31 August 2008


On 01 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II. Five days later, South Africa joined the Allies in declaring war on Nazi Germany. In the many examples of heroism by South African soldiers in World War II, few surpass the exploits of the pilots who dropped supplies onto the streets of Warsaw. These men's bravery lives on in Poland and has never been forgotten. The Warsaw Uprising was from 01 August to 02 October 1944.

I'm researching for an article on this part of our history, and will post once it is completed.

In their memory, here is a poem that one of them wrote. Written by a Liberator observer, South African Eric Ben Horton IMPEY who served with 31 Squadron, SAAF, and was shot down over Warsaw in August 1944. He died the next day, after writing this poem.

My God, this night I have to fly,
And ere I leave the ground,
I come with reverence to Thy Throne
Where perfect peace is found.

I thank Thee for the life I've had,
For home and all its love,
I thank Thee for the faith I have
That cometh from above.

Come with me now into the air.
Be with me as I fly,
Guide Thou each move that I shall make
Way up there in the sky.

Be with me at the target, Lord,
When danger's at its height.
Be with me as I drop my load,
And on the homeward flight.

And should it be my time to die.
Be with me to the end.
Help me to die a Christian's death.
On Thee, God, I depend.

Then as I leave this mortal frame
From human ties set free,
Receive my soul, O God of Love,
I humbly come to Thee.

23 August 2008


The upgrading of Garsfontein Road, in Pretoria, has been halted after graves were discovered in the path of the new road. The area, between the entrance to Woodhill Estates and the De Villebois Mareuil Road intersection, has now been fenced. Professional Grave Solutions, a grave relocating company, is trying to locate relatives of the dead. One of the headstones shows the name Mattheu SEHANS and the date 28 November 1908. There are about 15 people buried there. Tommy NKWANA's grandfather is buried there. He said the land used to belong to Piet WOLWAT, and his parents used to work for him. If the next-of-kin cannot be found, the dead will be moved to the nearest cemetery, Pretoria East Cemetery. Families of those buried there should contact Professional Grave Solutions on 086 111 4771.


Edward NYAMBI (60) tells South Africa's history in a unique manner. For the past 10 years, Edward has been using his garden to tell tourists our history. He is a bus driver from Zanghoma village, near Tzaneen, but his garden might benefit from the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The garden depicts major historical events, from the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president in 1994. The Great Trek, the Battle of Blood River, and the 1976 Soweto riots are also depicted. Edward used river stones, which he mixed with cement, to create the scenes. Tourists pay a small fee to enter his home, and he acts as tour guide.


Bayworld Museum, in Port Elizabeth, has a new permanent exhibition. "The First People of the Bay" is made up of original artefacts, and displays the history of the Khoi people. Medicinal herbs, rock art, clothing, musical instruments and Sarah BAARTMANN formed part of the exhibition. Made up of different groups, the Khoi arrived in the Bay over 2000 years ago. The Khoi have been referred to as Strandlopers and Khoi Khoi (men of men).


The 200-year-old bell in the bell tower of St John the Baptist Anglican Church in Pinetown was stolen last week. The 15 kg bell was brought to South Africa from Scotland, by A.K. MURRAY, one of the church's founding fathers. Parishioners have searched local scrap yards and pawn shops, without success.


Ekurhuleni Democratic Alliance councillor Andre DU PLESSIS wants to know how an agreement to build a museum and entertainment centre on environmentally sensitive land changed into a proposal for a town house development. The land is near the Blaauwpan wetlands in Kempton Park, a registered nature reserve. Fredonia Investments offered to purchase the land in 2003 for R10,5-million for the development of the Africa Hall of Fame. This offer was then transferred to Universal Pulse Trading 18 for the development of town houses. As far as he could find out, the land's deeds have not yet been transferred from the council to Universal Pulse Trading 18. The town house development would lead to the loss of habitat and species in the wetlands. One of the conditions of the purchase agreement was that Fredonia would have 45 days from the signature date to apply to the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs (GDACE) for permission to develop on the property, and provide the department with an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The company failed to send an EIA in the specified time frame, yet Ekurhuleni municipality allowed Fredonia to nominate Universal Pulse as purchasers of the land. In the meantime, the Hall of Fame Trust is running a demonstration of the museum from a building in the Blaauwpan area, which is being renovating with a R2,9-million council donation meant for the construction of a new museum building. Lesego wa Lesego is the managing trustee of the International African Music and Film Hall of Fame Trust and owner of Universal Pulse Trading 18. He denied that the townhouse development was new, and that the donation had gone to the creation of the demo museum.


