Thursday 21 October 2010

Stellenbosch - more than just wine

The Burgerhuis is a Cape Dutch style house in Stellenbosch, nothing to do with wine apart from being in that town.  It is a restored building from the 17th century, a typical home for the wealthy citizen of the time and now a cultural museum.  It represents a closely as possible life in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Stellenbosch was founded in 1679 by the Governor of the Dutch Cape Colony.  It was a fertile area and grew rapidly.  Soon after the settlers arrived, grape vines were planted, especially by the French Huguenots, many of whom left behind vineyards in France.  Stellenbosch became the centre of the South African wine industry.

I hadn't known about the French Huguenot presence in South Africa.  Apparently there are many farms still with French names, and of course families too.
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  1. just found your blog ... enjoying a little "traveling" with you :)

  2. :) Lovely postcard, she says, entirely unbiased and objective. A huge portion of Afrikaans surnames are Huguenot in origin: du Plessis, Viljoen, Theron, de Villiers, Cronje. As surprised as you were to find out they had landed in South Africa, I did not realise they had landed anywhere else!!! They are that big a part of our heritage.

  3. I really enjoy traveling through your blog. These cards are fascinating.

  4. Sounds like a great place.

  5. Its you travel to all these places?

  6. I love South African wines, especially their pinotage, a varietal we do not grow here in California. In all my travels, South Africa is one place I was not able to visit.

  7. @Morgan, you're very welcome! :)

    @emm, of course you're unbiased. :) Some of those surnames do look French, but others have been altered to look almost Dutch in origin. There were a good few Huguenots in Canterbury. They still have services in French at the cathedral.

    @Toyin, I think it is!

    @Marie, no, sadly I'm not able to visit all of them, but I can dream. :)

  8. I spent a year in South Africa and visited Stellenbosch. The architecture is wonderful, but seems strangely out of place.

  9. What an incredible building and unlike others I've seen in the area.


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