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.

Republic Day South-Africa

Becoming a Republic and withdrawal from the Commonwealth in 1961

Celebrating Republic Day 1961 © Bailey’s Archives

In 1958 after the voting age was decreased to 18, the National Party (NP) was able to increase their majority again, this time to 108 seats. Verwoerd, like his predecessors, was convinced that unity between the English and the Afrikaner could be achieved only within a new republic. In January 1960 he announced that a referendum would be held that year on the issue of a republic. It was decided that South Africa, like India, would also try to become a republic, while remaining in the Commonwealth.

At this time in South Africa there were various crises that had an impact on the way that people voted in the referendum. First the Sharpeville Masacre (1960) and the resultant banning of the ANC and PAC. Many gave their support to the NP after this incident as they believed the NP could protect them. South Africa also came under international criticism, and in this atmosphere many felt that some withdrawal from international affairs was best. Other incidents that deeply affected South Africans in 1960 were the unsuccessful assassination attempt on Verwoerd, the Orange Free State Coalbrook mining disaster on 21 January 1960 where 435 labourers were buried alive, and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s ‘Winds of Change’ speech. Their effect was to bring greater coherence and unity amongst white South Africans.

Further reading on these incidents:

  1. Sharpeville
  2. British Prime Minister Macmillan’s ‘Wind of Change’ speech in Cape Town:
  3. Assassination attempts on Verwoerd (1960 and 1966):
  4. Coalbrook mining disaster

The referendum was held on 5 October 1960 and the majority of white South African voters (not just white Afrikaans speakers) were in favour of a republic. Black, Coloured and Indian people were not allowed to vote. Both the United Party and the Progressive Party called for votes against the republic at this time. Some white English-speakers voted in favour of a republic, presuming that this would not affect South Africa’s membership of the commonwealth. The government did not use the two-third-majority rule, but only a simple majority. This went against what Strijdom had believed when, thinking only of whites, he said it should be determined by the ‘broad basis of the people’s will’. The result was 850 458 in favour with 775 878 against, meaning that the referendum was won by only 74 580 votes. In 1961 the monetary system was changed from the British imperial currency to a metric, South African system of Rands and cents.

On 3 March 1961 Verwoerd went to the Imperial Conference in London. His apparent intention was to discuss South Africa becoming a republic while remaining in the commonwealth. At the 1960 Commonwealth Prime Minister’s Conference the diplomat, Eric Louw had been told that a decision regarding whether South Africa would be allowed to stay in the Commonwealth or not could not be made in advance. The reason for this decision was that it could have been seen as interference with the internal affairs of another country. Verwoerd now needed to obtain a statement on South Africa’s position that would be acceptable to both the Commonwealth and to South Africans. He was however faced by a lot of opposition to South Africa’s apartheid policy. Some countries had been thinking that South Africa should be expelled from the Commonwealth as a result of apartheid, and there had been campaigning in Britain by the Anti-Apartheid Movement calling for this.

Verwoerd returns to South Africa after the expulsion from the Commonwealth © Rapport

The Afro-Asian countries were especially critical of apartheid, with Nkrumah and Nehru leading the discussion. Canada also criticised South Africa openly, and the call was for South Africa to abandon her racial policy. Verwoerd refused and felt that nobody should have the right to dictate to South Africa what actions should be followed. In South Africa even the white parliamentary opposition agreed with him on this point. Verwoerd decided it would be best to leave the Commonwealth before South Africa was expelled or faced even more criticism, and so suddenly resigned on 15 March. It had also become clear by this time that some other countries would leave the Commonwealth in protest if an unrepentant South Africa were allowed to remain.

