The city of Kimberley is well renowned for diamonds. Many flock to go see the “the big hole”. I was so excited to be introduced so many of the hiddengems of Kimberley. This place is filled with rich culture and history awaiting to be discovered by even our very own local tourist.
An absolute historical must visit is the Sol Plaatje museum and library. The Sol Plaatje Municipality has been appropriately named after the interlectual, journalist, linguist, politician, translator and writer, Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje. As an activist and politician , he spent much of his life in the struggle for the enfranchisement and liberation of African people.
Set in characteristic pose, the statue of Kimberley’s famous author, linguist, translator and first Secretary General of the African National Congress, Sol Plaatje, can be seen at the Ernest Oppenheimer Gardens off Jan Smuts Boulevard.
The statue was unveiled by President Jacob Zuma on 9th January 2010, during the 98th anniversary of the founding of the ANC. It was sculptured by Johan Moolman. Kimberley has a municipality named after Mr Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje who born in October 1976 on Doornfield farm near Boshof , finished his schooling career top in his class with his std 3 and then became a student teacher at the school in Pniel, where his parents had moved to but then due to their religious work in the ministry left him I the care of his older brother Simon. Sol then moved to Kimberley where he started to work at the Post office where he also self-studies and perfects his language skills and writing abilities. He met Isiah Bud M’belle-a court interpreter (who later became his brother in-law). He married Elizebeth Bud M’belle and then moved to Mafikeng to become a court interpreter. He registered and qualified for the Cape Civil Services examinations (one of very few blacks who qualified) just a day before Mafikeng was besieged. During the besiegement of Mafikeng he starts to write a journal which in turn is the only written experience from a black person from this time during the siege. After the siege plaatje then taps into his journalism, publishing many reports in the Mafikeng mail. He also wrote the Cape Civil Services examination and passes top of the class Dutch and typewriting.
We were taken through the Galeshewe Mural Route, were we visited the famous Abantu Batho hall and we were painted pictures of the struggles back then and the beer making that happened at the hall. The Mayibuye Uprising is now remembered by the sculpture of the clenched first with the raised thumb in Galeshewe.
Galeshewe is one of South Africa’s oldest townships, in fact it is cited to be older than Soweto itself. The history of tour runs from just after the time of the diamond rush. An informal settlement area were blacks from all the country lived while working at the diamond diggings. Galeshewe is the first black township in South Africa to have a fully-fledged town council. On 1 December 1983, the then Minister of Co-operation and Development, Dr Piet Kooornhof officially inaugurated the Town council of Galeshewe with Mr T W Nyati as the Mayor who was assisted by 11 councillors, a legal advisor- Ms Poppy Madibane, Mr Gorden Taku the personnel training officer. Some revenue was obtained through an annual grant by the Northern Cape Development Board from the sorgum beer fund.
Galeshewe is named after Chief Galeshewe who was the son of Bothlasitse and a grandson of the Thlaping people. When his father died in Phokwane in 1890, he then became Chief. In 1897 he was the leader of the Phokwane uprising fighting against colonial interference. He died in 1927 and is buried near the ruins of his house in the Magogong region.
The building used by Robert Sobukwe is also situated on the pricent. On 13 May , Robert Mangaliso, the leader of Pan African Congress whose three year imprisonment was extended to nine years under the controversial “Sobukwe Clause” was released from prison on the island but sent to Kimberley to live in a restricted zone. H Z M Nzimande, a local lawyer proposed that Sobukwe serve articles at his law office to qualify as a lawyer. On 13 June 1975 Sobukwe was admitted as a solicitor. He ran a one-man practice form this office.
The cases handled by Sobukwe tell a story of his own, fighting the forced removal of a tribe from its traditional living grounds in the district, opposing the rent rises in Galeshewe, the inquest into the death of Phakamile Mabija who was said to have fallen off the 7th floor of the security service headquarters. Sobukwe died from lung cancer at the Kimberley hospital on 27 February 1978- recently renamed the Robert Sobukwe hospital.
During the Galeshewe tour we were hosted by the tanlented Amandla Dance Teatro, an Arts Education Organization formed in Germany by a Brazilian (Guilherme Duarte) and South African residing in Kimberley. The organization exists in Kimberley through the leadership of Monwabisi ka Jobela and Mkhululi Mabija. Amandla Danca Teatro has over 90 students ranging from ages 6 to 30 years and have won the Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award in the Golden Shield Heritage Award.
Contact 076 838 1587 for more information. Social media: Amandla Danca Teatro ZA
The lounge is a black owned entity, ran by Booker T, a local DJ who has been in the industry for over 20 years. Booker T’s lounge offers a relaxing environment and a welcoming team of waiters ready to serve. The lounge has a Mogodu Monday special, the meal is prepared outside on a fire with the famous 3-been-pot by the owner himself and served with a choice of pap, dombie or samp. Booker T’s is situated right behind the Mayibuye art centre and a relaxing area for sundowners. The lounge hosts an array of events from baby showers, birthday sittings/parties, music events, graduation celebrations and a number of celebrations as well.
Booker T’s contact details Numbers: 062 665 1168 /065 851 5536, Social media: facebook – Booker. T Lounge Kimberley
We stayed over at Wag-n’-Bietjie Lodge and the hospitality was wonderful. This is the perfect place to stay at for an African experience. You can have an option of staying at the lodge or in their stylish fully fitted tented campsites. They can also arrange a visit at the wildlife animal rescue sanctuary.
Contact 073 430 9699 for bookings or more information.
KDBC – The Kimberley Diamond brewing Company was established in 2015 and after 2 years of experimenting they managed to perfect the beer. The well known Ritchie Red label was named after a town the KDBC is located in. in 2016 KDBC purchased “Die Wilgers” and existing bar and officially changed the name to KDBC Pub & Grub in 2017. The food is divine and they offer beer pairings as well.
Contant 066 212 7090 for more information.
Butsumi Luxury Guesthouse in Galeshewe is an affluent Hotel visited by many. The accommodation is cosy and hospitality is on point. The restaurant is big enough to be used for events with live entertainment. The food is done tastefully. Buffets can be arranged for events.
Contact 087 310 5230 for more information.
Plantontein Lodge has a conference centre tailor made for your specific requirements. A precious gem hidden on a farm, owned by the Bushman Community, 10 kilometers outside Kimberley lays this beautiful accommodation. Clarissa Carsten Specialize Services is appointed as the facility operator for the l. This lodge is suitable for events as they can accommodate many guests with it’s 12 bedrooms and professionally set up any event with special requirements for eating arrangements in the dining area. They can arrange live Bushman entertainment from the Community as well.
Wildebeest Kuil rock Art Centre & Djao Craft Shop also on the land of the bushman community homes the rich South African Bushman Heritage in the form of rock art and engravings in the mountain area. On arrival we were welcomed and escorted to a room where we watched a short movie about the Bushman life and community. Then we ventured off into the mountains to find the rock art. What an insightful excursion. If ever you are in the area please make a point to pop in and learn first hand of the bushman culture.
For more information on any of the above mentioned or for any tour bookings please contact Samantha Alfonse on 076 116 6121 or on e-mail at email@example.com