Day twenty - Griquatown,
22nd October 2007

Up at 6.30am for the long day from Philippolis to Griquatown via Kimberley. I have to tell you that despite all the talk of "ghosts" in the old Philippolis Jail I slept very well - even if I was the only "live" inhabitant! And yes there is a ghost story to tell involving footsteps on the floorboards in the middle of the night....

Image right: Scott at the lookout over the Big Hole of Kimberley.

The road to Trompsberg and Jagersfontein was incident free - and I enjoyed taking a moment to view the hills where the battle of Boomplaats took place - a "Griqua" victory of sorts over the Boers in the 1830s. Jagersfontein boasts the biggest man made hole in the world - dug by hand without machinery... and the old Jagersfontein token coins for water are a relic of these 1800s days. (I have several of these tokens).

Then it was on to Koffiefontein and north to Kimberley where I stopped at the Sol Plaatjies Library and met with Johan Cronje who gave me a signed copy of his book "The Griqua of the Northern Cape". The library now has a copy of my book "Children of the Mist".

From there it was off to the Big Hole of Kimberley which was unfortunately shut for renovations when I came through in September last year. The weather was perfect and I took some great pictures of Africa's most famous mine and the catalyst for the white settlement of the interior of S Africa. Interestingly not one word is mentioned of the Griqua people and even the young Griqua boy, Klonkie, who came across the first rough diamond. Now it is all politically correct stuff - the 20 minute film is narrated by an African and a white "reporter" who talk of those early days as if it was idyllic. No mention of the cat-of-nine tails dished out to the non-white workers or the controversy over he ownership of the diamond fields.

After a great t-bone steak lunch with lashings of mushroom sauce and crisp chips at the Occidental Bar in the big hole complex costing just ZAR55 (about Au$9) I was off to Campbell on my way to Griquatown.

Image right the old historic Bartlett Church in Campbell

There was a storm brewing and it seemed to pursue but never quite catch me - mad flashes of lightening searing the distant darkness leaving the wet roads that I travelled on as the only evidence of their passing. A quick visit to the Bartlett Church and the NGK Church at Campbell and I was again on my way.

I got to Griquatown at about 3.30pm, unloaded my gear into Jim de Villiers home - same room as last year and then set off to the Mary Moffat Museum to meet with the "kanniedood" curator Hetta Hager. Hetta has been there for over 20 years. When I called her name through the door she replied "Is dit die Engelsman van Australia?" - Is that the Englishman from Australia? I replied in the affirmative and she came to the locked front door beaming.

We exchanged books - Hetta giving me a signed copy of her latest work "Adam-Kloek Goed" which was released in March this year.

She showed me through her bank vault (the museum used to be used by Barclays Bank) and I left an hour later ready for the SATV 50/50 programme which will feature my book and the Griqua people (the launch at Spier). 

Off to school at Philippolis

The amazing cactus -

road to Trompsberg

On road from Trompsberg to

The scene of the historic
battle of Boomplaats

Jagersfontein tailings


More tailings




No entry today!


Jagersfontein mine

Fauresmith main street

Where the Griqua lost their land
south of the Riet River

The "historic" tree

Fauresmith on the road
to Koffiefontein

On the road to



On the road to




The Big Hole of


Big Hole grounds

Home of great steaks and

beautiful women

The Big Hole lookout platform

Floating in space

The old lamps

Desicration of graves for
"progress" at the Big Hole

On the road to


The Vaal River

Long, straight roads!

Campbell's slums

Griqua at Bartlett's Church

Bartlett's Church looking at
the pulpit

Where Dr Livingstone preached

Smells of goats now prevails

Inside Bartlett's old home

The old Nederlandse

Gereformeerde Kerk Campbell

Griqua graves - unmarked

Donkeys at Campbell

Kids at Campbell

Crown Prince Adam Kok V's
home at Campbell

On the road to


Hetta Hager opens the safe at
the Mary Moffat Museum

Return to Scott Balson's 2007 book tour