Reflecting on the Sarel Marais Homestead



    By the early 1800’s, there were 1000s of Boer husbandmans who had settled on the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony. They became progressively dissatisfied with the British Colonial Government. The Boers were displeased, among other things, with the continual intervention in their personal businesss by the Colonial Government, the on-going foraies on their farms by the Xhosa and the long hold in being granted self-determination ( Britz, 2012 ) .

    This resulted an organized out-migration of 1000s of Afrikaner frontier husbandmans and their laborers from the Crown Colony of the Cape to the northern and north-eastern sectors of southern Africa order to get away the Imperial subjugation and the accordingly colony of the country North of the Vaal River, subsequently to go the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek ( ZAR ) ( Fraser, 1986 ) . Sarel Marais and his household were one the first households who settled in the Transvaal. Sarel bought the western part of the farm Rietvlei where he constructed the household homestead ( Britz, 2012 ) .


    When emigres relocate themselves they have three beginnings for their edifice civilization, viz. tradition, invention and adoption. The Voortrekkers, born on African dirt, trekked from the Eastern Cape, an country with a peculiar edifice civilization, into the backwoods occupied by autochthonal pastoralists with their ain traditions. Although the Trekkers maintained trade links with the South, the terrain was rugged and transport hard. They hence resorted in utilizing locally available stuffs wherever possible. This in bend influenced the techniques of building ( Fisher, et al. , 1998 ) .


    The part of the Rietvlei farm where the Marais’ settled had ample graze, fertile dirt, plentifulness of H2O and an copiousness of game. Sarel constructed the farm house from bricks made from clay that was found locally, on the Bankss of the Bloubosspruit, which is one of basic edifice stuffs Transvaal ( Britz, 2012 ) . The clay was prepared by wetting, kneading, ( where droppings and husk might be added ) and adding limestone. The clay mixture was so moulded and dried to organize clay bricks ( Fisher, et al. , 1998 ) .

    The window gaps were constructed with wooden headers and were ab initio covered with a piece of cheesecloth dipped in lubricating oil to maintain out dust and to give a grade of privateness to the occupant. This was a consequence of the unobtainability of glass as it broke on the journey by waggon inland from the seashore. Shutters were subsequently added when the abode became more lasting. The floor made from clay mixed with cow blood with a thin bed of cow droppings to protect it. Such a floor was besides frequently adorned with Prunus persica cavities that were laid in the wet clay is pressed and polished with aloe juice or wax ( Fisher, et al. , 1998 ) .

    The roof was thatched which so as now was tied in packages with the grass seeds topmost. Once fixed by sewing with rawhide lashs to the laths beneath, the packages would be beaten parallel to the pitch of the roof with a “dekspaan” or thatching spade or jostle. This technique has later became prevailing and is known amongst some black people as “ Boer ” ( or sometimes “Afrikaner ” ) thatching ( Fisher, et al. , 1998 ) . The thatch was supported by yellowwood beams and balks. This was an indicant that the Marais’ were comparatively affluent as the yellow had to be ordered and delivered from Cape Town by waggon.


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    What are of import about these colonies is to retrieve that prior to populating in proper “ homes ” or “ houses ” , the Trekkers lived in ox waggons that truly merely protected their most intimate properties and offered privateness for kiping and none for life indoors. These edifices were stripped of all extravagancy reflecting the innovator settler’s existent demands for shelter and protection ( Meiring, 1985 ) .

    We should non try to construe the common edifice traditions of the seminomadic and first stage innovator colonist from a modem position. Besides that these persons had a vision of a big home or “ house ” and that they pursued this vision every bit shortly as they settled on a piece of land. In many cases it is clear that constructing a “ house ” with many suites functioning all or at least the majority of the demands of the household at one time was non a precedence. Needs were served as they arose, depending on the blessing of the male parent or patriarch of the house ( Fisher, et al. , 1998 ) .


    What can be farther deducted from the above observations is that to the innovator colonists, “ unfastened infinite ” was more of import than “ closed infinite ” . Distance between activities and closed infinites were more of import than constellating and the economic linking of infinites. These spacial constructs lie at the bosom of the early common architecture in rural Transvaal ( Fisher, et al. , 1998 ) .


    In the Transvaal land term of office was to follow the same system of issue as in the Cape. Every original Trekker of 16 old ages of age and older could choose a vacant piece of land and petition that it be surveyed and registered in his name. A fixed quitrent was so paid on every farm ( Fraser, 1986 ) . Prior to 1852 fledglings to the part were entitled to two farms: one either residential or harvest farm and the other a bushveld farm for winter graze. Surveying of farming area besides followed the tested and trusted old Cape system. A horseback drive of halt-an-hour would be taken at a walk from a cardinal point ( normally a perennial H2O beginning where the farmstead would be located ) in each of the four central waies. Such a farm was non to transcend 3000 morgen* although larger farms could buy extra land ( Fisher, et al. , 1998 ) .

    * A South African unit of country ( now archaic in the Nederlands ) , equal to approximately two estates or 0.8 hectare. From the Dutch morgen ( forenoon ) therefore the land which could be ploughed by a span of cattle in a forenoon ( Fisher, et al. , 1998 )


    The homestead’s ruins can be found in the southern portion of Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve.


    Britz, R. , 2012.Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve Assosiation.[ Online ] Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed 14 March 2014 ] .

    Fisher, R. , lupus erythematosus Roux, S. & A ; Mare , E. , 1998.Architecture of the Transvaal.Capital of south africas: UNISA.

    Fraser, M. , 1986.Johannesburg Pioneer Journals 1888-1909.Cape Town: Van Riebeeck Society.

    Giliomee, H. , 2003.The Afrikaners: Biography of a People.Cape Town: Tafleburg Publishers Limited.

    Meiring, H. , 1985.Early Johannesburg ; Its Buildings and its Peoples.Cape Town: Human & A ; Rousseau.

    Montgomery, C. , 2013.Heritage Treasures of the South.[ Online ] Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed 15 March 2014 ] .

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