Worldwide, where precious mineral resources were discovered, buoyant photographers formed part of the desperate rush that ensued. This trend of fortune seekers, feverish migrating to these newly announced locations was also observed during the South African gold rushes at Pilgrim’s Rest (1873), Barberton (1883) and Johannesburg (1886).
I would like to discuss a topic very close to my heart. One which my dad has been interested in for some time and researched extensively. That is the stone circles found in Mpumalanga. Most of the mountains and hills of Mpumalanga have stone circles on them and extensive road networks joining them to one another. This has long been thought of as just homes of the local peoples and their cattle kraals. They were therefore dismissed as being of any real value or importance archaeologically.
Middelburg is one of those towns one usually bypasses while travelling to the Loskop Dam, the Kruger Park or the Mpumalanga Escarpment, not realizing it offers interesting sightseeing opportunities.
There is a historic Dutch Reformed Church established by the controversial Reverend Frans Lion Cachet in 1866, when the community was still known as Nazareth. Later the town’s name was changed to Middelburg, as it was midway between the two principal Transvaal towns of Pretoria (Tshwane) and Lydenburg (Mashishing).
On 13 August 2018, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources revisited the Winkelhaak Cemetery at Evander Gold Mine, Mpumalanga. The Committee noted progress in improving the infrastructure at the grave site by the Winkelhaak Cemetery Project. Since their last visit in 2015, a wall has been built around the whole site and a granite monument has been erected.
The Heritage Association of South Africa (HASA) is pleased to announce that the historical town of Barberton, Mpumalanga, will host this year’s heritage symposium taking place from 18 to 20 October. With its rich natural and cultural heritage, combined with breathtaking scenery, Barberton has much to offer.
The choice of venue for the symposium could not be more appropriate. The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains have just been declared a World Heritage Site – the first in Mpumalanga.
The wonderful story below appeared in the Nelspruit Post on 21 February 2018. Thank you to the team from Mpumalanga Heritage and The Lowvelder for giving us permission to publish.
Experts call the disappearance of gold artefacts ‘colossal’, ‘a travesty’ and ‘serious breach of security on the part of SANParks’. The Heritage Monitoring Project reports on the theft of items from the Thulamela collection which recently came to light – months after the incident took place.
In the article below, Esme Lownds uncovers some interesting snippets about James Stopworth and Barberton during its early days. The article first appeared in the 1975 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permission to publish.
Most photographers at the turn of the last century were upstanding and hard-working citizens, however, there is always the exception. This article is about one such exception, namely the photographer Maximillian Alfred Daubert who was based in towns such as Wakkerstroom, Reitz and Pietermaritzburg. Daubert who often clashed with the law, spent many months in local jails, due to various criminal transgressions.
Mpumalanga Heritage is running a massive project to replace old plaques and install new ones along the wagon routes that stretched across the Lowveld to Delagoa Bay (click here to read a recent article in the Barberton Times). Many South Africans are familiar with these routes as they were made famous by Sir Percy FitzPatrick's classic novel Jock of the Bushveld. The current project appears to be the third major effort to mark these routes.
Last month we published an article from the Restorica archives where the author spoke about the power of excursions to heritage sites to inspire the youth (click here to read). We are sure most readers can remember at least one phenomenal trip during their childhood that has left an impact to this day. Over the last few weeks we have been sent some wonderful stories and photographs of recent adventures.
A few years ago we were involved in a battle to save historic Nedbank documents that were being thrown away by the company. For a while the future of the documents looked bleak but thankfully the story had a happy ending when top Nedbank executives got involved. The documents were moved to the Sandton head office and the execs committed to hire an archivist to go through the collection. The execs also committed to let the community know what was found and what would then be done with the documents.*
Unfortunately, the Rimer’s Creek saga has once again reared its ugly head and all hell has broken loose here in Barberton during the past few weeks. In our communication of October 2015 we advised that following our eight year battle to prevent the rezoning of the irreplaceable site of the Central Mill in Rimer’s Creek Interested and Affected Parties (I&APs) finally won their Appeal. However, this soon became a hollow victory when we discovered that during the 18 month Appeal Decision making process and without our knowledge - and despite an assurance to the
I am a post-graduate student at the University of the Witwatersrand, doing a Masters degree in History of Art. The subject of my research project is Nukain Mabuza and his painted rock garden, which existed in all its glory from the late 1960s until the early 1980s. Little remains of it now.
Wits University Press has given us permission to publish an extract from the landmark new book Forgotten World - The Stone Walled Settlements of the Mpumalanga Escarpment by Peter Delius, Tim Maggs and Alex Schoeman. This research begins to answer some of the key questions behind 'one of the most extraordinary archaeological and historical phenomena in southern Africa'.
Conflicting Readings of the Rocks
On 19 October 1986, a Tupolov Tu-134 plane travelling from Zambia to Mozambique crashed 65km from Maputo on the South African side of the border near the town of Mbuzini. The plane was carrying Samora Machel, the President of Mozambique, as well as high ranking Mozambiquan government officials and was manned by a Soviet air crew. Of the 44 passengers, 34 including the President died in the crash.
The authors of NZASM 100, the definitive study of the railway architecture of the Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg-Maatschappij (NZASM), describe the tunnel at Waterval Boven as ‘probably the best-known and most famous of all NZASM structures’. We visited this Provincial Heritage Site recently and it is certainly a sight to behold. Add the overall natural beauty of the area and the view of the stunning Elands Waterfall and it is not surprising that the site is a major tourist attraction.
The following updates on the Barberton Block House were sent through by Marius Bakkes and the team from Mpumalanga Heritage. A very tough scenario faced by activists and officials across the country. [Originally published February 2013]
We are very pleased to publish Tony Ferrar's report on a recent journey along the Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail organised by the Mpumalanga Historical Interest Group. MHIG Chairman, Duncan Ballantyne confirmed that eighty eight people attended, a new record for the young organisation. Attendees gave the recently finished Geotrail a big thumbs up. We expect it to become a major tourist attraction and inspire similar projects around the country in the coming years.
A massive scandal is brewing in Barberton as the town's famous historic core comes under threat. Below is an article written by Chris Rippon and Marjory Nunns and disseminated by the Mpumalanga Historical Interest Group. Click here for updates.