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: email@example.com. P O Box 28636, Danhof, 9310
OUTWARD-BOUND FROM PRINCE ALBERT Prince Albert’s Dick Metcalf claims to have “Karoo-blood” in his veins. A keen historic researcher, photographer and explorer, with longstanding family ties to this fascinating arid area, he loves nothing more than travelling through the vast, ancient Karoo thirstland. To share his love of the area he recently devised 27 trips for fellow adventurers and published them in a small, well-illustrated, black-and- white, wire-bound booklet entitled Outward-bound from Prince Albert. It is available from the Fransie Pienaar Museum. Using the book as a guide, visitors can travel across the Swartberg Pass to the Cango Caves and [...]
WHERE DID YOU GET THAT HAT? Wellknown Prince Albert artist, Christine Thomas, is presenting a new exhibition. Entitled Een Mens Het Baie Name (One Person Has Many Names) it opens on April l and celebrates the words, works and world of Piet Balelie, a colourful local personality. “The exhibition is a multi-dimensional portrait of Piet, his extraordinary clothing and colourful hats,” says Christine. “Each hat in itself is a story and sums up Piet’s philosophy of life. He is illiterate, yet has an enviable ability to use words, stories, rhymes, riddles and jokes to share his world with others. His [...]
BECOME BETTER ACQUAINTED WITH OLIVE A new biography on Olive Schreiner is proving popular. Written by Heather Parker Lewis, it is not a political work, but concentrates rather on Olive’s day-to-day life, marriage, wardrobe and medicine chest. Olive lived simply in the “uptight” era of Victorian respectability. When no woman dared to be seen without stockings, she shunned these together with corsets and stays. Olive also skinny-dipped and sunbathed in the altogether. Sadly, in later life she was so poor that she packed the inside of her coat with newspaper to keep warm. Olive Schreiner - The Other Side of [...]
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 [...]
A BALLADE OF WORDS AND IMAGES A rainbow of light shimmering through a dewdrop almost 80 years ago has resulted in a book which captures the essence of the Karoo. Tom Burgers’s Karoo Pastoral encapsulates the spirit of the Karoo in extraordinarily beautiful photographs coupled to the works of some of South Africa’s finest poets. Among these are emotive works, such as Dolf van Niekerk’s Dubbel Ster and Jan F Cilliers’s Die Vlakte, which have been translated for the English version of the book by Deryck Uys. No ordinary travel book, Karoo Pastoral is a journey through the endless, limitless [...]
KAROO FARMING EXPERIENCE SAVES A BABY Arthur Charles Jackson converted to Christianity in a Karoo sheep pasture. He had dreamed of becoming a farmer and when in his teens 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 “beside a Karoo bush” and gave himself to God A de Jager Jackson tells the story in Manna In The Desert: In 1894 our cousin, Charles, was overcome by the forlorn state of shepherds, lonely deaths, rude and summary burials and absence of aid [...]
AND THE DREAM REMAINS An icon of the Karoo has passed on, but his dreams will never die. David Duncan Rawdon, the man, who loved life, enjoyed Spanish champagne and a good brandy will forever be remembered at his beloved Matjiesfontein. He re-created this village 40 years ago and turned it into the tourist spot that its original owner James D Logan would have envied. David, a legend in the hotel industry, an inspiration to many, a mentor, a guru, discovered Matjiesfontein in about 1960. By then he had a long list of top class hotels to his credit – [...]
RETRACING THE STEPS OF AN EXPLORER A group of young adventurers recently arrived in Beaufort West seeking the place where Polish explorer Kazimierz Nowak spent a night in 1935. This was an odd request, and it so intrigued Caroline Bedeker at the Beaufort West Museum, that she went to considerable trouble trying to assist them. The group is placing plaques along Nowak’s route because he was the first man to travel alone on foot and by bicycle across Africa. His 40 000 km journey started in November 1931, and took five years to complete. Nowak cycled most of the way, but [...]
KAROO ASH HEAP REVEALS LINKS TO THREE WARS Two well known researchers recently made an interesting find in the Karoo. Dr Johan Loock and Cobus Dreyer, from the University of the Free State, were conducting studies to evaluate the impact of a proposed extension electric power line on artefacts and the ecology in the area of farms such as Leeukloof, Bultfontein and Gansfontein, northwest of Beaufort West. Archaeologist Cobus Dreyer says many cultural and historic finds were made along the route. “We found were substantial surface scatters of Later Stone Age flakes and pottery, lower and upper grinding stones and [...]
POP THE CORKS - THIS IS NUMBER 200 This is the 200th issue of Rose’s Round-up, so it’s time to once again pop the corks and let the bubbly flow. Round-up has come a long way since it started in January 1993. Initially only ten copies were printed to keep six town clerks abreast of the tourism plans of the then Regional Services Council. However, within only a few hours that changed because councillors also asked for copies. Within a year Rose’s Round-up was carrying news of the Karoo across the world. While residing in the Karoo I produced 116 [...]
