Saturday, October 1, 2016

I scale the heights to see this monument on Emma Koppie,Linden

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The cherry blossoms are out in force.
Making what would be a relatively plain, 
drought ravaged landscape beautiful.
In the background is the Northcliff water tower

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The Koppie at the bend in 5th Ave is home to
a "pride" of feral cats that are being fed by some of the locals.
This one glared at me as I took the picture.

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Seeing that returned glass bottles are worth money,
I was amazed to find this cache.

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I was not alone in this "summit" attempt.
I was with our new Ward 99 Counsillor, Nicole van Dyk,
security was provided by Cortac.

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The English translation would be:
"This was erected to commemorate the receiving of the Oxwagon.
'Johanna van der Merwe'
 on 10 December 1938.
It was consecrated on 16 December 1939,
by Aunt G.M.E v.d.Merwe"
As an aside, the foundation stone of the Voortrekker Monument
 in Pretoria was laid in 1939.
I received this update from Johanna's granddaughter,
Ria Hepburn, who lives in one of the neighbouring suburbs...
"Hi David. The monument was in celebration of the centenary of "Die Groot Trek" (Great Trek) of 1838 (Voortrekkers leaving the Cape Province). 
During the 1838 Trek a Group under leadership of Dirkie Uys was attacked. 
Johanna van der Merwe survived with multiple assagai wounds to her face .
There is a picture of her in the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. 
Against all odds she managed to warn the other "Trekkers" of the impending danger. 
To honour her heroism a wagon on the centenary trip was named after her. 
South Africa also named a submarine after her - The Johanna van der Merwe.
It was, rather ironically, renamed after 1994 to The Assegai. 
The original table her family used during the Trek is in my house. 
She was my Great Grandmother".

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You can still see hoof prints from the Oxen!

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It looks like the area is being frequented by vagrants,
unfortunate but a fact of life.
The area is being used as a toilet
and it seems that fires have been started as well.

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Another view of Northcliff water tower.
A rather imposing landmark

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On the far side of the koppie I discovered this hall,
which I am told belongs to the Voortrekkers.
An Afrikaans group that was started in 1913 to emulate
the British Boy Scout movement.

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Cllr Nicole took time to have a look at Emma Park,
and to express her disgust at the rubbish and rubble that we found

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This is one of the two dumped swimming pool filter boxes we discovered.

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Builders rubble!

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And the "usual" rubbish that we as a species leave in our wake.
When I find someone littering and I chastise them for it,
one of the most frequently used retorts is
"I am creating a job"...

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Emma park is across the road from the Risidale Primary school.
There is a kiddies paly area that seems to be well maintained 
by City Parks.

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I do hope that this memorial will be given more prominence
by the Linden community.
Much like Spruit Day, we need the residents of Linden
to take ownership of this and to get together to organise a clean-up.
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