03 January 2014


John Ronald Reuel TOLKIEN was born in Bloemfontein on 03 January 1892, the son of Arthur Reuel TOLKIEN, an Englishman who had taken up a position with the Africa Bank Corporation, and his wife Mabel SUFFIELD (1870–1904). Arthur arrived in Cape Town in 1890, and in 1891 he was transferred to Bloemfontein. He sent for his fiancée, Mabel, and they were married on 16 April 1891 in the St. George's Anglican Cathedral in Cape Town. In 1895 when JRR was three years old, his mother took him and his brother, Hilary Arthur Reuel (born 17 February 1894) back to England. During their absence, Arthur fell ill with rheumatic fever and died of severe brain haemorrhage on 15 February 1896. Arthur's funeral service took place at the Anglican Church in Bloemfontein, and he was buried at the President Brand Cemetery on the corner of Church and Rhodes Avenue.

Handwritten Christmas card photo of the Tolkien family, sent by Mabel from Bloemfontein to her relatives in Birmingham, on 15 November 1892. Mabel is seated, the nanny is holding baby JRR then ten months old. The cook and a servant are also included. The original photo was sepia, Mabel had coloured in some sections and added the writing.
In 1992, Arthur's grave was located after a long search made difficult by the lack of a gravestone. Sarel THERON, who worked for the Department of Parks and Recreation in the Boemfontein Municipality, eventually found a burial register for the President Brand Cemetery. Together with Frans VAN DER WALT, who was responsible for the cemeteries, they located the grave using three registers that finally showed the grave was in Block D, Row 3, Grave number 20. A new tombstone was placed on the grave in 1994 by the Tolkien family and and the South African Tolkien Society.

Arthur Tolkien's grave in Bloemfontein
Arthur was born in Handsworth, Stafford, England, in 1857, the eldest child of John Benjamin TOLKIEN and Mary Jane STOWE (circa 1834, Birmingham; died 13 February 1915, Newcastle upon Tyne). His father had previously been married to Jane HOLMWOOD (circa 1806, Fareham, Hampshire; died 1854, Worcester) with whom he had four children:

1) Jane (born circa 1836, Marylebone, London)
2) Emily (born June 1838, Marylebone, London)
3) Louisa (born June 1840, Marylebone, London)
4) John Benjamin (born March 1845, Birmingham, Warwickshire; died 1883, London)

He married Mary on 16 February 1856 at All Saints Parish Church, Birmingham, Warwickshire. They had the following children:

1) Arthur Reuel (born 1857, Handsworth)
2) Mabel (born 1858, Handsworth; died 1937)
3) Grace Bindley (born 1861, Handsworth; died 1904, Kings Norton, Worcestershire)
4) Florence Mary (born 1863, Birmingham)
5) Frank Winslow (born 28 July 1864, Birmingham; died 24 April 1867, West Bromwich)
6) Howard Charles (born 27 December 1866, Birmingham; died 27 October 1867, West Bromwich)
7) Wilfrid Henry (born 1870, Handsworth; died 08 August 1938, Essex)
8) Laurence George H. (born 1873, Moseley, Worcestershire)

John Benjamin was born in 1807 in Middlesex, London. He died on 01 August 1896 in Kings Norton, Warwickshire, England. He was a piano maker, teacher, and tuner. Arthur did not follow in his father's footsteps into the family trade in pianos, instead he became a bank clerk.

The Africa Bank Corporation was a double-storey sandstone building on the corner of Maitland and West Burger Street. The family lived in the top floor. The building later became a Bradlows furniture store. The building was demolished in 1933 and replaced by an Art Deco building that is still there. A bronze plaque was placed on the building in 1984, but was stolen in 1997. Thanks to an alert policeman, it was recovered a few days later, and is now kept at the Hobbit Boutique Hotel in President Steyn Street.

After Arthur's death, Mabel had no income, so she moved back in with her parents in Kings Heath, Birmingham. In 1896, they moved to Sarehole, a Worcestershire village. Mabel taught her two children herself, teaching them art, calligraphy, maths, science, English literature, and reading Latin and French. JRR liked to draw landscapes and trees, but his favourite lessons were languages.

Mabel became a Catholic in 1900, despite her Baptist family's protests. This led to her family stopping financial assistance to her. In 1904, when JRR was 12, Mabel died of acute diabetes at Fern Cottage in Rednal. She was buried at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. The young boys stayed with their aunt, Beatrice SUFFIELD, for a short while. Prior to her death, she assigned guardianship of her sons to her close friend, Fr. Francis Xavier MORGAN of the Birmingham Oratory. After her death, JRR grew up in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham and attended King Edward's School, Birmingham, and later St. Philip's School. In 1903, he won a Foundation Scholarship and returned to King Edward's where he was one of the cadets from the school's Officers Training Corps who lined the route for the 1910 Coronation Parade of King George V.

JRR was known as Ronald by his family, and had the nickname Tollers. While in his early teens, JRR's cousins, Mary and Majorie INCLEDON invented their own language called Animalic. Mary and others, including JRR, went on to invent a more complex language they called Nevbosh. His own first invented language was Naffarin.

The 1901 England Census shows JRR living in Kings Norton, Kings Heath, Worcestershire, with his mother and brother. The 1911 England Census shows him boarding at 4 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, with his brother Hilary (occupation: hardware merchant's clerk).

In 1911, JRR went on a summer holiday to Switzerland. In October 1911, he began studying at Exeter College, Oxford. He initially studied Classics but changed his course in 1913 to English Language and Literature, graduating in 1915 with first-class honours. At Oxford he was friends with Clive Staples LEWIS, who went on to write the Narnia Chronicles. Every Monday morning the two would meet to read each other's writings. They later formed a group of writers called The Inklings.

At the age of 16, JRR met Edith Mary BRATT, when he and his brother moved into the boarding house where she lived. She was also an orphan, and a Protestant, which did not please Fr. MORGAN who forbid JRR from having contact with her until he was 21. He obeyed this prohibition, with one early exception, over which Fr. MORGAN threatened to cut short his university career. The day he turned 21, JRR wrote to Edith, asking her to marry him. Edith replied that she had already agreed to marry another man, thinking he had forgotten her. They met up, after which Edith returned her engagement ring and accepted JRR's proposal. She reluctantly converted to Catholicism, after which her Protestant landlord evicted her. They couple were married at St. Mary Immaculate Roman Catholic Church, Warwick, on 22 March 1916. Mary was born on 21 January 1889 in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, and died on 29 November 1971 in Poole, Dorset. She served as the inspiration for his fictional character Lúthien Tinúviel, an Elven princess and the most beautiful of all the Children of Ilúvatar. The couple are buried side by side in Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford; below the names on their grave are the names Beren and Lúthien: in Tolkien's legendarium, Lúthien and the Man Beren were lovers separated for a time by Lúthien's father King Thingol.

Edith and JRR
JRR and Edith had the following children:

1) John Francis Reuel (16 November 1917 - 22 January 2003). Became a Catholic priest in 1946.
2) Michael Hilary Reuel (22 October 1920 - 27 February 1984)
3) Christopher John Reuel (born 21 November 1924). He married Faith FAULCONBRIDGE in 1951. Their son Simon Mario Reuel was born in 1959. They separated in 1963 and divorced in 1967. He next married Baillie KLASS (born 1941, Winnipeg, Canada) in 1967. They have two children: Adam Reuel (born 1969) and Rachel Clare Reuel (born 1971)
4) Priscilla Mary Anne Reuel (born 18 June 1929)

JRR in World War I
When World War I broke out, JRR did not immediately volunteer for the British Army as he was completing his degree. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1915, after graduation. After training as a Signals Officer, he was sent to the Somme. In between terms behind the lines at Bouzincourt, Tolkien participated in the assaults on the Schwaben Redoubt and the Leipzig Salient. JRR and Edith developed a secret code for his letters home so that Edith could track his whereabouts on a map of the Western Front. In October 1916, as his battalion attacked Regina Trench, JRR came down with trench fever and was invalided to England on in November. By 1918 all but one of his close friends were dead.

In 1921, while teaching at Leeds University, the University of Cape Town offered him a position. However, Edith was still recovering from the birth of their son Michael in 1920, and JRR turned the offer down. In 1922 he became a Professor of English at Oxford.  He became a Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College, Oxford, from 1925 to 1945, and then Professor of English Language and Literature at Merton College, Oxford from 1945 to 1959.

He started writing The Hobbit in the early 1930s. It was published on 21 September 1937. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, he started writing The Lord of the Rings, taking 12 years to complete. It was published in three volumes over the course of a year from 29 July 1954 to 20 October 1955. The three volumes were titled The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Sir Stanley UNWIN, his publisher, said of The Lord of the Rings: ''a book for all times which we will be selling long after my departure from this world... a great work''. The Lord of the Rings was released as a film in 2000.  After he retired, JRR started work on completing The Silmarillion, which was inspired by his relationship with Edith. It was only completed after his death by his son, Christopher, and published in 1977. JRR died on 02 September 1973 at Bournmouth, England. He was buried at Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford.

JRR at the Botanical Garden, Oxford. This is probably the last photograph of him, and was taken by his grandson Michael George in 1973.
In 2003, Bloemfontein launched a Tolkien Route. Sights on the tour included Arthur's grave, and the St. George' Anglican Cathedral where JRR was baptised on 31 January 1892, and a bronze plaque can be seen next to the baptismal font. This was followed by a visit to where the Africa Bank Corporation building stood. The tour ended at the Hobbitt Boutique Hotel in President Steyn Street, where each of its seven rooms is named after one of the hobbit characters in The Hobbit. The privately owned Hobbit house has hosted dignitaries, including the Duke of Kent, and JRR's daughter Priscilla. It is owned Jake UYS, who was chairman of the Haradrim Society, a Tolkien society for Afrikaans speakers in South Africa founded in 2000 and now defunct.

It is often claimed that the Amatola Mountains in Hogsback, Eastern Cape, served as inspiration for JRR's stories, and that his family visited the area when he was a baby. No factual evidence has been found for this claim. It is said that while serving in the Royal Air Force, JRR's son Christopher was stationed in nearby Queenstown and visited Hogsback several times. He sent his father sketches and descriptions of the mountains and forests, which might be the root of this claim. Christopher drew the original maps for his father's The Lord of the Rings, which he signed C.J.R.T.

I have not found reference to him being in Queenstown. Christopher enlisted in the Royal Air Force in late 1943 and was sent to South Africa for flight training at 7 Air School in Kroonstad, and 25 Air School in Standerton. He was commissioned into the general duties branch of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on 27 January 1945 as a pilot officer on probation. He transferred to the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve on 28 June 1945, and promoted to Flying Officer on 27 July 1945.

24 November 2013


Mary SINNOTT was born in Wexford, Ireland in 1882, one of five children born to Thomas SINNOTT and Margaret DUNN. The family was Catholic. Her eldest siblings were Dorothea / Dorothy Eleanor (Dorrie) and Dennis, and her younger siblings Sarah and Barbara (Babs). Her mother's family had roots in County Meath. Mary attended Presentation Convent in Wexford, where she learnt shorthand, typing and bookkeeping.

Thomas left Wexford for America, where he found employment as a representative for the Singer Sewing Machine Company. A few months later, he set sail for Cape Town. Having decided that the town had good prospects, he returned to Ireland to prepare the family for immigration to South Africa. In 1900, he left for Cape Town, with Mary who was then an attractive, red-haired, fair-skinned teenager. The rest of the family was to follow once they were established in Cape Town.

Shipping records list the following passengers on the Garth Castle departing from Southampton on 15 December 1900 for the Cape:

Miss M. SINNOTT (age 17, born ca 1883, single)
Mr D. SINNOTT (age 20, born ca 1880, single)
Miss S. SINNOTT (age 14, born ca 1886, single)
Mr F. SINNOTT (age 45, born ca 1855)

In Cape Town, Thomas started selling sewing machines, at 10 guineas each, on 28-month installment plans. Mary found work at The Castle, the headquarters of the British military in Cape Town, working for Colonel LONG as a typist. Dennis found work with the Tramways Department, where he later fell from a tram and died from his injuries. After Dennis' death, Barbara took John Brick FITZGERALD, tram conductor and a friend of Dennis, home to meet the bereaved family. Mary later married John at the Catholic Church Cathedral, and they went on to have five children - Mary (died at 6 months of age), Sidney, Kathleen (Kathy), Margaret (Peggy) and Thomas (Tommy).

Soon after the end of the Anglo-Boer War in 1902, the Sinnott and Fitzgerald families left Cape Town for Johannesburg by train. They settled in Belgravia. Margaret looked after Mary's children, and Thomas carried on selling sewing machines. John applied for a job with the City and Suburban Tramways Company and was employed as a tram driver. Mary found work as a typist for the Transvaal Miners' Association. She always wore an ankle length dress or skirt in maroon, olive green, navy or black, with a crisp white blouse and a tie; with shoes, hat and handbag imported from England.
Mary Fitzgerald

She was very concerned with the miners' well-being and often rode around the mines on her bicycle, collecting funds to bury phthisis victims properly. Phthisis is caused by the accumulation of mine dust in the lungs. She accompanied Union officials to gatherings that they addressed, and later started addressing these gatherings herself. She became very popular with the miners. In October 1909 she attended the South African Labour Party conference, the only woman among 54 delegates.

By 1911, when the workers on Johannesburg’s tram system went out on strike, Mary was a prominent labour activist. She lay on the tramlines, preventing scab drivers leaving the depot. The police arrived at the strike armed with pickhandles, In the subsequent clashes at Market Square, some of the pickhandles ended up in the hands of the strikers. They carried these to protest meetings, and this is how Mary earned her nickname of Pickhandle Mary.

In 1912 she attended a meeting chaired by Dora MONTEFIORE, a British sociologist and suffragette, to form the short-lived United Socialist Party. Mary also met Constance Antonina (Nina) BOYLE, another British suffragette and a journalist. She was one of the pioneers of the women's police service in Britain and in April 1918 was the first woman to be nominated to stand for election to the House of Commons. Two of Nina's brothers served in the Anglo-Boer War and Nina lived in South Africa at the time, working in the hospitals and as a journalist. While in South Africa she began to pursue her interest in women's rights, founding the Women's Enfranchisement League of Johannesburg. She returned to Britain in 1911. This friendship led Mary to campaign for women’s votes and equality of pay and opportunity. The Women’s Industrial League, which she founded, organised low-skilled female workers. She orgainsed a work boycott by Johannesburg waitresses which resulted in their improved pay and conditions.

She was also involved in the miners’ and general strikes of 1913 and 1914. Jammed against a wall by a police horse during the 1913 strike, she used her hatpin on the horse to free herself. She shouted defiance at the police and encouraged the strikers to stand firm. On 04 July 1913 a scuffle broke out between police, mounted soldiers and a riotous crowd in Market Square. The police were assaulted after strikers attacked them with stones. Strikers set fire to Park Station and the offices of The Star newspaper. Shop fronts were smashed, followed by looting. The strikers refused to disperse and fired shots at the military. One of the ringleaders, a tall red-headed miner from Nigel named Johannes L. LABUSCHAGNE, twice walked into the street, threw out his arms and shouted, "Shoot me!" The second time, when the crowd behind him began to move forward, he was shot dead. A 13-year old boy, Monty DUNMORE, was shot through the back while selling Strike Heralds to the crowd outside the Rand Club, and horses were killed in the crossfire. After the arson attacks, Mary was arrested for inciting workers to commit public violence. She refused to have her fingerprints taken and was imprisoned for six weeks at the Johannesburg Fort before the trial at which she was acquitted. She was the first woman to be imprisoned and tried for strike activities.
Mary addressing strikers in Market Square, 1913

Mary was at the front of Labuschagne's funeral procession. At a subsequent meeting of the strikers addressed by General Jan SMUTS, she jumped up on the platform, holding a baby. "This is Labuschagne’s baby, the child of the man that you shot," she shouted. The meeting descended into anarchy.

The 1914 general strike was catalysed by the government's decision to retrench railway workers in the National Union of Railway and Harbour Servants on Christmas Eve 1913. Martial law was imposed from January to March 1914. After the strike, General Smuts, then acting Minister of Mines, ordered the deportation to England of the instigators. They were J. T. BAIN, Archibald (Archie) CRAWFORD, R. B. WATERSON, G. MASON, D. MCKERRALL, W. LIVINGSTONE, A. WATSON, W. H. MORGAN and H. J. POUTSMA. Protests against the deportations followed, and the government rescinded the order, but not before the nine deportees were taken from their prison cells at night (without trial), taken by special train to Durban under armed escort and put aboard the steamship Umgeni, which sailed from Durban for London on the morning of 30 January 1914. The Umgeni arrived in London on 24 February 1914.

Mary first met Archibald CRAWFORD in 1911. Born in Scotland, and a fitter by trade, he came to South Africa as a soldier during the Anglo-Boer War. He became a foreman in the Pretoria Railway's Works soon after, until he was dismissed in 1906 for agitating against retrenchment. He became a trade union activist and a Labour councillor, and published the Voice of Labour between 1908 and 1912. They also printed The Strike Herald, which often publish the names of scab workers. When Archie was deported in 1914, Mary joined him, although still married to her husband and pregnant. She gave birth to her last Fitzgerald child in England.

