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Published:  2016-03-16 Views:  684
Author:  Fanie
Published in:  Harties Heritage/Erfenis
Schurweberg Plaasskool Gestig Deur Klein Oompie Smit

HOEV: OPNAME VAN BESIENSWAARDIGHEDE  Nr 034

HEHA: SURVEY OF HERITAGE SITES No 034

 

SKURWEBERG PLAASSKOOL

DATUM 1894

SAEA-BESKERMING (60JR): ja

VERKLAAR: nee. GELYS: nee

GPS data:X 27.59.43 Y –25.46.46

SKURWEBRG 488JR.

PAD P 31-1. (R104), oostelike rigting (Pretoria) 1,5km vanaf kruising met R511 is daar ‘n grondpadkruising. Draai regs en onmiddellik links by T-aansluiting.

EIENAAR / KONTAKPERSOON:  S Swart (eienaar)

 

Die Skurwebergskooltjie is op 11 Mei 1894 in een vertrek van die huis van Francois Alwyn Smit (Klein Oompie Smit) gestig. Die huis dateer dus uit die tyd dat die Voortrekkers hulle hier gevestig het. Sy bakoond was nie losstaande soos dit in die dae gebruiklik was nie, maar vas aan die kombuis se buitemuur met sy opening na binne sodat die huisvrou (sy was ‘n lywige tannie!) in reënweer kon bak sonder om nat te word. Die plankvloere en leiklipstoep kan ook as luukshede vir daardie dae beskou word. Die 350 mm dik klip-en-kleimure was normaal. Oorspronklik sou hy waarskynlik ‘n grasdak gehad het wat later deur ‘n sinkdak vervang is.

 

Oompie Smit se vader, ook Francois Alwyn, was ‘n kleurvolle persoon, een van die sterkes en onverskrokkenes van sy tyd. Gebore in 1817 op Cradock, het hy in 1837 die Kaapkolonie verlaat nadat hy aan verskeie grensoorloë teen die Xhosa deelgeneem het. In daardie jare was sy bynaam “Hout-Hotnot” wat ene Hans Prinsloo aan hom gegee het nadat hy verbaas toegekyk het hoe hy eiehandig ‘n swaar houtstomp op ‘n wa gelaai het. ‘n Ander houtstomp het hom twee vingers gekos. Dit het gebeur toe hy op hierdie plaas ‘n groot boom afkap om die kanon, “Grietjie”, wat by die slag van Bloedrivier ‘n rol gespeel het, te herstel. Hy was in daardie jare van die vroeë ZAR die kanonkommandant en aangesien hy die twee staatskanonne in die skuur van sy plaas geberg het, kan ons sê dat sy plaas die eerste militêre hoofkwartier was.

 

 

Drie van die Krupp-kanonne van die ZAR wat President Burghers met die anneksasie van Transvaal aan Theosophilus Shepstone oorhandig het.

Three of the Krupp cannons that President Burghers abandoned to Theosophilus Shepstone at the time of the annexation of the Transvaal.

 

 

Shepstone het die kanonne nuttig aangewend om hoof man Sekoekhoene te beveg. Hierdie skildery wys die gevange Sekoekhoene met Britse troepe wat hom op Kerkplein in Pretoria paradeer.

Shepstone put the cannons to use in the war against Sekukhune. This picture shows p.o.w., Sekukhune, been paraded on Church Square Pretoria by British troops in red uniforms.

In later jare het die seun, “klein oompie Smit”, die plaas geërf en die skool daar in die ou huis ingerig. J Homfeld was die hoof en daar was 12 leerlinge. ‘n Fontein daar naby het water vir die gesin en skoolkinders verskaf. Oompie Smit was baie lief vir kinders en het vir hulle ‘n dammetjie op die werf gebou om te was en hulle skryfleie af te spoel. Dikwels het hy ook aan hulle vrugte en ander lekkernye uitgedeel. Sy graf is in die familiebegraafplaas op die plaas. Dit is min of meer 1 km noord van die huis. Ook op akademiese gebied het dit nie sleg onder mnr Homfeld gegaan nie. Die inspekteur van onderwys van die ZAR berig op 28 September 1894: “Lokaal vrij geschikt…het is te wenschen dat de schoolcommissie en de omwonende ouders den flinken onderwijser met een eenparigen schouder steunen opdat vele kinderen van zijn onderwijs genieten mogen. De leermiddelen zijn voldoende: alleen ontbreekt voor elken standerd een goed stel leesboeken.” Kort hierna is mnr Homfeld egter afgedank omdat hy net Hollands kon praat en nie Afrikaans geleer het nie. Hy het dan na Schietfontein verhuis en daar die hoof geword (070).

