A historic walk around Graaff-Reinet

History buffs totally love Graaff-Reinet, what with it being the oldest town in the Eastern Cape (fourth oldest in South Africa) with about 220 listed historical buildings.  Best of all, you can see just about all the best ones on a relatively short walk around town.  And obviously, that is what we did otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it.  
We parked our car in front of the Graaff-Reinet Tourism office, grabbed a map from the friendly staff in the office and set off up the road towards the church with our first stop being Auty Ira’s Antique shop and the oldest cake in South Africa.  Next up is the imposing Groot Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church) at the top of the main road.  The church was built between 1886 and 1887 with the design based on the lines of Salisbury Cathedral in England.  Stone to build the church was obtained locally.  The church seats 1,250 people and has a steeple of just over 45 meters high.  An interesting feature of the church is that it has a chimney, not something you see every day.

The next stop right behind the Groot Kerk is the Victoria Hall and War Memorial.  The Victoria Hall is the “new” Graaff-Reinet town hall and was built in 1910.
In front of the Town Hall in the Mayor’s Garden stands the “Victory Peace Angel”, a war memorial erected after the First World War to honour the gallant Graaff-Reinet men who had lost their lives in the war.

Graaff-Reinet boasts a number of very good museums representing the town’s history, most of them housed in historic Cape Dutch buildings.  These museums include the Urquhart House Museum (built somewhere between 1806 and 1821), Old Library Museum (built in the mid 1800’s) and the Old Residency Museum (built somewhere between 1819 to 1831) and were all along the circle route we walked through town.
Because we had the KidZ with us and didn’t want to end up with two bored whiny teenagers, we decided to only go to Graaff-Reinet’s flagship museum, Reinet House.  The museum building used to be the Dutch Reformed Church parsonage and was built in 1812.  The typical Cape Dutch H-style building was home over the years to Rev Andrew Murray and his son Charles until his death in 1904 before it became a boarding establishment for girls wishing to train as teachers and renamed Reinet House.

   The museum was established in the 1950’s and houses a fine array of period furniture and kitchen utensils, a doll collection, medical and dental collection, haberdashery and clothing collection, wagon and transport collection as well as a blacksmith collection.  The Mill House with a working water wheel was under restoration when we were there so unfortunately I couldn’t show the KidZ how it works.  In the back garden of the museum is an old Black Acorn vine that was planted in 1870 by Charles Murray. A big piece of it had to be cut away some time ago due to fungal rot but the plant still survives.

The last stretch of our walk took us up Parsonage Street past the John Rupert Little Theatre (originally the church of the London Missionary Society) and to the Drostdy Hotel on the main road.  The hotel is located in what used to be the office and residence of the local landdrost/magistrate.  The building was built in 1804 and first became a hotel as early as 1878.  These days the Drostdy Hotel is a five-star hotel with accommodation in the adjacent Stretch’s Court.  
By now the KidZ had enough of walking although we literally only walked around one big block and it was time to head to the car that was now just down the road again.  Walking around Graaff-Reinet and visiting all these magnificent historic buildings one is grateful that there are still people out there that care for the history and heritage of towns like this.

Graaff-Reinet – a gem discovered

Graaff-Reinet in the Karoo Heartland is often referred to as the Gem of the Karoo.  Spending a long weekend in the town just again proved to me that this gem isn’t one buried deep under ground somewhere but rather has been unearthed and is mesmerizing those that get to visit it.  Located in a horseshoe created by the Sundays River and totally surrounded by the Camdeboo National Park, Graaff-Reinet is situated about three hours north of Port Elizabeth and the perfect long weekend destination or at least a must stop for those on their way from the interior to the coast.

Coming in from the south you pass through typical Karoo Heartland landscape on your way to Graaff-Reinet.  Wide open spaces, mountains in the distance, windpompe, Angora goats in the fields – big sky country at its best.  Arriving in Graaff-Reinet you immediately know you are in something bigger than a one horse town where the horse is dead.  There are more shops than most Karoo towns, more people, more cars and there definitely isn’t a tumbleweed blowing down main road on a Saturday afternoon.  In fact, you know you are in Graaff-Reinet when you get to the top of the main drag and find yourself facing the very impressive Groot Kerk, completed in 1887 and designed based on the Salisbury Cathedral in England.
If I’m going to a place I like to know what I’m going to do but also keep enough time aside to explore and discover the things not included in my plans.  This trip was no different.  Arriving early Friday afternoon we headed straight to Camdeboo Cottages where we were booked in for the weekend, unpacked our stuff and kicked off our shoes.  If it was up to the KidZ we would have stayed right there for the whole afternoon for them to watch tv (Chaos Boy) and hit the swimming pool (Miggie).  Unfortunately for them, we had other ideas.  Having planned a walk through town for Saturday and a visit to the Camdeboo National Park on Sunday, I browsed through the Graaff-Reinet visitor guide to see what we could still do on the Friday and came up with the Obesa Cactus Garden. 

