Hanover, Northern Cape
Hanover was named because of the original farm owners ties to that city in Germany
What is the local industry of Hanover?
The town has a population of just over 5000,
of which less than 2000 are eligible to vote.
Although we did see some signs of “decay” there are homes that are well maintained.
Quirky fact #1: When the first plots were sold, prospective residents were instructed to build directly on and parallel to the edge of the road with gardens at the back.
In later years when verandas came into fashion,
these structures were allowed to encroach on the pavement.
For this privilege home-owners paid a special tax of one shilling a year.
They still pay for the privilege, but in 1994 the fee was raised to R10.00
I was told that Hanover can be blustery,
perhaps that is why these trees in front of the church are pruned like this
The church is the centre of town and is truly beautiful.
As Danie Stander says “It is not a church, it is a work of art”.
Danie, who owns Bun Clody Guest House ( with his wife Tossie)
is the local tour guide and raconteur.
He took my daughter and I on a tour of this magnificent building.
With the exception of the stone which was locally sourced
and dressed on site.
Most of the other major elements were imported.
The doors are of imported teak and the hinges and hand made
The main entrance.
Although the church can hold several hundred congregants,
Danie told us that most Sundays they have less than 50 people at service
The roof was imported from the USA.
It is designed in the Gothic style to take the weight of the steeple.
It also has “shock absorbers” incorporated into the design
to allow for the variances between winter and summer temperatures
The main altar is a work of art.
The stained glass windows were imported from Germany
The organ would make “The Phantom of the Opera” happy.
The sound that Danie produced was stunning…
and he admits that he cannot actually play!
The regular organist only plays at services
The green windows…
together with the green walls and metal work
almost made me feel like I was underwater.
The clock mechanism for the bell in the church tower.
Although the stairway leading to this floor is high and steep,
Molly Kleynegeld regularly climbed them.
From 1975-2004 she made certain the clock was on time.
She died in 2008.
Women’s rights champion Olive Schreiner
was said to have written”Story of an African Farm” while living here.
She said of Hanover; “this is the prettiest village I have ever seen”
Zwelinzima Vavi,General Secretary of COSATU was born here.
Some of the details of the town that caught my eye…
A wall alongside one of the side streets
A new lock next to an old brass handle
A slightly dilapidated window from a house in Mark Street.
Today the N 1 route cuts through the veld between the town and its cemetery. But during the last century all roads converged in Hanover and all travellers passed through the town.
It was on an important stop for stage coaches carrying passengers to the Diamond Fields, and the Free State mail was carried through by post cart.
In 1884, the advent of the railway deprived the town of much of its through traffic
and its character slowly changed.
My view of the N1 from the top of Trappieskop
Hanover was declared a magisterial district on 13 November 1876,
and Charles Richard Beere was appointed magistrate.
With the help of prisoners he built an easy-to-climb,stepped foot path that my daughter and I used to access the summit of the hill.
He loved the Karoo and could often be found on the summit watching the sun rise or set.
When he died in 1881, a stone pyramid was erected on its summit to his memory and to honour his contribution to the development of the town and it is still there today.
Visitors get a panoramic view of the town from the top of Trappieskop.
South Africa’s first observatory once stood here,
but can now be found in Sutherland
Almost time to say goodbye to both Hanover and our new family members.
“Baie dankie aan Danie en Tossie Stander vir hul gasvreiheid en lekker kos
Ons sal julle nooit vergeet”.
( “Thank you to Danie and Tossie Stander for your hospitality and great food.
We will never forget you”)
The WONDERFUL Bun Clody Guest House.
15 Mark Street, Hanover.
Phone: (053) 643 0256