Farm 811

Happy 2019, here we go!

Here we are,

We had a vivid 2018 and the ship we are sailing has tested the seas. There is so much to do and it is good that way. It was said that man has earn his daily bread with force of his hands and this seems to be true. There is no manna falling from Heaven anymore. Now and then a windfall helps us to sail through the hard times but in essence we got to stand strong and fend for ourselves. And now and then we close our eyes and realize how lucky we are to have our lives in our own hands. It is always worth the struggle. No risk, no gain. I was one out of Billion that made it to the egg to get the chance to be me. Life is a place between a rock and a hard place. Make no mistake here.

The annual Tesselaarsdal Festival


Dear Folks,

Yep on the 1st of December it is time again to party. We dance, we drink and include all of the Sins this world has to offer (including the 18th of September decision).

For coordination contact Riaan from Realnet Caledon

For artist to perform contact Johan Reichert of Tesselaarsdal (and Tickets)

For Stalls and commerce contact Joost Sieger on Farm811

For promotions contact Liezel from Caledon Tourism

If you insecure just email us but have patience.


The Tesselaarsdal Festival Comity.

The Caledon Country Market

The market will be revived. After we had our own small Market here in Tesselaarsdal at the Community Hall Lizel Kimber from Caledon Tourism took it upon her to make things bigger.
She  says:
We are excited to be hosting a brand-new monthly country market at the Caledon Botanical Gardens. The heart behind the market is to bring together local artisans, small & informal business owners, farmers, artists and musicians to showcase the best local bounty available in our region, thereby showing our appreciation for the value that you add to our vibrant community.In true country market fashion, the idea is for the visitor and vendor to meet face to face for a lekker “kuier”.
The Botanical Gardens, which is situated right along the N2 serves as the ideal place to bring together local community, visitors and passers-by. It has stunning views over the town of Caledon and features a labyrinth of walkways that will be sure to enchant all. There is ample space to host a market with easy access to and from the gardens and the market area.
We hereby would like to invite you to join us as a vendor to make this the showcase market in the Overberg.  Please find attached an application form as well as the poster for our first market.

Market dates for 2018 are as follows:

6 October, 27 October, 24 November, 28 – 30 November (Night market), 15 December

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any more information.
Tel: 071 121 4428

Farm 811 today

When the municipality sought the High Court in 1982 to order the colored small farming community to have them condemned to have own Title Deeds to be liable for the taxes they yet did not understand the full consequences of their case. They got their demand granted and Farm811, formally Hartebees got cut up at the cost of the owners. 21 peaces of land went to the surveyor as re-compensation as the owners did not have the money to pay for the services and got sold by him to people who moved in. No plans were implemented for access and infrastructure. Little did they know.

Farm 811














Today owners indulge TWK’s infrastructure on their private most cases without legit contracts to the servitude’s the municipality enjoys.. Access is agreed on in most cases on personal servitude and by handshake The main roads infringe on owners properties. The taxation is a mess. To fix this historic arrogance will cost in hindsight a small fortune for TWK. But we are a community. As one of my friends pointed out quite accurately: “You fit in or you f#$% off”. (If you want to hear it from himself PM me and we set up a meeting)

Well if all this is true we would like you to come and fit in to create a better future. You can come and visit to find out or you can contact one of our local estate agents and jump in at the deep side of the pool and take the unexpected journey I took.

Anyway it is worth it as long as a are persistent.

(Unknown Author) B.Niemand


Tesselaar’s tangled tale!

Johannes Jacobus Tesselaar, the son of a lowly cook’s mate, became the first land baron in the Overberg after Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel. And, although he officially died childless, he probably fathered both a “White” and a “Coloured” family line. He left a progeny and legacy which to this day are being untangled in court and by various researchers.

Teslaarsdal (now Tesselaarsdal), nestled against the northern slopes of the Klein River Mountains, hardly looks like the setting for so much intrigue, but a mystery writer may feel as much at home here as filmmaker Fellini. There is no actual village, simply houses and small farms strung out amongst pastures and trees. Many of the inhabitants are related, whatever the colour of their skin.

Its name was changed from Hartebeesrivier to Teslaarsdal, Farm 811, by the post office to rule out confusion between this and another Hartebeesrivier. In the early 1900’s it got two churches and a primary school. Except for goods brought by itinerant traders, everything else had to be brought from Caledon by horse cart or wagon. Nowadays, there are two small shops.