I’ve been to Graaff-Reinet a few times but have never had the chance to visit Obesa.  Word has reached my ears of how big the cacti are but seeing truly is believing.  Owner Johan popped his head around the corner when we arrived, probably to make sure we didn’t speak in an American accent – referencing a sign at the gate making it clear he doesn’t support Donald Trump – and pointed us towards the path through the garden.  Obesa is nothing like my little cactus garden at home.  They have over 7000 species of plants in the garden and nursery, raise about 35 000 plants every year and stock well over 2 million.  Seriously impressive.  Even more impressive is the size of some of the cacti along the path through the garden.  The garden was started in 1970 with some of the cacti literally dwarfing us as we walked past. No kidding.   
Saturday morning after a quick breakfast it was time to put on the walking shoes and explore Graaff-Reinet’s historic heart on foot.  The best spot to park your car is right in front of the tourism office where you can grab a map of the town along with any additional information you think you may need.  The tourism office is located inside the Old Library Museum which Chaos Boy really enjoyed as they have a very good collection of fossils on display.  In addition to a number of museums and Groot Kerk, other historic attractions worth visiting include a number of other churches, the Drostdy Hotel, Victoria Hall – the town’s City Hall – and the angel statue War Memorial.  In actual fact, Graaff-Reinet has more than 220 heritage buildings, more than any other town in South Africa.  Best of all, most of them are all within walking distance from each other. 

Our first stop though was at the antique shop next to the tourism office.  Not to browse or buy antiques but rather to see what is said to be the oldest cake in South Africa. Yes, you heard me right.  The oldest cake in the country.  The cake was baked in 1902 (making it only four years younger than the oldest cake in the world) for a 50th wedding anniversary and is on display on a mantelpiece along with some original photos.  The KidZ weren’t really impressed and just wanted to know if you can still eat it, before wandering away again. 

Graaff-Reinet has as much as seven museums (could be six, could be eight, but I counted seven on the Graaff-Reinet Tourism website) and we decided that to keep the KidZ’s whining to a minimum, we would only go to another one of them.  The obvious choice was Reinet House.  Reinet House is the quintessential Graaff-Reinet museum and is located inside the old Dutch Reformed Church parsonage built in 1812.  The museum houses a variety of period furniture and kitchen utensils, a doll collection, medical and dental collection, haberdashery and clothing collection, wagon and transport collection as well as a blacksmith collection.  In the backyard there’s also a working watermill… Ok, so it wasn’t working when we were there as they are busy restoring the machinery.  But you know what I mean.

Another very interesting feature at Reinet House is the old Black Acorn grape vine in the backyard.  Planted in 1870 by Charles Murray, it is said to be the oldest living grape vine in South Africa.  A few years ago the vine got a bad case of fungal rot and a big part of it had to be cut away, but it survived and still persists. 
Saturday afternoon we decided to compromise with the KidZ and spent some time around the tv, pool and braai area at Camdeboo Cottages.  Just to make sure everybody stayed happy and long faces are kept to a minimum.  

Sunday morning it was time to hit the outdoors and enjoy nature.  The weather was perfect, the sun out but not too warm and we headed out on the R63 past the Nqweba Dam to the Camdeboo National Park’s game viewing area.

Although the game viewing isn’t anywhere close on par to Addo, it’s still a great opportunity to spend a morning game viewing.  The alternative is to book an evening game drive with oom Buks Marais at Karoopark Guesthouse.  We opted for the self drive option though.