Archie encouraged her to stand in the first Johannesburg Town Council elections in 1915, after women had received the municipal franchise. She won a seat, becoming the first woman to hold public office in the city. She served from 10 November 1915 to 26 October 1921, becoming chairman of the Public Health Committee in 1915, and deputy mayor in 1921 to Mayor John CHRISTIE. On her retirement she was presented with a car bought by public donations, the first to be owned and driven by a Johannesburg woman.
Mary's election poster

Between 1915 and 1918 union membership increased greatly. Unions were getting more organised, and needed to print more pamphlets. Mary trained as a printer, qualifing as a master printer, and becoming the first female printer in Johannesburg. She became co-owner Modern Press with Archie, which printed Voice of Labour. When Voice of Labour became defunct, they produced the Weekly Herald. In 1929 Mary had to abandon Modern Press.

In 1918, Mary divorced John, who although a striker, had remained uninvolved and unhappy with her activities. She married Archie in 1919 and they set up home in Bramley. In 1921 Mary took part in a strike in Durban and in the same year was appointed by the government as an official adviser to her husband at the International Labour Organization conference in Geneva. This trip made her unpopular with workers.

After 1921 Mary seemed to lose interest in union and political activities. She did not stand for Council again in 1922. Mary and Archie's only child, also Archie, was born in 1922. The Communist Party won leadership of the South African Industrial Federation, ousting Archie. He remained in the trade union movement, and Mary settled into domesticity. In 1924 Archie became ill with enteric fever, and died in hospital. After Archie's death, she took no further part in public life. From 1926 she withdrew almost entirely from public view and after a stroke spent her last years living with her daughter. She died in Johannesburg on 26 September 1960, and was buried at the Brixton Cemetery, alongside Archie.

In 1939 the Johannesburg City Council approved a motion to name the square in Newton, the Mary Fitzgerald Square. The square was previously known as Aaron's Ground and was initially a wagon site, but was used for the many strikers' meetings. The council never got around to the official dedication, and it was only so renamed in 1989. The pickhandle she is said to have used was kept at the Africana Museum in Johannesburg. In September 2005 a plaque in her memory was unveiled at Mary Fitzgerald Square - her son, Archie, was 81 when the plaque was unveiled.

Mary's father died in 1916.
Her sister, Dorrie, married Frederick William BROOKS (born in Grahamstown). She died in 1972, as did Frederick.
Sarah married James KELLY. She died in 1966, he died in 1951.
Mary's son, Tommy, had a daughter Glenda who married VAN OERLE.

A small brewery has named a brew after Mary - Pickhandle Mary Malted Oats Stout.

A book, Mary 'Pickhandle' Fitzgerald: Rediscovering a Lost Icon, was written by Frances Hunter, a South African journalist who now lives in Sante Fe, California.

17 November 2013


After the Anglo-Boer War, Boers not only trekked to other parts of Africa, they also looked further afield. Argentina was the focus of a large group of Boers. Today, many of their descendants are still found in the Comodoro Rivadavia and Sarmiento areas. Between 1903 and 1909, up to 800 Boer families trekked by ship to Argentina’s east coast. Some of Argentina’s wealthiest sheep farmers are descendants of the first Boers.

Mr. GREEN and Mr. VIETMA were sent from Argentina to recruit new settlers in South Africa. Louis BAUMANN of Bloemfontein was one of the first Boers to move to the province of Chubut, Argentina. Ds. Louis P. VORSTER (Gereformeerde Kerk) of Burgersdorp undertook an investigative trip to Argentina. Upon his return, many Boers joined the new trek.

In October 1905, 322 Boers left Cape Town on board the Highland Fling. A few of the Boers' servants accompanied them. The ship had arrived in Cape Town in with a load of mules from Argentina, and was refurbished to carry the passengers. They arrived in Buenos Aires, and 17 days later boarded the Presidente Roca for Chubut, arriving in Comodoro Rivadavia on 05 December 1903. Comodoro Rivadavia, 2 500 km south of Buenos Aires, is the capital city of the Chubut province. The Boers settled here on land given to them by the Argentinean government. The government wanted to populate the area and recruited foreign settlers.

Once at their new destination, they found that the land was not suitable for farming, but that sheep farming was a good alternative. There was no fresh drinking water on the land, and drinking water had to be brought in by wagon. The Boers asked for a rig from Buenos Aires to drill for water. In 1907 they hit the the first oil well. If the law had been different the Boers would've been super-rich, as most of the oil was found on their land, but in Argentina the State owns all mineral rights.

In 1925 heavy snowfall led to a large loss of sheep, and many of these Boers had to start all over again. In 1934 there were still 900 Boers in Argentine, mostly in the Chubut province. Today, Comodoro Rivadavia is a city of more than 130 000 people. It has an Air Force base, from which Argentina orchestrated its attack of the Falkland Islands. Driving outside Comodoro Rivadavia one sees oil pumps everywhere.

In 1934, Senator Francois Stephanus MALAN visited the Afrikaans community in Argentina in answer to a plea for church and school aid. In 1938, about 600 Boers were repatriated to South Africa, helped by the South African government and churches.

The Afrikaans service of SABC Radio broadcast two programmes about the Afrikaners in Argentina, “Springbok op die Pampas” in 1979 and “Van Pampas tot Springbokvlakte” in 1980. In 1991 only two of the original settlers were still alive.

In 1992, there were approximately 1 000 of Boer descendants left in Argentina. The older descendants still spoke an old version of Afrikaans and surnames such as BOTHA, GRIMBEEK, HENNING, VENTER, VISSER can still be found. They have an annual festival where traditional dance, dress and food are offered. Many of the men have married Argentinean women. They and their children speak Spanish.

In early 1992, a tour group of 107 South Africans, visited Patagonia for 2 weeks. The visit was organised by Ollie VILJOEN, producer of the SABC-TV’s “Spies en Plessie” programme. The local newspapers, radio and TV took photos and did interviews with the 1992 visitors.

Amongst the visitors were many descendants of the original Boer settlers. One of them was the widow Johanna VAN DER MERWE (then 83 years old) from Bellville, Cape. She returned to South Africa with her parents in 1938. Johanna was married three times. Two of her sisters were also in the tour group. Her younger sister was born in Comodoro Rivadavia. She lives in South Africa and married a son of Pieter Hendrik HENNING (author of ‘n Boer in Argentina, published in 1942 by Nasionale Pers). He was involved in the repatriation scheme of a large group of Boers in 1938.

Enrique Carlos GRIMBEEK was born in Argentina but returned to South Africa with his parents. His parents farmed in the Prince Albert area but Henrique soon returned to Patagonia, where he became a wealthy man and married Petronella (Tant Nellie). Together with his two sons, he had a large amount of Merino sheep on the 180 000 acre farm La Begonia. He also provided water and gas to Comodoro Rivadavia. Another business sideline was the oil pumps on his land which produced millions of litres of oil every day. In October 1991, the New York Times interviewed Henrique, then age 79.

In Sarmiento, a Spanish-speaking shop keeper is a Boer descendant, Martin Sebastian VIVIERS. The local Reformed Church was built by the Boers. Another descendant is Nicholas AYLING who owns El Rancho Grande, the only restaurant in town, and farms sheep on the family farm, Media Luna. His mother is Maria Francina AYLING (maiden name VENTER) and known as Bee. Her grandfather was C.J.N. VISSER from Barkly East, one of the leaders of the trek. A bay north of Comodoro is called Puerto Visser after him. Bee lived in Cape Town during the 1930s and attended Jan van Riebeeck High School. She also attended the laying of the Voortrekker Monument’s corner  stone in 1938. When her father died, her mother inherited Media Luna and returned to Argentina with the children. Bee met and married Eric AYLING, a British expat in Buenos Aires. In  his book, My Life in Patagonia, Eric describes his Afrikaans bride as "very handy and capable in all moments of trouble".

Nellie BLACKIE (maiden name VAN WYK) was five years old when she arrived in Patagonia with her parents. She married Enrique BLACKIE (63 years old in 1991) and they had 10 children. They farmed northwest of Sarmiento. In 1992, Nellie was a pensioner and living in Comodoro Rivadavia. In 1992, Hester VAN WYK (then 83) was one of the oldest original settlers.

In late 1996, Ester Vera Kruger DE PIERANGELI, a Boer descendant, visited South Africa to look for family members. In 1992 she was the wife of Comodoro Rivadavia’s Mayor.

Today, a documentary feature film is being made to commemorate the 100 years history of the Boers in Argentine.

04 November 2013


The Two Minutes of Silence on 11 November at the 11th hour was the idea of Sir James Percy FITZPATRICK. He was born in King William's Town in 1862 and died in Uitenhage in 1931, eldest son of James Coleman FITZPATRICK, Judge of the Supreme Court of the Cape Colony, and his wife Jenny, both from Ireland.

On his father's death in 1880, he left college in order to support his mother and family. In 1884, he went to the Eastern Transvaal goldfields where he worked as store man, prospector's hand and journalist, and as transport-rider. In Barberton, he became editor of the Gold Fields News.

As a transport rider on ox-wagons he worked on a supply route through the Lowveld, along the Old Delagoa Road, which was used between May and September (the dry disease-free winter months) by transport riders from the Lydenburg Goldfields (Spitzkop, Macmac, Pilgrim's Rest and Lydenburg) to Lourenço Marques. This time of his life, when he was pioneering in the Lowveld, are vividly described in his book Jock of the Bushveld, and served as the setting for many of his Jock's (a Staffordshire Bull Terrier) adventures. It was Rudyard Kipling, a family friend, who persuaded Percy to write the book. A London artist, Edmund CALDWELL, was brought to South Africa to visit the Lowveld and draw the book's illustrations. Percy later became a government official and politician, which led to his involvement in military topics and eventually the Two Minutes Silence on 11 November.

The silent pause tradition has its roots in Cape Town, and in part with the Noonday Gun on Signal Hill. 

Our own Tannie Mossie (Joan ABRAHAMS of Bloemfontein) wrote a well-researched book in the 1990s about this - "Time from Africa - A two minute silent pause to remember - 11:00 on the 11th of the 11th month." The book also shows the correct silence - one minute for the dead and one minute for the survivors (on 11 November) and one minute for one person or two minutes for more than one person (for other remembrance ceremonies).

Sir Harry HANDS K.B.E. was the Mayor of Cape Town in 1912 - 1918. He was also the first accountant at Old Mutual. In February 1918 the War Recruiting Committees of the Union of South Africa conference took place at Cape Town's City Hall. As a result, a recruiting drive was begun on 08 April 1918. The drive was inaugurated by church services throughout the city, with the official service held at St George’s Cathedral and attended by Mayor HANDS and the city's councillors.

Shorty thereafter, Mayor HANDS received a telegram notifying him that his eldest son, Captain Reginald Harry Myburgh HANDS, had died on the Western Front. At the outbreak of the war he joined the Imperial Light Horse and was sent to German South West Africa. He transferred to the South African Heavy Artillery and was posted to the Western Front, where he was seconded to the Royal Garrison Artillery. He was promoted to Captain and became second-in-command of his Battery. During the Germans' final large offensive, begun on 21 March 1918, he was gassed, and died of gas poisoning on 20 April 1918.

The Mayor was sitting in his office at City Hall with his friend, Councillor Robert BRYDON, when they heard the 11:00 hour stroke of the clock in the Clock Tower. Still in the office, an hour later they heard the Noonday Gun, fired from Signal Hill. Mr. BRYDON then suggested a silent street pause similar to the Angelus prayer tradition observed daily at noon at many churches. The Noonday Gun was suggested as the signal to start the silence.

On Monday, 13 May 1918 the following was published in the Cape Times newspaper:

"Pause for three minutes.
In some places in the Union it has been the practice during the past few weeks to call halt at midday in order to direct the minds of the people to the tremendous issues which are being fought out on the Western Front, and to afford a minute or two for silent prayer for the forces of the Allies engaged there.
This seems to be an excellent example to copy. And I now appeal to all citizens to observe the same practice in Cape Town as from tomorrow (Tuesday). Upon the sound of the midday gun all tramway cars will become stationary for three minutes and other trams should halt wherever it may be, for the same period.
Pedestrians are asked to remain standing wherever they may be when the gun sounds and everyone, however engaged, to desist from their occupations and observe silence for this short spell. Employers can greatly assist by advising their staff to this effect. I cannot conceive anything more calculated to bring home to us the critical time through which we are passing and it’s responsibilities for all of us and I hope most fervently that all our citizens will help to make the recognition of the solemnity of the occasion as real as possible.
(Signed) H. Hands
Mayor of Cape Town"

During the first observance, Mayor HANDS stood on Cartwright’s Balcony. Afterwards he decided that 3 minutes was too long, and the following was published in the Cape Argus newspaper on 14 May 1918:

"His Worship decided that the pause will retain its hold on the people if it is altered to two minutes instead of three, and that this change will not in any way diminish the power of its appeal. Consequently the pause will be two minutes tomorrow, when Bugler BICCARD will again sound ‘The Post’."

This pause was seen by the Reuter’s correspondent in Cape Town, who cabled a report to London. This was distributed all over Great Britain and re-cabled to the other Dominions. Within a few weeks Reuter’s agency in Cape Town received press cables from London stating that the ceremony had been adopted in two English towns and later by others, including towns in Canada and Australia. The observance of the daily midday Two Minute Silent Pause of Remembrance in Cape Town continued until 14 May 1919. Mayor HANDS retired from office at the end of his term in September 1918. On 02 August 1919, he again stood on the balcony of Cartwright’s next to the bugler for the Last Post ceremony during the Peace Celebration.

Sir James Percy Fitzpatrick

Sir James Percy FITZPATRICK, author of the classic South African story, Jock of the Bushveld, attended a church service in Cape Town in 1916 where a moment of silence was held for dead soldiers. Mr John Albert EAGAR, a Cape Town businessman, had suggested that the congregation observe a silent pause to remember South Africans lost in battle.

Sir Percy's son, Percy Nugent George, was a Major in the Union Defence Force. He was killed in France in 1917.
Major P.N.G. Fitzpatrick
South African Heavy Artillery, 71st Siege Battery
Died 14 Dec 1917, age 28
Born in Johannesburg.
Volunteered on 04 Aug 1914 and served in the Rand Rebellion and German South
West Africa with the Imperial Light Horse.
Buried at Red Cross Corner Cemetery, Beugny

A two minute silence was held in Cape Town on 14 December 1918, a year after Percy Nugent's death.

When Sir Percy heard that 11 November 1918 was going to be observed as Armistice Day in London, he asked for a two minute silence throughout the British Empire as a tribute to dead soldiers. WWI ended on 11 November 1918 with the guns stopped on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Sir Percy proposed this observance to Lord Northcliffe but was disappointed by his reaction. He therefore approached Lord Milner, who forwarded the proposal to King George V’s private secretary, Lord Stamfordham. On 7 November 1919, The Times of London carried this message from the King:

"Tuesday next November 11, is the first anniversary of the Armistice, which stayed the world carnage of the four preceding years…it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the Armistice came into force, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be, for the brief space of two minutes, a complete suspension of all our normal activities. During that time, except in the rare cases where this may be impracticable, all work, all sound and all locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect silence, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead".

Sir Percy was in California on business to look at their citrus industry when he read on 12 November 1919 that the first Two Minutes Silence had been observed in England the previous day. The Times newspaper reported:

"Throughout the British Empire, from the jungles of India to the snows of Alaska, on trains, on ships at sea, in every part of the globe where a few British were gathered together, the Two Minute Pause was observed".

On 30 January 1920, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick received a letter signed by Lord Stamfordham, the King’s Private Secretary:

"Dear Sir Percy,  The King, who learns that you are shortly to leave for South Africa, desires me to assure you that he ever gratefully remembers that the idea of the Two Minute Pause on Armistice Day was due to your initiation, a suggestion readily adopted and carried out with heartfelt sympathy throughout the Empire”. Signed Stamfordham."

Sir Percy Fitzpatrick was also the prime mover of the project to purchase land from France on which the Delville Wood Memorial was built. He was also chairman of the committee in South Africa which raised funds to build the memorial. One of his first tasks was the replanting of the actual forest, which was accomplished with acorns collected from a tree at Franschhoek, grown from one of six acorns brought from France by a French Huguenot when he fled from France in 1688.

On 10 October 1926 Sir Harry HANDS attended the special service held in Cape Town, which was timed to synchronise with the ceremony at the unveiling of the Delville Wood Memorial in France. The service was held at the Noonday Guns of the Lion Battery on Signal Hill and was arranged by the South African Heavy Artillery Association.

The Two Minutes Silence began to be applied to other events too. When Alexander Graham BELL died in 1922, the whole USA phone network observed a two minute silence. In 1995, as part of the 50th anniversary of VE Day, a two-minute silence was held in many Allied countries. The Two Minutes Silence is has been used to mark major disasters, such as September 11. In 2005, a three minute silence was held to pay tribute to the 150 000 people that died in the Asian tsunami.

The poppy story goes back to 1915 when a Canadian soldier from Guelph, Ontario, Major John Alexander McCRAE, was serving in France as a doctor during WWI. He initially served at a First Aid Station between Poperinghe and Ypres, where he wrote his now-famous poem.