FORGOTTEN LINE BACK IN THE LIMELIGHT The long forgotten Klipplaat railway line is back in the news. Cape Town’s Ray Hattingh discovered more about this isolated line and the Klipplaat station in Boon Boonzaaier's book, Tracks across the Veld. “According to Boonzaaier the Klipplaat to Oudtshoorn section of this rail route was opened in stages from 1902. The entire line was opened for traffic on March 1, 1904. This line through the arid Klein Karoo and Camdeboo areas needed engines with large water tanks and the problem was solved by the introduction of the Vanderbilt-tendered Class 19D's during 1948 and [...]
TOP CANADIAN AND HIS COWBOYS DESTINED FOR BOOK TOWN The words ‘cowboys” and “Canada” coupled to “The Great Karoo” recently caught Darryl David’s eye as he surfed the ‘net. They grabbed his attention because his e.mail address is “cowboys” and Peter Baker, the co-organiser of Richmond’s Book Town Festival is Canadian. Both are always interested in anything that mentions Karoo. The site promoted a novel, The Great Karoo, written by Fred Stenson, one of Canada’s top authors. Highly acclaimed by the international press it was praised by Canadian critics for ‘illuminating a lost chapter of the country’s history.” The book [...]
FESTIVAL TO SALUTE OLIVE Olive Schreiner will be saluted in Cradock from July 2 to 4. The man behind this idea is Darryl David, co- founder of Richmond’s Book Town Festival and a lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg. Sandra Antrobus, owner of Die Tuishuise, in Cradock, helped him plan this Spirit of Schreiner Festival. “While working one day we said wouldn’t it be fun if Olive Schreiner could come down from Buffelskop and tell us what she’d like for this inaugural festival. The idea took hold and we chatted about how chuffed she would be to join [...]
RARE FIND AMAZES SCIENTISTS Researchers at the Nama Karoo Foundation recently found a new mammal species in their area. It was an African Weasel and, at almost the same size as a matchbox, it is the smallest carnivore on the Continent. But that is not its sole claim to fame, states the NKF newsletter Karoo News. Professor Graham Kerley of Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, who identified the specimen for the Foundation, said this animal had the longest copulation period – over one hour – and the shortest gestation period among mammal species. He added that the find [...]
STRUCK BY DISASTER – PLEASE HELP IF YOU CAN A bolt of lightning struck my computer and wiped out a great deal of information. Among this was the Round-up mailing list. This is a total disaster. I feel as if both hands have been cut off as I now have no computer, no e.mail addresses and no mailing list. I have borrowed a PC and am working from an old back-up list and I am appealing to all readers who get this issue to help if they can. If you know of anyone who should have received a copy of [...]
ATTENTION BOOK LOVERS Planning for this year’s Richmond Book Fair is well underway. Key promoter, Peter Baker, confirms dates are set for October 22 to 24, and that response from writers has been phenomenal. He promises an impressive forum of speakers. “Almost all have confirmed for 2010 and the list for 2011 is steadily filling,” he says. “The World Cup will no doubt dominate the first half of the year, but after that we expect the focus to be on the commemoration of 150 years of Indian settlement in South Africa. So, with this in mind, and as another [...]
STAKEHOLDERS AIM TO SCORE DURING WORLD CUP The Steering Committee of the Karoo Development Foundation got off to a good start planning the way ahead for the region for 2010 – set to be an action-packed year. During 2009 two conferences were held to discuss development of the Karoo and both were highly acclaimed. This inspired stakeholders to plan meetings for early in the New Year. The first is scheduled for January 22. The aim is to follow-up on the achievements of 2009 and structure plans for this year, arguably one of the most exciting in South Africa’s history. The [...]
NEW YEAR ON THE OPEN ROAD New Year was not always celebrated in style. A W Kiernan, a missionary on a hinterland road on December 31, 1877, reported that the year ended on a sad note. A member of his travelling party, who had been ill for a week, died quite suddenly, and later another dropped dead on the way to fetch water. “We were not surprised because he seemed a person of very little vitality,” wrote the missionary. Digging graves in the hard-dry earth was a tedious task in the heat, but by 21h00 that night both men were [...]
FOLLOW THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE HIGHLANDERS Discover Magersfontein. Relive the fateful day when the pride of Scotland, the Highland Brigade, marched into the arms of the Boers at this famous Anglo-Boer War battlefield. Steve Lunderstedt, an experienced Boer War expert and tour guide will lead a day’s march at this historic site on Saturday, December 12. The outing begins at 06h30. Participants meet at the Moth Centre in Kimberley for coffee and a quick tour of the museum, if they wish. Each will be given a map as the tour departs for Modder River at 07h00. It will stop to [...]
ROADS TAKE YOU THERE, BUT THE PEOPLE REMAIN IN YOUR HEART! Some yearn to change course on the Road of Life – others just do it. One of these is Nicholas Yell. His adventures began when he moved to Aberdeen in the Karoo and began restoring a traditional, old ‘platdak’ (flat roofed) Karoo house. To relax he indulged two loves - photography and the absolute joy of roaring down a little-known gravel road on a dirt bike exploring the Great Karoo. In time this led to a planned “circumnavigation” – an adventure through this vast arid area. He captured it [...]