The park has about 19 km of gravel roads and consts of typical Karoo plains.  Other than Cape Buffalo ( x ) , which we unfortunately didn’t get to see, the park is also home to eland , black wildebeest ( ✓ ), gemsbok ( ✓ ), red hartebeest ( ✓ ), blesbok ( ✓ ) and springbok ( ✓ ).  We also got to spot some Cape mountain zebra ( ✓ ) but even though we were in the park the same time as some friends we didn’t get to see the caracal (rooikat) ( x ) they did.  The park also boasts a healthy bird list of over 240 bird species.  Unfortunately the dam level is quite low at the moment so you don’t get very close to the animals on the water’s edge while the bird hide was also not that busy on the day.  With birds that was.

The highlight (and must do) of any visit to Graaff-Reinet is the Valley of Desolation.  The best times to be there is early morning or late afternoon around sunset, and we opted for the latter of the two.  We made sure we arrived nice and early the afternoon to allow some time to do the 1,5 km Crag Lizard Trail which allows for stunning views of the rock formations, the valley and Karoo plains beyond.

The Valley of Desolation itself truly is one of the iconic Eastern Cape attractions.  The basic explanation of what the Valley of Desolation is is that it consist of dolerite pillars rising up to 120 meters from the valley below.  The rock formations were formed by volcanic and erosive forces over a period of 200 million years and stand stark against the background of the Karoo plains.  
This time of year though the sun sets behind the mountain and isn’t quite as spectacular as in summer, so after watching it from an alternative view point we headed back down towards town, just in time to see the horizon set ablize as we hit the bottom of the mountain.  The perfect end to the perfect long weekend in Graaff-Reinet.  Till next time Gem of the Karoo.  

We spent the three nights we were in Graaff-Reinet at Camdeboo Cottages and I really feel we hit the jackpot with this spot.  Camdeboo Cottages offer both a Bed and Breakfast as well as a Self Catering option with accommodation offered either in their historic cottages or en-suite bedrooms.  It’s also located very close to the centre of town with a few restaurants right around the corner and the closest supermarket only a few blocks away.

We stayed on one of their nine 19th century Karoo style self-catering cottages with more than enough space for us and the KidZ.  The cottages have fully equipped kitchens so we did our own thing food-wise, Chaos Boy could watching TV while Miggie and I tried to play cricket on the cobblestone courtyard behind the cottages.  That didn’t work out very well, but it does offer safe parking under carports and behind a locked gate.
As I’ve mentioned, Camdeboo Cottages also offer breakfast as well as dinner, but we opted to braai every evening at one of the braai spots next to the swimming pool.  Literally 25 meters from our cottage.  We sommer ate right there next to the pool and I just had to smile every time another guest heading to dinner walked past and sniffed the air.  Nothing like the smell of braaivleis.   Although Miggie did try out the swimming pool the weather was a tad chilly but it would be a great spot to cool down on one of those hot summer days in the Karoo.
Next time we visit Graaff-Reinet as a family I know where we’ll be booking again.   

Going digital at the Owl House

The last time I was at the Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda I got a nice picture of a gent standing in contemplation between the cement figures.  On this visit to the village I was at the Owl House with two friends and colleagues and I really thought there would be a good chance to catch one of them in deep contemplation at some stage.  Curse the digital age… Bwhahahahahaha…. The best I got was while one was taking a picture to post to Instagram and the other was taking a selfie. I love it!!!! They’ll probably put out a hit on me when they see this post.

Why have you never visited Nieu-Bethesda?

It feels like most people I speak to about travelling in the Karoo Heartland of the Eastern Cape have been to Graaff-Reinet, yet many didn’t venture much further to also visit Nieu-Bethesda.  Nieu-Bethesda truly is a very special village located barely 30 minutes from Graaff-Reinet and have a truly off the beaten track feeling to it.  I say off the beaten track because that is literally what it is.  No tar roads in the village, no street lights, no ATM, no petrol station and no night life other than crickets in the dark and the cow you have to swerve out for when it suddenly appears in your headlights.  What the village does have are tons of character (the good kind), history, interesting nooks and crannies, even more interesting people, good food and nostalgia that will stick to you like blackjacks to wool socks long after you have left.
I was going to do a long and detailed post about Nieu-Bethesda but decided that my pictures could easily do most of the talking.  For the rest you will have to visit the village yourself to discover.
Nieu-Bethesda, a town of Karoo landscapes, history, owls, dirt roads and (rusting in) piece