The 22-year-old Lieutenant Alexis HELMER took a direct hit from a German shell at Ypres on the Western Front one May morning in 1915. He was buried at sunset. The officer who spoke over his grave as the battle raged around them was his close friend Major John McCRAE. The next day, 03 May, after a night of tending to chlorine gas victims, he looked out from his first-aid post onto a sea of wooden crosses — his friend’s the latest, mingling with the wild red corn poppies that grew there. Then he tore a page from his dispatch book and began to write. In 20 minutes, it was done:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

It was first published on 08 December 1915 in the British magazine, Punch. John McCRAE's words were a lament for the sorrow and loss of war, not a glorification of it. They honoured not slaughter but sacrifice, our humanity not inhumanity.

Later he was appointed as Commanding Officer at the 3rd McGill Canadian General Hospital in Boulogne. He died there of pneumonia and meningitis on 28 January 1918. To honour him, comrades searched fields for poppies to lay on his grave but, in the dead of winter, found none. So they ordered artificial poppies to be made in Paris and woven into a wreath.
Lt. Col. John A McCrae

In 1916 artificial poppies were distributed in England for charity at some venues, such as St. Michael’s War Work Party, in South Shields, in August. The Sleights Red Cross Hospital held a Poppy Day in Whitby to raise funds for their hospital’s war effort. Also in August, there was a Poppy Day in Nottingham to benefit orphans.

On 09 November 1918, Moina Belle MICHAEL, a professor at the University of Georgia in the USA, was working in the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries’ headquarters during its training conference at Columbia University in New York City. In the Ladies Home Journal magazine that day, she came across McCrae’s poem and was so moved that she vowed to always wear a red poppy in remembrance. That same month she wrote an answering poem in reply, We Shall Keep the Faith:

Moina Michael
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

She was given $10 by the conference delegates as thanks for her work, and this she spent during her lunch break buying 25 red silk poppies at Wanamaker’s department store. She pinned one to her coat and distributed the rest amongst the delegates, asking them to wear them as a tribute to fallen American soldiers. After returning to the University of Georgia in 1920, she taught a class of disabled veterans. Realising how much support they needed, she thought of selling artificial poppies to raise funds for America’s disabled veterans. She was born in Good Hope, Georgia in 1869, retired in 1938 and lived in Athens, USA, until her death in 1944. By then poppy sales in the USA had raised more than $200-million for the rehabilitation of war veterans. Her autobiography is titled The Miracle Flower: The Story of the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy (1941).

By 1918, the poppy's symbolism had increased. Men serving in France and Flanders had been sending picked poppies back to loved ones in their letters. In April 1918 American women gave out poppies in New York after accepting war effort donations.

In September 1920, the American Legion held it's annual conference in  Cleveland, Ohio. Present was a French woman, Anna E GUERIN, representing the American and French Children’s League.

Anna Guérin, in the 12 June 1918 issue of the Wichita Daily Eagle, Kansas.

Anna Alix BOULEE was born in 1878 in Vallon, Ardèche, France. She married Paul RABANIT in November 897 in Vallon. He was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba in 1871. After his mother's death in 1887 in Cuba, his father took the two sons to New York in May 1879. Soon after the marriage, Paul and Anna sailed to the French colony, Madagascar, where they settled in Tamatave. There Anna opened a school in 1899 and ran it until she returned to France in 1909. The couple had two daughters there, Raymonde in 1900 and Renée in 1901. They couple divorced in 1907.

In October 1910, Anna married Constant Charles Eugène GUERIN in Paris. He was a Judge, and working in Kayes, French Sudan. They had met in Madagascar. After the marriage he returned to Sudan. Anna and her daughters moved to England, where Anna worked as a lecturer for the Alliance Française organisation, lecturing all over the UK.

In October 1914, Anna left Liverpool for the USA, onboard the Lusitania, arriving in New York. Her daughters remained at boarding school in England with her mother. Her husband was then in Lyon as a French attaché at the World Fair. When WWI broke out, the World Fair was closed down and become part of an official mission to the Congo, after which he enlisted in the French military, until he was sent back to Africa in 1916 on behalf of the French government.

Anna initially went to the USA as an Alliance Française lecturer. Once there she lectured all over the country at many First World War patriotic drives before the USA entered the war, and became a fundraiser, during and after the war, for the war effort and for France. She lectured in the USA from October 1914 until May 1915, after which she returned to France. By September 1915, she was at the Waldorf Astoria with her daughter Raymonde, when her daughter Renée arrived in the city from Bordeaux. Anna left the USA with her daughters some time after March 1916, as she returned to the Waldorf Astoria in September 1916 from Bordeaux with daughter Raymonde. She returned to France after April 1917 with daughter Raymonde. She was back in the USA in October 1917, joining her sister, Juliette, at the Washington Hotel in New York. Anna continued criss-crossing the USA giving talks at patriotic lectures and raising funds, as can be seen from numerous newspaper reports in the USA. She started selling floral boutonnières in September 1918, raising funds this way for French orphans. She returned to France in November 1918, when her tours were cut short by the Spanish Flu outbreak.

In France, Anna founded the "La Ligue des enfants de France et d’Amérique" in December 1918, officially setting it up in Paris. It was affiliated to the French government and the poppy was used as its emblem. Through her foundation she organised French women, children and war veterans to make artificial poppies out of cloth. She saw that artificial poppies could be sold as a way of raising money to help the French people, especially orphaned children, who were suffering as a result of the war. She became known as the Poppy Lady of France. In the USA, Anna set up her foundation as the  "American and French Children's League" in 1919, having returned to the USA in March 1919. She gave her last residential address in France as Vendeuvre, Calvados. Her husband Eugéne was still working in Sudan, and her daughters were in Vallon with her mother. Her sister Juliette was living in Lincoln, Nebraska. Anna spent the year speaking and fundraising across the USA for the US Victory Loan and French orphans.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 06 June 1919, a homecoming celebration was arranged for the US 32nd Division. A few women volunteers set up a stand selling doughnuts and coffee. One of the volunteers, the widow Mary HANECY, decorated the stand with poppies but the poppies were taken by Americans who left a donation on the counter. The volunteers used that money to help disabled veterans. Mary saw the potential for a fundraiser for the Milwaukee American Legion, and suggested they hold a Poppy Day for Memorial Day. In 1920 on the Saturday before Memorial Day, the American Legion distributed 50 000 poppies. Donations totalling $5000 were received and used for veterans’ rehabilitation. Mary was given a Certificate of Appreciation by the American Legion in 1932.

Mary Ann CALDWELL was born in 1861 in Milwaukee to Irish parents. She married John Joseph HENNESSEY, a fire-fighter. He died in January 1910 while fighting a fire. The surname gradually changed to HANECY. Mary died on 11 September 1948.

WWI ended on 28 June 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Anna continued fundraising tours to raise money for the widows and orphans. In the last four years of the war, she had given more than 500 talks in 30 states, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean nine times. In 1919 she was awarded a U.S. Victory Liberty Loan Medal for her service during the US Liberty Loan campaigns.

In September 1920, the American Legion held it's annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio. It was here that it became the first of the WWI allied veterans’ groups to adopt the poppy as a remembrance emblem, after Anna was invited to speak about her "Inter-Allied Poppy Day' idea at the conference. For the first US National Poppy Day in 1921, it was agreed all distribution proceeds would go to Anna's foundation work in France.

After the American Legion officially adopted the poppy, veteran groups of the British Empire nations soon did the same. Anna decided to introduce the poppy to other nations who had been allies of France during WWI. During 1921 she visited or sent representatives to Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

Field Marshal Haig (left), Field Marshal Smuts (centre) and General Lukin (right) in Cape Town, 1921
Members of veterans organisations in Great Britain, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand came together to form the British Empire Services League in Cape Town on 21 February 1921. Three prominent soldiers, Field Marshall Douglas HAIG, Field Marshal Jan SMUTS and General Henry LUKIN headed this inaugural meeting in the Cape Town City Hall. Field Marshal HAIG went on from this meeting to start what is now known as the Royal British Legion, and Field Marshal SMUTS and General LUKIN went on to start what is now known as the South African Legion. At this conference the Haig Poppy (named after the Field Marshall) was adopted as the official remembrance symbol.

Anna travelled to Canada, where she met with representatives of the Great War Veterans Association of Canada. This organisation later became the Royal Canadian Legion. The Great War Veterans Association adopted the poppy as its national flower of remembrance on 05 July 1921.

She visited Field Marshall Douglas HAIG, president of the British Legion, and persuaded him to adopt the poppy as the Legion's emblem in 1921. It was also Anna who suggested that the Legion sell artificial poppies to raise money. The Legion signed on and 1.5 million poppies were ordered for 11 November 1921. The first Poppy Appeal made £106,000. Initially the poppies were made by the French women and orphans, and later a poppy factory was set up in South London. By the end of the 20th century, the British Legion was selling over 32 million poppies per annum.

Australia adopted the poppy as from 11 November 1921. Anna's foundation sent a million artificial poppies to Australia for the 1921 Armistice Day commemoration. The Returned Soldiers and Sailors Imperial League sold the poppies for one shilling each. Of this, five pennies were donated to Anna's French orphans, six pennies were donated to the Returned Soldiers and Sailors Imperial League and one penny was received by the government.

In September 1921 Anna sent a representative to the New Zealand Returned Soldiers' Association (NZRSA).They placed an order for 350 000 small and 16 000 large French-made poppies. Unfortunately the delivery did not arrive in time to for 11 November and the Association decided to hold the first Poppy Day on 24 April 1922, the day before ANZAC Day. The first Poppy Day in New Zealand raised more than £13 000. A proportion of this was sent to Anna's French orphans, and the remainder was used by the Association for support and welfare of returned soldiers.

In 1922 the American and French Childrens' League was disbanded. Anna left the USA in early 1922 for England and France, continuing her work with poppy campaigns. She was in charge of the 1922 Poppy Day arrangements in Canada, for that November’s commemoration. Most of those poppies was made by unemployed ex-service men in Canada, with the small balance coming from Anna's French widows and orphans. For the 1922 US Poppy Day, Anna asked the American Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to help her with the distribution of her French-made poppies. In March 1923, 2 million French-made poppies were sent to the USA, ordered by the American Legion, for their 1923 Memorial Day poppy drives. Anna was also involved in arranging poppy supplies for Australia and New Zealand until 1927 and 1929 respectively.

Following the distribution of the French-made poppies in 1922, the VFW agreed in 1923 that American veterans could also benefit from making and selling poppies. From 1924 disabled ex-servicemen started making poppies at the Buddy Poppy factory in Pittsburgh. Buddy Poppy was registered as a U.S. Patent in February 1924. The Buddy Poppy programme has continued to raise money for the welfare and support of veterans and their dependants. There are now 11 locations where the Buddy Poppies are made by disabled and needy veterans. More than 14 million Buddy Poppies are distributed each year in the United States.

From 1924 until WWII started, Anna travelled to New York about twice a year from France. In February 1925, Anna was with Juliette in New York when her husband Eugéne arrived on St. Valentine’s Day for a two week holiday. She listed him as her next of kin whilst travelling until November 1935, and in December 1938 she listed her daughter Raymonde as next of kin. It is not known whether Eugéne died or they separated. Anna then opened a French antique business in New York. Her sister Juliette and friend Blanche managed it at least until April 1940, when they are listed in the 1940 US Census at an antiques business at 200 E 60th Street, New York. Anna was in France at the time the US 1940 census was taken, and is travelling from Nazaire on the ship Champlain in 19 May 1940 to New York. She most likely spent the WWII years in the USA. After the war, she left the USA in July 1945 and returned in November 1945 from Le Havre. She did these trips about twice a year. From 1946 to 1956, Anna flew into New York from Paris, instead of sailing, with her address given as 957 3rd Avenue, New York.

Anna died on 16 April 1961 at le Square Charles Dickens 5, Paris, where her daughter Renée lived in one of the apartments above the Musée du Vin. She was 83 years old. History has not always been kind in remembering that it was Anna GUERIN who started the national Poppy Days in the USA and the Allied countries - let us remember her as such, it was her life's work.

In early 1941 Anna wrote about her work regarding her idea for an "Inter-Allied Poppy Day". This writing about the history of the National Poppy Days was sent to Moina MICHAEL. It is today in the Moina Michael papers held at the State of Georgia Archives. In her writing, Anna mentioned that she had organised Poppy Day in Canada with two ladies, her sister Juliette Virginie BOULLE and Anna’s friend Blanche BERNERON, the widow of Eugène BERNERON. Anna then left them in Canada and travelled to England, Belgium and Italy. She mentioned that she "was sending Colonel MOFFAT to South Africa (Natal), Australia and New Zealand" to organise there. As far as is known, this is the only reference connecting Anna to South Africa. Colonel MOFFAT's ship "Aeneas" stopped in Durban (Port Natal), and later at Cape Town enroute from Melbourne to Liverpool.

In South Africa, the South African Legion still holds a few collections in malls to raise funds to assist in the welfare work among military veterans. They do not sell the poppies but accept donations in return. When you buy a poppy for Remembrance Day, you pay tribute to those who died, and you are helping those who survived and bear the scars of war.

The poppy campaigns usually start two weekends prior to Remembrance Day, 11 November.  The poppy can also been worn at the funeral of a veteran or a special occasion connected to veterans.
The most common place to wear a poppy is on the left, over the heart or on the left lapel of one’s jacket. 
The leaf of the poppy, if there is one, should be positioned at the orientation of 11 o’clock, to symbolise the 11th hour of the 11 day of the 11th month - the time that World War I formally ended. The red represents the blood of all those who gave their lives, the black represents the mourning of those who lost their loved, and the green leaf represents the grass and crops growing and future prosperity after the war destroyed so much.
The poppy is not for sale, they're distributed and donations of any amount are encouraged in exchange.
If you don't keep your poppy, you can leave it on a veteran's gravestone or on a cenotaph as a sign of respect and honour.

26 October 2013


Reverend Ogilvie
The Currie Cup has been South Africa‘s premier domestic rugby union competition, featuring provincial / regional teams. The Currie Cup is one of the oldest rugby competitions in the world.

Reverend George “Gog” OGILVIE (born 1826 in Wiltshire, England) is credited with introducing rugby to South Africa, following his appointment as Headmaster of the Diocesan College at Rondebosch in 1861. This game was the Winchester football variety, which the Reverend had learnt during his school days at Hampshire School. The first games were often reported in the local newspapers and featured teams such as “Town versus Suburbs” and “Home versus Colonials”.

It was at a farewell reception for the British Isles rugby team, which was leaving for a tour of South Africa, that Sir Donald CURRIE (17 September 1825 – 13 April 1909), a British ship owner, handed over what was to become the Currie Cup. The reception was held at the Southampton Docks in June 1891. On the 7th July thanks to the sponsorship of Cecil RHODES, the first British Isles rugby team arrived in Cape Town aboard the Dunottar Castle. They were mainly Scottish and English players captained by the Scottish wing William Edward MACLAGAN (5 April 1858 – 10 October 1926). Their first match was against the club Hamiltons which they won 15-1. The only try by the home team was scored by Charles (Hasie) VERSVELD, brother of Loftus VERSVELD. The Cape Times carried reports.
Sir Donald Currie
The first international match in which a South African team played was against the British tourists on the 30th July in Port Elizabeth. The South Africans were captained by Herbert Hayton CASTENS. In 1894 he was also the captain of the South African touring cricket team to England. Herbert was born on the 23rd November 1864 in Pearston, Eastern Cape, and died on 18 October 1929 in Fulham, London. The British beat South Africa 4-0 in that first Test. The 1891 British team won all their matches.
Herbert H. Castens
The golden cup given to the British team was given to Griqualand West during the British team’s farewell reception in September aboard the Garth Castle, but there was no team representative present. Griqualand West were deemed the best opposition team by the tourists. In an early show of typical South African rugby rivalry, Western Province supporters were not happy that Griqualand West was awarded the trophy. They claimed that the hard and grass-less playing field in Kimberley gave them an unfair advantage.

Sir Donald wanted the cup to become a floating trophy for South African inter-provincial champions. Griqualand West later donated the trophy to the Rugby Board, who made it the prize for the Currie Cup competition. The cup was insured for £40 when it was put on display, shortly after its arrival, in a window shop in Adderley Street. The words “South African Football Challenge Cup” were engraved on the cup.

Undated Currie Cup
Although the cup bears Sir Donald’s name, the competition has its roots in an inter-town competition that started in 1884. By the time the South African Rugby Board was founded in 1889, it was decided to organise a national competition. The first tournament was held in Kimberley and was won by Western Province. The winning team received a silver cup donated by the South African Rugby Board. This cup is on display at the South African Rugby Museum in Cape Town. The cup donated by Sir Donald was competed for from 1892 onwards. The 1892 tournament was played in Kimberley from the 12th – 23rd September. It was won by Western Province. The other teams were Natal, Griqualand West, Border and Transvaal. Christiaan BEYERS, who later became a Boer General, was part of the Transvaal team.

In the early rugby years there were no Cup finals. The team that finished at the top of the log was declared the champion. In the early 1900s, the Currie Cup was not competed for annually. The first Currie Cup final was played in 1939 at Newlands where Transvaal beat Western Province. The format varied and finals were held intermittently up until 1968. In its early days and until 1920, the tournament lasted a week and was played in one town. The competition was also interrupted by the two World Wars. The first annual Currie Cup final was held in 1968 when Northern Transvaal, featuring Frik DU PREEZ, beat Transvaal.