The story of Teslaarsdal started in 1832 when the farm Hartebees-rivier and movables were left by Aaltje van der Heyde, the widow of Tesselaar, to nine servants and their descendants. Amongst them were Barend and Jan Frederik Bredenkamp, twins, whose parents, according to the baptismal certificate, were Jan Frederik Bredenkamp and Maria (Heysenberg), “bastard unbaptized Hottentottin”, the daughter of Antonie Heysenberg and Helena of the Cape. The other beneficiaries were Joggom Koert, Gert and Jan Gertse and the Heysenbergs, Alida, Christina, Elizabeth and Aletta. To this day, the offspring of these people maintain that they were all the illegitimate children of old Tesselaar himself.

There is almost no written proof of this, only verbal accounts passed on from generation to generation. And then also not so far back; three to four generations at most. There are, however, some other interesting facts to consider.

Tesselaar and his wife Aaltje were witnesses at the baptisms of all these children and later also of the mother, Maria Heysenberg. Tesselaar also changed his testament a couple of times. In 1804 he bequeathed the farm Hartebeesrivier to the Bredenkamp brothers and Heysenberg sisters. Specific mention was made of the fact that the Tesselaar couple was still childless after thirty years. Then in 1809 he added the names of Jan and Gert Gertse and Joggom Koert.

Johannes Jacobus Tesselaar died in 1810. His wife, Aaltje was left with a vast estate, fantastic jewels, 38 servants, 150 horses and many earthly goods. How he came to such riches from nothing remains a mystery. It is known that as a lieutenant in the Cape Cavalry he received the farms Steenboksrivier and Hartebeesrivier as payment from Van der Stel. Hartebeesrivier was a loan farm and he subsequently received another five farms. He was also one of the officials involved in the salvaging of the Nicobar which stranded near Quoin Point in 1783. The wreck was looted by local farmers, and it is on record that several wagonloads of salvaged goods were off-loaded at Tesselaar’s farm.

After Tesselaar’s death his widow continued farming on Steenboksrivier till her death in 1832. She produced wheat and barley and also had 15 000 vines, 38 servants, 148 horses, 10 wagons, 70 cattle, 300 sheep and 100 goats. Old man Tesselaar’s estate then went to his nephew, also Johannes Jacobus Tesselaar, except for Hartebeesrivier which went to the servants. The younger Tesselaar eventually became known in the Overberg as “The Capitalist”. He sold the farm Steenboksrivier to a Scot, Dr James Ross Hutchinson, who renamed it Dunghye Park. Tesselaar, like his uncle, also died childless (in Cape Town in 1869). Some of the descendants of the above mentioned servants are still living at Teslaarsdal.

The Bredenkamp brothers and their children were assimilated into the “White” community and they also legally transferred their shares to their children. The Gertses, Koerts and Heysenbergs became “Coloureds”. Joggom Koert and Alida Heysenberg got married and they had by far the largest family on the farm. From them descended the Julies and Carelse families who still own part of the farm.

Land was informally used, exchanged and transferred between the family members and their descendants. Boundaries were movable and very informal. These arrangements or transferrals were not registered through the proper channels. Things just sort of happened and were left to take their natural course. Many families came to occupy land through marriage – the Groenewalds, Fouries, Tiers, Gardeners and numerous others. In the end relations and living arrangements became very complicated and entangled and hard to explain. They also ran into difficulty when having to pay tax or trying to sell “their land”, which more and more of them wanted to do because at that stage, Coloured farmers did not qualify for state agricultural subsidies and they were struggling financially. There were no official records of deeds of transfer even though some had deeds of sale to the land they purchased. Some acquired their land through superannuation. The fight over who owns what has been going on for many years now.

In 1971 the Overberg Divisional Council, who had collected taxes on these farms, requested the Supreme Court to deal with the matter and to determine legal ownership. It was a sticky case and two years later the court ruled that the Council had no right to make such a case and things would be left to continue as in the past. It would remain a mixed area and those who assumed inherited rights would pay tax. A total of 128 people, 87 Coloured and 41 Whites, claimed rights to the land. The Land Organising Committee was formed in 1982 to settle the rights of ownership and the dispute between the Coloureds and Whites of Hartebeesrivier. Many court cases ensued from this unhappy state of affairs and some are still pending.