On 31 May South Africa became a republic, with her membership of the Commonwealth simultaneously expiring. The choice of this particular day was no accident, but was deeply significant in the Afrikaner psyche. The date of Republic day (31 May) coincided with the end of the South African War in 1902, the date of the Union of South Africa in 1910 and the date when the South African flag had first been flown in 1928. The new constitution had been finalised in April, but did not resemble that of the old Boer republics or the 1941 draft as many had expected. It combined the old powers of the Queen and the Governor General and invested them in the new position of State President – a position without a political role and elected by the legislature. Equality between English and Afrikaans was retained.

 

List of countries in Africa

I’v been asking this question ones in Belgium and couldn’t answer it at the moment.

How many countries in AFRICA!!!!

Surrounded by water from all directions, Africa is a continent with clearly determined and absolutely accurate borders. In the north it is separated from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea, in the northeast, is separated from Asia by the Suez Canal and farther by the Red Sea. From the east and southeast it is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, from the west by the Atlantic Ocean.

The total number of independent states in Africa is 54. The transcontinental country in this region is Egypt, having also a small part of its territory in Asia, on the other side of the Suez Canal, but politically it is a member of the African Union.

Among the African countries, the biggest one is Algeria, occupying around 7% of the continent’s territory. And the smallest nation is the Seychelles, the worldwide famous luxurious beach holiday destination, occupying 115 islands stretching along the mainland’s eastern coast.

The colourful Morocco is in the first place among the most popular travel spots in this part of the world, the second place belongs to South Africa, followed by Egypt and Tunisia.

Alphabetical list of countries in Africa
  • A
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • B
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • C
  • Cabo Verde
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Congo, Republic of the
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • D
  • Djibouti
  • E
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • G
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • K
  • Kenya
  • L
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • M
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • N
  • Namibia
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • R
  • Rwanda
  • S
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Swaziland
  • T
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • U
  • Uganda
  • Z
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Rustenburg History

My town of birth in 1969-12-16. Rustenburg – North-west Province – South Africa.

Have you tried to learn more about your own town and maybe some mystery there?

FROM:                   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rustenburg

 

Rustenburg is prominent in Afrikaner history. The town was established in 1851 as an administrative centre for a fertile farming area producing citrus fruit, tobacco, peanuts, sunflower seeds, maize, wheat and cattle. On 10 February 1859, the local Dutch Reformed Church community was established. One of the oldest Boer settlements in the north, Rustenburg was the home of Paul Kruger, president of the South African Republic, who bought a 5 square kilometer farm to the north-west of the town in 1863. The homestead on his farm, Boekenhoutfontein, is now the Paul Kruger Country Museum. When the Boer and the British came to blows in the Second Boer War (1899), the territory around Rustenburg became a battlefield. The two sides clashed famously at nearby Mafikeng, where the British garrison found itself under siege for months. These battle sites can be explored from Rustenburg.

Before European settlers arrived, the area had been settled by agrarian Setswana speaking tribes for several hundred years after colonising the native pastoralist Khoikhoi people. Rustenburg’s population is primarily Tswana people. Many belong to the Royal Bafokeng Nation, extensive landowners earning royalties from mining operations. The Royal Bafokeng are descendants of Sotho settlers who displaced the local tribes from the region, which they came to call ‘place of dew’ (Phokeng). In the early 1800s, the Bafokeng and other Tswana communities were conquered in a series of devastating wars launched by an offshoot of the Zulu kingdom, called the Matabele. The Boers had also fought the Zulu and Matabele, and so the Boers and Tswana found in the Matabele a common enemy. The Tswana and Boers planned together and worked toward defeating the Matabele from a Sotho-Tswana kingdom to the south, and together, they defeated the Matebele. As the Boers settled in the area, called their settlement Rustenburg because they had relatively friendly relations with their Bafokeng allies in the area, and after the many violent military conflicts with other African chiefdoms, such as the Matabele, they believed they could rest (“rusten” in Dutch) in this settlement, whose name literally means “Resting Town.” Although had already long lived in the area when the Boers arrived, the Bafokeng bought land rights from the Boers, and they purchased their first tracts of land in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century from the colonial rulers, some in exchange for serving in the Boer Wars. Although these land purchases were technically illegal, Paul Kruger, who would become a president of the Transvaal Boer Republic, but was then a veld kornet, was friendly to the Bafokeng and helped arrange many of these purchases. The majority of people in the region 20 years after the fall of apartheid still live in abject poverty despite the massive profits yielded by the platinum royalties. This has led in recent years to claims of kleptocracy against the ‘royal’ family and land claim disputes.