Politics was already casting its shadow over South African rugby way back then. In 1895, the 15 British soldiers representing Natal in the Currie Cup tournament had to get permission from Paul KRUGER to enter the ZAR in their uniforms. At this tournament’s official dinner, officials and players made toasts to KRUGER and Queen Victoria. During the 1899 tournament, Western Province, Transvaal and the Free State stayed away because of the Anglo-Boer War. The 1908 Currie Cup tournament, held in Port Elizabeth, was the last one held in Sir Donald’s lifetime.

In the 1898 tournament, the Transvaal team faced tragedy when their fullback David Gill (Davey) COPE was killed in a train accident at Mosterthoek on 16 August 1898 while on his way to the tournament in Cape Town. A week later another Transvaal player, Boy TAIT, died of injuries sustained in the same accident.

The Currie Cup is such a big part of South African rugby, that it is not well-known that there were other Currie Cups involving other sports. All the cups were donated by Sir Donald.

On the 5th January 1808, a cricket match between two teams of English officers took place in Cape Town. In 1862, an annual fixture “Mother Country versus Colonial Born” was staged in Cape Town. In March 1889, the English cricket team played in a Test match against South Africa at Port Elizabeth. Sir Donald sponsored the English team’s tour of South Africa. When the team left England, he gave them a cup to be presented to the best South African team that they faced. As with his request for the rugby cup, the trophy was then to be used in domestic competition. The cup was inscribed with “To the Cricket Clubs of South Africa, 1889?. In 1890 the Kimberley cricket team became the first team to be awarded cricket’s Currie Cup. Cricket’s Currie Cup tournament was later renamed the Castle Cup. When the Wanderers Clubhouse caught fire in 2004, the silver Currie Cup was lost in the fire.

In 1899 he donated a cup for water-polo tournaments. A year later, Western Province won the first water-polo Currie Cup at the first inter-provincial swimming and water-polo tournament.

Another Currie Cup was given by Sir Donald to the Cape Town Highlanders.

25 August 2013


Mike RUTHERFORD (62), founding member of Genesis and currently of the band Mike and the Mechanics, has some interesting connections to South Africa. Not only does he own a house in Cape Town's Bantry Bay, but some of his ancestral roots are also in the fairest Cape.

He was born Michael John Cloete Crawford RUTHERFORD on 02 October 1950 in Guildford, Surrey. His father, William Francis Henry Crawford RUTHERFORD, CBE, DSO (1906 Streatham, London - 1986, Surrey) married Annette Jessie Downing WILSON (1908 Cheshire - 1993, Somerset) in 1937 at Westminster, London. He was involved with the sinking of the Bismarck.

William was the only son of Colonel Nathaniel John Crawford RUTHERFORD, DSO, MB, RAMC (1874 - 1960, Surrey) and Lilla Roberta JACKSON (1883, Wynberg, Cape - 1979, Hampshire). William joined the Royal Navy in 1920 and served until 1956, retiring as a Captain. Nathaniel served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was the author of two books, Soldiering with a stethoscope, and Memories of an Army Surgeon.

Lilla Roberta JACKSON was the daughter of Charles Henry JACKSON (1838, Devonshire, England - 1905, Vredenhof, Wynberg, Cape) and Johanna Reneira Catherina CLOETE (1855, Cape - 1895, Wynberg). Charles married Johanna in June 1874 in Cape Town. He served as a Captain in the 86th Regiment of Foot. They are both buried at St. John's Cemetery in Wynberg.

Charles and Johanna had the following children:
  1. Anna Augusta born in 1875, died in 1949, married Francis William Cubitt CHIAPPINI
  2. Henry born in 1877
  3. Lucy Arabella Bettina born in 1878, married Frank HARVEY
  4. John Sidney born in 1880, died 1927
  5. Lilla Roberta born in 1883, married Nathaniel John Crawford RUTHERFORD
  6. Dirk Cloete van Alphen born in 1885 at Alphen Farm, Constantia, died in 1976 at Silkaatsnek Farm, Brits. Attended Bishop's Shool in Cape Town. He was a member of the Springbok rugby team that toured the UK in 1906-07. He also played cricket for Western Province and Transvaal. Also known as Dirk Cloete JACKSON.
  7. Charles Goss born in 1888
  8. Munton Francis born in 1890
  9. Raneira Catherina
Some of the children were baptised at St. John's Anglican Church in Wynberg, where family members are buried in the church's cemetery.

Johanna was the daughter of Dirk CLOETE (1820, Wynberg - 1894, Wynberg) and Johanna Reiniera Catherina VAN OOSTERZEE (circa 1823 - 1891). Her parents married in March 1843 in Cape Town. Dirk was also known as David. The family lived at Alphen Farm in Constantia.

The history of Alphen dates back to the early 18th century, when 5 morgen and 200 square roods of garden land were granted to Theunis VAN SCHALKWYK. More land was added over the years, until in 1765 it was consolidated into a single property some 16 morgen in extent. In 1850 Johannes Albertus MUNNIK bought the estate, and after his death in 1854, Dirk CLOETE acquired the estate.

The Cloete family of Alphen can be traced back to Dirk CLOETE who lived on the farm Nooitgedacht and farmed there until his death in 1833. Dirk's son married Anna Gesina BORCHERDS, and their only son married Reiniera Johanna VAN OOSTERZEE after which they moved to Alphen. Their descendants are known as the Alphen Cloetes.

Alphen has remained in Cloete family hands for over 150 years and today is owned by The Alphen Trust whose trustees administer the estate for the Cloete family.

a) Jacob CLOETE arrived at the Cape from Cologne, believed to be in 1652, in the service of the Dutch East India Company. Jacob was one of the first free burghers at the Cape, in August 1657, receiving a farm in October 1657, situated on the Liesbeeck River. A free burgher (vryburgher / vrijburgher) was a soldier or employee of the Dutch East India Company who was released from his contractual obligation to the Company and given permission to farm, become a tradesman or work for another employer. In 1671 he returned to the Netherlands, and later returned to the Cape as a Corporal. He was mysteriously murdered on 23 May 1693 by deserters near the Castle. He was married to Fytje (Sophia) RADEROOTJES, who arrived at the Cape in 1658 from Cologne with her brother Peter.

b4) Coenraad CLOETE (1663 - circa 1703) married Martha VERSCHUUR in 1693

c2) Jacobus CLOETE (born 1699) married Sibella PASSMAN

d2) Hendrik CLOETE (1725 - 1799) married Hester Anna LOURENS in 1753

e8) Dirk CLOETE (1767 - 1833) married first to Sophia Margaretha MYBURGH in 1792, and second to Anna Elizabeth VAN DER BYL in 1800 in Stellenbosch.

f1) Hendrik CLOETE (1793 - 1838) married Anna Gesina BORCHERDS (1794 - 1870, Stellenbosch)in 1813.

g2) Dirk CLOETE (1820 - 1894) married Johanna Reiniera Catharina VAN OOSTERZEE in March 1843

h?) Johanna Reneira Catherina CLOETE (1855, Cape - 1895, Wynberg)

Johanna Reiniera Catherina VAN OOSTERZEE was the daughter of Dr. Johannes Knockers VAN OOSTERZEE (1793, Cape - 1829, Rotterdam, Netherlands) and Augusta Wilhelmina Magdalena THALMAN (born 1804, Batavia). Johannes was a medical doctor in Cape Town and Leiden. He married Augusta in August 1819 in Cape Town. Johannes' father, Willem Johan VAN OOSTERZEE, was born circa 1765 in Sas van Gent, Netherlands. He was in the service of the Dutch East India Company at the Cape, where he was a merchant and bookkeeper. He married Reineira Johanna Catharina KNOCKERS (born 1762) in June 1789 in Cape Town.

Mike RUTHERFORD received his first guitar at the age of 8. He was a bassist and backing vocalist with Genesis in the early days, and often played rhythm guitar and twelve-string guitar for the band. In 1977 he became their lead guitarist. He wrote the lyrics to many Genesis songs. He formed Mike and The Mechanics in 1985, and in 2010 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Furthering his South African connections, he bought a plot of land in Bantry's Bay from a cousin in 1995, and eventually built a house. He has also ridden the Cape Argus Cycle Tour, and is involved in a music education project with Pieter Dirk-Uys in Darling. Last year he recorded a new version of his song, The Living Years, with Cape Town's Isango Ensemble. He lives mostly in Surrey, England, with his wife Angie. They were married in November 1976 and have three children: Kate, Tom and Harry.

01 November 2012


Whether you believe in ghosts or not, South Africa has many ghost stories and mysterious happenings to share with you.

The Somerset East Old Parsonage Museum has a few ghosts. A tall man in a black suit has been seen sitting behind the desk in the study. The light bulb over the desk switches on and off when people enter the room. Heavy footsteps have been heard, descending the staircase. Slow, heavy footsteps have been heard in the upstairs rooms. It is believed that this is the ghost of a church minister. People have reported seeing a little boy in Victorian dress standing in a corner, or running, with a very sad expression. There is a grave under the floor of the room where he has been seen, where the infant son of a church minister was buried. A soldier roams the Walter Battis Art Gallery. It was the Officer's Mess, built during the time of Somerset Farm. It is said that on some nights, one can hear the English officers throwing their glasses into the fireplace. On dark nights, passers-by have reported seeing a man standing at the upstairs window.

Somerset East Old Parsonage Museum
Somerset East Old Parsonage Museum
Kimberley is well-known for its many ghosts. It is said there are 158 haunted houses and buildings with over 200 still to be verified by paranormal experts. The Clyde N. Terry Hall of Militaria, a private military museum, is close to the Honoured Dead Memorial which contains the remains of British soldiers killed during the Anglo-Boer War. An old military trunk in the museum rattles on the floor and moves around while no-one is watching. There is a strong smell of herbs. A baby’s cries can be heard as the lid of a tin trunk mysteriously opens and closes.

Dunluce, a stately home built in 1897 for the diamond buyer Gustav BONAS, was bought in 1903 by John ORR, one of South Africa's early retail barons. Flickering lights and moving figures are often seen after dark. A woman in a pink period dress is often seen walking through closed doors. The house was originally named Gustav Bonas House or Lillianvale, and renamed Dunluce by John ORR, when he bought it with its fittings and furnishings for 6400. He lived there until his death in 1932, after which his eldest daughter and her family moved in until 1975. Dunluce was purchased by Barlow Rand in 1975, restored and donated to the McGregor Museum. It was used as accommodation for Barlow Rand managers until 1985, and was declared a national monument in 1990. The gardens, maintained by Charlie DZENE for more than fifty years, are often used for wedding receptions and garden parties.

John ORR established a drapery store in 1885 in Jones Street, Kimberley. In 1892 he married Mary Ellen HARPER. They had five children. He served as Mayor of Kimberley from 1909 to 1910 and again from 1916 to 1918. In 1910 he issued Kimberley Souvenir Cups to celebrate the formation of the Union of South Africa. He was a member of the first Management Board of the Alexander McGregor Memorial Museum, and was founder of the Kimberley Horticultural Society. His business went on to establish branches in Durban, Johannesburg, Benoni, Lourenco Marques and Springs. In 1918 he was awarded an MBE. He died in 1932 in Dublin whilst on holiday with his wife and youngest daughter Mollie. His other daughter, Eileen, married Lionel COOPER, a pharmacist. They lived with her mother at Dunluce after John's death. Elaine died in 1973. The portraits in the drawing room are of Eileen’s daughters, Rosemary (1928 - 1990) and June (born 1934), and June’s sons, Craig and Glenn. The house still contains the fittings and furnishings left by the ORR family, as well as some from the BONAS family. The dining room suffered a direct hit by a Long Tom shell during the Siege of Kimberley, and was severely damaged. The swimming pool is believed to have been the first private swimming pool in Kimberley.

Rudd House was built on Plot 931 during the late 1880s. Known as The Bungalow, it originally had four rooms. In 1888 the property was occupied by William Henry SOLOMON. In 1896 The Bungalow was transferred to Charles Dunell RUDD, and in 1898 to his son Henry Percy. The house was opened to the public in September 1988. Ghosts have been seen tending the plants in the greenhouse. The ghost of the last owner's son, who committed suicide, is said to pace the garden. In the conservatory an apparition of a governess is said to be visible occasionally through the windows as she tidies the room. Behind the house there are outbuildings, including a garage. Many people have taken a photograph through a gap in the garage door, and later found an unexplained image in the photograph. Some people have heard a baby crying at night in the nursery, and others have heard glass breaking in the pantry. A lady dressed in a white dress is sometimes seen in the sun room on the roof, looking very sad. Sometimes she's seen standing at the tree in the garden. Some have even said she joins visitors in their car when they leave.

Rudd House Kimberley South Africa
Charles Rudd and family at Rudd House
Charles Dunell RUDD was born at Hanworth Hall, Norfolk on 22 October 1844 and died on 15 November 1916 in London, England. He was the third son of Henry RUDD and his first wife, Mary STANBRIDGE. Charles was educated at Harrow and Cambridge. Before he could finish his studies, he moved to South Africa in 1865 on medical advice. He hunted in Zululand with John DUNN, and left for Ceylon before returning to England in 1867. Before the year was over, he returned to Cape Town. In the early 1870s, he worked for his brother Thomas' Port Elizabeth-based trading firm. In 1871 Charles went into partnership with Cecil John RHODES, working diamond claims in Kimberley, dealing in diamonds and operating pumping and ice-making machinery. They ordered Kimberley’s first ice-making machine. Between 1873 and 1881, while Cecil attended college in England, Charles managed their interests. In 1880 they formed the De Beers Mining Company. In 1888 Cecil founded the amalgamated De Beers Consolidated Mining Company. In October 1888 Charles secured an agreement to the mineral rights of Matabeleland and Mashonaland from Lobengula, King of Matabeleland. The agreement became known as the Rudd Concession. Charles remained a director of Gold Fields until 1902, after which he retired to Scotland, buying the Ardnamurchan estate in Argyll. Here he built Glenborrodale Castle. He loved salmon fishing on the River Shiel, grouse shooting and deer stalking on the estate. He had a steam yacht called The Mingary, anchored in Glenborrodale Bay. He died in 1916 after an unsuccessful prostate operation in London. His grave at Archaracle Church is marked by a tombstone. He was the anonymous donor of GBP200 000 for the erection of new buildings at the Mount Vernon Hospital. Rudd Drive in the suburb of Ernestville is named after him.

Charles married Frances Georgina Leighton CHIAPPINI on 05 February 1868 at St George's Anglican Cathedral in Cape Town. She was born circa 1847 in Cape Town, the daughter of Edward Lorenzo CHIAPPINI and Anna Catherine Margaretha GIE. Frances died on 10 September 1896 at Sheildaig Lodge, Gairstock, Scotland. They had four children - Henry Percy born on 05 December 1868, Franklin Martin born in 1870, Charles John Lockhart born on 12 March 1873, and Evelyn Lily born about 1881 who married Sir John Eldon GORST. In 1898 Charles married his second wife, Corrie Maria WALLACE, eldest daughter of R.E. WALLACE of Kimberley. Her father was Charles' partner in the machinery company.

Henry Percy was baptised on 10 January 1869 at St Paul's Church in Rondebosch. He was known as Percy. In 1898 he owned The Bungalow. He married Mabel BLYTHE, daughter of Captain BLYTH, in 1893. They had two sons and two daughters. Their son, Bevil Gordon D’Urban RUDD, was born in 1894. Bevil was a Rhodes Scholar from St. Andrew’s, Grahamstown, and in 1920 he won the 400m sprint for South Africa at the Antwerp Olympics, and later worked as a sports journalist at The Daily Telegraph. He married Ursula KNIGHT. They lived at The Bungalow until 1930. Their son, Bevil John Blyth RUDD, the eldest of four children, was born in the house on 07 April 1927. He was known as John. Bevil senior died in the house in 1948.

John died on 31 August 2009 in Worcester, South Africa. John and his younger brother Robin were sent to Eton. After attending Sandhurst, where he won the Sword of Honour, John was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards. He served for two years in Palestine and was injured in the Irgun attack on the King David Hotel in 1946. Invalided out of the Army with osteomyelitis in 1949, he became personal assistant to Sir Ernest OPPENHEIMER. He joined Sailor MALAN's Torch Commando which in 1951-2 opposed the disenfranchising of Coloured voters. John achieved prominence in May 1961, when the South African police raided his home, Mingary, in Bryanston and found him in bed with Dorothy TIYO, a 21-year-old snake dancer in the African musical King Kong. They were arrested under the Immorality Act, which prohibited relationships across the colour line. The magistrate, Mr. GUSH, sentenced them to six months in jail, and John served four months. Afterwards John worked for the De Beers group in London, sent there by Harry OPPENHEIMER. After two years in New York (1966-68) he spent a decade as head of industrial diamonds for Asia-Pacific, based in Japan. He edited De Beers' magazine, Indiaqua. He married Tessa Marie-Louise LAUBSCHER in 1954, but this ended in divorce in 1958. In 1966 he married Anna KLINGLUND, daughter of Swedish diplomat Karl Ake KLINGLUND, with whom he had a son. They divorced in 1977. Back in South Africa and retired from Anglo American, he became director of Benguela Concessions which mined offshore diamonds on the Atlantic coast. He owned a wine farm in Franschhoek and a five-star guest house in the Karoo.

