Our History started more than 300 years ago
WELGEMEEND – A FARMHOUSE IN THE CITY
Cape Town today is a vast city, stretching about thirty kilometers either way. But for two centuries it fitted snugly into “Table Valley”, the amphitheater formed by Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak. In fact, there was enough land left, “above” the small city, at the foot of the mountain, for the establishment of a number of small farms. “Gardens”, they were called, but they were well watered and fertile and were highly desirable properties. They have since become engulfed by the Table Valley suburbs: Gardens, Oranjezicht and Tamboerskloof. But several of their old homesteads still survive. Perhaps the best known of them is Leeuwenhof, still doing good service as the official residence of the Premier of the Western Cape. Welgemeend is another of these surviving Table Valley farmsteads. It is also the only one that is generally open for inspection by the public. For it is now in the grounds of the Jan van Riebeeck Hoërskool and houses the Boerneef Collection of South African art, which is discussed elsewhere in this brochure. As a property, it has been there for over three hundred years, from the time it was granted to Andries de Man in 1693, over four “morgen” (about four hectares) in extent. The name that it was given means “well-intentioned”. This could mean that it turned out less of an asset than it was meant to be. But this is unlikely, for the “garden”, though not large, had a natural spring on it (which is still there today) and was to prove an exceedingly successful farmlet.
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