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Update 10th October 2008: Today is Paul Kruger day…well, it used to be…when “history” in South Africa was history…this entry here is my entry for 10th October 2007….

Update for 2009! …enjoy reading…

Paul Kruger was the President of South Africa during the British-South African War…also called…the Boer War. He was born on the 10th October and in the old South Africa, this day was always a public holiday. I was on a hiking trip in the Transkei. Read here about Mkambati and on this link about the trip in the Transkei ..and here moreabout the Magwa Falls, the links will open in a new window.
Uncle Mauritz —a very friendly uncle Mauritz used to live in Lyttleton, Centurion (near Pretoria)…and he took us to the most beautiful and interesting places in the Transkei on a hiking trip…I was a student at the time… We spent a few days walking the Wild Coast-route from Port St Johns…to Port Edward….see the links….and he also took us to a black lady, she lived about 50m from the beach and she had a very interesting story which she shared with us. We were tired and thirsty when we reached her home and she had cool drink with ice ready for us. This lady…I can’t remember her name!, was the 13th wife of the attendant of Paul Kruger. Now, you would think that with 13 wives there would be zillions of children…nope! only about 30! that brings you with an average of 2-3 children per wife, which is really a small number of children, as African women tend to have about 5 children (or more). She showed us a bed in her house which was her husband’s with artifacts of Paul Kruger on it. Of course we all took photos of it! Paul Kruger’s photo was also on the bed and she told us how they admired him. Her husband was the last attendant of Paul Kruger. She told us…very interesting!! …that every year on the 10th of October…she and all the other wives, come together near Potgietersrus/Pietersburg to celebrate Paul Kruger’s day! I wonder if they are still alive and… how many of them… and if they still do it! That was really an amazing day out on our trip…I can still picture about 20 geese around her house…and the sound of the waves…

…Read on Wikipedia about Paul Kruger too… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Kruger

Youth: Paul Kruger (Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger) was born on October 10 1825 at his grandfather’s farm, Bulhoek in the Steynsburg district and grew up on the farm, Vaalbank. He wasn’t a well educated man and only had three months formal education. Growing up in a rugged farm area he learnt a lot about the wild. When the Great Trek started in 1836, Kruger’s father, Casper Kruger, joined the trek party of Hendrik Potgieter and the family moved to what later became known as Transvaal, to try an establish and independent state.

Settling in the Transvaal: Paul Kruger’s father decided to settle in an area now known as Rustenburg. At age 16, Paul Kruger was entitled to choose a farm for himself. He chose a farm at the base of the Magaliesberg mountains and settled there in 1841. In 1842 he married Maria du Plessis and the couple moved to the Eastern Transvaal. Paul Kruger and his small family later returned to Rustenburg and Kruger’s wife and infant son died soon after. It is presumed the double death is likely to have been caused by Malaria. Paul Kruger then married Gezina du Plessis, who bore seven daughters and nine sons and died in 1901. Many of Kruger’s children died in infancy.
Kruger emerges as leader: Later Paul Kruger’s strong leadership qualities started emerging. He eventually became Commandant-General of the then South African Republic , later known as Transvaal. His leadership skills became more prominent when he was appointed member of a commission of the Volksraad the Transvaal Republican Parliament who were tasked with drawing up a constitution. His leadership ability started to attract attention, and it is said that he later played a prominent role in ending the quarrel between the Transvaal leader, Stephanus Schoeman, and M W Pretorius.
Vice-President 1874: Paul Kruger resigned as Commandant-General, in 1873 and took no political office for a time. He retired to his farm, Boekenhoutfontein. His stint away from politics only lasted a year the next year he was elected to the Executive Council. Shortly after that he became Vice-President. Kruger’s life remained heavily centred around politics from 1877 till 1882. In this time Paul Kruger lead a resistance movement and became leader of a deputation. The first Anglo Boer war was 1880 and the British forces were defeated in a battle at Majuba in 1881. At this time Paul Kruger was instrumental in negotiations with the British, which later led to the restoration of Transvaal as an independent state under British rule.In 1882, the 57 year old Paul Kruger was elected president of Transvaal. He left for England in 1883 to revise the Pretoria Convention of 1881, an agreement which was reached between the Boers and the British that ended the first Anglo Boer War. Paul Kruger acquired many allies in Europe during this time. In Germany, he attended an imperial banquet at which he was presented to the Emperor, Wilhelm I, and spoke at length with the renowned Bismarck.
The Discovery of gold: The discovery of gold in the Transvaal, changed the political climate of the Witwatersrand. Many goldseekers from around the globe flocked to Africa. The Transvaal Republic regarded gold seekers as ‘uitlanders’ (foreigners).
Jameson raid: Kruger’s leadership was put to the test at the end of 1895, when the Jameson Raid took place. The Jameson Raid led by Doctor Starr Jameson. Jameson later became premier of the Cape of Good Hope Colony, or the Cape Colony as it is now called. In December, 1896 a group of This unsuccessful raid, started the breakdown of good relations between the British and the Boers and this breakdown of relations ultimately led to the second Anglo Boer War. Kruger was elected as president four times, his last re-election was in 1898.
The Anglo-Boer war: The second Anglo-Boer War, also known as the South African war, started on October 11, 1899. Paul Kruger attended the last session of the Volksraad and on 29 May, and fled from Pretoria as Lord Roberts advanced on the town. He remained underground for weeks and eventually, he took refuge with his European allies, while the war continued. In October 1900 he left from Lourenco Marques and Dutch Queen Wilhelmina sent the battleship, De Gelderland, to transport him. Gezina Kruger was very ill when the party left and could not accompany him. She died on 20 July 1901.