Among the first residents of Rustenburg were settlers of Indian origin. One of the first families of Indian origin was the Bhyat family, whose contribution to the city’s history was marked by the renaming of a major streetname to Fatima Bhayat Street in honour of Fatima Bhyat who arrived in Rustenburg with her husband in 1877.

With the arrival and successful farming practices of the Afrikaners (Boers) in the nineteenth century, Rustenburg became a primary agricultural region with vast citrus estates due to the favourable climate and abundant water supply.

Platinum mining in Rustenburg began in 1929, shortly after the discovery of the Platinum Reef by Hans Merensky, later named the Merensky Reef. The town has been transformed from a region recognized around the world since the 19th century for its natural springs and healing environment, as eloquently described in the book ‘Rustenburg Romance’ by author and poet Eric Rosenthal into one of the most polluted environments in the late 20th and early 21st century South Africa. The wanton despoliation of the environment through mining has drawn comparisons to the Norilsk complex in Russia, one of the ten most polluted cities in the world.

With the implementation of apartheid after 1948 life became more severe for ‘non-whites’ with 9 pm curfews and the most stringent enforcement of pass laws in the country. This was welcomed by the mining industry as it gave them a tighter grip on the migrant labour which was the backbone of their operations. Ethnic groups were moved forcibly from the center of town to the Indian, Coloured or Black areas, Zinniaville, Karlien Park and Boitekong respectively. The pass laws were abolished with the fall of apartheid.

The township of Boitekong on the northeast side of Rustenburg has one of the highest incidence of AIDS orphans in South Africa Boitekong was the venue for World AIDS Day commemoration in December 2010. The township is in a geographical area which bears the brunt of the catchment area of the toxic effects of the mining industry coupled with a very poor quality of water supply from the local Bospoort Dam, the water from which was for decades considered too toxic for human consumption until water shortages in the nineties compelled the purification and supply to Boitekong. Life for the majority under the rule of the ‘Royal Bafokeng’ has parallels to the apartheid era. In the Apartheid era, forced removals of old settlements were on the basis of racial divide whereas now it is done for installation of massive mining operations sometimes engulfing entire villages. (see ‘Rasimone’ on Google Earth)

The Royal Bafokeng own the stadium selected as a World Cup 2010 venue, the only ‘private’ stadium that hosted games in the 2010 World cup. The Royal Bafokeng regard themselves as a ‘separate nation’ which is in contradiction to the Rainbow nation espoused by Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. This ‘nationhood’ is regarded by many today as a divide and rule tactic orchestrated by the mining conglomerates which has subsequently led to the calls for nationalization of the mining industry by the ANC Youth League.

Agriculture in the region has been in constant decline since the decimation of the vast citrus estates of Rustenburg in the 70’s and 80’s due to pollution from increased smelting and beneficiating processes by mines. There are only a fraction of the original citrus farms remaining.

Comparisons can be drawn between the Klondike gold rush and the events in Rustenburg in the late 20th and early 21st century which led to it becoming one of the fastest growing cities in South Africa.

In 1990, the first post-Apartheid conference between the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa) and the South African churches was held in Rustenburg. During this conference, professor Willie Jonker of the University of Stellenbosch made this confession on behalf of the entire DRC:

“[I] confess before you and before the Lord, not only my own sin and guilt, and my personal responsibility for the political, social, economic and structural wrongs that have been done to many of you and the results [from] which you and our whole country are still suffering, but vicariously I dare also to do that in the name of the NGK [the white DRC], of which I am a member, and for the Afrikaans people as a whole.”

