The Oukloof Legacy

“Nobody knows the history of why we were put here. The reason why there is nothing about us in the museum or the tourism centre is because we are nothing in their eyes. We are almost like chaff that covers the wheat grain. When the wind blows, it blows the chaff away leaving the grain behind. Thats how the Ouklowers were blown away. The chaff is gone, and they have the grain.”

– Gertruida Swarts

“We were farming on that piece of land like the farmers are farming now. We could plant anything from fruit trees to vegetable gardens. We had animals. We ate and drank from that land. But here we can do nothing.”

– Anna Matala

“We strongly believed that Oukloof belonged to us coloured people. The land might not have belonged to us but it was our homes. We built them. And then the day when we were removed, it was a bitter situation. None of us thought we would see such a day in our lifetime.”

– Maria Appollis

“Today when I drive down Hermon street as you come into the town, then I look at the area where the vineyards are now and wonder how we could have lived if we had still been staying there today. I take my grandchildren up Kloof street, then we stand there and look out. I show them where we played and where my house was. Those memories will never leave me.”

– Petrus Manuel

Our Vision

Our vision starts with the vision of the Ouklowers – the surviving members of the Oukloof community forcibly removed from their homes in 1965. Their determination to have their story recorded and to break the silence about the history of Oukloof here in Riebeek Kasteel in the Riebeek Valley inspired us in 2018 to help make that a reality.

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Story of Oukloof

Oukloof was a coloured settlement established as a Dutch Reformed Mission Station in 1921 in Riebeek Kasteel when a prominent white farmer George J Euvrard Snr donated a portion of his land for the purpose of building a coloured residential area. This was not an act of philanthropy but rather a move to appease growing racial sentiments from white residents who wanted separate living areas for the coloured people in the valley.

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