What makes something “lekker”? How does one become “lekker”?
The answer can most definitely be found in Dullstroom on the 1st of April. Find out what makes Dullstroom such a “lekker” place to visit and how it came to be the quaint little town you read about in magazines.
History is all about people, places and events, and the greater Dullstroom area has had its fair share of excitement over the years, as penned by local historian, Marion Moir. Excitement is something that has been produced by this town for over a hundred years – why stop now?
Dullstroom’s history dates back to the early 1880s when Dutch Settlers made their way to the ‘place of eternal mist’. At this time, emigration to South Africa was strongly encouraged by the then President Paul Kruger. In 1883, a Dutch company led by Wolterus Dull was established to strengthen ties between the two countries. The company bought two farms in the area, Groot Suikerboschkop and Elandslaagte, and the first settlers from Holland arrived between 1884 and 1887 and soon established a small village.
It was originally named Dullstroom, after Wolterus Dull and the nearby Crocodile River (‘stroom’ is an Afrikaans word meaning ‘stream’). Dullstroom gained elevated status in 1892 when proclaimed a town by Paul Kruger. It comprised just 48 people, eight houses, three stables, ten cattle kraals and the ‘Boeren Handelsvereniging’ trading store. Just when you thought that Dullstroom sounds dreadfully boring – the Anglo Boer War struck in 1899.
Dullstroom played its part in the Anglo Boer War too (1899 – 1902), with many key battles having been fought in the hills and dales in the area. Stories from this time have endured, grown and been enfolded within its history.
A well-documented battle in July 1901 was notable due to the fact that the Victoria Cross was awarded to the youngest recipient ever – at the tender age of just 18 – to Lieut. W.J. English, from County Cork, Ireland. He showed remarkable bravery by running to get more ammunition across 15 yards of open ground, under heavy fire, at a range of only 20 yards from the enemy. These are the type of stories you usually want in action packed movies – but this is the tale of a real life battle and it happened right there near the charismatic town.
The war ended soon afterwards and the ensuing peace allowed the area to reconstruct itself – and more. Only a decade after the war ended, Dullstroom would begin the fledgling trout industry that would secure its place, first on the angling map, and then on the visitor’s route.
The colourful history sure adds to the little town’s appeal. Come and see for yourself why Dullstroom is definitely not “dull”. Be part of this “lekker” town when they are making history on the 1st of April during the Lekkerland Carnival. It’s going down in the history books as another epic saga – make sure you don’t miss it!