOVE PRINCE ALBERT There’s a treat in store for all who love Prince Albert. A new book, compiled by Cultural Foundation members, Lydia Barella, Mary Anne Botha, Judy Maguire and Derek Thomas, has just become available. Prince Albert - Sense of History, Sense of Place, celebrates the town’s unique cultural and environmental history covering everything from geology, palaeontology, archaeology and anthropology to architecture and agriculture. These are brought to life through stories of the people who settled in the area, among them the De Beers, of the original farm, De Queekvalleij, as well as residents of Bo-dorp, [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2018 No 300

A REASON TO CELEBRATE Rose’s Round-up has a reason to celebrate. This little newsletter turns 300 this month and it is 25 years old. The road, since the publication of the first issue in January 1993, has been an exciting one. Round-up’s initial aim was to persuade six town clerks to use history to promote tourism. These men represented Beaufort West, Prince Albert, Richmond, Victoria West, Loxton and Laingsburg, as well as Nelspoort, Merriman, Klaarstroom, Hutchinson, Leeu Gamka, Prince Albert Road Station, Matjiesfontein and Deelfontein*, the site of the Imperial Yeomanry tent hospital during the Anglo-Boer War. This was the [...]

  • Maternity Records Cape Town

Maternity Hospital Records

Maternity Hopsital Records provide vital key's to tracing your family history especially when you have no idea where someone's birth was registered. The Cape Town birth registration system seems complicated but its not really and just because someone is born in Cape Town does not mean their birth was registered in the Cape Town birth registers and it could fall under Wynberg, Simonstown or even Bellville. However, most people have an idea of what hospital they were born in and these hospital records may provide better information than a birth register, or they may compliment and verify the information [...]

Early Inquests and Post Mortems at the Cape 1652 – 1825

Before the Inquest Act of 1875 no proper provision appears to have been made in the Cape Colony for the holding of inquests on the bodies of persons who had died suddenly or under suspicious circumstances. In that year, however, this defect was remedied by the passing of Act 22. The preamble to this Act says: "Whereas no adequate provision exists in the law of this Colony for the holding of inquests in cases where persons die suddenly or are found dead or are supposed or suspected to have come by their death by violence, or otherwise than in a [...]

Theophil Wendt

Theophil Otto Frederick Charles Wendt was born on the 22nd August 1874 in a London suburb; died 5 February 1951 in Johannesburg. Conductor, composer. The son of German emigrants to England, Theo Wendt's father was not completely happy about British education and sent his son to one of the Moravian Church Schools (probably Klein Welka) in Germany. There the discipline was strict, the academic standards high, and the boy could indulge his musical inclinations by beating the drum in the cadet band and by having pianoforte lessons. By the time he had turned fourteen he was determined on a career [...]

  • William Savage

William Douglas Savage

William Douglas Savage was born at Gores Bridge, in the County of Kilkenny, Ireland, in the year 1833, and accompanied his parents to India. Educated in Ceylon, his great ambition was to go in for a seafaring life, but his first experiences in that line were disastrous, being wrecked in the "Thunderbolt" off Port Elizabeth in 1846. Fortunate enough to escape with his life, he proceeded inland from Port Elizabeth, where the Kaffirs were giving trouble, and he joined the Commissariat department with the forces and remained there until 1850, when the war broke out and Sir Harry Smith arrived [...]

  • prince Alfred town South Africa

Curious habit of the Post Coach Routes

The search for the grave of British soldier, Private Calver, turned up some interesting historic facts.  According to Mr T O Slabbert, owner of Goeiemoed, a farm across the road from Prince Albert Road Station, this farm was once on the post coach route.  It was part of the huge old farms Vlakkraal and Tuinkraal that were proclaimed in 1838.  On the little hill just south west of the present-day farm house, there once was a popular little hotel which served train passengers wishing to travel to Prince Albert and on to Oudtshoorn. Slabbert said that the farm Uitkyk, [...]