Not a tarred road or street light in sight where a traffic jam means two cars reaching an intersection at the same time perhaps twice a day
Nieu-Bethesda is one of the few places that still have leivore (farrows) with water flowing in them
The Owl House is what put Nieu-Bethesda on the map and well worth a visit
The late Helen Martins spent most of her life in the town and the latter part of it transforming her ordinary Karoo home into a place of colour and light.  Over the years she and her assistant Koos Malgas, used concrete and glass to create a multi-coloured house and fantasy garden.  In the Camel Yard visitors will find statues of owls, camels, wise men and much more and one can literally get lost In your own thoughts trying to take all of this in.  Shortly before her 79th birthday, Helen Martins committed suicide by drinking caustic soda.  It is said that at the time her eyesight was failing because of damage from ground glass and that depression was getting the better of her.  
Doesn’t matter how many times I visit the Owl House, there is always something different to discover or some new angle to photograph 
One can’t simply visit Nieu-Bethesda and not buy one of the hand made cement owls being sold outside the Owl House.  I still have the owl I bought on my first visit to the village in my garden.
The Nieu-Bethesda cemetery has graves dating back to the early days of the village with the one of Helen Martins with its cement owl headstone standing out 
The Karoo is famous for the fossils found there and Nieu-Bethesda seems to be right in the thick of things when it comes to fossil records.  The Kitching Fossil Centre in the village is well worth a visit.  The guide shows visitors how they clean the rock off the fossils and do a walking tour to the river bed to show you fossils in the rocks.
If you really want to learn more about fossils, Khoi San artifacts and rock paintings then you have to visit Ganora Guest Farm a little outside the village.  Ganora has one of the biggest private fossil collections in the country in their fossil museum and if they ever established a Jurassic Park in the Karoo then I would want to be with owner JP Steynberg as he knows everything there is to know about the prehistoric animals found in that area. 

Yes, that is the fossilised skull of a very small dinosaur

Don’t think that a tour through the Ganora Fossil Museum would be a boring affair

The Karoo Heartland is known for it’s amazing hospitality and farm stays are becoming more and more popular.  At Ganora our little group were just in time to help bottle feed the hanslammers (hand reared lambs).  Not the kind of experience that us city slickers are used to or get to do every day.  
My visit to Nieu-Bethesda was way too short, taking up only a Sunday afternoon and Monday morning before the meeting I had to attend.  Way too little to explore and experience properly.  One needs at least a weekend, arriving on the Friday afternoon and leaving on Sunday after lunch, to have a chance to get to know the town properly and visit at least a few places.  If you do want to know more, do check out this very comprehensive list of things to do in Nieu-Bethesda on the ECTOUR website. 

Trains, trains and some other stuff at the Outeniqua Transport Museum

When in George the one attraction you have to visit is the Outenique Transport Museum (also known as the Outenique Railway Museum).  It used to be one of my regular stops on the Garden Route back when I was working as a tourist guide and the Outenique Choo Tjie steam train was still running.  Spending a long weekend in George I just had to take the family to show them this amazing place.  I was just a little worried, because although I love museums, they might possibly find it slightly boring.  I was wrong.

The museum has an exceptional collection of railway memorabilia which include 13 steam locomotives and probably twice as many (if not more) different carriages.  Some of the pieces that take pride of place in the museum are the Emil Kessler – Johannesburg’s first steam locomotive, the impressive GL Garrett, a coach from the Royal Train of 1947 and Paul Kruger’s coach and private saloons.  The Damselfly grew up on stations in the Langkloof while her father worked as a station master and she was mesmerised.  I could not believe that I was actually waiting for her the whole time as she slowly looked at just about everything in the museum, often calling me back to share some railway related childhood memories with me.  One of the things the KidZ loved the most was that they could climb into some of the locomotives and see what it looked like inside. They were all happy which made me happy and not guilty at all fro bringing them to a museum while we were on holiday.

One of my highlights of the museum every time I visit is the massive model train layout in one of the rooms.  I used to spend way too much time in here while my guests were wandering around and it got me interested in modeling.  When I say interested in modeling I mean I’ve actually started building my own landscape model, without a train though.  Like farther like son… and daughter.  The KidZ nearly got stuck in the model room and I had to dig out coins to make the trains run a couple of times.

