Paarl History

 

OUR DIVERSE CULTURE
Paarl is the third oldest European Settlement in South Africa and is home to a culturally diverse community – the product of a unique history.

The people of Paarl are descendants of the Khoisan, slaves from African and Asia, Dutch settlers, French Huguenots, Jewish immigrants, Italian Prisoners of War, and Xhosa migrant labourers.

The Khoikhoi

The Khoikhoi and San were the first people to utilize the area and original San rock art can still be seen at nearby Wemmershoek and Bainskloof. Originally, Paarl Mountain was named “Tortoise Mountain” by the Khoikhoi.

The Berg River Valley formed the traditional border between the Peninsular Khoikhoi (the Gorachoqua and the Goringhaiqua) and the Cochoqua. The latter group moved their cattle around the various grazing areas of the Berg River and Drakenstein valleys.

The approximately 18 000-strong Cochoqua was one of the richest and strongest of the Khoi tribes, but they were eventually defeated during the second war between the colonists and Khoikhoi and most of their livestock looted.

On the death of their leaders, the tribe dispersed, with some trekking towards the Orange River, while others were in the service of colonists.

EUROPEAN SETTLERS

The Dutch

The original purpose of the Dutch settlement in the vicinity of latter day Cape Town, was to provide fresh food and water to the ships of the Dutch East India Company, on their way to the East. Founder of Cape Town, Jan van Riebeeck, built up fresh meat stock by bartering livestock from the local Khoikhoi.

In 1657, Abraham Gabbema led an expedition to find more Khoi groups to barter with and to search for the legendary treasures of Monomotapa. On the day that they arrived in the Berg River Valley, the granite boulders, towards the west side of our town, glistened in the sun and this inspired Gabbema to name this mountain “the Diamond and Pearl Mountain” from which the name Paarl was later derived.

In October 1687, thirty years after the Gabbema expedition, Governor Simon van der Stel granted the first farms to Free Burghers. Twenty-one of these farms were in Drakenstein (Paarl), and five were on the foothills of Paarl Mountain.

The French

When the French Huguenots arrived in the Cape in 1688, some were granted land in the Drakenstein area.

Their intimate knowledge of the wine industry would be instrumental in establishing the now internationally-renowned wine industry of South Africa.

The headquarters of the South African wine industry, the KWV, is situated in Paarl, on one of the earliest farms (La Concorde, as it is known today) to be granted by Governor Simon van der Stel.

Conflict

The traditional European practice of private land ownership soon clashed with  the communal land use of the Khoikhoi. Land was now granted to the French Huguenots and this meant that water was limited and the wild animals that were hunted by the Khoisan, systematically disappeared from the area.

European diseases, such as small pox, further decimated the indigenous peoples. Many of the Khoisan were forced to move to the interior or became labourers for the colonists.

The Slaves

Between 1658 and 1808, some 63 000 slaves were brought to South Africa from different parts of the world, to sow, harvest, and thresh the wheat and also to load wagons, weed the owner’s fields, and look after the livestock. On wine farms they harvested and pressed grapes. Women did housework and in some cases acted as wet nurses for their owner’s children.

Het Gesticht (a small unbaked brick church) was built in 1813 to provide slaves with a place of worship. From 1820, onwards it became known as the Zion Church and is the fourth oldest church building in South Africa.

After being emancipated in 1834, slaves in Paarl were awarded property in the vicinity of modern-day Berg Street and School Street.

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Memory lane!!!

For the past few years we have travelled through Southern Africa.

As a tourist guide and tour operator in Southern Africa I’m proud to show some of our photos.

Enjoy and hope to see you on our next tour with:

Afrikaya Tours and Afrikaya Leisure Travel!!!!!

From Margreet van Belle and Wynand Meyer.

We wish to thank you all for making this tours all possible!!!

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Kalahari Desert

As we are frequently visiting these areas, more about The Kalahari Desert.

kalahari desert Kalahari_Desert_and_Kalahari_Basin_map.svg Kalahari

 

The Kalahari Desert (in Afrikaans Kalahari-woestyn) is a large semi-arid sandy savannah in southern Africa extending 900,000 square kilometres (350,000 sq mi), covering much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa. A semi-desert, with huge tracts of excellent grazing after good rains, the Kalahari supports more animals and plants than a true desert, such as the Namib Desert to the west. There are small amounts of rainfall and the summer temperature is very high. The driest areas usually receive 110–200 millimetres (4.3–7.9 in) of rain per year, and the wettest just a little over 500 millimetres (20 in). The surrounding Kalahari Basin covers over 2,500,000 square kilometres (970,000 sq mi) extending farther into Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and encroaching into parts ofAngola, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Kalahari is home to many migratory birds and animals. Previously havens for wild animals from elephants to giraffes, and for predators such as lions and cheetahs, the riverbeds are now mostly grazing spots, though leopards and cheetahs can still be found. The area is now heavily grazed and cattle fences restrict the movement of wildlife. Among deserts of the southern hemisphere, the Kalahari most closely resembles some Australian deserts in its latitude and its mode of formation.

Our Bushmen?

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Southern Africa’s first people. The people with no name. For when you are the only ones, you have no need to distinguish your kind from others. Those whose exclusive domain once stretched from the Zambezi to the Cape of Good Hope, from the Atlantic to the Indian Oceans. Their Tswana neighbors in the Kalahari, who arrived here 1,200 years ago, call them the Basarwa, the “people who have nothing.” Their pastoralist cousins, the Khoi, call them San, outsiders or vagabonds. They are a people with an ancient past but almost no recorded history, save for one glorious exception, rock paintings of antelope and elephants, dancers and hunters, some of which remain startlingly vivid despite being lashed by wind and rain and baked by sun for 3,000 years. The most recent paintings show sailing ships and mounted horsemen. Then there were no more.

We can also arrange for you a 2-3 night adventure with the bushmans in the Kalahari! Learn how they hunt, eat, living, tracking, story telling and more….