Love walked in and took her for a spin

Melton Wold guest farm between Loxton and Victoria West has a rich romantic history. Woven into the story is a Lady Chatterley-like tale which played itself out in 1910. This history of this farm dates back over 250-million years as a Bradysaurus fossil, preserved in situ, proves. In time a strong fountain attracted game, the San and Widow Nortje. She was given the title-deed to this farm by the Magistrate of Beaufort West in 1838. Little is known of this widow and how she ended up all alone on this forsaken farm which she named Boschduiwefontein.  Nevertheless, she managed [...]

Beaufort West man of God buried on Robben Island

  Visitors to remote little graveyard on Robben Island  are often amazed to see the grave of Reverend  Louis Hugo. Many wonder why this minister was buried there and why his body was not taken back to the mainland. Louis Hugo,  who was born in Stellenbosch on November, 22, 1846, could trace his roots back to Daniel Hugo, a Huguenot who played a significant role in South Africa’s ecclesiastical and social arenas  Daniel was a tiny man. He stood only 133 cm (4ft 6in) tall, but he was an excellent craftsman and gifted winemaker. After leaving school Louis studied [...]

Bank Manager captured by Boers

The  Murraysburg branch of the Standard Bank was said to be the one most often robbed by commandos  during the Anglo-Boer War. It was first hit on January, 1901, and because the Boers got away with so much money, the bank had to close for a few days, said Boer War researcher Taffy Shearing. On March 2,  the bank manager, F C Lilford, was captured by the Boers while he was posting some official letters at the Biesiespoort post office. He was held for eight hours. Later that month he wrote a diary entry stating that the  little town [...]

Renaissance Man Honoured

 In 1778 Captain Robert Jacob Gordon stood on a Karoo koppie near the Swartberg mountains and painted the tranquil scene of Zacharias de Beer’s farm Qweekvallei in the valley below. In time this painting found its way to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Almost a century later a town, named in honour of Queen Victoria’s husband, sprang up on Queekvallei and later still a copy of the painting found its way to the town’s Fransie Pienaar Museum. Then, in May, 1999, the town, honoured Gordon, by naming the koppie in his honour. A small granite slab was placed at the [...]

Rose’s Round-up November 2018 No 299

THE BOER WAR COMES TO TOWN Ever wondered what life was like when the Boer War hit the small Karoo villages? A recently launched book, The Forgotten Front, reveals this in an interesting way. It details how the war touched the lives of the ordinary man in the street in and around Colesberg. Townsfolk were suddenly caught up in the extraordinary circumstances of war. People who had lived tranquil lives were suddenly thrown into turmoil and surrounded by soldiers. The story, written by Professor Mike de Jongh and Belinda Gordon, is gathered from historic documents, newspapers, diaries and letters. General [...]

Queen’s Death Stuns The Great Karoo

During the Anglo-Boer War,  the news  of Queen Victoria’s death on January 22, 1901, was greeted with deep emotions in the Karoo.  British gun salutes echoed across the veld and rumours of battles spread. Journalist Edgar Wallace received the news  at Matjiesfontein and wrote  this poignant piece: “Queen Victoria had ever been a sacred subject among the rank and file of the army. They are very broad-minded the men who serve and love her; Papist or Buddhist or Jew are one with their Protestant selves.  They are governed in their thoughts towards her by a love which cannot be [...]

The Land where the citrus blooms

A journey through the Karoo in 1856 so affected a Dutch traveller that he lapsed into philosophical meditations.  Hendrik Antonie Lodewijk Hamelberg wrote: “I compare this road to the life of man. The potholes are the troubles he often feels cannot be overcome. Stoney places symbolise life’s disasters, while individual stones remind one that in the cup of the greatest earthly happiness there’s a drop of bitter wormwood.” Hamelberg travelled from Cape Town through Paarl, Bain’s Kloof, Mitchell’s Pass, Ceres, Karoopoort, and “the endless Karoo” via Beaufort West and Colesberg to Bloemfontein.  He stayed at lonely farms and observed many [...]

