Kameel Stoepstorie: Vryburg Museum

People without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. Marcus Garvey

A short, but long overdue, visit the Vryburg Museum. It is situated on the N14 to Kuruman. The original wall of the goal that was built in 1887 is incorporated in the building and the masoned stones from the old demolished Town Hall were used to build the rest of the building which is the entrance to the Leon Taljaard Game Reserve. This building houses a museum and a Bio-museum.

Vryburg, or “Fort of Freedom”, was established in 1882 as the capital of a short-lived independent republic called Stellaland, established by Boers escaping the clutches of the British in the Cape Colony. Just two years later the Stellaland become part of the Cape Colony. It’s loctated on the banks of the Huhudi River. The plaque commemorates the Stellaland era. The original flag of the Stellaland Republic is not on display. Van Niekerk’s house was situated on the piece of land where the Pick and Pay parking are are now.

I remember preparing food for the thousands of Angolan Portuguese refugees passing through Vryburg in 1974. They were frightened & exhausted. They weren’t walking though, but drove trucks carrying their families and possessions from Angola. A transit camp was set up in the veld at the old goal wall. There, the refugees could wash and rest for a while or sleep over. They were given water, food & essentials. Remember that there was a Red Cross tent treating minor injuries and ailments & tending to exhausted mothers with hungry & over-tired babies & toddlers. I remember clearly the pain of exhaustion & anguish and the loss of self-respect in their eyes.

Today there is a small mention of this happening. The memorial seems to be incomplete.
Reg van Toegang
Direito de AdmissiaoVryburg
03-04-1992

Vryburg was once used as a concentration camp by the British during the Boer War. The gatehouse was built on the former Boer War prison and where prisoners captured by the British forces were incarcerated. The plaque that commemorates the prisoners that were executed here should be at the museum but we could not find it due to the long grass that is growing around the building.

Copyright Johan Viktor via eGGSA
Google Earth Project Information:-
GPSID: 4413
GPS: Not available

We were met by Jennifer Lecholo. An energetic young lady who was giving her best to help us during our visit. There are two exhibit areas a Bio-museum where you will find a lot of stuffed animals that were not up to our alley and the museum. We love the rock engravings from Kinderdam the farm where we spend lots of fond memories visiting Uncle Alfie & Aunt Nellie Fincham. There is a small display with no information on the Koi-san.

The museum is small but we were charmed by the displays. Unfortunately, there is no information available and our guide is still new on the premises. It sheds some light on the town’s economic and social history.

The Townhall now demolished

The old Gentleman’s Club that was later utilized as police quarters.

The Stellaland Flag should be on display in the Townhall is the original flag of the short-lived Stellaland Republic. Its history includes having been presented to Queen Victoria as a gift and hanging in Windsor Castle until 1934 when King George V returned it to Vryburg. The museum curator could not help with the location of the flag.

Till next time

Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Details of a railway line

The Cape to Cairo Railway was a dream project to cross Africa from south to north by rail. 

Kameel Station is 805 miles from Cape Town.  It is 4449 ft above sea level 

In the words of Cecil John Rhodes 

” the railway will form the main trunk line connecting the markets of the Cape Colony with the British South Africa Company’s territory and, ultimately, on joining with the Beira Railway Company’s line to Salisbury, will afford through means of transport from Cape Town to Beira.”

The wooden sleepers has made way for concrete sleepers.

The way the sleepers are installed also changed over the years.

Details of the switch (wissel in Afrikaans).
A switch, turnout or points is a mechanical installation enabling trains to be guided from one track to another.
It could be at a railway junction or where a siding branches off. 

The distance meter to Warrenton in the Northern Cape
179.5 km to go to the next junction.
You will notice that there is more of these distance meters standing in a row.
The next one reads 179.6 and these are 100m apart.
After the 10th marker it change to 180.
It reminds of of the road makers.
One can say different ways of transport but sharing the same information.

Dates stamped on the bar of inspections carried out

Trains are part of our daily lives. Our cottage is only 15 meters from the railway line.