The conference finally resulted in the signing of the Rustenburg Declaration, which moved strongly toward complete confession, forgiveness, and restitution.

In August 2012, South African police fatally shot 34 miners and wounded 78 more during an industrial dispute Marikana miners’ strike near Rustenburg, it was the most lethal use of force by South African security forces since the end of the apartheid era.

Why visiting Southern Africa?

We have decided to make use of National Geographic’s video.

Our 17 & 25 day tours go through South-Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho (4X4).

Our 29 day tour go through Namibia, Botswana and visiting Victoria waterfalls (Zimbabwe side).

Mozambique is great place to visit for snorkelling and scuba diving.

Visit: http://www.afrikayatours.com

http://www.afrikayaleisuretravel.com

Watch the movie!

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/destinations/africa-south-dest?source=searchvideo

Bophuthatswana

bophuthatswana_bantustan_fl_n8729

The Bophuthatswana Territorial Authority was created in 1961, and in June 1972 Bophuthatswana was declared a self-governing state. On 6 December 1977 this ‘homeland’ was granted independence by the South African government. Bophuthatswana’s capital city was Mmabatho and 99% of its population was Tswana speaking. This new country’s independence was recognised by South Africa and the Transkei only. In order to gain independent country status internationally, its President, Lucas Mangope, launched a campaign to build top-class facilities, including hospitals, schools and sports stadia. Bophuthatswana’s application to be declared an independent state outside the rule of South Africa was turned down in 1986. In 1993 the country’s population was 2 489 347. It was estimated that in the same year, her military force was some 4 000 soldiers.

Lucas Mangope became the first Prime Minister of Bophuthatswana in 1972, and retained the position until independence in 1977 after which he was appointed as the first President of the country. He remained in this position until 1994, when the country was reincorporated into South Africa. On 10 February 1988 Rocky Malabane-Metsing became the President of Bophuthatswana for a day when he took over government through a military coup. The situation was quickly reversed by the following day by the intervention of the South African government and Defence Force, and Mangope continued his presidency.

Its main political parties were the Christian Democratic Party and the Progressive People’s Party that was established in 1987 and later banned. Prior to 1994 a group of Afrikaner right-wingers attempted to stage a coup in Bophuthatswana, but the army and police dealt with the intruders, killing several on live television.

In March 1994 Bophuthatswana was placed under the control of two administrators, Tjaart van der Walt and Job Mokgoro. The small, widespread pieces of land were reincorporated into South Africa on 27 April 1994. Bophuthatswana is part of the North West Province under Premier Edna Molewa.

Republic of Transkei, South Africa

Transkei Flag transkei

Originally the Transkei included the territories of Idutywa Reserve, Fingoland (Mfenguland) and Galekaland (Gcalekaland). Following their annexation they were restructured into the divisions of Butterworth, Tsomo and Nqamakwe for Fingoland; Kentani and Willowvale for Galekaland; and Idutywa for the Idutywa Reserve.

Transkei, former republic (though never internationally recognized as such) and Bantustan in Southern Africa. It lay along the Indian Ocean and was surrounded mainly by the Republic of South Africa, though to the north it also touched Lesotho. Transkei consisted of three separate land units, two much smaller than the third. The capital was at Umtata.

Transkei was administratively created by the South African government in 1959 as a non-independent Bantustan designated (together with Ciskei) for the Xhosa-speaking peoples. Transkei was made nominally independent in 1976 in order to serve as a legal homeland for millions of Xhosa-speaking blacks who had lost their South African citizenship under the apartheid system of racial separation.

By the early 2nd millennium ce, the area to the east of the Great Kei River was occupied by the ancestors of the present-day Cape Nguni. These peoples are primarily speakers of Xhosa and closely related dialects—Thembu (Tembu), Mpondo (Pondo), and Mpondomse (Mpondomise). After 1820 they were joined by the Mfengu (“Homeless Wanderers”), people of various chiefdoms from what is now the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, who were fleeing before the Zulu chief Shaka.

