Exploring South Africa town by town: Victoria West Part1


On our road trip from 1 to 11 July 2015 we passed through many towns. I tried to take photo’s of each town but due to a time limit I was only allowed 10 minutes per town.  We entered Victoria West just after sunrise and everything was still very quiet. Only here and there someone was walking in the streets.

Here is some information about Victoria West gathered by my Dad Ivan de Bruyn in preparation of our  road trip. Dad used different books and articles to compile all these information pieces for us.

VICTORIA WEST en route to this town the N12 crosses the Visgat River. At the one of its kind Victoria Trading Post there is also a museum dedicated to the legendary Mannetjies Roux the famous Springbok rugby player. A museum in the Main Street adjacent to the Library houses a large collection of old cameras and film projectors as well as medals of Group Captain P.H. Hugo a Battle of Britain [1940] fighter pilot who was born on the farm Pampoenpoort about 40km north west of the town and educated in Victoria West. His nickname in the town was ”Piet Khaki” but to his companions in the Royal Air Force he was ”Dutch Hugo”.

Victoria West was founded in 1843 when the Dutch Reformed Church decided to establish a new congregation in the far off northern areas from Beaufort West. The farms Kapokfontein and Zeekoegat was purchased to lay out the town. The church council named the town Victoria in honour of the ruling British monarch. The ”West” was added to the name in 1855 when another district in the Eastern Cape was also named Victoria. The town is in the vicinity of the Kapokberg Mountain with its blanket of snow during the winter months.  During 1904 to 1910 the town was represented by John X Merriman in the Cape Parliament who in 1908 became the Prime Minister of the then Cape Colony. He also played an important role in the compilation of the constitution of the Union of South Africa which was established in 1910. During the night of 27 February 1871 a disaster similar to Laingsburg in 1981 struck the town of Victoria West when flood water in the Brak River,normally a dry sand bed devastated the town. The death toll was never established,but more than 60 bodies were found and was buried in a mass grave,the people who passed away in the flood is honoured by a granite memorial.

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