By Annalize Mouton 

Peter Clarke se Tesselaarsdal

Die geskiedenis van Tesselaarsdal strek terug na 1810, toe die eiendom aan al die plaasmense bemaak is. Die pas gestigte Tesselaarsdal Aksie-Groep (TAG) wil dié gebeurtenis ná 200 jaar feestelik herdenk om die unieke erfenis van die gemeenskap te herbevestig.
Die gebied, oorspronklik bekend as Hartebeestrivier of Plaas 811, wat nou in 487 erwe verdeel is, dateer van 1663, toe die Nederlandse setlaars deur die Gantouw-pas oor die Hottentots-Holland-berge die Overberg binnegetrek het.
Die gesiene Johannes Jacobus Tesselaar, ’n luitenant in die Kaapse kavallerie, het Hartebeest­rivier in 1781 en Steensboksrivier (nou Dunghye Park) in 1783 op bruikleen van die Kompanjie verkry. Hy het met vee geboer en perde geteel. Veertien manlike en vier vroulike slawe het vir hom gewerk.
Hy was 35 jaar oud toe hy begin boer het en was met Alida (Aaltje) van der Heyde (Heijden) getroud. Hulle was kinderloos. Verskeie testamente is tussen 1775, kort ná hul troue, en 1809, ’n jaar voor Tesselaar se dood, opgestel.
In 1809 het die 61-jarige Tesselaar twee keer sy testament verander waarin hy eers groot bedrae geld aan individue bemaak het, asook die plaas Hartebeestrivier aan die susters Elizabeth, Alida, Aletta en Christina Heizenberg (Hysenberg) en ’n tweeling, Barend en Jan Frederik Bredenkamp.
Volgens die Geslagsregister van Ou Kaapse Families (De Villiers en Pama) was ene Maria Heizenberg van gemengde bloed en die moeder van die buite-egtelike Bredenkamp-tweeling (hul vader was Jan Frederick Bredenkamp). Vandag word algemeen aanvaar dat die vier susters wat in Tesselaar se testament genoem word, sy buite-egtelike kinders by Maria was.
Ses maande later het Tesselaar weer ’n verandering aan sy testament aangebring: Hartebeest­rivier is toe bemaak aan Joggom Koert, Gert Gertse, Jan Gertse, Barend Bredenkamp en Jan Frederik Bredenkamp, asook aan die reeds genoemde vier Heizenberg-susters. Ná hul dood moes dit na hul nageslag gaan. Die 14 slawe is onder die erfgename verdeel.
Tesselaar se weduwee, Aaltje, het die plaas tot haar dood in 1832 bestuur. Luidens haar testament is groot bedrae geld aan individue bemaak, onder wie die werkers. Alle slawe is vrygestel, en diegene onder 15 jaar moes onderwys ontvang. Die res van die grond is aan twee broerskinders van Tesselaar bemaak .
Van die nege erfgename het slegs die Bredenkamps hul toegekende grond wettig vir verdeling aan hul nageslag deurgegee. Die ander het getrou en geboer sonder om grense van grondbesit neer te lê. Joggom Koert en Alida Heizenberg het getrou, en een van hul dogters, Helena, is later met Hendrik Julies van Swellendam getroud. Hul dogter Louisa het in die Carelse-familie ingetrou, wat vandag nog ’n gedeelte van die plaas besit.
Baie families het hulle deur huweliksverbindings as wettige aanspraakmakers op die plaas gevestig. Onder die bekendste families tel Groenewald, Fourie, Tier, Carelse, Stewart, Julies, Gardener, Conradie, Willemse, Abrahams, Swart, Geldenhuys, Matthee, Olwagen, Tobias, Avontuur, Smal, Du Toit, Wyngaard en Nigrini.
In die 20ste eeu is twee kerkgenootskappe op die plaas gevestig: die NG Sendingkerk (vandag die Verenigende Gereformeerde Kerk) en die Anglikaanse Kerk. Daar is ook ’n laerskool gebou.
Soos dit die gebruik was, het die inwoners meestal in hul eie lewensbehoeftes voorsien, terwyl rondreisende smouse die gebied bedien het. Daar is per perdekar na Caledon gereis. Die uitspanning was op Dunghye Park, ’n halfwegstasie. Vakansies is op Hawston en Stanford deurgebring.
In 1930 is ’n poskantoor opgerig, en Hartebeestrivier het Tesselaarsdal geword ten einde verwarring uit te skakel met ’n plaas in dieselfde distrik wat reeds ’n posdepot was. Pos is weekliks met die perdekar na Tesselaarsdal gebring, maar later per motorvoertuig. In die 1960’s is die poskantoor gesluit. Die murasie staan nog daar, en die gemeenskap wil dit nou restoureer sodat dit as museum ingerig kan word.

