Contrary to popular belief, Knysna’s colonial history did not begin with George Rex in 1804, but over 30 years earlier with the arrival of a young man from a well-connected family, Stephanus Esias Terblanche. He was granted the grazing rights and permission by the VOC [Dutch East India Company] to live at ‘Melkhoute Kraal gel. in ‘t Niqualand aan de grootse en laatste Valley’ on 14 September 1770. So who was this young man and where did he come from?
In the beginning, the economic power was the Afrikaner ox, which adapted to the natural conditions, the vagaries of the climate and the stern masters of nature. Indeed without this breed of cattle the coming into being of a new nation in South Africa may probably have been delayed for quite an age.
Towards the end of 2013, veteran sheep farmer, Hilson Shuman of Grey Craig farm, near Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, made South African Merino history when he delivered his 60th wool clip to Lappersonne Wools broker in Port Elizabeth. In 2016, he broke the World Wool Clip record with 63 clips behind his name. In 2018, Hilson continued his record streak with a 65th Wool Clip. The National Woolgrowers Association (NWGA) and all affiliated sectors joined together to congratulate Hilson on this unique achievement.
At five o clock in the afternoon of Saturday 19 December 1925, a wisp of smoke was seen to rise lazily from the thatched roof near the kitchen of the Groot Constantia Manor House. Moments later the huge thatch roof caught fire creating an uncontrollable inferno. With no brandsolder to contain the flames, the blaze crashed through to the boarded ceilings of the rooms below and through that to the main floor.
John Lincoln's wonderful book 'Stories from a Diamond Mine' tells the story of the Premier Mine (today the Cullinan Mine) and the village that grew up around it. We are honoured to be able to reproduce the book as a series (click here to view index). Below is the first installment which traces the history of Minnaars' Farm and reveals the complex story of how the land was acquired by Thomas Cullinan.
In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie reveals some of the forgotten and fascinating history of the Johannesburg suburb of Linden. The piece was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 14 September 2004. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
Irene is a wonderful village located less than twenty kilometres south of Pretoria. Visitors can feel the history around them whether staying at a local hotel, visiting the Smuts House Museum or touring the working farm. Residents are proud of the area's rich history and rightly so! Below are a few edited passages revealing the early history of Irene Farm. A longer version of the article appeared in a 1961 edition of South African Panorama.
Ganzekraal is a farm dating back to the early 1700s. It was a key farm in the Groene Kloof (as the area north of Rietvlei and all the way to Geelbek on the Langebaan Lagoon was referred to in the time of the VOC) and is significant as part of the network of farms and buiteposte that stretched the VOC influence all the way from the Castle to Saldanha Bay.
The aerial view of the old Borrowdale Farmhouse and outbuildings is truly remarkable. Today the area is dotted with established trees and multi-million rand homes so it is hard to imagine the rural landscape of the past. In the article below Valerie Gordon-Bennett shares some of her memories of growing up on Borrowdale Farm before and during the early days of Sandton. The article first appeared in the 1994 annual magazine of the Sandton Historical Association.
[Originally published in 2014] This wonderful article, written by Malcolm Wilson, describes the journeys of early hunters, settlers and prospectors as well as the development of Driefontein Farm on land which is now just a few kilometres from 'Africa's richest square mile'.
Early Settlers and Prospectors