Percy lived at The Bungalow until 1954, when he moved to St. James in Cape Town. In 1933 he married Emilie Stephanie POOLE, of Evilly, France. She was a former companion to Mabel RUDD. Upon his death at St James on 12 September 1961, Percy left the house to Emilie, who lived there until her death in 1963. She left The Bungalow to her sister and brother in France, who auctioned off the furniture and contents. They were not able to sell the house and it stood empty until 1968, when it was bought by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd and donated to the McGregor Museum. Today the house has 22 bedrooms. Percy is said to haunt the former sick room. The servants’ quarters have at least six ghosts. Dr. P.K. LE SUEUR, a Scotsman who has studied the house for many years, has noted orbs of light that appear in photos taken in the house. Haunted North America Investigations, which does investigations world-wide, placed Rudd House on 12th spot in a list of the 25 most haunted places.

The Kimberley Club has a haunted top floor, where an elderly man is sometimes seen moving along the corridor. A ghostly waiter serves in the dining room, and a woman in period dress stands on the staircase. Wealthy philanthropist Joe VAN PRAAGH insisted on building a private bathroom when he resided at the club. His presence is sometimes felt in the reading room on the first floor.

At the old Main Cemetery many apparitions have been seen at night. In the old De Beers offices, with Rhodes's chair, wheelchair and other items, meetings have been interrupted by windows and doors opening on their own. Lights swing mysteriously as a ghost walks by. On the veranda, a ghost dog is heard howling. A ghost rides the elevator in De Beers House.

The ghost of the first Librarian, Bertrand DYER, walks around the Africana Library. He drank arsenic in 1908 after he was found doctoring the accounts. Visitors have seen books crashing to the floor, and heard teacups tinkling at 11am and 4pm. The story goes that it took over three days for him to die. He is seen in his Victorian clothing, pacing the halls of his beloved library. Often books are rearranged or moved and the only clue to their mobility is the sound of hastily retreating footsteps. The librarians say that if they ever need to find a book, they ask him and the book will suddenly fall off the shelf. The Library, now the Africana Museum, was built in 1882 and has a wrought-iron gallery, spiral staircase and chandeliers. Bertrand arrived in 1900 from the United Kingdom where he had worked for the Queen's library.

The McGregor Museum was originally the Kimberley Sanatorium, opened in 1897 as a health resort for people with chest problems. In 1933 it was let to the Sisters of the Holy Family who used it as a convent. The convent closed in 1969, but a ghost of one of the nuns haunts the administration section, roaming the corridors in a flowing white habit.

The Magersfontein Anglo-Boer battlefield has a ghostly Scottish piper and the flickering lanterns of the stretcher-bearers can be seen. A Celtic Cross memorial, dedicated to the dead of the Highland Brigade, sits atop Magersfontein koppie. December 1899 - a British relief column advanced along the Cape railway line and in three earlier clashes, forced the Boer commandos to pull back. The Boers planned to make a stand at Magersfontein, but instead of defending from the heights of the koppie, as the British assumed they would, they dug camouflaged trenches around its base. For two days, the British poured artillery fire on the hill. At dawn on 11 December, the Black Watch advanced in massed ranks. They were 400 metres from the hill when the Boers opened fire. They died while the bagpipers played on. The Highland Brigade commander, Major General A.G. WAUCHOPE, was among the first to die. The Gordon Highlanders were sent, only to suffer a similar fate. All day the wounded lay out in the field and were picked off by snipers. Eventually confused orders led to the troops retreating. Casualties lay on the battlefield all night although stretcher bearers ventured out with lanterns to rescue those they could. A truce was called the next day. The Highland Brigade lost 202 soldiers, and 37 soldiers from the guards and other units were killed. More than 660 British troops were wounded. The Boer forces lost 87 men, including 23 Scandinavian volunteers. Marta VAN SCHALKWYK has run the Bagpipe Lodge and Cafe on the hill for the past 30 years. Her son has seen the ghosts, men with rifles marching forward.

Henry the ghost has been around Houw Hoek Inn for over 40 years. He is often seen downstairs around reception, in rooms three and four (now used as store rooms) and in the passage on the first floor. In the early days, the sound of footsteps and doors opening were heard coming from the first floor although no one was booked into these rooms. When telephones were installed in the rooms, a call would come in from one of the rooms upstairs or the telephone would ring in the room with no calls going through the switchboard. When televisions were introduced, they would switch on and off on their own. The last person to have seen Henry was Ronnie, a manager between 1988 and 1992, who died about 10 years ago. In the late 1970s, a lady sitting in the lounge started sketching a man standing close to her, but the man vanished before she could finish. When the drawing was shown to the owner's wife, Mrs MCENTYRE, she recognised him as the farmer Henry, a regular who committed suicide on his way home from the inn one night. One of the waiters, Sakhumzi (Sakkie) NDONDO, had a strange experience about six years ago during his first night duty. He locked the back door to the veranda and then sat by the fire in the lounge. He heard a door opening and footsteps on the wooden staircase. Upon investigating, he found the back door wide open. About three months later, he was on duty again when he walked out of reception to the bar next to the staircase. The lights on the staircase and the passage upstairs went off. As the only light-switch was upstairs, he went upstairs to investigate and switched the lights on again. On hearing noises coming from one of the empty rooms he went to look. As he walked down the passage, the lights in the communal bathroom went on and off again. Reaching the room where the noises were coming from, he found the door open and the TV and lights on. He switched off the lights and the TV, and the passage lights went off. That was his last night duty.

Houw Hoek Inn
Houw Hoek Inn, with the old blue gum tree
The Houw Hoek Inn is one of South Africa's oldest country inns. Its history goes back to Lady Anne BARNARD's days. Anne LINDSAY was born in Scotland in December 1750. She moved to London, where she met and married Andrew BARNARD in 1793. He became the Colonial Secretary in Cape Town, and the couple arrived there in March 1797. On 05 May 1798, accompanied by wagons and eight horses, the couple set off on a month's leave. It took five hours over the sandy Cape Flats to reach Meerlust, the farm of Mynheer MYBURGH. Another four hours later, they reached De Bos, the farm of Captain MORKEL, where they spent the night. The next day, after an hour's travel they reached the foot of the Hottentots Holland Mountains. Going over the mountains along the tracks left by previous travellers, they reached the site of the Houw Hoek Inn, where a Dutch East Indian Company tollgate had been erected. They spent the night on the farm Arieskraal, belonging to Arie Jacob JOUBERT, where supper consisted of "boiled chicken fit for an emperor." The ground floor was erected in 1779. Over the years, the Houw Hoek Inn remained a popular overnight stop situated on the High Road to Grahamstown. Sir Lowry's Pass was opened in 1830, and Houw Hoek Pass was upgraded. The inn was licensed in 1834, making it the oldest licensed inn in South Africa. The upper level was added in 1860. In 1861 Lady Dulcie Duff GORDON stayed there en-route to the Caledon Spa. The proprietor then, and at least since 1848, was a German former missionary, Mr BEYERS. He had five sons and two daughters. In 1848, a daughter, Maria Gertrude, was born and her father planted a blue gum tree to commemorate the birth. The tree still guards the entrance to the inn. Maria married a Scotsman, Walter MCFARLANE, who became co-owner of the inn. The Houw Hoek Inn remained in MCFAELANE hands until they moved to Hermanus, where Walter and Valentine BEYERS built the Marine Hotel in 1902. Walter was the first Mayor of Hermanus. Walter's grandson, Valentine MCFARLANE, lives in Stanford. There is the story of a young man who was on his way abroad and left a bank note on the ceiling in the bar so that on his return he could buy a drink. The tradition continued and there is a collection behind glass. In 1902, the railway to Caledon was opened. The train stopped briefly at the Houw Hoek Inn and meals were served to the passengers on the platform. In the early 1900s, the inn was owned by Anne KAPLAN and her husband.

One of the early settlers in the Overberg was Johannes Jacobus TESSELAAR. He was born in 1748, the son of a German cook at the Cape, Johann TESSELAAR and his wife, Johanna Catharina SMUTS. He became a Lieutenant in the Cape Cavalry. For his military service, he received two farms in the Overberg - Hartebeestrivier and Steenboksrivier - from Governor Willem Adriaan VAN DER STEL. In 1783 he was one of the officials involved in salvaging the Nicobar which stranded near Quoin Point. By 1797 he owned five farms, 14 male slaves, four female slaves, 125 horses, 60 cattle and 505 sheep. He married Aaltje (Alida) VAN DER HEYDE in 1774. They did not have any children. He died in 1810 and she died in 1832. His 1804 will stipulated that the farm Hartebeestrivier be left to the BREDNKAMP boys and HEYSENBERG sisters. His 1809 will added the GERTSE brothers and KOERT to this bequest. It is believed that some of the heirs were from his relationship with a woman of mixed race. The nine who inherited were the twins Barend and Jan Frederik BREDENKAMP, Joggom KOERT, Gert and Jan GERTSE, Alida HEYSENBERG, Christina HEYSENBERG, Elizabeth HEYSENBERG, and Aletta HEYSENBERG. The BREDENKAMP brothers and their children were assimilated into the White community. The GERTSE, KOERT and HEYSENBERG people were regarded as Coloureds. Joggom KOERT married Alida HEYSENBERG, and their descendants still live on part of the farm. Genealogical research on these families has been done by the Caledon Museum.

When he died, Aaltje was left with an estate that included jewellery, 38 servants and 150 horses. She continued farming at Steenboksrivier with wheat and barley. In her last will Aaltje stipulated that the slaves be freed and all those under the age of 15 be educated. Hartebeesrivier was used for sowing and grazing. It was informally exchanged or transferred amongst the families and their descendants. By the early 1900s, a Dutch Reformed Church mission, an Anglican church and a primary school were established on the farm. Hartebeestrivier became Teslaarsdal, said to be the Cape’s most hidden village, among the mountains between Caledon, Napier and Hermanus. The farm eventually became a land claim court case in 1971 with 87 Coloured and 41 White people claiming rights. The case was still on the go in 1982 and as late as 2004. One of the claimants was Clemens REYNOLDS. His maternal grandmother was the granddaughter of the twin Jan Frederik BREDENKAMP. Clemens' mother was Hester REYNOLDS and his father Jan NIGRINI, who was married to Hester's mother and her step-father. Hester was 17 when Clemens was born. She later married Coena VAN DYK.

After Aaltje's death, Steenboksrivier was passed to Johannes' nephew, also Johannes Jacobus TESSELAAR. He married Cornelia in Stellenbosch. Upon their return to the farm, a feast was held, attended by the bywoners, tenants, neighbours and friends. One of the guests presented the bride with a large bouquet. She smelt the flowers and promptly fainted, and the strange guest disappeared. Once revived, Cornelia refused to speak about the incident. As time went by, the couple received fewer and fewer visitors. Farming became disastrous. The couple were childless. Johannes died in Cape Town in 1869. Dr. James Ross HUTCHINSON, a Scot, bought the farm and renamed it Dunghye Park. The locals called it Donkiespad. The next owner was Thys DE VILLIERS. A crying baby can be heard in the old farm house, the outbuildings and around the yard. Thys decided to dig up the area. A child’s skeleton was found, and after a proper funeral was held, the crying stopped.

Ratelrivier, originally known as Buffeljagt aan de Ratelrivier, was loaned out to Matthys LOURENS in 1745. A loan farm was land that leased grazing rights to farmers, usually for a year, and was not registered in the farmer's name but remained government property. On 16 June 1831 Hans Jacob SWART, age 45, became the first registered owner of the farm. When he died in 1835, his widow Catharina Elizabeth (maiden name MOOLMAN) continued farming with her sons and slaves. She was a harsh woman, punishing any slave who did wrong by burying hi in sand with only the nose sticking out. One fatal day, she forgot a buried slave for four days. By the time he was pulled from the sand, close to death, he had placed a curse on Ratelrivier. In the late 1860s, Dirk Gysbert van Reenen VAN BREDA bought the farm. He was also a member of the Legislative Council of the Cape Colony’s first elected Parliament and a Cape Town municipal commissioner. His two sons, Dirk Gysbert junior and Pieter Johannes Albertus, were known for their violent tempers, heavy drinking and abusive behaviour towards slaves and their own wives. Barely six months after their father’s death, had they both killed their wives.
Jacoba Alida MORKEL

Dirk Gysbert junior was a brewer in Cape Town. His first wife, Ellen, died in 1855 after the birth of their first child. Eighteen months later he married the 15-year old Jacoba Alida MORKEL, daughter of a wealthy butcher, Pieter Loret MORKEL. They had seven children. On 30 July 1865, Dirk Gysbert junior was declared insolvent and his father appointed him manager of Ratelrivier. The farm was profitable and the family had a housekeeper, a governess for the children, a cook and many servants. They often entertained guests at dinner dances and hunting parties. According to one of Dirk Gysbert's daughters, Susanna Petronella Hendrina, her parents were not on good terms at the time of her mother’s death. Eight days before her death there was a party at which there were Scotchmen. Her mother danced with a Mr. MCMILLAN. During the party Dirk Gysbert junior went outside and returned with a razor, looking for his wife. She tried to evade
him, but got hold of her and assaulted her in front of Susanna. On 21 March 1871 while having supper, her father continued his quarrel with his wife about her dance. He grabbed a revolver and in the ensuing struggle a shot went off. The children called the farm manager, Jurie GERMISHUIS, and Dr. ALBERTYN from Bredasdorp was sent for. Jurie helped his employer get rid of the revolver. Jacoba died early on the morning of 22 March before the doctor arrived. Legend has it that the dying Jacoba left a bloody handprint on the passage wall, which subsequent farm owners could not erase. The doctor did not do an autopsy, believing her death to be an accident. The Cape Supreme Court dismissed the death as an accident. Three years later, Dirk Gysbert junior attacked a servant, who then filed a complaint against him. His wife's case was re-opened and Susanna was called as a witness. On 06 May 1874 Dirk Gysbert junior pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, but was found guilty of culpable homicide. He was sentenced to five years hard labour. He died in 1901, a poor man. Seventeen days after Jacoba's death, Dirk Gysbert junior's brother, Pieter Johannes Albertus, a doctor in Fort Beaufort, stabbed his wife to death.

Baardskeerdersbos used to belong to the Stanford Congregation. The land was donated by one of the congregation members, Aunt Luitjie, on the condition that it would only be used for services. The building was completed in 191. Soon afterwards the young people organised a meeting of the Young Men and Women’s Christian Association in the hall one evening. Aunt Luitjie was not pleased and predicted that, like Jericho, the walls would come tumbling down. Three years later, after heavy rainfall, the roof and walls of the cursed building collapsed. The church hall was later rebuilt. Aunt Luitjie passed away. One night the church bells suddenly started to ring at midnight. The residents came out but saw no one. Every fourteen nights thereafter, the bell rang at midnight for months. Then it suddenly stopped. Years later a retired farmer and a Colonel were sitting in front of a local shop one day. Having found jobs elsewhere, before they left they had a party and later decided to go ring the church bell. Before they could do so, the bell started to ring. Instantly sober, they hid away. Up in the ridge of the roof above them, the bell kept ringing, without a rope.

Flickering lights, knocking at the door, the ice machine switching on and off, condiments from all the tables mysteriously all landing up on one table only, and a tap on the shoulder are some of the strange happenings that waiters have experienced since the Longhorn opened its doors on the corner of Lombard Street and Mooirivier Drive in 1988. It is said that Jurie SCHOEMAN’s ghost is responsible for the closure of six restaurants near his grave. Six restaurants have come and gone on the River Walk corner, even though the site is perfectly situated to attract passing trade from the N12 Treasure Route. According to Rob SCHOEMAN, his father, Jurie, owned the site where River Walk Shopping Centre now stands. He bought it in 1951 for 10000 pounds. When Jurie died in 1982 his ashes were buried on the same corner. His granddaughter, Kay’s ashes were added alongside his in 1988. In 1979 the family built the Checkers Centre. The adjacent restaurant premises were built in 1988 and occupied by Longhorn. In 1989 it burned down under mysterious circumstances. The restaurant was rebuilt as Mike's Kitchen. It did well until it was sold after 1995. It eventually closed after the new owners were liquidated. Shortly after the Checkers Centre was sold in 1995, Mike’s Kitchen became Food Construction Company. The owner sold to his brother, and went on to own four Spar franchises in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Towards the end of 1999, the restaurant became a MacRib franchise, and was sold within three years. It was followed by Saddles, until that was liquidated in 2009. A Keg and Mulligan was opened, closing down in 2011. Rob SCHOEMAN recalls that as a young child in the early 1950s, his grandparents owned the old Potchefstroom Cheese Factory where Toyota is now.

The Western Cape Premier's official residence, Leeuwenhof, has its own ghosts. Sometimes the lights mysteriously go on after they were switched off. There are also the sounds of someone walking in the corridors. One of the stories is about a young woman who committed suicide after she had a child with someone who did not have her parents' approval. Those who have seen her on the teak stairs, say she will give you the baby if she likes you. She is dressed in white, has brown hair and blue eyes. An older woman is said to haunt the ground floor sitting room.

