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Ossewa1938DA brief look into the history of the farm Welvanpas


The very first owner of Welvanpas was a widower, the Huguenot Pierre Mouij. He had fled form St Armant in Calais with his wife and baby at the time of persecutions in France.  They may have had several more children, but all we know is that when he came out to the Cape on the Donkervliet, he was a widower with two young daughters.

Donkervliet entered Table Bay in full sail on a cold July day in 1966.  His daughter Mary was destined to become our “volksmoeder” [founding mother]


The locals called Pierre “Pieter”.  He had to put up a fight for a certain portion of rich level land when his neighbor, Jan Louwrens tried to oust him in order to enlarge his portion.  To cut a long story short, De Krakeelhoek, the name Pierre gave his farm, was formally granted to him in 1705.  De Krakeelhoek means struggle or twist in Dutch, a name he gave probably because of his heated altercation with Jan Louwrens.  The farms name changed later to Welvanpas, which means “well suited”.


Francois Retief was farming on his own on La Paris, when he met the Mouij family.  It is likely to have been at a church gathering.  Not long after they met, did Francois asked for the hand of Marie, the eldest daughter of Pierre Mouij.   They married on 2 May 1700, two weeks before her 15th birthday.  He was 37 years old.  Francois and Marie became the founders of the Retief family in South Africa.  They lived on La Paris in Drakenstein near Wemmershoek. 


It was the third generation Retief, Jacobus who bought back Welvanpas, his great grandfather’s farm in 1780.  He and Deborah, his wife gave birth to Piet Retief, the great Voortrekker leader.  He stayed on Welvanpas until the age of 26. 


The farm is steeped in history as shown by the grandfather clock in the main house, which belonged to Jacobus Retief.


The farm was handed down the family line from consecutive father to son, giving the business a unique consistency.  It’s been in the family for for more than 305 years! 


The history of the farm was recently captured in a book by a family member Helene Lombard, sister of Dan’s father and is called “The chronicles of De Krakeelhoek.” 


She wrote “My need to write down the story of our farm has always been there in the background and some of the notes for this book were written in the diary I kept when I was a teenager.  I imagined my father would always be there to tell me more, but when I was 25 years old , he died unexpectedly and I had missed the opportunity to record countless anecdotes about Welvanpas and its people.  It was until I was in my fifties (around 1983) and my children was leaving home, that I seriously started to collect stories and taped people like my mother, my brother, Oom Kowie Rossouw of Wellington and Oom Jan Bosman of Lelienfontein, who all contributed priceless information.” (Helene)


The chronicles of De Krakeelhoek, is available to the public in cd form.  For more information please contact Dan or Retha Retief.

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