 

Met die uitbreek van die Anglo-Boereoorlog is die skool gesluit maar die huis is nie deur die Britte afgebrand nie want hulle het dit volgens oorlewering as ‘n ammunisie-opslagplek en kanonskuiling gebruik. Daar is glo gate vir die kanonlope deur die mure gebreek en een van die vertrekke se plankvloer is verwyder en verbrand. Die huis bestaan vandag nog alhoewel daar aan die agterkant heelwat aangebou is oor die jare. Veral sy stoep met die groot plate van gesaagde lei is besienwaardig. Die nuwe stoepdak se randversierings is nie eg nie en eers in 2007 aangelas. Ry op die R104 oos vanaf die vier-rigtingstop met die R511. Na net minder as een km is daar ‘n kruising. Draai regs op die grondpad en onmiddellik weer links by die T-aansluiting. Na ‘n paar honderd meter is die ou gebou regs sigbaar.

 

Na die Anglo-Boere oorlog is daar nie weer in die huis skoolgegaan nie. Die ouers moes tot 1912 wag voordat daar op die suid-oostelike deel van die plaas naby die Hennopsrivier weer ‘n skool was, hierdie keer op ‘n mnr Steynberg se plaas. Hierdie nuwe skoolgeboutjie was net een losstaande vertrek met nog ‘n losstaande vertrek vir die onderwyser om in te woon. Die

 

Die huis wat Oompie Smit in 1894 vir ‘n skool beskikbaar gestel het staan in 1975 nog alhoewel dit heelwat verandering ondergaan het.

The house that “Oompie Smit” in 1894 made available for a school, outlived the war and was during the 1970’s again a house.

In 2003 word die huis steeds as woonhuis gebruik.

During 2003 the house is still a residence.

 

inspeksieverslag van 12 09 1913 beskryf dit as volg: ”The school premises consist of one room, so small as not to allow the stock cupboard being placed in it. The cupboard is at present kept in the teacher’s living room – an awkward arrangement.” Die toestand duur egter voort want op 10 08 1915 rapporteer inspekteur A Stephen: “The building at present used as a schoool is quite unsuitable for the purpose and is the worst in the district….the teacher’s house is even worse….one room with a flat iron roof and no ceiling. It is divided into a living and sleeping apartment by means of a curtain. There is no water supply.”

 

Hierna het mnr J P Basson hoof geword maar daar het nog niks verander tot op 15 Mei 1924 toe daar ‘n nuwe skool gebou is en hy kon skryf: “Die skoolgebou is splinternuut. Die plaaslike mense het die gebou opgetrek en hulle het eer vir hulle werk. Die skooltjie is baie eenvoudig maar vir die praktyk doelmatig en bruikbaar ingerig. Daar is voldoende lug en lig en die skool kos nog nie eers 100 pond nie.” Ook hierdie geboutjie bestaan nog maar is vervalle.

 

Op 11 04 1930 skryf die inspekteur egter: “Die skoolbesoek het so laag gedaal dat die Dept. nie meer die skool wil ondersteun nie.” Daar was maar 12 leerlinge met mnr C C Combrink as laaste hoof. Die kinders is na Elandsfontein waar Oompie Smit weer ‘n gebou beskikbaar gestel het waarin mnr Anderson die hoof was tot in 1937 toe dit ook gesluit het. Hierdie gebou bestaan ook vandag nog.

 

SKURWEBERG FARM SCHOOL

DATE 1894

SAHRA PROTECTION (60yr): yes

DECLARED MONUMENT: no. LISTED: no

GPS data: X 27.59.43 Y –25.46.46

SKURWEBRG 488JR.

ROAD P 31-1. (R104) 1,5km east from crossing with R511 there is a gravel road crossing. Turn right and at T- junction left.

OWNER / CONTACT PERSON: S Swart (owner)

 

The school at Skurweberg opened on 11 May 1894 with 12 pupils in one of the rooms of the house of a beneficient landowner, Francois Alwyn Smit (“Klein Oompie Smit”). The Smit homestead was fairly luxurious for its time, with wooden floors and a stoep with cut slate floors. An interesting feature was the oven that was attached to the kitchen with direct access from the kitchen enabling the housewife to bake in rainy weather. She was said to have been quite corpulent but very friendly. The norm in those days was to have a freestanding oven in the yard near the kitchen door. The homestead would originally have had a thatched roof, but this was replaced with corrugated iron.