As Europeans (Boers) moved into the territory from the west, they clashed with the resident Africans, and in 1778 the Great Fish River was fixed as a boundary between the Xhosa (the southernmost Cape Nguni) and the Cape Colony; but the Xhosa did not understand that the treaty was intended to limit their westward expansion. The Europeans attached the name “Ciskei” to the Xhosa lands between the Great Fish and Great Kei rivers; those lands lying east of the Great Kei they called “Transkei.” A series of Cape Frontier Wars ensued between 1779 and 1879. In 1847 the British annexed Kaffraria, an area directly west of the Great Kei that was attached to the Cape Colony in 1866. Between 1879 and 1894 the other Transkeian geographic regions—Griqualand East, Pondoland, and Tembuland—were incorporated within the Cape Colony. In 1894 territorial councils were established, replacing the Cape Nguni’s traditional political system, and by the beginning of the 20th century, these were grouped under a single General Council for the Transkeian Territories. In 1910, when the Union of South Africa was formed, these territories were incorporated into it as part of the Cape of Good Hope province.

Under the Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act of 1959, Transkei became the first of the Bantu Homelands, or Bantustans, and in 1963 a Legislative Assembly was introduced, all of whose actions, however, had to be approved by South Africa. Upon the creation of a (nominally) independent Transkei in 1976, all black Africans with language ties to Transkei (whether or not they lived there) lost their South African citizenship and became citizens of the new country. TheOrganization of African Unity urged the world to shun Transkei on the grounds that recognition would constitute acceptance of apartheid, and the United Nations supported its view.

Under the South African constitution that abolished the apartheid system, Transkei was reincorporated into South Africa in 1994 as part of the newly created Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Ciskei, Eastern Cape, South Africa

ciskei flag

ciskei

Xhosa people

The Ciskei Bantustan in the Eastern Cape was created as an enclave for the South Africa’s Xhosa-speaking people as part of apartheid racial segregation. Despite Government rhetoric that this ‘independent state’ would encourage cultural protection and separate development of these people, the Ciskei along with other Bantustans served to provide White South Africa with cheap, controlled labour pools.

The working population of Zwelitsha township, first declared the capital of Ciskei, were mostly employed in nearby ‘White’ towns such as Grahamstown. Later a new capital of Bisho in King Williams town was declared.

Ciskei history dates to the early 1920s, when the South African Union government restructured the Bunga system that was applied to administer the area under British colonial rule. The Bunga, which was an advisory council, comprising traditional authorities and the educated elite held little power. The Bunga local unit consisted of a headman or the traditional inkundla (local assemblies) system. Before colonial rule these were autonomous and their decisions were collective. Within the Bunga system, local assembly authority was subject to the Magistrate’s Court. The Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 withdrew their remaining power, bringing them under direct control of the government. Traditional authorities were thus bureaucratised. Chiefs and headmen were no longer accountable to their people, but to the government. The purpose of Bantu Authorities was to pave the way for the creation of Bantustans and racial segregation. This caused much anger.

The government of Ciskei was formed in 1961 after the South African government declared it a separate administrative territory. In 1972 the status was elevated to self-governing territory. This coincided with stronger efforts to forcibly remove Xhosa-speakers to Ciskei. On 4 December 1982, Ciskei became an independent republic, recognised only by the South African government and other ‘independent’ homeland states in South Africa.

Most South Africans rejected and fought against the idea of Ciskei. “Ciskeians” lost their South African citizenship. The Ciskei remained with its neighbour, Transkei, among the most neglected areas of South Africa. Jobs in the Ciskei were limited to government or government-sponsored projects, and South African-sponsored factories. Most of these factories were neither economically viable nor legal entities in terms of labour practice. They were mostly Taiwanese owned emerged out efforts to attract foreign investors with promises of cheap labour and repression of unions. These factories became the target of popular anger in the final days of the Apartheid regime. After the 1994 democratic elections in South Africa, bantustans were dissolved and the area known as Ciskei , restored to the Eastern Cape province.

