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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kimberly The McGreggor Museum

Kimberly, what an awesome little 'dorp'! Its one of the most visually historical places that I've been to in SA, with its huge hole, little miners houses and various old buildings...not much modernization has taken place here. In fact, sadly, rubbish was strewn all over the streets from strikes due to poor service delivery.....the latter is evident in the poor state of the once regal, well-kept historical buildings, the sidewalks and roads which have numerous mini 'holes', and the statues have either been neglected or damaged.
Kimberly was originally called Vooruitzicht but the English found the name unpronounceable and awkward. Something which is not well known, is that a chap by the name of John Wodehouse, a 20 year old Oxford University student!, was the Earl of Kimberly...he was still around (if not in that capacity) during the siege of Kimberly.

Kimberly is said to be the most haunted town in SA - they even have a ghost walk!
Not having much time, I could only pop in to one of the numerous old buildings:

This is the McGreggor museum.
If I had had the time, I would have loved to draw it! Instead, I went ghost hunting.
Apparently, there's a nun dong her rounds in the military room, and the sound of a baby crying coming from one of the trunks.

I had the building completely to myself for at least an hour before someone else came in...they had to switch the display lights on for me....and even then, there were certain places into which I couldn't and didn't venture.

I loved this! Leaded, stained-glass windows at the top of the stars at the entrance.

An awesome fireplace n the entrance. It was very dark inside so the photo did not do it justice.

Going upstairs...the atmosphere was filled with movement of past eras and people who's footsteps preceded my own. Loved it!

Its first function...a Sanatorium for the wealthy and their helpers, seeking a little peace and rest! Thank God for progress where peace is sought in nature and openness, meditative sounds and in solitude!!

There is absolutely nothing peaceful or restful about this place.

More befitting the infrastructure and ambiance, it then became a hotel.

During this time, Cecil John Rhodes used the Hotel to secure himself during the Siege of Kimberly. This is the original bedroom where he stayed.

The ubiquitous Mr Rhodes.

Doing a lot of portraiture work myself, I actually loved the painting. The colors are all very subtle but REAL.

It then became a school run by nuns where sports like hockey and swimming was offered. Its obviously from this period where the ghostly nun decided to remain to watch over her charges.

There was a lot of history of Kimberly on display, but what I found so poignant, was the involvement of the women...the hardships they had to endure, trying to raise their children under such difficult and harrowing times.....feeding them, having to worry about their safety on a daily basis, education, all, with little or no emotional or physical support or means. They all just got on with life as best they could.

Modern women do have hardships but these are of a vastly different nature. I can't help feeling sometimes, that somehow, we have become less resilient and able to deal with life's burdens.

Hand on hip, resolute....

There's nothing in this picture which gives me the impression that they were feeling incapable.

The realty is, they were a single body of women ALL going through the same stuff,...hunger, disease, the loss of spouse and children...they were all in communion...all linked by 'same'.
Perhaps that is the difference between then and now...and the secret to coping.

Who says history has no value???

The displays were pretty good. A lot of archeology and anthropology related to the history of Kimberly AND SA.

Taking the time to read a little got me thinking. The local Eastern Cape Bantu groups murdered, raped and pillaged surrounding Koi villages. Land was stolen from them.

White SA farmers are now dealing with 'land claims' from our black communities...but surely, this should apply to ALL cultures...Swazi could claim from Zulu, and Koi from Xhosa??



The display cabinet had some wonderful old books that I would have loved to read

More. Perhaps you can recognize a few of the titles??

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