The Castle of Good Hope is the country's oldest building, built between 1666 and 1679. It was already occupied in 1674. The Castle is said to be one of the 100 most haunted places in the world. It has many apparitions, of which Governor Pieter Gysbert VAN NOODT is one of the most infamous. During his time as the Governor of the Cape in the 1720s, he enforced strict discipline and ruthless punishments for soldiers who disobeyed him. After the execution of seven soldiers who had tried to escape in 1729, he was found dead in his chair in his room with a look of horror on his face. The chair is in the Koopmans-De Wet Museum. No cause of death was found, a heart attack was suspected. He is said to still haunt the Castle. The soldiers were unjustly condemned to death, after the Governor overturned the Council's more lenient sentence. He also haunts Rust-en-Vreugd in Buitenkant Street. It is said to be linked to the Castle by a secret passage. The ghost of a woman appears at an upstairs window, next to a ghostly cot, watching for the return of a seafaring lover. A floating woman in a long dress has been seen on the ground floor, and an invisible hand taps people on the shoulder. Mysterious footsteps are heard. The house, now a museum, was built in 1777.

The Donker Gat is a windowless dungeon that also served as a torture chamber. During winter rains, the water rose three feet in there, drowning some of the convicts who were chained to the dungeon walls. The Zulu King Cetewayo was imprisoned in the Castle, along with some of his wives. In 1915, an unidentified two-metre tall figure was seen on the Castle's battlements. It was seen again in 1947 over a period of weeks. It walked between the Leerdam and Oranje bastions. This may be the same ghost who rings the Castle bell from time to time, since a guard hanged himself with the bell rope hundreds of years ago. A large black dog also haunts the Castle, leaping at visitors but vanishing at the last moment. In the Buren bastion, lights are switched on and off by themselves. Near the guard room, the voices of an unseen man and woman have been heard arguing.

Lady Anne Barnard
Lady Anne Barnard
Lady Anne BARNARD sometimes appears at parties in the Castle. In the late 18th century, she lived at the Castle as the colony's First Lady. The Governor, Lord Macartney, had left his wife in Britain, and he lived outside the Castle, leaving the Colonial Secretary and his wife to do the entertaining. She made the large hall of the Kat residence into a ballroom, which was used for that purpose until the South African Army vacated the Castle in recent years. Her curly-haired ghost appears at parties held in honour of important visitors. Lady Anne's drawing room in the Castle has, above the fireplace, a cursed painting. Anyone who moves it will die, or so it is said. It is a picture of peacocks in a garden. Peacocks are symbols of Juno, wife of Jupiter. The Trojans found it dangerous to offend Juno. During World War II, the painting was covered with a canvas. Some have said that a treasure of the Dutch East India Company is hidden behind the painting. Others have said that it hides a secret passage leading to Government House (now called Tuynhuys). Lady Anne's ghost also appears at the Dolphin Pool, where she bathed. She also haunts the bird bath at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The pool was built after she left the Cape. It is said that she bathed at the spring where the pool is located. Lady Anne was in her forties when she arrived at the Cape. She was very pretty, and her husband, whom she had married four years before arriving at the Cape, was 12 years younger than her. She had travelled to the colony's interior. After her the Castle, she moved to the cottage Paradise, in Newlands. The foundations of the cottage can be seen in Newlands Forest. Later she moved to the house Vineyard, also in Newlands. This is now the Vineyard Hotel, and has a fine display of Lady Anne's illustrations.

A lady in grey haunts both the Castle and Tuynhuys. At the Castle she was seen weeping with her hands covering her face. She may be connected with a woman's skeleton which was unearthed near one of the Castle's old sally gates. During the Royal Tour of 1947, the Royal Family stayed in Tuynhuys, and Princess Elizabeth celebrated her 21st birthday there. During the Royal stay, the ghost was seen by several people. By 1949 the ghost had not been seen since the skeleton was discovered. Also at Tuynhuys is a portrait of Governor Lord Charles Somerset, which causes dogs to bristle and snarl.

Verlatenbosch on Table Mountain has the ghost of a Governor's son who was maliciously infected with leprosy and forced to live and die alone in a cabin on the mountain. A vengeful citizen who held a grudge against the Governor, tempted the boy into using a flute that had been used by an old leper. When evening falls, the haunting sounds of this flute can be heard.

In 1641 the Flying Dutchman, a Dutch ship, was getting close to rounding the Cape of Good Hope after a difficult voyage to the East. The crew were desperate to get home. No one took note of the slightly stronger wind and ominous clouds. Before the lookout could shout a warning, the ship had sailed into an intense storm. The crew begged Captain Hendrik VAN DER DECKEN to turn back, but he refused, uttering a blasphemous curse he vowed to round the Cape even if he had to keep sailing until Doomsday. The terrified crew caused mutiny on board, and the Captain killed the instigator, throwing his body overboard. As the body hit the water, a ghostly figure appeared on the deck and condemned the Captain's stubbornness before being shot by the Captain. The figure cursed the Captain and his crew to sail the oceans for all eternity, enduring hardship and bringing death to all those who cross their path. Ever since, ships have reported sightings of a ghostly ship and some have been led astray to be crushed against unseen rocks.

The most famous Royal Navy sighting of the Flying Dutchman was recorded by King George V, who in 1881 was a midshipman on HMS Bacchante. In his diary of 11 July, he wrote "At four a.m., the Flying Dutchman crossed our bows." The lookout on the forecastle, and the officer of the watch, also saw the ghost ship off the port bow. Prince George described "a strange red light, as of a phantom ship, all aglow in the midst of which light the mast, spars and sails of a brig two hundred yards distant stood out in strong relief as she came up." The ghost ship was sighted from other ships in the squadron, the Cleopatra and the Tourmaline. Thirteen crewmen reported seeing the ship. The squadron was commanded by Prince Louis of Battenberg, great uncle of the present Prince Philip. The seaman who first reported the ghost ship died from a fall, seven hours afterwards. Prince George published his account as The Cruise Of H.M.S. Bacchante.

Keepers of the Cape Point lighthouse often reported seeing her during storms. In 1835, Robert Montgomery MARTIN, South Africa's first statistician, described a personal encounter with the ship. In 1879, the steamer SS Pretoria changed course, after the passengers and crew saw lights which they thought to be a distress signal. A strange sailing ship was seen, but it vanished when the steamer approached it. In 1959, the crew of the freighter Straat Magelhaen reported a near collision with the Flying Dutchman.

Another ghost Dutch East Indiaman that haunts the Cape is the Libera Nos. Captain Bernard FOKKE and his crew are often mistaken for the Flying Dutchman.

Many South African children remember the saying: "Be good or Antjie Somers will get you". Antjie Somers was said to be a slave who worked herself to death and came back to avenge her hard life. She tormented those who did her wrong. She is also often described as a man in women's clothes, with a hare lip and really bad teeth. At night, when husbands are away, Antjie plunders a house and kills the children. Pretending to be a woman in need of a lift, it attacks and robs travellers. Apparently there were two outlaws in the early nineteenth century, one known as Antjie Somers and the other as Antjie Winters. The legend of Antjie Somers began in Tuinstraat (now Queen Victoria Street) in central Cape Town. Near the top of the street was a dark area with many trees, where the Dutch colony's last executioner hanged himself. The executioner was paid a fixed amount for hanging the bodies of suicides on the gallows. His livelihood was ruined when the new British Governor banned torture and cruel punishments. In the 1840s the same area became the haunt of a ghostly man in women's clothing. It became known as Annetjie, and as it appeared mostly in warm weather, the surname Somers was added.

Bellevue in the grounds of St. John's Hostel near Upper Kloof Street has a kitchen where some children were said to have been hidden to save them from slaves trying to harm them.

Waterhof in Hof Street, Gardens has a ghost dog that searches the ground for buried treasure. The ghost of a bearded old man roams the house at night, and the story of children hidden in an oven, to escape murderous slaves, has also been associated with this house.
Tokai Manor
Tokai Manor was completed in 1796 and in the early 1800s was owned by Hendrik Oswald EKSTEEN. Hendrik and his son were both fond of entertaining and New Year's Eve was an especially big night at Tokai Manor. The house's high veranda and its twin flights of steep steps would overflow with guests. One night, Hendrik's son, Frederick or Petrus Michiel who was prone to bragging, was deep into describing what a fine rider he was when someone urged him to prove it. The dare required him to ride his horse up the steep steps, onto the veranda and into the dining room. Petrus completed the task without too much difficulty, but as he began to celebrate, the horse bolted, slipping on the steep steps and they plunged to their deaths. News Year's Eve remains a frightening time to be in Tokai Manor. Drunken laughter and the neighing of horses can often be heard. Some even claim to have heard the sounds of thundering horse hooves and a sudden, high-pitched whinny before the air falls silent. The only tangible evidence left of Petrus and his horse is one solitary hoof print ingrained in the dining room floor.

Hiddingh House in Newlands Avenue has lights that turn on and off by themselves. A young lady has been seen here. It had been the officer's mess of a cavalry regiment, in the time of Lord Somerset. At different times, the South African artists Gregoire BOONZAAIER and Frank SPEARS lived here. Somebody is said to have been walled up in the house, but another explanation of the haunting is that a maid fell down the stairs, during a drunken party with the officers.

Groot Constantia has Simon VAN DER STEL strolling to the ornamental swimming pool on summer mornings. He was a well-loved Governor, and wasn't White, a fact that was not known for many years. He was the son of a Dutch official and his East Indian wife, and was the first commander of the settlement to be given the title Governor. He retired to Groot Constantia, but his wife, Johanna SIX lived in Holland. His older son, Willem, succeeded him as Governor. Willem's administration was marred by corruption and incompetence, and he and his brother Frans were banished from the Cape in 1708. Their father continued to live at the Cape until he died in 1712. Shortly before his death, he freed the slave Christina van Canarie. In 1713 she bought the house and estate of Stellenberg, from Simon's exiled son Frans. Stellenberg still stands in Stellenberg Avenue, Kenilworth.

99 Milner Road in Rondebosch was used by a cult in the 1970s. An old man wanders around and doors open of their own accord.

At 71 Bree Street, an 18th century house demolished in 1950, was haunted by an elderly woman in a long dress. She was seen by many people, even by the contractor who demolished the house. A séance revealed that she was Martha CILLIERS, whose child Henrietta had been buried in the garden.

Westoe House in Mowbray had a Chinese room, which had so many manifestations that it was locked for many years before finally being demolished. The house dates from the 17th century and with 18th century additions. A bedroom with a four-poster bed is haunted by an old man in 18th century clothes. An old man haunts a four-poster bed. Klein Schuur in Mowbray became the official residence of South Africa's Minister of Justice. A room in the basement, where slaves were housed, is haunted. Mowbray was once called Driekoppen because the heads of executed slaves had been placed on spikes here.

At Kronendal in Hout Bay, the ghost of Elsa CLOETE haunts the house that is now a restaurant. She fell in love with a British soldier, but they could not marry. He was so distressed that he hanged himself from a tree in Oak Avenue. Elsa died of a broken heart, and is now often seen at a window. A table is set each evening for the couple in the restaurant. Her father, Abraham Josias CLOETE, owned the farm from 1835 to about 1849.
Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town 1899
The Mount Nelson Hotel in 1899
The Mount Nelson Hotel has its fair share of ghosts. Sir Arthur Conan DOYLE used to hold séances in his room when he stayed there in 1928. Fondly known as The Nellie, it was opened on 06 March 1899 to cater to the wealthy escaping northern winters. It was the first hotel in South Africa to have hot and cold running water. In the Castle Shipping Line's first print advertising brochure, the hotel was advertised as "a piece of London in South Africa." It was the idea of Sir Donald CURRIE, the shipping magnet who owned Castle Shipping Line. He competed with the Union Line, which owned the Grand Hotel in Strand Street, opened in 1894. It was considered the most luxurious hotel in the southern hemisphere, having a dining room for 250 guests, wall-to-wall carpets on all four floors, electrical light, an elevator and a French chef. The Grand was rebuilt a few times and eventually demolished in 1972 to make space for a retail chain store. With the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War on 12 October 1899, Britain used the Mount Nelson as military operations headquarters. The young war correspondent, Winston CHURCHILL, was a guest there after escaping from the Boers. Lord KITCHENER spent most of the war at the hotel. He wasn't popular with the officers, who were used in the servant quarters on the fourth floor, until he banned them and sent them off to Stellenbosch by goods train. The fourth floor is haunted by an old lady wandering around. It used to be an area were slaves lived. Room 68 or 69 in the new wing sometimes doesn't let anyone in the room, shutting the door firmly. An old lady in a white night gown and long grey hair has been seen barefoot in the new wing, looking at photos of the Union-Castle Line.

The cloud that covers the top of Table Mountain in summer when the south-easter wind blows, is believed to be the ghost of the retired Dutch pirate, Jan VAN HUNKS. He lived on the slopes of Devil’s Peak with his sharp-tongued wife. To stay out of her way, he spent his days on the mountain smoking his pipe. One day a stranger showed up and challenged him to a smoking contest. It went on for days until he finally beat the stranger. The stranger turned out to be the devil himself, and upon being beaten, struck Jan with thunder, leaving a scorched dry patch where he sat. The tobacco smoke from the contest turned into the table-cloth over Table Mountain. Whenever it appears, Jan and the devil are smoking again.

The Cape Argus building is haunted during storms by Wilberforce, a hanged pirate. He rattles windows and apparently once left a poem.

Green Point Lighthouse dates back to 1824 and it is believed that it is haunted by a one-legged lighthouse-keeper, known as Daddy West. This is most likely W.S. WEST who became keeper in September 1901 and retired in 1912.

Dr James Barry
Dr. James Barry
Beneath Lion's Head and the Twelve Apostles, lies Camp's Bay. Above Camp's Bay, in The Glen on Kloof Road, is the Round House. Dating from the early 19th century, it was the shooting box of the Lord Charles SOMERSET. There were leopards as recently as the 1930s, and in the 1830s, the astronomer Sir John HERSCHEL recorded hippos near his observatory in Claremont. The Round House is now a small restaurant. This is where the ghost of Dr. James BARRY has been seen on many occasions. Dr. Barry also roams the surrounding mountains, in British military uniform. He arrived at the Cape in 1815 or 1817. Red-haired, he wore three-inch soles on his shoes, and his shoulders seemed to be padded, so that the Malay people called him the Kapok Doctor. He studied at Edinburgh University, sponsored by the Earl of Buchan. Graduating at the age of 18, he served in Spain, Belgium and India, before being posted to the Cape. Dr. Barry would ride about in dress uniform and cocked hat, carrying a parasol, and accompanied by a black manservant. He carried a large cavalry sword. Though privately commenting on his effeminacy, the officers were wary of his bad temper. At the house Alphen, Dr. Barry fought a pistol duel with Josias CLOETE, with the latter being banished to the garrison on Tristan da Cunha. He was later knighted, and the family bought the Alphen estate, which today is the Alphen Hotel, haunted by ghostly revellers. James escaped punishment, probably because of protection from the Earl of Buchan, believed by some to have been his father or grandfather. James was promoted to Medical Inspector, only weeks after his arrival, thought to have been helped by saving the life of one of Lord Somerset's daughters. His bad temper sometimes led to being sent home under arrest. He performed the first Caesarean section in the English-speaking world in 1826, on on Mrs. Wilhelmina MUNNIK. The baby was named James Barry MUNNIK. This child became godfather to James Barry Munnik HERTZOG, later Prime Minister of South Africa. The grateful Munnik family commissioned the only known portrait of Dr. Barry, which is in the Alphen Hotel. Barry also traced the cause of Cape Town's impure water supply, and arranged for a better system. He was a vegetarian, and took a goat everywhere for its milk. He advised patients to bathe in wine, as he believed that the alcohol reduced the risk of infections. Barry did not handle cases which he considered to be beneath his skill as a surgeon. When a clergyman sent a message asking Barry to pull a tooth, Barry sent him a farrier. He denounced the cruelty and negligence of the officials regarding the care of prisoners, lepers and lunatics. This led to accusations of defamation, but he tore up the summons and refused to answer questions. The Fiscal sentenced him to imprisonment, but Lord Somerset set aside the punishment. The matter may have led to him losing his position as Medical Inspector, and sent back to Britain in 1828. Postings followed in Mauritius, Trinidad and Saint Helena. From Saint Helena, he returned to England without official leave. Next he served in Malta, Corfu, the Crimea, Jamaica and Canada. He reached the rank of Inspector General, HM Army Hospitals. He retired in 1864 and returned to England, still with John, his black manservant and a poodle called Psyche. He died in July 1865. A doctor signed the death certificate without realising that Dr. Barry was a woman. A charwoman, Sophia BISHOP, who laid out the body was more observant. Dr. Barry was buried in Kensal Rise Cemetery, London. Friends of Dr. Barry arranged John's passage to Jamaica. Some believe that Dr. Barry went to South Africa to follow a surgeon with whom she was in love. Lawrence Green believed that this was Andrew SMITH, founder of the South African Museum and later knighted, but there was no proof. Her real name was Margaret Ann BULKLEY, born to Jeremiah BULKLEY and his wife Mary-Ann. Mary-Ann was the sister of Irish artist and professor of painting at the Royal Academy in London, James Barry. Jeremiah was a grocer from Cork. The story was finally discovered Dr, Hercules Michael DU PREEZ, a Cape Town urologist. He wrote an article about his discovery in the South African Medical Journal of January 2008.