East London cemeteries, like most across the country, lack adequate security and maintenance. East Cemetery, opposite Buffalo Park in East London, is a notorious mugging spot. East London has 29 formal and 90 informal cemeteries within its municipality. Cambridge Cemetery has a security guard but he isn't armed. West Bank Cemetery is unkempt, overgrown with grass and there are no pathways for vehicles or pedestrians.


South Africa's oldest monument has been vandalised again. The Dias Cross commemorates the discovery of South Africa by the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu DIAS in 1488. Last weekend, Nico JANSE VAN RENSBURG (20) of Grahamstown, was fishing near Kenton-on-Sea when his sinker became entangled in the rocks. When he waded out, he found a heavy limestone cross - the replica of the Dias Cross. Nic, with help from friends, dragged the cross out and put it at the base of the monument. Nic also found two large pillars and a portion of the broken cross wedged in rocks. The cross was first erected near the Bushman’s River Mouth by Dias in 1488 to mark the spot of two water sources. According to Albany Museum curator Fleur WAY-JONEs, vandalism and the theft of brass plaques was a huge problem in the area. All the plaques at Dias Cross and two large pillars have been removed and the base of the monument chipped away. The original cross was found in 1938 by historian Dr. Eric AXELSON and stored at Wits University. A replica was installed in 1938. The recovered cross was taken to Port Alfred for storage.


Carol FELTON (67) has taught at Clarendon Girls’ High School in East London for 40 years, and has no plans to retire just yet. For the last 24 years, she's taught English. She was born in Queenstown and moved to East London during her high school days. She attended Clarendon, then called East London Girls’ High School, where her mother was a music teacher. After matriculating in 1958, Carol went to Rhodes University for a BA degree, followed by a teaching degree from the University of Cape Town. Her first teaching job was in 1963 at Kokstad High School.


Port Elizabeth has a new society for history aficionados. The Ancient History Society of Port Elizabeth will offer monthly lectures on topics dealing with ancient times and subjects of history, art, religion and technology. Its founders include Peter LOYSON, professor of physical and analytical chemistry at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University; Prof. Nicholas ALLEN, Jaunine TAYLOR and Aubrey BRADFIELD. The first five talks have been on ancient Egypt and Greece. The talk on the technology used in ancient Egypt drew 300 people. Most talks draw about 50 people. The talks are usually held in the auditorium of the NMMU, South Campus.


Knysna‘s Featherbed Nature Reserve has been sold to Port Elizabeth-based mining magnate Kobus SMIT. Ecologists are now worried about the reserve's future, which was previously owned by mathematician William SMITH. The 150 hectare reserve is one of the last undeveloped coastal sites along the Garden Route and gets 200 000 visitors annually. William decided to sell as his three daughters would not be interested in running. William's father, ichthyologist and author Prof. James Leonard Brierley SMITH of coelacanth fame, bought the reserve in 1954. Kobus SMIT is a major shareholder in mining company Umcebo, and is also planning to develop upmarket properties near Van Stadens Bridge, outside Port Elizabeth.


