I had the privilege of attending a memorial gathering for Gawie Fagan at his world-famous house DIE ES, designed by Gawie and built by the family. When the Drakenstein Heritage Foundation visited their house last year we were treated to a humorous and eloquent account of the circumstances and details of the building of Die Es by his daughter Helena. There Tom Robertson, a junior architect in Gawie’s practice in the 70’s, paid moving tribute to this great Architect on our behalf.


It was wonderful to stumble across this article on one of the first surveys carried out by a non-professional group in South Africa. The piece was published in the 1980 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.

It is believed that the first VOC explorer, Abraham Gabbena, first stepped into the area approximately 5 years after Jan van Riebeeck had established his re-provisioning station. Apparently he was dazzled by the shimmering morning light emanating from the wet granite rocks in the area. He named them “Peerl” and “Diamandt”. The Khoe referred to these huge outcrops as “Tortoise Mountains”. 

Over the coming months we will be publishing a series of articles, compiled by Peter Ball, on the history of Southern African railways. The first installment looks at some of the earliest railways in the country and the extension of various lines into the interior (driven by the great mineral discoveries of the second half of the nineteenth century).

[Originally published 30 May 2014] Bathurst Primary School is running a campaign to raise funds for much needed restoration work. The campaign's tagline is 'Restoring the Oldest School in South Africa'. The cause is undoubtedly a worthy one but is the claim of 'oldest school' legitimate? Ms Sigi Howes (Head: Education Museum, Wynberg, Cape Town) provides some answers in this open letter.

[Originally published March 2012] Every year Heritage SA (renamed the Heritage Association of South Africa) runs a powerful symposium for its members and affiliates. Last year the Drakenstein Heritage Foundation played host and selected the following theme: 'The role of inidgenous peoples, settlers and slaves in creating 18th century opulence at the Cape.' Below is a report that appeared on the Heritage SA website via Courant Vant Vlekaancaap.

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