Dr. James Barry, John the manservant and Psyche the dog
The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve has a homestead, Buffelshoek, which became a tea room. A ghostly woman in white has been seen in the building. It has also been seen outside, under a cypress. Screaming and wailing has been heard at night. She may be the wife of a man who killed himself, after learning that she was pregnant by another man. Near an old cemetery in the reserve was another house, at which the manifestations were so frightening that the house was demolished. There is also Skaife House, on the west of the reserve. Here a man used gas to kill himself, and his ghost still wanders there, At Klaasjagersberg, there is a group of cottages in which the reserve's rangers live with their families. The lounge of the oldest cottage is a rondavel, where a suicidal man is seen hanging from the rafters.

Along the famous Chapman's Peak scenic drive, a procession of ghostly monks has been seen. The origin of this haunting is unknown.

In the days of Dutch rule, Simon's Town was the Cape's winter harbour. The main road, St. George's Street, is also known as the historic mile. The town was also the South Atlantic base of the Royal Navy for many years, and is still used by the South African Navy.

Simon's Town Museum has a haunted portrait of a young lady. If you try to take a photo of it, the photo comes out blurry or not at all. Ibeka House, a private residence, apparently has three ghosts. The rectory in Cornwall Street has ghostly footsteps and banging of doors. Admiralty House has Naval officers and a woman in a grey dress. At the Palace Barracks there is an old sea captain and an elderly woman.

The Residency, now housing the Simon's Town Museum, was originally built as a residence for Dutch Governors on their occasional visits to the port. When the Royal Navy occupied Simon's Town in 1814, it became the seat of the Government Resident or Magistrate, and remained so until 1980. Some of the doors in the Residency were once cabin doors on sailing ships. There are stocks where prisoners were restrained as punishment, and cells where men were chained. In one cell, there are bloodstains and, sometimes two ghost prisoners are seen. An old sailor, unjustly flogged to death, has been seen in the building, as has the ghost of a warder's wife, who in life had abused female prisoners. Photos of a mural in the Residency are often, for no apparent reason, blurred or blank. The bar room, originally for visiting sailors, has a portrait of a young gentlewoman. She is sometimes called the Lavender or Lilac Lady. She was often seen by the wives of Magistrates. One magistrate, Duncan NEETHLING saw her following his wife around the kitchen. She has also been seen since the Residency became a museum. It was thought she was the teenaged Eleanor MACARTNEY, daughter of the first British Governor. Others believe she was a young woman who loved Horatio NELSON. In 1776, he came ashore from his ship, The Dolphin, to be nursed through an illness. This was long before the Cape was British. In 1776, the building had already been used by the Cape's Governors for five years, and it was the year in which the building ceased to be used for that purpose. It was sold to Gideon ROUSSEAU, a wealthy businessman with 12 children. The ghost might be one of Gideon's daughters who drowned herself when her lover had to leave the Cape.

The building now called Admiralty House has been standing since at least 1740, with alterations through the years, especially after it was damaged by a storm in 1853. During the American Civil War, the house was visited by the Captain of the Confederate raider Alabama. This visit inspired the song, Daar Kom Die Alabama, sung by Cape Town's Muslim community. In 1947, the Royal Family attended a garden party here. In the 1950s Lady CAMPBELL, wife of Vice-Admiral Sir Ian CAMPBELL, saw the ghosts of men in naval uniform on the stairs. In the 1970s Mrs. JOHNSON, wife of Vice-Admiral J.V. JOHNSON, saw a ghostly gentleman who opened a door for her, and closed it behind her. Admiralty House is also haunted by a woman with brown hair, who wears a long, grey dress. It is thought she might be the same woman who haunts the Residency. Another naval building, Ibeka, is also haunted by her. The three buildings are apparently linked by tunnels. The Ibeka might be linked to a governess who hanged herself on the attic landing. Ibeka also has a ghostly old man, who is seen sitting on the toilet.

The Palace Barracks was once linked to the seashore by a cable car. It is haunted by an old sea Captain, who disturbs officers in their billets. The sounds of drinking and billiard playing are heard from the billiard room. Upstairs, the ghost of an elderly woman is seen making beds. Another ghost at Palace Barracks is that of Mary KINGSLEY, the famous explorer of West Africa. In 1900, Mary, age 37, volunteered to nurse Boer prisoners during an outbreak of enteric fever. She contracted the illness herself, and her ghost wanders around the building.

In Black's Lane there was a group of three houses known as Mafeking Terrace. House No. 3 was haunted by a tall, dark man, nicknamed Wilbur by the family that lived there. He was Robert MartinCOUPAR, who, while a boarder at the house shortly after the Anglo-Boer War, strangled his seamstress girlfriend's baby and threw it in the sea. The court hearings in Cape Town in 1906 were packed, due to his good looks. He was sentenced to death, and a public outcry followed with a petition gathering 10 000 signatures. He was hanged at Roeland Street jail in 1907. Mafeking Terrace was abandoned in 1992.

St. George's Church, also known as the Sail Loft Church, is on the upper floor of 18th century stone building where sail makers once worked. The building has a clock tower, a gable decorated with an anchor, stinkwood entrance doors, and yellowwood floors. There is a mural by the South African artist Joy COLLIER, who has heard ghostly footsteps in the church. The former rectory of the Anglican Church, next to the Simon's Town Museum, is a stone-built residence, where ghostly footsteps and banging doors have been heard. In 1949 Mrs. MARTIN, the wife of the Anglican minister, wrote a letter to the Cape Times about the haunting. She also mentioned a ghost called the White Lady, which haunted a house a few doors down in the same street.

Old Gaol in Grahamstown
The Old Gaol in Grahamstown
Grahamstown started life as a military outpost. By 1830 it had libraries, newspapers, courts and museums. The Old Gaol on Somerset Street was most recently a backpackers' lodge, but it is famous for being one of Grahamstown's most haunted spots. The ghost of Henry NICHOLLS doing the dead man's walk from gaol to gallows (between the Old Gaol and Drostdy Arch) is often heard. He was the last person to be publicly hanged in the town in 1862 on charges of rape. He was not offered final words or last prayers, and many say his spirit cannot rest. He pleaded guilty and spent four months hoping to escape execution (rape was not a capital punishment in English law). He was a military man and fell under military law in which rape fell under capital punishment. On 19 February 1862 a large crowd witnessed his execution. Rhodes University's Journalism Department is occasionally visited by a man and girl in period dress.

St Andrews College is one of the oldest schools in South Africa. The founding headmaster, Arthur (Foxy) KNOWLING, died from a heart attack shortly after retiring. He still makes his presence known in Mullins and Holland Houses.

The city's architecture lends a wonderful backdrop to its wandering spirits. Haunted places include the Public Library where an unhappy policeman wanders; a row of terraced houses where a nun, woman and child have been seen walking through walls; and a murder house in Walmer.

The Cleghorn, Harris and Stephen's building, next to where the present Port Elizabeth Public Library was later built, burnt down on 06 May 1896. Police Constable MAXWELL was killed when stone coping fell onto him while firemen tried to put out the fire. A remembrance stone was placed on a low wall in what was to become the Library grounds. When construction of the Library started, the stone was moved to the Library gardens. From then on, his ghost haunted Room 700 until the stone was returned to its original place, after which no more sightings were reported. Another Library ghost is caretaker Robert THOMAS, who died on 06 February 1943. He was a bachelor and started looking after the Library in 1912 until his death. Staff say doors open and shut of their own accord, books are removed from shelves and stacked on the floor, and books fall for no reason. Others feel his presence, including one man who hid in the building in the 1980s at night on a dare and had to call the police to let him out.
Port Elizabeth Public Library
 Port Elizabeth Public Library
Richly House is said to be the most haunted house in Port Elizabeth. Built by William James WILLS in 1906, it has been a general nursing home to a World War II brothel and a post-war boarding house. A nun is accompanied by an unseen baby's cries. A woman and child in period clothing are often passed in the hallway. A grumpy man in a grey coat storms through the dining room to the kitchen where he rattles pots and pans. One ghost appears in the servants' quarters and tries to strangle people.

Cradock Place is haunted by a young slave girl who was murdered by her jealous lover. He threw her into the large oven in the kitchen, locked the door and built a fire. She had been employed in the house, and the drawing room was her favourite. She took great care dusting the piano. After her death, soft music was often heard in the empty room.

In the 1880s, the British and Irish were at loggerheads. A group known as The Invincibles decided to protect Irish interests. When Lord Frederick CAVENDISH was chosen as Chief Secretary to Ireland, the group was enraged and he was assassinated. Dublin-based James CAREY turned State witness against the assassins and sent five Invincible leaders to their deaths. In exchange, he was granted a new name and life in South Africa. When he boarded the Melrose Castle bound for Durban, he was followed by an Invincible assassin, who shot him when a passing fishing boat caused a distraction. The assassin was arrested, and John's body was eventually buried in a pauper's grave in Port Elizabeth. Shortly after his burial, the cemetery was moved to make way for a new power station. An employee tasked with the moving the remains from the cemetery took a liking to John's skull and used it for many years as an ashtray and candle holder. The ghost of John refuses to leave the boiler room or the site where the cemetery once was.

In 1845 Queen Victoria agreed that a village in the Karoo could be named after her consort, Prince Albert. Ailsa THUDHOPE is an expert on the village ghosts, including the doomed bride killed in a cart accident on the eve of her wedding and is seen in the parlour of the Fransie Pienaar Museum. An elderly gentleman greets pretty ladies from the veranda of a house in Mark Street. When new owners took over the house and filled the veranda with bookshelves, he threw books on the floor. When the owners asked him to stop, he did so. The house of Dr. MEARNS is haunted. The doctor treated Boer Commando Gideon SCHEEPERS in 1901 after he was wounded by a British bullet during the Anglo-Boer War. A young lady in a white night gown with lace at her throat and tiny buttons down her front, bounces on the bed of Mearns House.

One of Johannesburg's ghosts is known as Mr Chips, a worker at the potato sheds in Newton, who was killed by a falling sack of potatoes. He is said to haunt Museum Africa’s costume collection section, where he is heard ruffling the clothes and re-arranging shelves. The potato shed buildings were built in 1912 as part of the original Indian market between Carr Street and Museum Africa. The Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market relocated from the city centre to Newtown in 1913. In 1974 the market was relocated to larger premises in City Deep.

The old Florence Nightingale Nursing Home has a blonde Afrikaans nurse with maroon epaulettes. She would speak to patients and change their drips correctly. She still roams the building at the corner of Constitution Hill.

The Breytenbach Theatre in Gerhard Moerdyk Street started out as a German club. The building was later used by Emily HOBHOUSE for a weaving and crafts school. During the flu epidemic of 1918, it was a temporary hospital. It was later used as a film and artists' studio before staging its first production in 1958. The cellar below the stage once housed the bodies of those who died in 1918, including that of a nurse named Heather. She was in charge of the children admitted in 1918 and eventually caught the disease herself. After her death, she never left her post, patiently waiting to care for any sick child that needs her.

Daisy de Melker was the first serial killer to be convicted in South Africa. In the 1920s, she killed two husbands and a son, for insurance money. She poisoned them with arsenic or strychnine. She was hanged in 1932. Her home in Club Street, Turffontein is still standing and sometimes she can be seen there, peering out the upstairs window. Passers-by have noticed the curtain moving and a ghostly hand appearing at about 6pm. The Supreme Court's Court 3 is also haunted by her, where she was sentenced.

The View, a Parktown Ridge mansion, was once the home of Sir Thomas and Lady Annie CULLINAN. She is often seen at the top of the stairs in a beautiful dress and the sounds of footsteps have been heard on the first floor. The sound of someone climbing a staircase can also be heard, but the staircase has long since been removed.

Aurora in Central Avenue, Houghton, is haunted by Bubbles SCHROEDER. She was popular with high society. She was found dead in a blue gum plantation near Wanderers Sports Club in August 1949. Her ghost can be heard walking around the building and howling.

Foxwood House is an historic boutique hotel in Houghton. Built in 1924, it was one of the first houses in the area. It is filled with antique family heirlooms, such as the radio gramophone which has been in the same spot since 1936. Apart from mysterious footsteps, several guests claim to have seen a lady with a child on the balcony and some have sworn they’ve seen Paul KRUGER.

On 16 June 1976, school children assembled in school grounds in Soweto, singing Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica before starting their protest march against Afrikaans at Orlando Stadium. During the march, Hastings Ndlovu and schoolboy Hector Peterson were killed by police bullets. The ghost of Hector is often seen by some as a schoolboy with his hand clenched in the Black Power salute, at the foot of the rocky knoll after dark. The faint sound of gunfire can be heard by some.

Sammy MARKS was a successful industrialist at the turn of the 19th century. His home, Zwartkoppies Hall (now the Sammy Marks Museum) and apparently still lives there, his icy presence felt along with doors that open and close on their own. Some have heard a baby crying in what was the nursery, which could be the ghost of one of his children who died there in 1890. It is the only Victorian mansion in the country whose interior is authentic and intact. The mansion’s 48 rooms include a Scottish ghost. Employed as the children’s tutor, he died in the mansion and now pinches the bottoms of ladies.

The former home of General Jan SMUTS in Irene is said to be haunted by a little grey man and a Royal Hussar who committed suicide on the premises. The grey man has a Kruger-style moustache. He is reported to be the keeper of a secret regarding the whereabouts of Boer treasure buried on the property.

A home in Silverton has a ghost who enters the sitting room in the evening, sits down in a particular chair wearing a red jacket and reads a newspaper.

An English soldier from the Anglo-Boer War, whose remains were stashed in the Uncollected Goods section of the Pretoria Railway Station, before being moved to Lost Goods, is seen wandering about the station late at night.

Victoria Hotel was opened in 1880 and was then known as Hollandia. One of its ghosts is Alfie, who turns taps on and off. He is also seen in the kitchen. An old, grey lady haunts the majestic staircase just after 10pm.

There are a few ghosts who are said to roam the old State Museum. Once a military hospital, the groans of soldiers are said to be heard at night, while two angry ghosts haunt the corridors. Some claim to have been confronted by the ghost of a woman in a nurse’s uniform brandishing a scalpel.

Erasmus Castle is now a National Monument, said to be haunted by the ERASMUS family who were the original owners. Staff have heard footsteps and claim taps are turned on and lights switched off. Apparently two or three of the children, who contracted leprosy and were confined in a room under the main tower until their death, have been seen roaming the staircase and corridors.
Erasmus Castle in Pretoria
 Erasmus Castle in Pretoria
The Nottingham Road Hotel has a sad ghost. Charlotte, a turn-of-the-century prostitute, fell in love with a British Army officer who didn't feel the same way about her. She committed suicide because of her broken heart, but some believe she was murdered. She died after she fell or was thrown over the balcony of her favourite room in the hotel - Room 10. She hangs around the hotel until this day, and can often be found re-arranging flower arrangements, moving mirrors around, and ringing the service bell in the non-existent Room 22. Some who have slept in Room 10, have woken up to neatly folded clothes and Charlotte having a long conversation with an unseen friend.

Doc ROBINSON and his wife ran a convalescent home at the beginning of the 20th century. They had a young daughter that they nicknamed Tiny Pie. She died in 1905 and Doc never recovered, dying of a broken heart. Shortly after his death in 1906, he appeared at his home's front gate. He was seen often. When St Winifred's School for Girls took over the premises in 1910, his ghost made girls feel uneasy as he appeared as they were getting dressed. The building became Kings School in 1922 and he still appears every 14 August.

James Douglas LOGAN built the Hotel Milner in 1899, which still stands today. His ghost still appears in the lounges at the back of the hotel. Kate is the most poignant ghosts there, and can often be seen staring out of the window of the top turret, her white dress flowing in the breeze. The young woman worked as a nurse in the hotel's earlier days. She loved to play cards with the patients and was popular. At 19 years of age, she died suddenly without cause or reason. At the top of the second floor, a steep staircase leads to a tiny room, known only as Kate's Card Room. Here the noises of cards being shuffled and soft crying can often be heard. She sometimes comes out of her room and can be seen floating around one of the lower passages, always in her nurse's uniform. Another ghost, known as Lucy, floats around the passages and stairs in a negligee.

Johnnie is the resident entertainer and will tell you the story of the ghost in the photo. He had the picture taken with the two little girls and the one asked "Who's the lady?" No-one else could see the lady, but she was there when the photo was developed and posted to Johnnie by the family. It may be the ghost of Olive SCHREINER, who lived in Matjiesfontein and wrote The Story of An African Farm there. Her house is near The Lairds Arms.

The old Kempton Park Hospital, now named Khayalami Hospital, was closed down on 26 December 1996 after the then MEC for Health, Amos MASONDO, declared it "underutilized and in an inappropriate location" as reported in the Mail and Guardian newspaper. The hospital is still abandoned with its operating theatres, beds, confidential files and equipment. The equipment has been estimated to be worth R10 million. Security costs R1 million per year. A team from Supernatural Phenomena Investigation Team of SA (SPITSA) investigated the hospital. They specialise in paranormal investigations on request, using sophisticated equipment and scientific methods to record, document and analyse findings to reach conclusive decisions on what is happening on a specific site. They uses thermal imaging cameras, digital recorders, night vision, infrared cameras, digital voice recorders, electromagnetic field detectors, digital thermometers, and other equipment.

Ronald HART was born at this hospital in 1991. He found his birth records there, showing the theatre he was born in. He runs a Facebook group, A true history of the untold – Kempton Park Hospital, where people share stories of the hospital and upload pictures of their visits there. As long as you have R40, keep your torch down when you are near a window and don’t make too much noise, the security guards fade away with the ghosts.