  • Frederick Guthrie Tait

Par For The Course?

Golf was first played at St Andrews in Scotland over 600 years ago, so it is little wonder that this venue is steeped in wonderful stories. According to Sporting Life’s Golf News some of the sand traps have very individualistic names relating to ginger beer, spectacles and the best spot to catch a lassie.  One large bunker and two nearby smaller ones at the 10th hole have a historic link to South Africa and the Anglo-Boer War.  The large one is the Kruger bunker, nearby is Mrs Kruger and Kruger’s mistress. The story goes that when war broke out [...]

Karoo Farming Experience Saves A Baby

Arthur Charles Jackson converted to Christianity in Karoo sheep pasture. In his teens he had high hopes of becoming a farmer and went to help out on a Kuilspoort, a farm belonging to his father’s cousin, Julius Jackson.  While out in the veld one day Charles had an epiphany and gave himself to God “behind a Karoo bush.” In Manna In The Desert, A de Jager Jackson,  writes: “In 1894 a young cousin, Charles, was so impressed with the shepherds’ forlorn state, the lonely deaths, the rude and summary burials and absence of aid in the hour of trouble [...]

  • naturalizations

Naturalizations and immigration records

Naturalizations and immigration records are an extremely valuable part of any application for Ancestry Passports or VISA’s. I provide a service for anyone looking to Immigrate to get Citizenship in a foreign Country from South Africa. Over 39 000 Naturalizations from 1943 - 1976 can be now found here. If you are you looking for proof of ancestry to find out or not whether you are illegible for Immigration to the United Kingdom, Germany or Russia or any EU country. If you can provide me with the name of your ancestor at the time of their arrival in South [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2018 No 298

PICK A PLACE AND JUST GO THERE Freelance photojournalists, Chris Marais and Juliette du Toit, travel widely across the thirstland and are often asked which is their favourite town. Like loving parents, they find something special in almost every one, however, they decided to find out what appealed to others. On their Karoospace and Facebook pages they listed 38 towns and asked which one their followers preferred. Some nominated five or six places, but for the purposes of the poll only the top one was counted. Top favourites - in order of preference - were: Prince Albert, Willowmore, Graaff-Reinet and [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2018 No 297

REMEMBERING THE FORGOTTEN FRONTIER A new book, covering details of the Anglo-Boer War in the Karoo and Colesberg area, in particular, is now available. Entitled The Forgotten Front, Untold Stories of the Anglo-Boer War in the Karoo, it is written by Michael de Jongh, Professor Emreritus in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at UNISA, and widely known for his books on the “karretjie people” as well as Belinda Gordon, who formerly worked at Colesberg’s Kemper Museum. The book is based on research which Belinda started in 1990. It highlights the significance of the confrontations along the southern or central [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2018 No 296

HONOURING THE 60 WHO NEVER CAME HOME Professor Anthony Stimson and Jenny Humphries, in Australia, are co-authoring a book on the South African War Memorial in Adelaide. Said to be the finest equestrian statue in Australia, it was erected by public subscription in honour of the 60 men who served in South Australian contingents during the Anglo-Boer War but did not return. The memorial was unveiled on June 6, 1904. “Its story has been told, but not the stories of the 60 men named on it. We are filling in that gap and the book will tell each man’s story. [...]

Women of the Slave Lodge

The women in the slave lodge were in a vastly different situation from the settlers' women slaves. Lodge women, for instance, were not under the direct domestic supervision of any settler or European official. There were almost as many slave women in the lodge as there were men. There were thus possibilities of finding a slave spouse among the Lodge inmates. Slave women in the Lodge, in contrast to their counterparts owned by settlers, could “be effectively married” to slave men from as early as 1671, although this did not entail a wedding solemnized by the Dutch Reformed Church across [...]