A copy of a book of coloured membership of a Riebeek Kasteel Dutch Reformed congregation written by Dominee (Ds) Johannes Stephanus Hauman lists members from 1881 until 1907.
The Village Management Board was established in Riebeek Kasteel.
A document found in the VGK Archives refers to the building of a small church.
A wealthy white farmer, George J Euvrard Snr (1865 – 1932), offered to donate a portion of his land to the Dutch Reformed Church for the establishment of a coloured Mission station, in order to separate white and coloured living areas in Riebeek Kasteel.
Discussions are held by Dutch Reformed Church Consistory members around the need for a Mission school for coloured children.
The land (erf 216) is transferred from George Euvrard Snr to the Dutch Reformed Church on condition that it is used for the establishment of a coloured location.
Building regulations for Oukloof (the new location) are established.
“Lameyer is told not to rebuild his house that burnt down…”
In a letter to the Dutch Reformed Church Council, the Village Management Board asks permission to receive the coloured location land (erf 216) as a free gift from the Dutch Reformed Church, with the aim of upgrading the housing conditions and establishing a new housing scheme for the coloured people.
Oukloof is taking shape and growing at a steady pace.
A hand-written letter sent to provincial government from the Village Management Board requests permission to put in place a curfew for coloured people in the town, but the request is denied.
Plans are put in place to collect money to build a mortuary for the Mission Church congregation. This will be managed by Rev. Bloem who is head of the Mission Church at the time.
With no electricity in Riebeek Kasteel in the 1930s, the mortuary would have been built in such a way to keep the room cool inside especially during the valley’s sweltering summers. The bodies were only brought from the hospital to the mortuary a day or two before the burial.
NGK Archives: 2211 GEM-K 1929
A health inspection report conducted by the Department of Public Health gives the first documented glimpse into life in Oukloof.
In a reply to the health report, the Village Management Board states it has applied for a loan for a housing scheme for the location but all funds have been exhausted. There is also a dispute with home owners who have direct access to water in the town and don’t want to share with the Village Management Board in order to improve services.
The Dutch Reformed Church agrees to transfer ownership of Erf 216 [the location] to the Village Management Board on condition that it remains a location and the proposed new housing scheme be built for the coloured people. The Board will also have to pay a third of the outstanding debt to the Church Council.
A letter from the Acting Health Officer again raises the issue of the town’s sanitation, especially with regard to the location.
A meeting is held to discuss the establishment of the Riebeek Kasteel Mission Church congregation for the coloured people as independent from the Riebeek-West congregation.
The Mission Church of Riebeek Kasteel is officially declared as an independent church from the Riebeek West congregation. The announcement took place in front of a large community of church leaders and its congregation.
Growing racial sentiments increase toward coloured people in the town. Mr Joseph Africa who was the first coloured principal appointed to the Mission church school was in need of accommodation. White residents did not approve when Mr Laubscher, a white resident, decided to rent one of his houses in the white area of the town to Mr Africa.
The Dutch Reform church council receives a request from the Mission Church with regard to the growing Old Apostolic congregation in Oukloof, but says while they were sympathetic, they could do nothing about it.
In April 1950, the Group Areas Act is passed by the Apartheid government of South Africa. The act aimed to segregate racial groups, particularly whites from non whites, into different business and residential zones.
Ten years after initial discussions regarding the formal housing scheme for Oukloof, no progress had been made on this front. Instead, the Village Management Board now starts looking at the possibility of moving the coloured community to a completely new location.
In a letter to the Health Department, the Village Management Board notes that two coloured people have died from Tuberculosis (TB). There is no separate facilities in the location for such cases, but they blame the TB cases on the coloured people because they do not work to look after their health.
Electricity comes to Riebeek Kasteel but for the coloured community, it is only the Mission Church and a coloured school teacher’s house that are on the list to receive electricity. Oukloof will remain in the dark.
The Village Management Board starts negotiations with the Advisory Board for Land Ownership to form a separate settlement for the coloured people, with the aim of building a housing scheme in the new coloured extension.
Through the years, Tuberculosis (TB) seems to be of great concern in many of the health reports relating to the location where the coloured community live.
The Village Management Board offers the Dutch Reformed Church the Oukloof land (erf 216) in exchange for vacant land on the other side of the railway line next to the school. This new land will be used for the proposed new coloured settlement.
On the 6th February 1954 the new school for coloured children, known as the NG Kerk Primary School of Riebeek Kasteel, was opened by a prominent member of the white community and the headmaster of the white school, Mr Esterhuysen.
An inspection of the proposed site for the new coloured area does not go off well.
Erf 333, (Die Rug location) receives permission to become a whites only area. At the time, coloured people were still residing on the land. The land is subdivided into 26 erven, approved and registered as extension 1.
In July 1959, Mr Jacobus Johannes Esterhuysen – Principal of the white primary school in Riebeek Kasteel and chair of the Village Management Board (VMB) – proposes that the Dutch Reformed Church donates land as a gift to the board for the establishment of a new coloured settlement.
A series of letters within the Department of Coloured Affairs highlights its strong objection to the Village Management Board’s newly proposed land stating that the following…
A letter from the Department of Coloured Affairs to Mr Esterhuysen, chair of the Village Management Board, sets out the steps to be followed after the proclamation of the new coloured neighbourhood.
A letter by Mr. JJ Esterhuysen, chair of the Village Management Board, asks permission to form an advisory council to improve relations between the white and coloured communities.
On the 23 December 1961, Riebeek Kasteel is declared a white only group area (Procl. 152 of 1961) and outlined in the local Swartland newspaper.
The following health report describe conditions in Oukloof:…
The proposed outlay of the new coloured neighbourhood drawn up by the Department of Housing is sent to the Provincial Administrator for further approval. While provisions have been made out on the map for community and recreational purposes, it was noted as odd that there will only be one entrance into the settlement.
A new map for the coloured housing scheme shows the same as in 1963 except for the removal of the police station and post office.
On the 6 January, the Provincial Administration approved the establishment of the new coloured township (extension 2) on erf 376 on the other side of the railway tracks.
The land on which the new coloured settlement of Esterhof is built, is officially transferred from the Dutch Reformed Church to the Village Management Board. The community has already been established in this area for a year. At the time, the land was valued at R3 500.
A year after moving into Esterhof, the Swartz family is living in a two roomed house with their two children, but following the murder of a relative they were forced to take in four more children.
On 1 August, erf 216 (the Oukloof location) is transferred from the Village Management Board to the Dutch Reformed Church for R250.
The Dutch Reformed Church sells erf 216 (the location) to white farmer Adriaan Johannes Vlok for the sum of R2250.
56 claimants lodged a land claim with the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights in 1997. With the help of the Surplus People’s Project former Oukloof residents were able to gather all the necessary documentation proving they once occupied land in Riebeek Kasteel.