The little town called Goedverwacht
Originally called Burgershoek, Goedverwacht is a town rich in historical history yet hidden away from civilisation.
Why would we explore a town that has virtually nothing to do?
But there’s plenty. You just need to find the right person to speak with.
Nestled between Mountain Fynbosch off the R399 between Piketberg and Velddrift lies Goedverwacht. A quiet little missionary town.
It’s in the History
Hendrik Schalk Burger owned this farm and in return, left his farm to his slave, Christiana Maniesa, and her five children after she cared for him in his old age. The Will, which was very clear, held up in court despite his children’s attempt to dispute its contents.
After Maniesa passed away, Moravian missionaries acquired Goedverwacht in 1889 for 750 pounds where they established a Mission Station and built the beautiful church still in evidence today. The village is lined with old-style and modern homes, many of them with thatched or tin roofs.
Along the narrow road is a bright coloured building known as the Information Office. Never underestimate the knowledge these people have on a town.
We spoke with Lorraine Cornelius, born and bred into this quaint town. She’s the local tour guide with many stories to tell you; asking what are the must see places to see.
“The only way you can see this town is on foot. Say hello to the Rastas and don’t mind to pop in by the old ladies. They have many stories to tell.”
And that’s what we did; passing a primary school that’s closed for the holiday.
The Moravian Church is the one structure you can’t miss. Built-in 1846 with stone and clay, the Moravian Church had a series of successful mission stations all over the region and Goedverwacht soon joined these isolated communities under the influence of the Moravian Church.
A beautiful sight to behold.
The landscape begins drawing you in as you wind your way along the main road to the Mill Museum.
Unfortunately, it was closed but the windmill is taller than both Courtney and I combined. It’s been said that it’s no longer operational but that doesn’t mean you not able to admire the structure.
Walking along the dusty path, we found ourselves at the establishment of the Snoek and Patat building.
We walked in to find Sheena and her assistant; working the keyboard. Obviously not expecting unexpected guests.
“Lorraine said you might be baking homemade bread. Do you have?”, I asked. Nope. They will only be making tomorrow.
Sheena is a lovely woman. Strong and passionate about Goedverwacht.
“I lived here all my life. Studied at UWC and came back to help my community”.
They are finding ways to boost the town’s income. Besides their yearly Snoek and Patat festival that has the town packed to the brim during the month of July, they trying ways to help farmers build a shed where they able to produce more local fruits and vetagables.
“It’s difficult to make them understand the need. The older generation doesn’t know how to handle change”.
Saying our farewells, we walked off with their homemade tomato jam. Have you had it before? Can’t wait to taste mine!
“You have to visit the graveyard”, Lorraine said.
Where old souls are resting. But did we have to walk through it, I thought.
So we did as we were told.
Creepy is not even the word to describe the experience yet somehow we made it fun. Looking at the tombstones, I forget that many of my family came from here. However, it’s quite difficult to pinpoint if they are, indeed on our side of the family.
Courtney began to go mad; agonizing the ants with a stick so we cut our exploration short.
But just look around and listen. Nothing but peace and tranquility.
We went back to Lorraine where she sat behind her desk.
“You off already?”
“Yes. We’re a bit exhausted and really need to go back to Cape Town”, I responded.
“We really need more people like you to come to our town and tell them all about us. Your generation no longer wants to be in towns that have no adventure“.
It was true. My generation seeks adventure and, don’t see the need to enrich themselves with historic towns like Goedverwacht. Take a step back into time and listen to what the older generation can tell you of their time in a community like this.
“We have six original thatched roof houses left. Unfortunately, one is completely destroyed. Someone was able to have new ones installed while the rest are falling apart but it’s expensive to have them redone. You can view them on the main road.”
Here are a few attractions you might be interested in doing when you plan to visit:
- Explore the Old stone school building
- Get a guided tour of the Slaves Grave
- Visit the original Goedverwacht House
- Hiking through Peerboom and Klok se Poort
Getting there: From Cape Town, take the N7 (139km) towards the R399. Then take Goedverwacht Main Road in Goedverwacht. It’s about an hour and a half from Cape Town.
When to go: Many say to go during the Snoek and Patat festival but it’s overcrowded so go whenever you want.
Websites to visit: Definitely the Goedverwacht website; detailing everything you need to know including accommodation.
Until the next adventure.