The police in Nylstroom (now Modimolle) are investigating the vandalism of two monuments in town. The statue of Gen. Christiaan Frederik BEYERs (1869-1914) was vandalised on 31 July. Since then, the statue, along with the obelisk commemorating those who died in the Anglo-Boer War concentration camp, was removed by the town council. The monuments were re-dedicated on 17 August at their new site, the NG Kerk's Heritage Acre, by Rev. Japie VAN DEVENTER. A register of those present at the re-dedication was made. Mentha KRIEL, Prof. Sieg ENGELBRECHT and Pieter PRINSLOO laid wreaths at the re-dedication service. Martie VAN DER WATEREN read a poem, "Die Kampsuster", by Jan F. CELLIERS. Rev. Fanie HOFFMAN read the poem, "Vergewe en vergeet" by Totius. Rev. Len MUNNIK of the Afrikaner Erfenisstigting received a donation from the preservation group, Conservanus, to help with the costs of a palissade fence around the Beyers statue.

The Beyers statue was to commemorate the General who wasin charge of the Waterberg and Soutpansberg commandos during the ABW. It was the idea of the Afrikaner Volkswag, and Prof. Carel BOSHOFF and Maj. Pieter PRINSLOO were in charge of the committee. The statue was created by Phil MINNAAR. Willem NEZAR was in charge of finding an appropriate location. The statue was unveiled on 06 Jun 1987 by Gen. P.W. VAN DER WESTHUIZEN of the then Waterberg Commando.

The idea for an obelisk came about on 16 Dec 1915 when Rev. J.P. VAN DER WALT, Pieter Wynand le Roux VAN NIEKERK, D. BREWIS and Gerrit BAKKER travelled together to the Day of the Vow ceremony at Doornfontein. The obelisk was made from Buys sandstone and was 4¼ metres in height. It was unveiled on 15 Dec 1917 by Rev. J.A. VAN ROOY.


The Afrikaans Bible is 75 years old this year. On 27 August 1933, more than 5000 people gathered in Market Hall in Bloemfontein for the first public unveiling of an Afrikaans Bible. The first 10 000 copies arrived in Cape Town from England on 29 May 1933, from the British and Foreign Bible Society. To date more than 10-million Afrikaans Bibles have been distributed.

The campaign for an Afrikaans Bible was started in 1872 when Arnoldus PANNEVIS wrote in "De Zuid-Afrikaan" of 07 Sept 1872 about translating the Dutch Bible into Afrikaans. On 14 August 1875, the "Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners" was founded in Paarl. In 1884 Rev. Stefanus Jacobus DU TOIT (1847-1911) started the translation work. In 1878 Casparus Petrus HOOGENHOUT (1843-1922) translated the book of Mark, which has never been published. From 1893 to 1903 te book of Genesis was translated by S.J. DU TOIT and his helpers. On 16 May 1916 the Free State Synod of the NG Kerk took the decision that the Bible was to be translated into Afrikaans. Soon afterwards, the other three Synods followed suit. By 1923 there was a group of translators working full-time under the leadership of Jacob Daniel (Totius) DU TOIT, Rev. John Daniel KESTELL (1854-1941), Rev. Hermanus Cornelis Martinus FOURIE (1882-1939), Esias Engelbertus VAN ROOYEN and Rev. Barend Bartholomeus KEET. Rev. Willem Johannes CONRADIE (1857-1925) was the author of first Afrikaans Bible for children.


The University of Pretoria (TUKS) celebrated its centenary on 10 February 2008, when the official centenary flame was lit. In 1904 the Transvaal Technical Institute opened in Johannesburg, with classes available in Pretoria. Two years later, the institute was renamed to the Transvaal University College. In 1908 Pretoria became home to the Transvaal University College. The centenary commemorates the year in which academic facilities were established in Pretoria. In 1910 the institute became an independent academic institution, which official university status in the 1930s. In the late 1980s TUKS became bilingual (English and Afrikaans) and was opened to all. The university has planned over 230 centenary projects and events for the coming year, including homecoming events for former alumni. The centenary flame was designed by Tuks alumnus Angus TAYLOR. It will burn throughout the centenary year. A centenary rose was also cultivated.