Peter Clarke, in 1929 in Simonstad gebore , het in 1953, nadat hy as dokwerker in Simonstad bedank het, besluit om heeltyds te skilder. Hy het drie maande lank op Tesselaarsdal gewoon, dit “die plek van my hart” gevind en noukeurig die gemeenskap en sy aktiwiteite in sy kunswerke vergestalt. Ook het hy verskeie kortverhale oor die plek en sy mense geskryf. Dit is onder meer in die literêre tydskrif Contrast en die tydskrif Drum gepubliseer.
In ’n dagboek-aantekening, met die opskrif “Winter shepherding”, vertel Clarke van ’n wintersbesoek en hoe hy met ’n skaapwagter, Dickie Wyngaard, bevriend was. Hulle het onder meer saam land geploeg. Dit is opgeneem is die monografie More than Brothers (Kwela, 2000) oor Clarke en James Matthews. Hein Willemse was die redakteur.
In later jare het Clarke Tesselaarsdal gereeld besoek en ook skrywersvriende saamgebring. Onder hulle tel James Matthews, Richard Rive en Gladys Thomas, asook die fotograaf George Hallett. Rive het ’n kortverhaal,“No Room at Solitaire”, geskryf nadat hy en Clarke die gebied per motorfiets besoek het.
Tesselaarsdal (in die volksmond Teslaarsdal) was ’n ryk bron van inspirasie vir Clarke, wat van sy werk ook in buitelandse tydskrifte laat publiseer het. Van sy kunswerke van die plek was reeds in die 1960’s op internasionale tentoonstellings.

Clarke het Tesselaarsdal onlangs nog besoek. Hoewel hy gevind het dat die plek baie verander het en van die ou geboue nou in puin lê, het hy met dieselfde entoesiasme van weleer vertel hoeveel die plek en die gemeenskap vir hom beteken. Vir hom bly dit ’n plek van die hart.
Hy was reeds vroeg een van die kunstenaars wat deur sy werk teen die onreg van apartheid geprotesteer het.
Maar Tesselaarsdal was anders as die res van die land, want dié gebied, waar wit en bruin reeds 200 jaar vreedsaam naas mekaar gewoon het, was straks die enigste waar die Groepsgebiedewet nie ’n vastrapplek kon kry nie. Clarke het dié wetgewing in 1974 aan die lyf gevoel toe hy gedwing is om uit sy geboorteplek, Simonstad, na Oceanview, waar hy steeds woon, te skuif.
’n Aansoek van 1971 in die Kaapse Hooggeregshof deur die Caledonse afdelingsraad dat eienaarsregte tussen blank en bruin verklaar moes word sodat Hartebeestrivier (Tesselaarsdal) van 2596,0166 morg verdeel kon word, is geweier. Die doel was dat eienaars se akte van eiendom vir belastingdoeleindes opgeneem kon word.
In sy uitspraak het regter Helm van Zijl gesê dat “die ras van persone wat ’n saaklike reg in Tesselaarsdal het, .?.?. geen betrekking” kan hê nie.
“Daar is geen grondslag waarop die Afdelingsraad kan steun om te vra dat hierdie hof die ras van die ‘belanghebbendes’ in Tesselaarsdal moet bepaal nie.”
Die regter het verder gesê die eienaars het die reg om hul eiendom “in onverdeelde aandele te besit”.
In wese en in die praktyk het dit beteken dat die uitspraak die status quo van Tesselaarsdal as gemengde gebied gehandhaaf het. Altesame 128 mense – 87 bruin en 41 wit – het aanspraak op die grondgebied gemaak.

In latere jare is die eienskap van die verdeelde gebied bepaal in ’n proses wat tien jaar geduur het.
Armoede bedreig baie inwoners in ’n sukkelbestaan, en hulle val soms gewetenlose kopers ten prooi wat hul geboortereg opkoop.