In early 2012, a family of six moved out of a rented house in Craig Street, Birchleigh North, after several strange experiences. While their 12 year old daughter was watching TV in the main bedroom, the water started flowing in the shower. This happened four more times. The family also claimed hearing footsteps in the wooden floor passage while they were all in the dining room. Doors also slammed open and close, even after they had been locked.

Twenty minutes from George Airport there is Land's End, the closest guest house to the sea in Africa, according to owners Rod and Shanell HOSSACK. Many years ago, the property was owned by Mr. MARAIS and his wife Daphne, where they had retired. Daphne died in the house. A clairvoyant who stayed at the house saw an elderly woman sitting at the breakfast table. Her description fitted Daphne's appearance. Ever since, the owners have set a place for her.

Alanglade was the home of Richard Allan BARRY, general manager of Transvaal Gold Mining Estates, and his wife Gladys Isabel VAN DER BYL, until 1930. Built between 1915 and 1917, it is now a museum. Richard was born on 20 October 1874 in Barkley, Eastern Cape, the son of Jacob Dirk BARRY and Charlotte MERRIMAN. His uncle was John X. MERRIMAN, the last Premier of the Cape Colony. Richard married Gladys on 06 February 1902 in Cape Town. Her family were Anglicised Afrikaners, who had owned the land which is today Woodstock - from De Waal Drive to Salt River beach. She grew up in Roodebloem Manor. From 1900 to 1952, Gladys kept a daily diary, listing the day's activities and whom she had corresponded with that day. The original diary is part of the Africana collection of the National Library in Cape Town. The diary consists of 53 note books. She started the diary when she was 18 years old, while living with her parents in Cape Town. Richard also kept a diary, with an entry each month, including family events such as births, deaths, triumphs and trials, his work and financial situation. The couple had seven children - Erica Agnes born 1903, Mary Gladys born 1907, Margery, Adrian Michael, Richard Vincent, Nathaniel John, and Barbara Deidre born 09 December 1922. Richard Allan died on 07 October 1949, and Gladys in 1954.
Alanglade House 
The family fortunes changed with the collapse of Wall Street in October 1929. The mines were no longer financially stable and Richard was retrenched in June 1930, while he was alone at Alanglade, Gladys and the children being in England for Mary's wedding. The family were given until the end of August to leave the house. The family moved back to the Cape, to a cottage on Keerweder, the fruit farm in Franschhoek previously purchased by Richard and co-owned by another family, the EGLINGTONs. In 1940 Richard sold Keerweder to Mr. BURTON. Richard was a hunter and the cottage was full of hunting trophies and memorabilia. The dining suite, made from tambuti wood, was made in Pilgrim's Rest.

Margery died at Roedean School from meningitis at the age of 13 years. The family dog, Jock, and his favourite chair was next to Margery’s bed, with a dent in its cushion. Sometimes photographers are unable to focus on it, as if there is something moving there. One photographer's camera shattered inexplicably as he left the house. Some cameras only work in certain rooms and steam up in others. Margery’s room is much colder than the others. Sometimes there is a strong smell of cologne or talcum powder. Sometimes Margery slams her bedroom door and nobody can get in until the next day. Toys are often moved, a pram mysteriously goes from the playroom to the governess's room. Margery’s brothers also have a tragic ending. Richard Vincent died in a mountaineering accident in 1938. Adrian, a surgeon, died in 1942 when HMS King George V crashed into HMS Punjabi. In October 1940 Nathaniel was shot down and killed in the Battle of Britain. Barbara married Marthinus VERSFELD in 1942, a Doctor of Philosophy at Cape Town University. She was an active member of the Black Sash.

At the cemetery, Naboompi is sometimes seen standing next to visitors. He had his legs sawn off below the knee because he didn't fit in his coffin. Mrs. STOPFORTH had 11 children before her husband left her for another woman. She sometimes walks around the cemetery shaking hands with all its inhabitants.

The house in which rugby legend Mannetjies ROUX grew up is known by the locals as the Ghost House or Spookhuis. His parents lived on a farm when he was born in the local hospital. After his father's death, when Mannetjies was two years old, his mother moved to the town with her children. They lived in the house, which is actually named Rotsvas. This is where he got his nickname - the veranda is quite high, and the children's nanny would warn him in Afrikaans: "Mannetjie, you will fall off." The name stuck, and many years later his wife added the extra s. The house has been empty for many years. After the ROUX family, it was inhabited by Jack CLOETE, a lawyer, and his wife Paddy. They had three children - John, Garth and Barry. Next,  the Co-op manager, Hennie SPANGENBERG, lived there. The PRETORIUS family were the next residents, staying for many years. Mannetjies owns the antique shop in town. The building was previously used as a library, cinema, synagogue and Methodist church. He doesn't know why the locals call it a ghost house, but believes that it is because it has been empty for so long.

At the Barandas turnoff 19 kms before Uniondale, you'll find the most famous South African ghost, the Uniondale hitchhiker Maria ROUX, who died in 1962. She was asleep on the back seat of the car her fiancé, G.M. PRETORIUS, lost control of. She was killed and he survived. The first reported sighting was in 1976, when she hitchhiked on the same road. Anton LE GRANGE noticed a young woman hitchhiking on the side of the road, so he pulled over and offered her a lift. A few minutes later, he realised that he didn't know where she wanted to go, he turned to ask her but she was gone. He reported the incident to the police. Sceptical, they were finally convinced to go with him to check the area where she disappeared. As they were driving there, the police officer noticed the back door of the car opening and closing by itself. Back at the police station, Anton identified his mysterious passenger from an old photograph of Maria. In 1978, Army Corporal VAN JAARSVELD had a similar experience. He stopped his motorcycle and offered a lift to a young woman with long dark hair and dark clothing. She climbed on, putting his spare helmet on her head and wrapping her arms around his waist. A few miles down the road, he felt a small jolt and turned to see that she was gone. He turned around to go and look for her, only to notice a few minutes later the spare helmet fastened to his luggage rack.

On the road to Standerton, about 24 kms outside town on the Balfour road, a ghost car is sometimes seen. Marita MCKECHNIE was a 20 year old student at Pretoria University when her mother and younger sister picked her up in the mid-1960s to spend the April holidays in Newcastle, where the family lived. They left Pretoria in a Ford Zephyr at dusk, with Marita driving. Shortly before Standerton they noticed a car without lights on and going in the same direction as them. As they went over a hill, the car was standing in the middle of the road. She swerved right to avoid hitting the car, and at that moment the car disappeared. There were no people in the car, which looked like an old black Buick. Years later her brother-in-law told her his uncle lived in Standerton and he used to tell the story of the ghost car. The car was used as a hearse and it stops on the spot of an accident which took the life of a young girl. Frans SWANEPOEL of Ruimsig said he often heard the story in the 1950s.

Fish Hoek Farm dates from 1818 and was the sixth farm to be granted in the valley, after Slangkop (Imhoff’s Gift), Poespaskraal and De Goede Hoop in 1743; Brakkloof in the late 1700s, followed by Groot Zilvermijn in 1813. The farm consisted of three sections - Lot A (The Great Whalery - Sunnycove to Fish Hoek Beach corner), Lot B (The Harring Fishery - from the shoreline towards Sun Valley / Ou Kaapse Weg) and Lot C (Kleintuin - known as Clovelly now). On 05 October 1883, the farm was bought by Hester DE KOCK, a former school mistress. She was already 69 years old when she married Jacob Isaak DE VILLIERS of Noordhoek in 1901. By 1916 they had both died and were buried on the family plot next to the Dutch Reformed Church on Kommetjie Road. The farm was sold off as plots. Hester and Isaak pioneered holidaying in Fish Hoek, offering the first beach front accommodation. The farm house later became the Homestead Hotel, which once stood where the Naval Mess SAS Southern Floe stands today. There are at least six ghosts on the old farm.

Originally the Glencairn Hotel, the Glen Lodge and Pub between Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town, has two ghostly residents. Some claim to have seen a woman and a little boy on the stairs of the hotel and their presence is occasionally felt when furniture is moved around.

Uitkomst farm south of Machadodorp was the scene of a tragedy at the waterfall. No one is sure of the date, stories range from the 1960s to "many years ago". A honeymoon couple were captivated by the beauty of the waterfall and spent many hours there. The bride posed on the edge for a photograph. As she turned to smile at her husband, she slipped on the wet rocks and plunged to her death. A year later, her husband returned and in his grief, threw himself off the rocks in the same spot. People who go to the waterfall on moonlit nights are never alone. The reunited couple are sitting hand-in-hand at the top of the waterfall.

Seweweekspoort is in a mountain ravine and used as one of the three major gateways linking the Central and Little Karoo. The 17 km winding route is quite distracting. It was known as Smuggler's Route in days gone by, being the main route for brandy smugglers, runaways, slaves and outlaws. To stop these people, a toll-house was built. The ruins can still be seen at the northern entrance to the Poort, along with the ghost of the first toll-keeper. He runs frantically into the road on cloudy nights, waving his lantern to warn of a threatening storm or raging river up ahead. He sometimes flags down motorists to take their toll fee, but vanishes when the car comes to a stop.

One of Africa's leading independent girls' schools, The Wykeham Collegiate, in Clarendon, is still visited by the ghost of Mary MOORE. She was the headmistress of Wykeham Girls' School from 1905 until 1919, and was feared by the girls that she taught. Her broad-brimmed hat and stern demeanour made her the epitome of a headmistress. In 1990 the school amalgamated to become The Wykeham Collegiate. The Wykeham building was sold and everything was packed up and moved. Awakened by the move, Mary now keeps an eye on the girls from the end of Geekie Hall, alongside her portrait and desk. Her eyes in the portrait match the stern look she had in life.

Miranda was the 19 year old daughter of a high-ranking official at Government House. She fell in love with a lowly stable boy and they tried to elope, getting as far as the Star and Garter Inn before they caught on the road to Durban. He lost his job and Miranda was locked in her room where she eventually died of a broken heart. Today, she still roams Government House at the head of Longmarket Street (now Langalibalele), which became the old Natal Training College.

On Howick Road there is a house called Ketelfontein. It was built in 1862 and was a hostel where the transport riders could change horses or rest overnight before continuing on their journey to Durban from Johannesburg. One stormy evening a traveller arrived with a horse so exhausted that it was unable to continue to Durban. The stables had no fresh horses left to exchange, so the man had to spend the night. He was being pursued by the police for being in possession of stolen diamonds. During the night the police arrived and a gun-battle ensued. The traveller was shot dead. His body, horse and possessions were searched and no diamonds were found. The diamonds have never been found by the traveller, who comes back often to look for them.

A mystery lady in white inhabits Macrorie House. She was the wife of the head warder of the jail in Burger Street, but was having an affair with someone at Government House. There was a reputed tunnel that ran from Government House to Fort Napier, built as an escape route for the Governor. This is where the lovers met. One night her husband followed her. He used his bunch of keys, killing them both directly beneath Macrorie House.

Sergeant BOSCH is known as the Polo Tavern Ghost. He died in 1919 by crashing his Harley-Davidson motorbike with side car into a lamppost outside the Polo Tavern, which he frequented often. After his body was removed, a local newspaper photographer took a photo of the accident site. In the photo the fuzzy figure of a man can be seen climbing the steps to the tavern, even though onlookers, pictured in the photo, swore that no one entered it while the photo was being taken. Over the years patrons and owners have said he still frequents the pub, leaving an empty beer bottle and glass on the bar counter, which is found by staff the next morning after the bar has been thoroughly cleaned and locked up the night before.

The Alexandra Park cricketers appear on summer afternoons when the thick fog rolls up from the Duzi and shrouds the cricket pavilion. The voice of the umpire echoes round the field. Other men's voices join in, shouting "run!" or "stay!". In the grandstand, a single pair of feminine hands can be heard and a lovely voice cries "Bravo! Well done!" The mist lifts and there's no one there. The Pavilion is empty and the pitch bare.

The old Forsythe’s Jewellers in Church Street was a theatre in former years. A lovesick actor hanged himself there when his advances were spurned by an actress. He was known to haunt the shop.

In the Great Gale of 31 August 1902, 21 boats either sank or were blown onto North End Beach. Forty-one crew and rescuers died this disaster and many were buried in the South End Cemetery. Some of their ghosts are said to wander through this graveyard.

During the Anglo-Boer War a young British soldier, Sergeant LARLEY was injured. He was cared for by a young Afrikaans girl, Magda. They fell in love, but her family accused her of treachery and locked her away. The soldier was heart-broken and, he soon died. Not knowing what happened to him, Magda sat at the log fire in the Dullstroom Inn for many years, waiting for him to come and fetch her. If you stand on the corner outside the Dullstroom Inn, just after the sun sets, you might hear the sound of thundering hooves as he comes to rescue her. Those who are see him are said to be forever lucky in love.

The Old Fort is set in beautiful gardens and was once the headquarters of the Durban Light Infantry. Brigadier-General G. MOLYNEUX haunts the gardens named in his honour. The Warrior’s Gate building is home to the ghost of a soldier who likes to re-arrange furniture and displays.

53 Hospital Road on the corner of Point Road was the office of Rosie DRY, a famous madam in the 1940s who had a string of brothels. The building is said to be haunted by the ghost of a soldier whom she had killed in 1944. She dumped his body in a barrow and wheeled it to a nearby dance floor.

The Mountain Park Holiday Resort Hotel is a manor house with creaking floors and Tudor-style accommodation. It has seven ghosts. Two ghostly drunkards reside in the pub. Three men reside on the third floor. There's the childminder Ruth, seven-year-old Matilda and Wisp, a ghost dog.

The Zorgvliet Country Lodge is one of the Cape’s oldest wine farms. Travellers once feared to here as the dense forest was inhabited by gangs, escaped slaves and wild animals. The mischievous ghosts today only open and close doors or play with light switches in the tasting room.

The Wayside Inn is a 19th century coach inn. There is a peppercorn tree in the grounds, under which a nurse and an officer of the Inniskilling Dragoons used to meet. They were killed in an attack during the Anglo-Boer war. Their ghosts continued to meet there, until the tree blew over in the 1960s and the officer's grave was moved to Barberton. Also in the grounds, is the Krugerhof, where President Paul KRUGER stayed before his exile in Europe. Before he left, he and his Cabinet met in a railway carriage, and it was from here that they are said to have disposed of the gold of the South African Republic, known as the Kruger Millions.

Wild horses roam the area, descendants of animals left behind by British forces during the Anglo-Boer War. The area was once called Duiwel's Kantoor. One of the village's ghosts is an old woman, said to have been an alcoholic who murdered her husband with an axe. Another elderly woman haunts the veranda of the Green Venus, now a pub but once a trading store. The screams of a child crying for help have also been heard in the pub. A mother and child burned to death there in the 1940s. Children can also be heard laughing outside, among the nearby rocks. Breaking crockery has been heard when loud music is played. The mining commissioner's house was built in 1884.

Reinette VAN NIEKERK looks out for the welfare of the wild horses. She moved to Kaapsehoop in 2004 to work with horses. After owning the local backpackers’ lodge for a few years, she became the Horse Lady. She also acts as booking agent for all the accommodation in Kaapsehoop, and is a tour guide.

One of the outside buildings that was previously used as a hospital by the only doctor in town is thought to be haunted. Many miners died from malaria and TB. The buildings have been used as servants’ quarters. Many have seen a big White man with a beard who threatens them with a whip if they dare lie down and sleep. He swears at them in their native tongue, and makes them stand up. Kaapsehoop's graveyard dates back to the 1800s. The local pub, the Salvador Bistro, is believed to be haunted.

In the gardens of the Bougainvillea Hotel, there is Hanging Tree, where horse thieves and claim jumpers are said to have been hanged by lynch mobs. Sometimes, when there is no breeze, the tree shakes violently.

The Barberton Provincial Hospital was haunted by Sister BROWN, who nursed in the early 20th century. During a break from her work, she was taken on a hunting expedition, where she was mauled by a lion. She is said to wear an old-fashioned grey uniform and her feet are invisible. The hospital was renovated since her death, and the floor raised.

The Old as Gold Guest House in Primrose was said to have been haunted by the ghosts of Chinese mine workers. The building dates from about 1880, and was built as the home of a Cornish mine manager. There were three underground rooms that once housed Chinese mine workers. A secret staircase leads to the rooms, which may have been used to hide unregistered workers. Smugglers, known as black birders, traded in people. Joff VAN REENEN, an auctioneer who researched the history of the house, believes that three tunnels, now sealed off, once led from the rooms to the gold mines in the area.

Mark Rose-Christie owns the Mystery Ghost Bus Tours. Tours are available in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban. Each tour includes haunted sites, the history and science of the paranormal, and an historical cemetery at midnight.

Kimberley Ghost Tours by Steve Lunderstedt
Tel: +27 (0) 83 732 3189

Prince Albert Ghost Walk by Ailsa Tudhope

Supernatural Phenomena Investigation Team of SA (SPITSA)

Ghosts of Pretoria, by Eric Bolsmann, published by My Guest Publishers, Pretoria, 1997
An Historical Meander through the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, by Bill Bizley and Pat McKenzie, published by the Midlands Meander Association.
Haunted Corners, by Margaret Williamson
Ghosts of South Africa, by Pat Hopkins