But the museum is a transport museum after all and not only about trains.  There is a huge exhibit of privately owned vintage cars, fire fighting vehicles from waaaaay back, a car similar to the one from Ghost Busters (which Chaos Boy immediately spotted) and a horse drawn hearse. 

I think one of the biggest highlights of our visit turned out to be the Umfolosi Diner car.  Yes, the museum has a little coffee shop dash restaurant in a diner car and there was no way that we were going to pass up the opportunity to have something to eat in it..

So milkshakes, chicken nuggets and pies, chips & gravy it was.  All we needed was the sway of the train and the rhythmic katic-katic katic-katic sound of the wheels on the track.
So next time you are in George, doesn’t matter if you are staying over or just passing through, pinch off an hour or so and head for the Outeniqua Transport Museum.  They are open daily (excluding Sundays) from 8am to 5pm in season and Monday to Friday: 08h00 to 16h30, Saturdays and Public Holidays: 08h00 to 14h00 and closed on Sundays out of season.  The cost, R20 for adults, R10 for kids under 12 years and under 6 years for mahala at the time of our visit in April 2016.  
And just in case you were wondering.  We weren’t invited to visit, paid our own way and nobody there even knew that I was planning to write a post about it. 

Three easy on the pocket George attractions

I don’t think George is very high on anybody’s list of possible holiday destinations.  Yes, as part of the Garden Route but not standing on it’s own.  If that is how you think then I’m going to have to tell you how wrong your thinking is.  Spending Easter Weekend in George showed me in four days that George is actually the ideal family destination.  Beautiful mountains and passes, a stunning coastline, a laid back town atmosphere and not outrageously expensive attractions.  We were camping in George and took it easy while we were there (plus I did a load of Geocaches) so chose one attraction to do every day while there.  It turned out that all three are highly recommended and very cheap to do so here are Three things to do in George that are easy on the pocket.
The Outeniqua Transport Museum is a must do while in George and if you do nothing else then you have to try and get here.  The museum used to be the departure point of the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe and has the most magnificent collection of trains (13 locomotives and numerous carriages), vintage cars and other vehicles, railway memorabilia and the most magnificent model train layout.  I thought the family would be totally bored but they were anything but.  You can also have lunch or just a coffee and milkshake in a dining car.  The best of all, adults pay R20 and kids under 12 only R10.  What an absolute bargain.

The one thing we really wanted to do while in town was a visit to Red Berry Farm.  Red Berry Farm offers strawberry picking as well as a host of kiddies activities.  We were there to do the hedge maze.  I knew in advance that it was a proper hedge maze but I don’t think I was fully prepared for what we encountered.  A truly dincum get lost for hours hedge maze.  You get a stamp card and have to look for 7 stations along the way to complete the card which took me an hour and a half.  After having coffee and a chat with friends who came by to say hi, I went back in an hour later to go and find Chaos Boy who was still wandering around looking for his last two stamps.  Would I go and do it again? In a heartbeat.  The cost? A paltry R35 per person.

On our last full day in George the options we considered were to either go down to Victoria Bay or up the historic Montagu Pass.  We opted for the latter of the two and explored this truly scenic pass completed way back in 1848.  The trip up was a combination of beautiful scenes, historic sites and being close to nature.  Although a dirt road that does take a battering from the rain, we drove up to the top and back down without any trouble in the Chev Aveo.  So what would you pay for this little outing? Well, nothing more than your petrol and some snacks for along the way.  Just don’t leave your camera behind.

Exploring (and not ghost hunting) the Somerset East Museum

I struggle to pass by a small town museum if I have time on hand and time on hand I had the last time I visited the Karoo Heartland town of Somerset East.  I immediately headed up to the Somerset East Museum standing in the shadow of the Boschberg Mountain at the top end of Beaufort Street.  I’ve been here before but it’s been a few years so I decided another visit was in order.
The Somerset East Museum is also known as the Old Parsonage Museum as the building used to be the parsonage for the local NG Kerk.  Shortly after Somerset East was establishment in 1825, land on the slopes of the Boschberg Mountain was given to the Wesleyan missionaries for a chapel and graveyard.  The chapel was completed and consecrated in 1828, but a few years later the building and surrounding land were transferred to the Dutch Reformed Church.  In 1835 the chapel was converted into a parsonage and it was used as such for the next 105 years.  In 1971 the building was made available as a museum and opened in 1975 when the town celebrated its 150th anniversary. 
I was met at the door by Keridwyn Frieslaar who has worked at the museum for over 20 years.  She took me on a tour of the old house which has been laid out and furnished as it would have been back in the 1800’s.  The museum doesn’t just have a very impressive collection of furniture and artifacts, it also has, or so they say, two ghosts.  The first is said to be a Dominee (minister) and a number of people have reported seeing him sit behind the desk in the study.  I did check the photo (in the collage above) but there is no sign of him.  The second ghost belongs to a little boy who has been seen running around or just standing in a corner with a sad expression.  Keridwyn showed me a gravestone under the floorboards in the lounge that belong the the infant son of a Pastor that was buried there (in the collage below).  Him I also didn’t see.  I’ll just say that I wouldn’t want to spend a night in this building if I was given a choice.