16 August 2008


The founder and publisher of the economic publication "Who Owns Whom", Robin McGREGOR (79) was recently murdered in his Tulbagh home. His body was discovered after police on a routine patrol stopped a grey Mercedes Benz in Bellville South. The three occupants could not prove ownership and were taken to the local police station. The car was found to belong to McGregor. Two safes were also stolen from the house. He founded "Who Owns Whom" in 1979. It was a summary of the annual report of every company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, as well as the stock exchanges of Harare, Windhoek and Gaborone. He was born in Durban on 02 Aug 1929. He had no formal business training. After matriculating at Marist Brothers College in Durban, he went to Natal University and Rhodes University but left before finishing his degree. He became managing director of a small Natal sugar company. His next job was in the chicken industry. Robin then became manager of an apple co-operative in Elgin. He got interested in finding who owned large companies and bought one share in every listed company (more than 500 at the time), so he could receive their annual reports. He recorded the information on cards and within a year he had 15 000 cards. In 1982, he and his wife, Anne, settled in McGregor. He became the mayor but later resigned. Seven years later, he moved to Johannesburg but didn't enjoy it and spent more time on his farm near Rustenburg. His wife had Alzheimer’s disease for five years. She died a year ago and he moved to Tulbagh. Robin is survived by five children.

Robin also published "Who Made South Africa" in 2000. It was the first book in a planned series of 25, focusing on the contributions of various nationalities to South Africa. Volume one dealt with the Jewish and German contributions. Well-known South African companies founded by Jewish people include De Beers, Tiger Oats, Liberty Life, Lubners, South African Breweries, Anglo American, JCI and Western Deep Levels. Early Jewish families such as the Solomons and the Mosenthals are discussed. Samuel MARKS, Alfred BEIT, Barney BARNATO, the OPPENHEIMERS, Nadine GORDIMER and Irma STERN are also discussed. Among the German subjects are Carl LICHTENSTEIN, Paulus LUCKHOFF, Hans MERENSKY, Julius JEPPE, Adolph GOERZ, Louis LEIPOLDT and Olive SCHEINER.


While South African celebrated Women's Day recently, an English town joined in by remembering one of its own. Helen JOSEPH (maiden name FENNELL) was an anti-apartheid activist who helped lead 20 000 women on a march to Pretoria's Union Buildings in 1956. The women then stood in silent protest for 30 minutes, protesting against pass laws. Helen was born in 1905 in Eastbourne Midhurst, West Sussex. She died in South Africa on 25 Dec 1992. Dave RANG, a resident of Chichester, close to Midhurst, was working on his dissertation examining the class, gender and racial issues facing South African women in the 1950s, when he read Helen's autobiography Side by Side. This led to him planning a commemorative service for Helen in St Mary's Church, Eastbourne.


Scrap metal thieves have vandalised a statue of Zulu warriors at the entrance of Isandlwana battlefield in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Two bronze thorns from the isiQu (bravery necklace) were sawn off. The Battle of Isandlwana took place on 22 January 1879 between Zulu warriors and the British and Colonial forces at the beginning of the Anglo-Zulu War. The battlefield and its memorials have drawn thousands of local and international visitors. Pietermaritzburg sculptor Gert SWART was commissioned to design a statue to the Zulu warriors, which was unveiled by King Goodwill Zwelithini on the 120th anniversary of the battle. The statue consisted of a circular concrete platform symbolising the traditional Zulu home. Four bronze headrests reinforced the idea of final rest, while the bronze necklace of thorns symbolised the bravery necklace given by the king. It also had the horns of the bull - a symbol of the encircling tactics used by Shaka.


