Tuesday, February 20, 2007


The Goedverwacht story of Hendrik Burger's gift
to the Slaves that cared for him.

Just around the corner from Piketberg is a wonderful little 'garden of Eden' village, at the foot of the mountains, with a river running through it. Originally this was a farm by the name of Burgershoek, owned by Hendrik Schalk Burger.

In his old age Burger was cared for by the slaves on his farm after his children abandoned him. These slaves were Maniessa and her five children. Burger, in recognition of Maniesa's kindness left a will leaving his 900 morgen farm to Maniessa and her children with the proviso that the farm will remain Maniesa's property until her death and then remain in her children's hands until the last of these had passed on.
Hendrik Burger's children were greatly upset and petitioned the courts to overturn the bequest, but the courts upheld for the free slaves. Hendrik Schalk Burger's remains lay buried a stone's throw away from Maniessa's grave in the historic burial ground. Both graves are well marked. Maniessa was baptised in 1850 as Christiana Louisa and this is how her gravestone is marked. Now fenced in it also carries this story on a plaque.

Where Burger's children had failed to prize the property away from the slaves, the missionaries who had in 1859 acquired the neighbouring farm Wittewater, in 1888 legally bought the farm from Christiana's descendants. The missionaries came to save the slaves from themselves and established the Goedverwacht Mission Station which was the forerunner of today's village.
Nonetheless in this village today there are many who celebrate the life of Christiana aka Maniessa and have signboarded the directions for those who wish to pay their respects at the grave - South Africans and curious tourists alike.

The grave of Christiana Louisa -Maniessa -

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