The Garden Route

2005
(Department of Cultural Affairs & Sport, Western Cape Government)

Slavery was widely practised in the Southern Cape in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The VOC outposts of which Outeniqualand and Plettenberg Bay formed a part, as well as the farms of settlers, all have a slave history. Many villages and towns that originated as missions have a fascinating history involving both slaves and freed slaves.

Caledon Square, later Victoria Square (Courtenay Street) Originally known as the market place, Victoria Square is now a Garden of Remembrance. It was flanked to the north by the Drostdy and to the east by the jail. Until 1834, this is where salves were auctioned.

Places of slave remembrance on the Garden Route

Caledon Square, later Victoria Square

Dutch Reformed Church

Click here for a map of the Garden Route.

Dutch Reformed Church (Courtenay Street) In 1821 the Church Council decided to build a new church, and by 1830 construction was well under way. The corner stone was laid on 14 April 1832, followed by a celebratory feast for the bricklayers and plasterers who worked on the building. The bricklayers and assistants were all slaves. After emancipation in 1834 they continued their work as "apprentices". It is recorded that all manual labour was carried out by slaves and that European artisans contributed to the building through cabinet-making only. The slave bricklayers were Alec, Mirjam, Carto, Adonis and Lasson and the other slaves working on the building were Manjean, Moost, Lange Willem, Jan Rondganger, Willem Bruintjies, Ernest Witbooi, Tune Koopman, Willem Cornelis, Jacob Platjie, Frans Abraham, Aijerdien, Vaaltijn April, Jan Modecam, Willem Hunters, Kobes Wildeman, Fontijn, Jasson, Andries Carolus and Kiewiet. The church was consecrated in 1842. It is open on weekdays and Sundays during services.
Tel: 044 874 2036

Pacaltsdorp (R102) This is a small mission station a few kilometers south of George founded by the London Missionary Society in 1812. It was first called Hoogekraal but was renamed after its first minister, the Reverend. Charles Pacalt. He built up a congregation of about 300 Khoekhoen, slaves and free labourers. Dominating the village is the church built in 1825 of stone quarried from the nearby Outeniqua Mountains with the help of Khoekhoen labourers. Slaves settled here after emancipation.
Tel: George Tourism 044 8019295
United Congregational Church in Pacaltsdorp 044 875 8903

Watsondorp (N12, Preto, east of Blanco) The owner of this farm, a Mrs Bergh, made 30 plots available to ex-slaves. The land was never formally transferred to the slaves or their descendants. At a later stage a church and school were erected here to serve the community.

VOC outpost, Outeniqualand
VOC outpost, Outeniqualand
Caledon Square
Caledon Square
Dutch Reformed Church
Dutch Reformed Church
Pacaltsdorp
Pacaltsdorp
The content on this page was last updated on 4 September 2013