The crew of the visiting Portuguese Navy ship, NRP Sagres, paid their respects to the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu DIAS, by laying wreaths at his statue in Roggebaai. Dias discovered the sea route between the West and the East, sailing around southern Africa. Rear-Admiraal Koos LOUW of the SA Navy, Domingos de Saldanha E. ALVIM (Portuguese Consul-General), Commodore Luís Pedro Pinto Proença MENDES (NRP Sagres) and Mrs. Ligia FERNANDES (representing the Portuguese community in SA), were also present. The NRP Sagres band and the SA Navy Band took part. Domingos is a descendant of another Portuguese navigator, Antonio DE SALDANHA, after whom Saldanha Bay was named. One of the NRP Sagres band members, Seaman Bruno DIAS, is a descendant of Bartolomeu DIAS.


Mrs. Strilli OPPENHEIMER is planning an Insect Route on her family's estate in Parktown, Johannesburg. The estate, Brenthurst, is already part of the Diamond Birdwatching Route. Brenthurst has been in the family's possession since 1922, when Sir Ernest OPPENHEIMER bought the Herbert Baker designed house. His son, Harry, lived there until his death in 2001. Strilli is married to Nicky OPPENHEIMER, and lives at Little Brenthurst, also on the estate. She's responsible for the estate's gardens, with help from Dawid KLOPPER. They have changed the once formal and Victorian garden into a more wild one. As a result, there are more than 30 types of butterflies and 73 types of birds on the estate. Guided tours of the Brenthurst gardens can be booked through (011) 646 4122


The Eastern Cape geographical names committee is planning to change about 60 place names in the Eastern Cape, because they are "of colonial origin". Amongst those targeted to change, is Queenstown, which was laid out in 1853 and attained municipal status in 1855. It was named after Queen Victoria. According to Chief Ngangomhlaba MATANZIMA of AbaThembu baseRhoda, it was named after AbaThembu Queen Nonesi who lived in the area in the 1800s. The committee wants to rename Queenstown to Komani or Nonesi. Other proposed name changes include the Fish River being renamed Nxuba. East London would become Monti or Gompo. Port Elizabeth would become Nelson Mandela City. King William’s Town could be known as Qonce, Grahamstown as Rhini, and Alice as Dike. The Kei River would be known as Nciba. The East London suburb Nahoon could be known as Nxarhuni. Haga Haga and Gulu will be changed to Haka Haka and Gxulu respectively. Fumanekile DYUBELE, chairman of the Eastern Cape geographical names committee, said public hearings on some of the names would start next month.


On 27 May 1924 a military show was held in Kuruman, in honour of Lt.-Col. J.A VAN ZYL of the Kuruman Shooting Association who was leaving the town. Two De Havilland bombers (DH9) took part, with Lts. F.H HISCOCK and P.S. JOUBERT at the controls. While en-route to Kuruman, they had to do an emergency landing between Postmasburg and Olifantshoek. Lt. Hiscock's aircraft was too damaged to fly further. Lt. Joubert's aircraft had slight damage to the bomb rack. During the airshow, Lt. Joubert was to drop a 9 kg Cooper bomb on a tree about 620 m from the crowd. During his run-up a bomb accidentally fell off, landing amongst the crowd. Casper VAN DER WALT (54) and his wife Anna (52), from the farm Edgehill; and Chris ERLANK (39) of Corheim were killed. They were buried at the Kuruman Cemetery at the corner of Oasis and School Streets. Thirty-five people were injured.

Christina Alida (aka Lila after her mother) CLAASSENS (8) died of her wounds during the night as doctors battled to save her. She was the daughter of Matthys Jacobus and Lila. Her younger sister, Hester Hendrina, was five years old, and survived, along with another sister, Tiny. Hester's daughter, Mrs. Janetta ERASMUS, lives in Jan Kempdorp. Another daughter of Hester was named Lila and lives in Brits. Two other daughters, Hannetjie BATESON and Tillie VAN RECHE, resembled Lila when they were younger. Matthys was injured by shrapnel during the accident and became an invalid.