Pietermaritzburg, South-Africa History

Umgungundlovu – Place of the Elephant

The symbol of Pietermaritzburg is the elephant. The Zulu King, Dingaan (died 1843), was known to his people as “The Elephant”. As a result, his residence was called Umgungundlovu (“The Abode of the Big Chief”) the literal translation being “The Abode of the Elephant”. When the Location System was established in Natal by the Colonial Government in the 1840s, each location was placed under the control of a Zulu chief, who was directly responsible to Lieutenant-Governor Martin West in the capital, Pietermaritzburg. By a natural transition, the capital became known to the Zulu’s as Umgungundlovu, the place where the Big Chief (Martin West) resided. This, then, is the significance of the elephant symbol of Pietermaritzburg, which features on the city’s crest. The azalea is the city’s floral emblem.

Pietermaritzburg is one of Africa’s most important historical cities. Contrary to its strong British Colonial architecture, the founding of the City of Pietermaritzburg had nothing to do with the British. In 1838, the Dutch-speaking Voortrekkers moved into Natal from the Cape and laid out a town between the Umsunduzi River and the Dorp Spruit (stream). They named it after their leader, Pieter Retief. At the time of the town’s centenary in 1938, it was decreed that the leader of the second trek into Natal, Gert Maritz, should also be commemorated and the city’s official name became Pietermaritzburg.

Here is a city proud of its heritage and determined to conserve buildings of character. Outstanding among the many Victorian and Edwardian buildings of red brick is the City Hall, built on the site of the old Voortrekker Raadsaal (meeting hall) in 1900 and declared a National Monument in 1969. Notable for its domes and fine stained glass windows, it is the largest all-brick building in the Southern Hemisphere and an ideal starting point for tourists. 
The city also has strong links with the French Royal House, through The Prince Imperial – Louis Napoleon. Pietermaritzburg has one of the most significant liberation histories in the world. Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela have extensive links with the city and the great liberal author Alan Paton was a Pietermaritzburg citizen. Another one of the city’s 39 historic (national) monuments, Publicity House, is only 100 metres from the City Hall. The international “I” (for information) sign ensures visitors a warm welcome. Maps and brochures are available, plus unique Pietermaritzburg and Colonial Natal souvenirs, postcards, and even video programs to show the folks back home.

On the morning of June 1, the troop set out, earlier than intended, and without the full escort, largely owing to Louis’s impatience. Led by Carey, the scouts rode deeper into Zululand. Without Harrison or Buller present to restrain him, the Prince took command from Carey, even though the latter had seniority.

At noon the troop was halted at a temporarily deserted kraal while Louis and Carey made some sketches of the terrain, and used part of the thatch to make a fire. No lookout was posted. As they were preparing to leave, about 40 Zulus fired upon them and rushed toward them screaming ……

A few hitching rails in the central area are reminders of the city’s romantic and leisurely past. One is outside the Imperial Hotel, from whence Louis Napoleon, the Prince Imperial of France, rode to his death in a Zulu ambush in 1879.

Another stands near the entrance to The Natal Witness, South Africa’s oldest daily newspaper, founded in 1846 by David Dale Buchanan, a Scottish immigrant. Opposite the newspaper offices are the soaring columns and copper domes of the old Natal Parliament buildings, where tourists catch a glimpse of the splendor of colonial days.

These buildings, and the old Supreme Court (Tatham Art Gallery) completed in 1871, are linked to the central network of quaint pedestrian lanes – a charming attraction for visitors. Upon the hill overlooking the city there is much evidence of the settlement’s transformation into a garrison town. Fort Napier was founded in 1943 when the 45th Regiment (Sherwood Foresters) camped there and remained for 15 years – a record in the British Army for the length of overseas service.