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. [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
The old church Bowesdorp is a Ghost town on the national road from Cape Town to Springbok, in the magisterial district and division of Namaqualand, aprox 504 kilometres north-west of Cape Town and 591 kilometres south of Springbok. In 1850 the Dutch Reformed parish of Namaqualand was separated from the mother parish of Clanwilliam, a place for a church was required. A site was chosen on the farm Wilgenhoutskloof and the church, the first in Namaqualand, was completed in 1864. Plots were surveyed and sold and the village that sprang up round the church was at first named [...]
Loxton is a town in the magisterial district and division of Victoria West, 84 km west of Victoria West, 68 km south-east of Carnarvon and 126 km north of Beaufort West. In 1899 the N.G. Kerk bought the farm Phezantefontein, owned by A. E. Loxton, and established the village of Loxton and a new congregation on it. In 1905 the original village council was superseded by a municipality. Electricity is supplied by the municipal power-station. Water for domestic use is obtained from boreholes and for irrigation from a storage dam fed by a natural spring. During the excessive floods in [...]
Keimoes is a town on the north bank of the Orange River in the Gordonia district, 43 km by rail and road south-west of Upington, on the railway from Upington to Kakamas and the road from Upington to the Augrabies Falls . The town, which was proclaimed a municipality in 1949, is the seat of an additional magistrate. It has tarred streets and an ample water-supply from the Orange River. Electricity is supplied by the municipal power-station. The chief products of the surrounding farms are Lucerne, fruit (among which the Keimoes peach is well known for canning purposes), raisins and [...]
The main surviving group of Basters are those inhabiting the 'Rehoboth Gebiet', a territory of 5,000 sq. m., some 50 m. south of Windhoek in South-West Africa. The size of the population living in the 'Gebiet' at any one time is difficult to estimate. According to the 1960 census the Basters numbered 8,960, a figure which remains more or less stationary. In addition there were about 40 Whites, well over 2,000 Nama and Damara, and a good many recent Coloured immigrants from other parts of South-West Africa and from the Republic, as well as other non-Whites to the number of [...]
Thousands of people and business were listed annually in Telephone Directories and sadly these books are diminishing with the invention of the mobile phone. However, Telephone directories are becoming a very valuable source of information to any genealogist or family historian in trying to locate the different areas where your ancestors lived. It is likely that initially owning a telephone illustrates what social level they were at. The names of houses are a fascinating way of tracing your ancestors as long as they are the people that actually named the house. Many people name their houses after the towns or [...]
Cornish Immigrants The Cornish Immigrants to South Africa has legacy that has numerous facets. It embraces a mining and commercial heritage, derived from such eminent early Cornishmen as Francis Oats, Samson Rickard Stuttaford and Charles Chudleigh; a spirit of concern for the under-privileged given by Bishop Colenso and Emily Hobhouse, and the international links provided by the English language which cement family and friendly associations in all English-speaking countries. The legacy is also to be found in the place names, streets and buildings of South Africa and in the speech of South Africans today. What they eat also [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
These Municipal Maps have been scanned in and divided into 4 pages where possible as they are huge maps. They cover areas such as Cape Peninsular and as far as Stellenbosch, Malmesbury and Hopefield. In many instances farms and original farm owners and dates are given. You will need to open up each map for each section unfortunately. These Western Cape Farm Maps are all in PDF format. Please acknowledge this website you would like to use a map for your personal use. They are not to be used on any website. If there are any errors or images that [...]
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, [...]
Josiah Tshangana Gumede was born on 9 October 1867 in Healdtown village, Fort Beaufort in the present-day Eastern Cape and died on 6 November 1946. His ancestry can be traced back to chief Khondlo, an Ngwane chief who was forced to flee Zululand. In all probability, he began his elementary schooling at the famous Healdtown Wesleyan Mission School.
Saint Augustine's Cathedral, Port Elizabeth, Cape Province. The spire of St. Augustine's Cathedral dominates the harbour of Algoa Bay and can be seen by all who enter that seaport. The Church, in pure Gothic design, stands as a monument to Father Thomas Murphy, who superintended the laying of every stone and almost the driving of every nail used in the erection of the building. The foundation-stone was laid on 3 December 1861, and the Cathedral was solemnly consecrated by Bishop Patrick Moran on 25 April 1866, when it was opened, free of debt. Father Murphy collected untiringly for the funds [...]
It's 235 years old, but very few know about the De Goedehoop Masonic lodge. Governments rise and fall, but one thing remains constant in the precincts of Parliament in Cape Town: 235-year-old Masonic lodge. Few know that an old and venerable temple of the ancient and mysterious brotherhood of Freemasons exists in the parliamentary complex. But De Goedehoop Temple was built long before Parliament.
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 [...]
In May 1842 British forces under Capt. T. C. Smith occupied Port Natal for the purpose of making an end to the republic of Natalia. The protests of the Volksraad and Commandant-General Andries Pretorius he rejected. His camp was situated under the Berea on the Point side of the Umgeni River, where he had dug himself in well. He had about 240 men, with Capt. Lonsdale and 4 lieutenants, under his command.
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.
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.