Piet VAN DER LINDE (21) and Abraham ERASMUS died of their wounds at Kimberley Hospital. Abraham ERASMUS was in the crowd, holding his baby who'd been baptised the day before. The Erasmus family of Deben were on their way to the Orange Free State to show the baby to its grandmother, and decided to overnight in Kuruman and see the show. Abraham died 13 days later in Kimberley and had a semi-military funeral. His eldest daughter, Catharina, was hit on the head with shrapnel, which was not removed. Catharina suffered from headaches from then on, and died at the age of 47. The baby, Sarie, survived and married a BOTHMA and settled in Bloemfontein. Her mother, Nelie, had to give up the family farm. When Sarie was four years old, her mother took a job as a cook in the boarding school at Laerskool/Hoërskool Seodin. The family received £400 in compensation from the government. When Sarie was in standard 9 (grade 11), the school principal called her to his office - she had a visitor - Lt. Joubert. After a while, she forgave him, as did her mother, siter and brother.

The tragic event was recorded in P.H.R SNYMAN's book, "Kuruman, Vervloë pad na Afrika", published in 1992. He writes that the crowd was angry, believing it was a an attack on the Afrikaners by the Smuts government. Lt. Joubert had to be protected from the crowd, and spent the night in the Kuruman prison. He appeared in the Kimberley court on charges of manslaughter, and was found not guilty. Later that year, General Jan SMUTS' political party (SAP) lost the local election in Kuruman.


The Halfway House is one of Kimberley's most famous pubs, situated in Du Toitspan Road, half way between Kimberley city centre and Beaconsfield. It is affectionately known as The Half. It is believed to be the only drive-in pub in the world. Legend has it that the first customer was Cecil John RHODES on his horse. Here you can enjoy a Barnato Bitter draught or a Rhodes Ale produced by Mitchells in Knysna. The pub was recently renovated by the owners, Brian DOHERTY and Peter RICKETTS. The original bar area is decorated with relics from the past. A label on a bottle of Johnnie Walker shows that Kimberley was the best seller of this whiskey in the world in 1892. The courtyard will serve as a coffee shop during the day and a beer garden at night.

The Half opened up when a burnt brick house between New Rush (Kimberley) and Du Toit’s Pan (Beaconsfield) was put up for sale. The newspaper advertisement stated that the house would make a good hotel. It opened in 1875 and was known as the Cogins Hotel, situated opposite the current location. It moved to the current spot in 1897 when Cecil John RHODES decided to build a sanatorium on the site of the old Half. The name changed to Halfway House Hotel. The first liquor licence was granted in 1880 under the proprietorship of Mrs. LAITY. In 1970 some people decided to put a stop to the pub serving drinks to people in their cars. The court ruled that it had historic value and the tradition remained. Kimberley had another drive-in pub - the Kimberlite Hotel, which closed down. The Half had a flag-staff in the front of the building and at night the proprietor, Mr. BEDDOME, would hang a lantern on it. In 1884 Kimberley experienced a labour strike. The strikers held their meetings at the Half, where they were addressed by Mr. BROWN, chairman of the Artisans Society.


The NG Kerk Hennenman-Oos burnt down last week. The fire, believed to have been caused by an electrical fault, spread so fast that nothing could be saved. The church has more than 400 parishioners, and celebrated its 50th anniversary two years ago.


Scrap metal thieves have hit the Kleinplasie Open-air Museum in Worcester. This follows after the former Minnie Hofmeyr College in Worcester was also vandalised. Thirteen stables at Kleinlplasie were vandalised, with all metal fixtures stolen. The damage is estimated to be in the region of R200 000. To prevent further loss and damage, all the stable doors have been removed. The thieves stole the bolts and hinges, as well as electrical cables and copper piping. Kleinplasie has a wall around it, but it is often broken by vandals or thieves. The plaques that were on the buildings, declaring them national heritage sites, were stolen long ago. It is high time that scrap metal dealers be charged with buying stolen goods, especially when these goods are from our national heritage!

Kleinplasie (meaning small farm) depicts the lifestyle of the Cape farmers in the early 1800s. Here visitors can see how things were done all those years ago - from tobacco rolling, candle and soap making, and coffee roasting to baking bread.