The museum’s exhibit isn’t just confined to the inside of the building.  Around the building there are a number of interesting objects and sights (and sites).  Behind the museum is an old Settlers grave yard with graves dating back to the early 1800’s while down a path on the right of the building is the grave of Ma’Dora.  Dora Jacobs died at the age of 122 and was unofficially the oldest person in the world at the time.  The Guinness Book of World Records never recognised her as the oldest person because three authenticated documents were required as proof of age.  Not something that was easy to come by when Ma’Dora was born in a village in the Eastern Cape on 6 May1880.
The museum has a very informative exhibit about the Slagtersnek Rebellion and hanging (which I posted about recently) in an upstairs room.  The exhibit contains the original beam that was used to hang the five men from in 1816 before it was used as support beam in a pigsty and where it was found in the 1940’s.
I had a look at the visitors’ book when I signed it and it is sad to see how few people actually visit this magnificent museum.  It is essential that everybody in the town promote the museum, especially the guesthouses and B&B’s.  Between this museum and the Walter Battiss Art Museum, Somerset East really has something for every history buff and culture vulture (and those who don’t see themselves as such) that visit and there really shouldn’t be an excuse not to pop in with at least one of the two if you have some time on hand as I did.  On my next visit back in town I may just come a ghost hunting.  Now where did I leave my Electro-magnetic field detector?

Walter Battiss Art Gallery – the home of Fook Island

The Karoo Heartland town of Somerset East is a place full of interesting and quirky attractions.  One of them is the Walter Battiss Art Gallery which also houses the local tourism information office.  Battiss (6 January 1906 – 20 August 1982) was generally considered to be the foremost South African abstract painter but is probably equally as famous as the creator of the quirky Fook Island.  Fook Island was Battiss’ “island of the imagination” for which he created a map, imaginary people, plants, animals, a history as well as a set of postage stamps, currency, passports and driver’s licences. He also created a Fookian language with a full alphabet.  Apparently Battiss, or “King Ferd the Third”, even traveled internationally using his Fookian passport.  You will have to make a little pilgrimage to Fook Island… I mean Somerset East, to see if you can perhaps find some signs of this place of wonder. 

Remembering the Slagtersnek hangings

If you are flying along in a northerly direction through the Karoo Heartland on the N10, the main drag between Port Elizabeth and Cradock, do slow down a bit after you pass the first turnoff to Somerset East and keep a look out on the right hand side of the road for a cenotaph like monument.  Once spotted, do pull over and have a look as this is a very significant spot in the early history of the area.
I’m not going to relate the whole story here, but you can go and read the whole article about Slachter’s Nek on the Somerset East website.  In short, the story is about a violent Boer uprising in the area late in 1815.  After most of those involved either surrendered or were arrested, they were charged and either cleared, imprisoned or banished.  Five were sentenced to death by public hanging at Van Aardtspos on 9 March 1816.  The hangman never realised that there were five to be hanged so old rope was used.  Four of the five ropes broke and Landdrost Jacob Culyer (of the Uitenhage district) ordered that they be hanged a second time, this time one by one.  The monument contains the names of the five that was hanged as well as the Bezuidenhout brothers, who were whole reason the uprising started. 
Another interesting link to Slagternek can be found in the Somerset East Museum in town.  The original beam that was used for the hanging is on display in one of the upstairs rooms.  After the hanging the beam was used as a support beam in a farmer’s pigsty where it was found in the late 1940’s and taken to the Voortrekker Monument.  In 1989 it landed up in the Cape Town Historical Museum before it was eventually returned to Somerset East.