A Trip Down Mem­ory Lane

South African Country Life - - Heritage -

As he re­searched the fam­ily bi­og­ra­phy, Willem found that the Van Aardts had been in­volved in nearly ev­ery bit of no­table East­ern Cape his­tory since their fam­ily first set­tled near Cook­house in 1797. So much so that even the name of the town owes its ori­gins to a Van Aardt.

Suzanna van Aardt, nee Tr­ie­gaardt, set up a lit­tle kookhuis sup­ply­ing fresh veg­eta­bles, milk and meat to trans­port rid­ers in 1798, op­po­site a shal­low drift in the Great Fish River. The rid­ers some­times had to stop there for days or even weeks on end, wait­ing for the wa­ter to sub­side enough for a safe cross­ing.

In his fam­ily bi­og­ra­phy Willem also re­veals that when five rebels were hanged by the British at Slagter­snek in 1816, mem­bers of the Van Aardt fam­ily were present as wit­nesses.

When the 1820 Set­tlers landed at Al­goa Bay and were brought into the East­ern Cape in­te­rior, Van Aardts were there to wel­come them.

The Van Aardts nearly went on Trek with Louis Trichardt in 1838, but turned back at the Or­ange River.

When South Africa sent sol­diers to fight in World War I, Willem’s fa­ther Ac­ton van Aardt was there at the bloody Bat­tle of the Somme on the first day, when Bri­tain suf­fered the worst com­bat loss in its his­tory, with 60 000 ca­su­al­ties.

Apart from the Fair­world & Van Aardt Fam­ily Mu­seum (which has its own Face­book page), Mul­berry Grove also has farm­stay ac­com­mo­da­tion. Willem’s daugh­ter-in-law Elize van Aardt, an ac­com­plished ce­ram­i­cist, of­fers pot­tery work­shops and fun events in her farm stu­dio. 082 855 5563, fyn­[email protected] ac­[email protected]­berg.co.za

Avail­able at the mu­seum is the book Fair­world:

The Story of a Cen­tury of Ex­cel­lence writ­ten by Laura-Jean van Aardt (Willem’s daugh­ter).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.