02 August 2008


On 23 July 1958, 74 students went to school in a roofless building in Jordania. Today Laerskool Jordania has 720 students, in the same building (with a roof). They celebrated the school's 50th anniversary, with Diets MEIRING, one of the five founders, unveiling a plaque. The school was founded with the help of Ds. Jan STEYN of the NGK Bethlehem-Oos. Ms. J.C. DU PREEZ was the first principal. A year later she was replaced by Mr. N.A. MARAIS, who stayed until 1963. He was followed by Mr. P.A. VAN DER MERWE, and in 1974 Mr. Izak DE VILLIERS took over until he retired in 1993. Hennie BADENHORST is the current principal. In 1972, Mrs. Petro VENTER, who taught at the school for 24 years, designed the school emblem.


Milnerton’s historic wooden bridge, the only remaining bridge of its kind in South Africa, needs funds for its restoration project. The bridge has carried people, animals and cars for over 100 years. By last year the condition of the bridge had deteriorated so much that it was deemed too dangerous for public use and closed. In terms of the National Heritage Resource Act, the City of Cape Town has an obligation to restore the bridge. The bridge was declared a national monument in 1987 and protected by the Heritage Act ­ in terms of which the care and maintenance of heritage resources is vested in the owner. A conservation management plan for the bridge was recently completed by architect and heritage consultant Andre PENTZ. He has researched the historical significance of the bridge and made proposals for its future use and maintenance. It would cost more than R3-million to restore the bridge to its former glory. An application for funds has been made to the Lottery Board, which is supposed to allocate at least 20% of available funds to heritage projects. If there is no Lotto money, the private sector will have to be approached.

The bridge is a well-known and much photographed historical landmark. It is thought to have been built in 1901 by the Fortress Company of Royal Engineers to provide military access to the island during the Anglo-Boer War. The bridge was built of Australian Jarra, a rare wood. All the piles are in good condition below the tidemark, but badly deteriorated above. The bridge was used by golfers and beach goers to gain access to the beach until about 10 years ago when a modern road bridge was built over the lagoon.


St George’s Presbyterian Church in Wellington celebrates its centenary this year. A Re-dedication Service will take place, after which a Wall of Remembrance will be unveiled. On the 07 April 1902 the Presbytery of Cape Town considered wishes of a group of friends under the leadership of James HARVIE to start a Presbyterian Church in Wellington. Rev. J.M. RUSSEL was appointed to investigate the matter. He reported his findings on 07 July 1902 and the Presbytery resolved that the Moderator, Rev, J.J. McCLURE, would conduct services on the first Sabbath of August 1902. The Moderator became ill, and Rev. RUSSEL conducted the services in the hall of the Normal College in Pentz Street on Sunday 03 August 1902. About 40 worshippers attended the morning service and 45 the evening service. The cornerstone of St George’s Presbyterian Church was laid on 01 August 1908 by the Right Rev. John DEWAR.


Residents of Gordon's Bay are not happy with a local resident who thought he was doing a good deed. The person had the town's twin beacons removed last week, believing their state of disrepair did more harm than good to the town's image. The beacons were once used for navigation by ships and were well-known landmarks. The South African Navy's hydrographic division in Silvermine was approached to have the beacons removed. They were erected in the early 1960s by the Navy to assist ships with anchorage, but the beacons were rarely used because the sandy basin wasn't adequate to hold an anchor in place. Before they were removed, the Navy checked with the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) whether the beacons were protected. As they were not older than 60 years, their removal did not require any action.


Stellenbosch's historic Dorp Street's 393 oak trees were looking very festive recently. Landscape artist Strijdom VAN DER MERWE covered the trunks in red cloth, all the way down Dorp Street. The trees are national heritage. It formed part of the Dorp Street Development Trust's project to raise awareness of this historic town - our oldest town after Cape Town. Stellenbosch was named in 1679 by Governor Simon VAN DER STEL. The village was founded in 1685 and the municipality declared in 1840. Dorp Street was the first public road into the interior. Along this street you can see various styles of architecture - Cape-Dutch, Cape-French, Cape-Georgian, Victorian and Art Deco.