The fort’s St. George’s Church, built in 1897 by troops as a memorial to their comrades, and the nearby cemetery with its military graves dating back to the 1840s, are favorite spots for tourists who like to soak up the atmosphere of a bygone era. Because of its founders, Pietermaritzburg played an important role in Afrikaner history, and the few tangible reminders of the trekking pioneers attract thousands of visitors every year.

After Pieter Retief’s death at the hands of the Zulu’s early in 1838 and the subsequent massacre of more than 600 Voortrekkers in the Weenen district, a vengeful commando under the leadership of Andries Pretorius defeated the Zulu army at the Battle of Blood River on December 16, 1838.

At a prayer meeting before the action, the Boers vowed to build a church if they were granted victory, and the Church of the Vow was completed in 1841 in Pietermaritzburg. It is now a fine museum.Andries Pretorius’ house and statues of Retief and Maritz complete this popular tourist complex.

Also evident is the later contribution of the city’s Indian population, descendants of indentured labour brought to Natal in the 1860s to work in the sugar cane fields. They added a distinct Eastern blend – Hindu temples, Moslem mosques, colourful saris, spice shops and the annual fire-walking ceremony on Good Friday.

MAKAPANSGAT: CAVES THROUGH AGES

Art Cave

LOCALITY

The Makapansgat Caves and neighbouring archaeological and fossil sites are situated on the farm Makapansgat 19km north of Potgietersrus in the Northern Province. The caves are of great importance as they provide a record of hominid occupation from australopithecine (ape-man) times through the Stone and Iron Ages, right up to the present day. As such, the Makapansgat Valley is unique in that nowhere else in the world, such an extended and complete record of hominid occupation has been observed.

HISTORY

In February 1925 Prof Raymond Dart announced the discovery of the first ape-man at Taung (Northwest Province) with these profound words:”The specimen is of importance because it exhibits an extinct race of apes intermediate between living anthropoids (apes such as chimpanzees) and man…..”. A teacher from Pietersburg, Mr Wilfred Eitzman, inspired by this discovery, sent Dart some rocks containing fossils which he found near the lime kilns on the farm Makapansgat. This is how one of the most revealing chapters of the origin and evolution on Humankind was opened.

MAKAPANSGAT VALLEY SITES

 

MAKAPANSGAT LIMEWORKS

 

This is the oldest of the sites, spanning an age of between 3,32 million years to 1,6 million years ago. This site has yielded many thousands of fossil bones, amongst which were found remains of the gracile ape-man Australopithecus africanus.

 

CAVE OF HEARTHS & HYAENA CAVE

 

The Cave of Hearths preserves a remarkably complete record of human occupation from Early Stone Age “Acheulian” times in the oldest sediments through the Middle Stone Age, the Later Stone Age and up to the Iron Age. Nineteenth Century European relics such as brass ware and musket balls were found at the surface when excavations started.

BUFFALO CAVE

A small number of fossils were collected by Dr Robert Broom from this site in 1937, including the remains of the extinct buffalo Bos makapania. More recent excavations have revealed an extensive fauna including antelope, horses, pigs, monkeys and carnivores which suggest a Pleistocene age for the deposits.

FICUS CAVE & IRON AGE SITE

The cave gets its name from the fig tree Ficus ingens roots which curtain its entrance. This cave contains Iron Age and 19th Century relics, a large bat colony and an underground lake. An Iron Age site close by yields occupational debris from approximately Early Iron Age (550 AD), 870 AD and the Late Iron Age (1560 AD). The slopes adjacent to the cave are artificially terraced and archaelogical finds from these include patsherds, grindstones, hammer stones and relics of iron smelting operations, including ore, slag and fragments of tuyeres.