Kruger’s party landed in Marseilles. He travelled through Europe to Holland where he stayed for remainder of the war. His last respite was at Oranjelust in Utrecht and it was here that he received the news of the Treaty of Vereeniging had been signed. Paul Kruger moved to Clarens in Switzerland where he stayed for the last six months of his life and died on 14 July 1904. He was buried on 16 December 1904, in the Church Street cemetery, Pretoria.

Resource: http://www.krugerpark.co.za/Krugerpark_History-travel/paul-kruger-history.html

On the next link you can read about Paul Kruger and Queen Wilhelmina…unfortunately, it’s an Afrikaans link.

http://365spore.blogspot.com/2008/09/13-september-1900-koningin-wilhelmina.html
http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping

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I love the Drakensberg mountains….did a few hiking trips there….my first was when I was 15…with a school trip….and I made it to the top of Mount Aux Sources…the highest peak in South Africa…I think it is about 4300m……there was a hut…but the roof was down!  The highest peak of the whole range is in Lesotho.

If you’re the kind of outdoor-type of person and like to go on hiking trips….you MUST go there….!! You will not regret it…be careful….you get snow in October in the Mountains and you musn’t go by yourself! On any hiking trip…always at least 3 people….I also did a couple with children…my library monitors back home…three times…good old times….In the UK I would never dream of taking children on a trip like that…”health and safety” always a big issue….what a shame, this country has really brought some problems upon themself with “health and safety”… I wonder what it is like in other parts of the world…I think that’s why our kids from SA is much more “tougher”…they can handle a lot more and cope with much more than kids in the UK….you feel like pampering them all the time…Read in English here what I’m going to write in Afrikaans…you can also see  a movie on that link.
Toe ek ‘n student was, was ek met ‘n staptoer saam met Oom Mauritz…van Centurion…hy was die hoofingenieur van die Hoogland waterskema in die Transkei en hy het die Transkei soos die palm van sy hand geken. Ons was ‘n groep van so 36 wat vanaf Port St Johns gestap het, noord na Port Edward se kant. Daar was ‘ n paar kindertjies ook van so 10-11 wat die trip bietjie moeilik gevind het, daarom het ons by Mkambati Natuurreservaat opgehou. Oom Mauritz het die bus van Margate laat kom om ons daar te kry en ons het regdeur na Margate geskiet en daar by ‘n hotel ordentlik gebad en ‘n dag daar deurgebring. Dit was heerlik!! Die roete wat ons gestap het was fantasties….soms op die strand gestap en soms op die rantjies….lees hier (gaan net af met die slider wanneer jy by die link uitgekom het) oor die roete en stappie daar… by Port St Johns het ons beeste op die strand gekry…en natuurlik anderskleuriges wat in onderklere swem…wonder hoe dit deesdae daar lyk….Oom Mauritz het ons na teeplantasies geneem…die Magwa Falle ook gaan wys….’n waterval gewys wat die enigste in SA is wat DIREK in die see val!…allerhande pragtige plekke…ek wonder of hy nog leef! Dit was regtig ‘n belewenis om saam met hom te stap…ek het dagboek gehou van letterlik alles, waar ons gestap het, hoe laat ons waar geeet het, waar ons geslaap het…een nag het ons onder ‘n oorhangende rots geslaap…genoeg slaapplek vir almal van ons!