Dorp Street is the main street in Stellenbosch, and also where the longest row of historical houses in South Africa is found, many dating back to 1710. Libertas Parva houses the Oude Meester Wine Museum and the Rembrandt Van Rijn art gallery. The gables date to 1783. General SMUTS' wife's family lived in Dorp Street. The house from which they were married in 1897 is still there. The original Lutheran Church built in 1851 is now the University Art Gallery. Oom Samie Se Winkel is a famous landmark, set up as a typical general store of days gone by. The first owner of that land was Pieter Gerhardus WIUM. The land was registered in his name in 1791, along with a concession to trade meat. The land was later sub-divided and in 1904 Samuel Johannes VOLSTEEDT bought the shop and became a general dealer. La Gratitude was built in 1798. Its gable contains an "all seeing eye", which the owner put there to scare his staff into working when he was away.


The new National Library in Pretoria was built with R374-million and involved 15 architects. The library was officially opened on 01 Aug 2008 by Pres. Thabo MBEKI. The state-of-the-art library opens its doors to the public on Monday (04 August). It is at the corner of Proes and Andries Streets, and is equipped with many computers, an Internet café and a training room. The building replaces the old State Library which was at the corner of Andries and Vermeulen Streets. The new library can accommodate up to 1600 people compared to the old one that could only accommodate 130. Now all the material is housed in one building. Previously, about two-thirds of the library's material was kept in storage in Pretoria West. The library's oldest newspapers date to the early 1850s. The library has a entry control system that identifies visitors by fingerprints. The four-storey library has a collection of over three million - including books, newspapers, CDs and DVDs. Members of the public needed only to register for membership to access the library.


The 1958 Matrics of Good Hope Seminary School in the Gardens, Cape Town, are planning a 50th anniversary reunion later this year. Mrs. Rita MARGOW (maiden name BREUER) and Dr. Fay THORNLEY have spent the last year tracing the Class of 1958. There were 60 students who graduated in 1958, fifty-five are are still alive and have been traced, of which 40 have confirmed their reunion attendance. Three Matric teachers, Dr. Helen ROBINSON (maiden name HOUGHTON, drama teacher), Ms. Irene LEKAS and Ms. Pauline SCHOLNE, will also be there. The committee is still looking for three teachers - Ms. Isabel SNYMAN (music teacher), Ms. EISENBERG (bookkeeping teacher) and Ms. ABRAHAMS. These are their maiden names, and they taught at Good Hope around 1956 to 1959 . Ms. EISENBERG's parents had the Esplanade Hotel in Hermanus. Contact Rita at 083 226 1685 or Fay at 021 674 1613 for more info.

Good Hope Seminary High is situated in Hope Street, close to Parliament and the Company Gardens. It was established in 1873 through the efforts of churchmen. The school motto is "Constantia et Virtute" (with courage and perseverance). It is one of the oldest surviving schools in Cape Town. Today the school has a hostel which can accommodate 60 girls.

Thelma TYFIELD was born in Cape Town on 14 Feb 1906, and educated at Good Hope Seminary High School. Her association with Good Hope Seminary lasted 37 years, from a pupil aged 5 years, a teacher and then Headmistress, until her retirement in December 1961. She inspired a great love of the English language in her pupils. She wrote "English the Living Language", which was used as a textbook in South African schools. Thelma died in 1968.

Daisy DE MELKER (maiden name HANCORN-SMITH) was born on 01 Jun 1886 at Seven Fountains near Grahamstown. She was one of eleven children. At the age of 12 she went to live with her father and two brothers in Bulawayo. Three years later, she became a boarder at Good Hope Seminary School. She returned to Rhodesia in 1903, but left for Durban soon afterwards.