PEPPERCORNE’S CAVE

This cave contains Iron Age and ancient relics and an underground lake. It is also home to a large colony of migratory long-fingered bats, Miniopteris schreibersii.

 

RAINBOW CAVE

This cave is situated immediately below the Historic Cave and contains the remains of several hearths, indicating both human occupation and the controlled us of fire. The exposed sediments have yielded Middle Stone Age artifacts of the Piertersburg Culture of between 100 000 and 50 000 years ago.

HISTORIC CAVE OR MAKAPANSGAT

 

This site lies immediately adjacent to the Cave of Hearths and preserves Iron Age and Mfecane relics. It is most famous as the clash between a Boer Commando and local Langa and Kekana people after the murders of Voortrekkers at Moorddrift, Mapela and Pruizen. Chief Makapan (Mokopane), together with a large number of his tribespeople and their cattle were besieged in the cave for nearly a month between 25 October and 21 November 1854, during which time many hundreds died of hunger and thirst. Piet Potgieter was shot during the siege and the name of the nearby town was changed from Vredenburg to Pieter Potgietersrust, which in time changed to Potgietersrus. The cave was proclaimed a National Monument in 1936.

DISCOVERIES IN MAKAPANSGAT VALLEY

The rocks Prof Dart received from Mr Eitzman turned out to contain, amongst others, blackened fossil bones which led him to believe that they were burnt. Although no hominid remains or stone tools were found at first, he concluded that these were the remains of bones burnt in fireplaces and therefore that Mokapansgat was a site of early hominid occupation. Dart named the first hominids discovered at the site Australopithecus Prometheus after the mythological Greek hero who stole fire from the Gods. Afterwards the black markings turned out to be manganese stains and Australopithecus Prometheus turned out to be specimens of Australopithecus africanus. On the basis of an analysis of 7159 fossil bones, Dart concluded that these creatures, in an era before stone tools were discovered, used tools made from bone, teeth and horn, naming it the Osteodontokeratic Culture.

In 1936, the Historical Monuments Commission was asked to declare Makapan’s Cave a National Monument and Prof C van Riet Lowe, secretary of the Commission and Director of the Archaeological Survey of the Union of South Africa, visited the site in 1937. He inspected the Historic Cave and discovered close by an abandoned limeworker’s adit which cut through a calcified cave infill. In this infill he saw fossil bones, stone tools and what he took to be ash horizons, representing ancient hearths. After initially referring to it as part of Makapan’s Cave, he later renamed it “The Cave of Hearths”.

Further research during June and October 1937 revealed the Rainbow Cave. The site was visited by Van Riet Lowe, Dart and Robert Broom. HBS Cooke of the Geology Department of the University of the Witwatersrand conducted a geological survey of the area (1941) followed by LC King in 1951.

Philip Tobias led a group of students in July 1945 to the valley where they discovered the Hyaena Cave adjacent to Van Riet Lowe’s site. Further down the valley, from a cave adjacent to the limeworks, they collected a large fossil horse’s lower jaw, from which the Cave of the Horse’s Mandible derived its name.

After these discoveries, Dr Bernard Price made a research grant available for systematic excavations which commenced at the Cave of Hearths in 1947, field work being carried out by Guy Gardiner, James Kitching and his brothers Ben and Scheepers. One of he most significant discoveries was a Homo lower jaw from Bed 3 by Ben. In 1953 Dr RJ Mason was placed in charge of the excavations and the stratigraphic sequence was determined during 1953-1954.

After the Kitching brothers discovered an ape-man braincase amongst the Limeworks dumps in 1947, Dart organized for the lime miner’s dumps to be hand-sorted in order to recover as much fossil-bearing material as possible. After 45 years of research, many thousands of fossils from this site have been identified and catalogued.

B Maguire studied rocks which were brought from outside into the caves during prehistoric times (1965, 1968, 1980). This he interpreted to represent rudimentary stone tool making activities dated at around 2,3 – 1,6 million years ago.