Esterhof Today

Today there is nothing in the town of Riebeek Kasteel that points to the history of Oukloof. Nothing to show that this community was part of the fabric of the town for more than 45 years.

Once all the houses were demolished, the land was cleared and sold off to white buyers. Today in its place stands an established vineyard with no resemblance of its former past.

Many Ouklowers claim that white farmers who owned land in Oukloof received compensation for their properties but no coloured family in Oukloof and especially those who lived in the white area ever received compensation.

In 1997, former residents of Oukloof lodged a claim with the Commission for Restitution of Land Rights for their properties. It was later determined that since the land did not belong to the Oukowers, they could only claim for the houses which they built.
Finally in 2000, a monetary payment was made to 52 claimants who each received a modest R17 500. This payment was further reduced after it was decided that the claimants first had to pay outstanding municipal arrears. Once these arrears had been settled they could obtain the title deeds to their properties in Esterhof. This was a promise that was made to them by the Village Management Board when they moved to the area in 1965, that after paying rent for 10 years they would receive the title deeds.

Very little has changed in the town of Riebeek Kasteel as it stands today. The coloured community of Esterhof is still very much segregated from the rest of the town, in name and location. Not much has been done to close this divide. Coloured residents refer to the railway line as an imaginary apartheid wall that is meant to keep them out.

The heartache and injustice this community feels still runs deep. For many of the elders, talking about Oukloof is a difficult subject. According to them, there has been no apology or acknowledgement for what happened to them.