 

Oompie Smit’s father, also Francois Alwyn, was a coulerful personality. Born in 1817 in Cradock, taking part in several border wars against the Xhosa, he eventually left the Cape in 1837 on the Great Trek. During those days his nickname was “Hout-Hotnot” (Wood Hottentot), give to him by a Hans Prinsloo in admiration after watching him loading a heave tree single handed onto an ox wagon. Later on this farm another tree cost him two fingers when he repaired the gun, “Grietjie” which was used by the Voortrekkers against the Zulu at the battle of Blood River. Smit was in those years of the early ZAR the “commander of cannons” and his storeroom on this farm could rightly be called the first military head quarters, housing the two state cannons.

 

Klein Oompie Smit, the son of the cannon commander, Hout-Hotnot, was very fond of children, treating them to fruit and other good things to eat from his farm. He also built for the children a small dam where they could wash and clean their slates they used for writing on in those days. His grave can still be seen on the farm. The principal of this school was J Homfeld who later went to teach at Schietfontein. The school inspector reporting on 27 September 1894 wrote (original in Dutch): “ Building suitable. It is hoped that the school commission and parents will support the diligent teacher wholeheartedly so that as many pupils as possible can benefit from his teaching. Materials are adequate, the only shortage being a good set of readers for each standard.”

Die stoep met sy vloer van groot gesaagde swart leiplate is merkwaardig deftig vir die tyd rondom 1890. Die  groot houtvensters  asook houtplafonne kan moontlik uit die jare rondom 1900 stam, so ook die stoep se dakstutte van hout.

 

The wide stoep with its floor of sawn black slate slabs is remarkably grand for the 1890’s. The large wooden windows and wooden ceiling as well as wooden stoep pillars could well date back to a time before 1900.

 

 

 

The school was closed for the duration of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) but escaped destruction by the British who allegedly used it as an ammunition depot. Holes were knocked in the walls for the barrels of their cannons and some of the wooden floorboards were torn out for firewood. This story may however be a legend, based on the fact that the two Boer cannons were in the storeroom previously. The house is still standing and can be seen by taking the R104 east from the R511 four-way stop. Less than 1 km on is a crossing where you can take the dirt road right and immediately left at the T-junction. The old homestead will be visible on your right, a few hundred metres further. With its recent upgrading, some changes have been done to its original appearance. Note that the brookie lace on the stoep is not in keeping with its original ZAR character.

 

This school was abandoned after the War and it was only in 1912 that a new school was opened, this time on the south eastern portion of a mr. Steynberg’s farm, near the Hennops River. The school building consisted of one freestanding classroom with a second freestanding room providing accommodation for mr. Homfeld from the previous school. The school inspector reported on 12 September 1913: ”The school premises consist of one room, so small as not to allow the stock cupboard being placed in it. The cupboard is at present kept in the teacher’s living room – an awkward arrangement.”

 

Conditions remained unchanged as reported by inspector A Stephen on 10 August 1918: “The building at present used as a schoool is quite unsuitable for the purpose and is the worst in the district….the teacher’s house is even worse….one room with a flat iron roof and no ceiling. It is divided into a living and sleeping apartment by means of a curtain. There is no water supply.” It was a dedicated teacher indeed who could put up with these conditions!

 

Mr J P Basson became principal after this, but it was only on 15 May 1924 that he could announce: (in Afrikaans) “The school building is brand new. The local residents erected the building, all credit to them. It is unpretentious, but equipped practically for schooling. It is light and airy and cost a mere £100..” the school building survives to this day, albeit in a dilapidated state.

 

By April 1930 school attendance had decreased to only 12 pupils and the school inspector reported that (in Afrikaans) “ The Education Department no longer wishes to support it.” Mr Combrinck as principal had to break the news to parents and pupils, who were sent back to Elandsfontein where Oompie Smit once again provided a building to house them. Mr. Anderson was the principal right up to 1937 whereafter the school finally closed its doors.

 

 

Die ou familiebegraafplaas van Skurweberg met die grafte van Klein Oompie Smit, sy vrou en kinders asook van ene Louw wat op die plaas deur die Britte doodgeskiet is, lê nou verlate tussen twee groot nuwe paaie.

 

Thye old family graveyard of the Smit family also contains the grave of a Boer, Louw, who was killed by the British on the farm.

 

Die graf van die weldoener van Skurweberg. 

 

The grave of the benefactor of Skurweberg.

 

 


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