Till next time

Sandra

If you love to do trainspotting. Gives us a call on 0822642763 and book the Station Master House. It is fully self catering.

Kameel Stoepstorie: Rovos Rail and Kameel Railway Station

When Rovos Rail – The Pride of Africa stops at Kameel it is always a special occasion.

For those that is still wondering Rovos Rail is a train-hotel.. The trains consist of restored coaches with lounges, dinning cars, private sleeping compartments, each with private ensuite facilities. Then there is the observation car which is like sitting on the stoep of the train.

The train has different types of accommodation on board. With names like Pullman. Delux and the Royal Suite, which is half a train car

The company was started in 1989 by Rohan Vos and is family owned and Rovos Rail has its private station at Capital Park in Pretoria.

The dining car reminds of  Edwardian train travel with beautiful pre-1940 and is characterized by the carved roof that is supported with pillars and arches. The button leather seating, cristal glass and branded cutlery is all enhanced with the beautiful light fittings. The fans add to the glamour. This car is referred to as the Pillars.

The lounge car is fitted with deep sofas and wing back chairs and seems like the ideal place for an afternoon snooze as the train makes its way over the plains of Africa. Even the train is air conditioned the windows can open and you can enjoy the sights, sounds and scents of Africa.

The Observation Car is like the stoep of Africa.

Till next time

Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Stations and whistle-stop around Kameel

When the train leaves Vryburg station toward Mahikeng (Mafeking) there is a couple of stations and whistle stops en-route. Today there is not much going on, on this route as the trains that use this line is transporting loads to neighbouring countries of South Africa. We have travelled on the old service road between Paradise and Madibogo to have a look at the marker boards.

First stop is Paradise. There was not a station but the farmers would leave a parcel at the rail side for transportation to the next place. The marker telling us that Paradise is 781 miles from Cape Town and the 4013ft above sea level.

The next station is Devondale. There used to be water tanks for the steam locomotives. There used to be a little shop built of stone and we would travel on the passenger train from Kameel to Devondale for an outing. The Devondale marker reads 790 miles from Cape Town and 4129ft above sea level.

Next up is Mnyani only 5 miles from Devondale. This stop was used for passengers to get a way of transportation. It was also a popular stop for parcels. The maker reads 795 miles from Cape Town and the altitude is 4207ft. As you will notice there is a climb in the altitude of 194ft over 14 miles.

Curnow used to be a whistle-stop like Mnyani. It was a popular place for passengers to make use of the train to travel to Mahikeng on the passenger train. As children, we would call this the milk stop. Farmers would load the milk on the train to be transported to Vryburg to the diary. 797 miles from Cape Town 4267ft above sea level.

The next station is Kameel and it is the station we call home. Kameel used to be a busy station with lots of rail traffic. Today the old rail lines tell the stories of better times. It was the station where the grain from the silos was loaded for the next destination. It was extended with more rail tracks round 1980. The station was also equipped with yard lights. Unfortunately, like so many railway stations, the station building and other buildings were demolished. We still have some fun when the weekly train passes by and you feel the rumble of the train under your feet. It will never be the same again but we are trying our best to uplift the station houses and the community. Kameel is 805 miles from Cape Town 4449ft above sea level.

Still, en-route to Mahikeng is Doornbult. Doornbult is a crossing and between Kameel and Doornbult was the old trolley stop. When a train approached the trolley will have a place to park next to the main line. During the Anglo-Boer War, there was also a corrugated iron blockhouse from where the British troops would protect the railway line. Doornbult is 809 miles from Cape Town and the altitude is 4470ft. This is the highest point on the railway line.

Wirsing is a railroad siding and is located in Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, North-West, South Africa. The estimate terrain elevation above sea level is 1377 metres.

Next up is Rabatho. Rabatho is 819miles from Cape Town and the altitude 4325ft

At the end of our road is Madibogo. Like Kameel Madibogo was a busy station. 821 miles from Cape Town 4038ft above sea level. The water tank is still standing the station buildings has been utilized and forms part of the community.

Thank you to everyone whom made their photo’s available.

Till next time

Sandra