 

Hy het ons in kookspanne in gedeel en almal het vir almal gekook, jy het jou beurt gekry om “aan diens” te wees en die gees onder die groep was fantasties…daar was twee uitruilstudente wat hulle by ons groep geskaar het, met die gevolg dit was heeltyd Engels praat terwille van hulle. Die eerste nag was nogal ‘n koue nag, ons was veronderstel om in hutte te slaap wat oom Mauritz gereel het met plaaslike bevolking wat hy geken het by Lusikisiki…hierdie spelling…weet nie meer of dit die regte spelling is nie, maar toemaar, ons weet min of meer…en toe was die hutte se dakke af en hy kon nie die mense daar kry nie. Ons het toe maar in die oopte geslaap en dit was koud…Oktober…maar die wind het gewaai! Oom Mauritz het in Hans Strydomlaan gewoon, spoor hom op en kry hom op ‘n staptoer in die Transkei!

The Chainladder that takes you to the top of the mountain…
 

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As a student, I went on several hiking trips….one with Uncle Mauritz, a great man. He was the chief engineer of the Transkei Highland Water Scheme Project and he knows that part of the country like the palm of his hand! We were 34 people, about 6 children age 9/10. This is part of the Wild Coast! At some places we walked ON the beach…other places just about 20 m away…and sometimes on high cliffs/the escarpment.  At night our tents were about 50m from the beach!
He showed us spectacular places, the highest water fall with its fall cascading into the sea, it is called the Waterfall Bluff.  Hidden places! Tea plantations…Magwa Waterfalls….Top Hat…Lupatana Splash Rock…. are just a few to mention. It was really an experience with him. You got to see the beautiful unspoiled beaches and part of the trail is up along the escarpment. One walks along the cliff tops with magnificent views. The terrain is spectacular but fairly strenuous.
It was a difficult route for the children, so when we came to the Mkambati Nature Reserve, we sadly ended our trip there. But, we had to cross a river first and it was in flood! – see the first picture in this entry.   We had a GREAT time for a day at the resort and it was great fun….the bar man was a great sport and we had big laughs with him. A coach picked us up at the resort and we set off for Margate….one of THE places to go on holiday by the beach….well, that was ‘way back then.’
I kept a diary of everything that happened, where we had breakfast, what time…lunch…places and times…how far we walked from A to B to C…etc. I still have the maps where I indicated on the maps where we stopped and what we saw there….somewhere between lots of stuff packed away…
map Port St Johns

Port Edward map

Click on the image for a larger view. We started at Port St Johns and we walked North towards Port Edward.

wild coast_1

wild coast_2

waterfall bluff

Waterfall Bluff -wildcoast.co.za

Update: August 2011

Since I got my own photos now with me – I could scan them in and here are a couple of pictures from this hiking trip!


In this photo you can see uncle Mauritz, our leader. He was also the chief engineer of the Highlands Water Scheme. We all gathered first at his house and he showed us a slide show of the area and discussed all sorts of ‘issues’.

And everybody wants to take a picture! Obviously, I took this picture of ‘everyone’! lol

Whole-in-the-wall seen from above – the cliffs. This is my own picture.

One of the beautiful waterfalls on the trip. Hope you can see the people in this pic.

And this is ME – end of the trip…exhausted.

‘Top hat’ and to the right you can see part of Lupatana – also my own pic!

This is the actual Lupatana – an image from this site:

http://throughtravelanderror.blogspot.com/

Mbotyi falls – image: Wildcoastholidays.co.za

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