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Discover Kenridge: A History, Virtual Tour and Map

discover-kenridge-history-and-a-virtual-tour

There was a forum thread a while back where those of us involved decided it would be a good idea to do virtual tour hubs- basically showing other hubbers, and anybody who passes by, what your neighbourhood is like.

So, this is mine. I decided to do this because there was a lack of info and pictures on the internet about Kenridge, or at least, I didn't find much. I might even do a follow up hub related to this one about the local wildlife and such found in this beautiful area.

I live in a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, just outside Durbanville, called Kenridge. There are two groups of suburbs- the southern suburbs and the northern suburbs. Kenridge is in the northern group.

Just looking at the place, it’s not hard to see that it was once a large farm, called Witteboom farm. Witteboom (pronounced vittabooem) is Dutch for “silver tree”. Evidence of this is easy to find as well- there’s a street in Kenridge called Witboom Rd, which is Afrikaans for “white tree”, quite possibly named after the farm, and there’s also the barn where the farmer of that time would have kept his livestock. Not to mention that there are long green fields throughout this place that, although they are sloped, are mostly flat, and not full of rocks, hills, holes and other deformities. And both Kenridge and Durbanville are surrounded by still-existing farmlands and vineyards anyway, like Altydgedacht.

(Note: If you don’t know what Afrikaans is, it’s a language derived from Dutch and Arabic, and also sounds similar to German. It's alleged to have been invented by Muslim slaves that came to the Cape centuries ago.)

Kenridge is mixed in its demographic, but I’d say that there are mainly white residents, some of which speak English, others Afrikaans, with ethnic groups, Africans, and foreigners being a minority, although more recently we’ve seen a slight increase in their numbers.

I’m not exactly sure when Kenridge was founded, but the date on the original farmhouse reads “1921”, so I’m guessing it was about that time, or perhaps earlier. Durbanville was founded back in 1806, so if the farmhouse date is anything to go by, then “Durbs” was around well over a hundred years before that.

My parents moved here back in the early 1970s along with my two brothers, and my family is therefore one of the longest residing families here, although not the first surely. Some of our neighbours were here before or shortly after they arrived. Of course, there was my uncle and aunt, who moved here - basically just copying my parents. But they’ve gone now, and so have many other people that I’ve known. A lot of the original families have likely gone now too, although my immediate neighbours have stuck around.

The thing about Kenridge is that, although it’s referred to as a suburb of Cape Town, that description doesn’t quite fit the place. Kenridge is often considered a part of Durbanville, a town nearby known for its wine route. Kenridge is in fact between Durbanville and Bellville, another town, known for being central to an airport, a railway, hospitals, and universities. Evidence of my argument is that when we write letters or provide an address for someone, we usually put: “Kenridge (or Kenridge Estate), Durbanville (and sometimes Bellville), Cape Town”. Some parts of Kenridge, including Upper Kenridge, or Kenridge Heights, are considered part of Durbanville, whereas other areas, especially the lower-lying ones, perhaps behind the Kenridge Shopping Complex and beyond, like the Waterkloof residential area near the dam, are considered a part of Bellville.

We locally refer to Kenridge as a “peri-urban” area or neighbourhood. As I understand it, you have urban areas, suburban areas, peri-urban areas (also referred to as urban fringes), and then the countryside. I’ve heard and read it as Kenridge “estate” as well. They often called it this, decades ago, and some of us (including my family) still use it.

Kenridge is an area where you have shops, banks, churches, and practically anything else you need, and there are lots of houses, but you can still see the wildlife- the local flora and fauna that you don’t get in bigger, more urbanized areas that focus on consumerism and expansion (urbanization). But if you want something else other than the necessities, you’ll have to go to another town to get it. Kenridge doesn’t have malls as such. There are a few stores in one location which is called The Kenridge Shopping Complex, which isn’t very large, but where there are cafés, which is what we call a convenience store or 711, a salon, a pharmacy, a real estate agency, some take-away places, a petrol station, a shop which has home-made meals, a vet, and a few ATMS. A few residents of Kenridge have their own businesses, usually optometrists, psychologists and doctors in different fields.

Next to the Shopping Complex you have the local schools. There’s a pre-school, pre-primary, and a primary school, Kenridge Primary School, all situated next to each other, which is quite convenient, and a lot of the local kids walk to school. A high school by the name of Fairmont is just up the road from here, and many of the kids from KPS end up going here to continue their secondary education. KPS is bilingual, with English and Afrikaans children attending, with a minority of children who speak African languages, and Fairmont is predominantly English speaking.

In between the two schools, there are mainly residential areas, as well as plenty of open fields, one of which has a sports club on it, which caters to tennis, and not much else.

I’ve included a slideshow of pictures, complete with captions and a guide detailing more history, with most if not all pictures taken by me over a period of a few months, in the photo capsule here.

Kenridge - Map View

The Tour Guide

I initially planned on having in-depth captions accompanying the pictures above, but it seems as though there is a restrictive word limit, and words seems to disappear, as well as punctuation marks. The pictures even get jumbled up automatically, even if I set them to appear in a certain order. I was going to have them in a specific order, with the captions numbered, but it doesn't look like it'll work. So, I decided that I would basically have the full captions that I'd planned typed here as a companion piece for the slideshow. The pictures have basic captions, and if you want to know more about that picture, you can refer to this text. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but it's just due to the limitations of the hub tools used to build the hub, it seems.

Another word about the pictures: some have been edited, resolutions have been changed, and quality reduced slightly to allow easier uploading - especially in batches. This is also why there aren't any watermarks on them. More pictures may be added later. I imagine this will be one of those hubs that I update fairly often.

Places of interest

Fairmont High School

Fairmont High School was first known as Eversdal English Medium School, and was started in 1977. It was at the end of this first year that it adopted the name it now has. Years ago there was a friendly sort of rivalry with a similarly named school, Fairbairn. Over the years many new buildings and facilities have been added to the property.

Kenridge’s haunted house

I’ve known people who lived here who experienced strange phenomena, and many other friends I knew in the past knew of the stories too. This house has seen so many people come and go over the years.

My parents told me about a story of a family who lived there years ago. The mother committed suicide, and they ended up moving out. While nobody is sure, it’s known by paranormal experts that an event like this may possibly cause a haunting.

I’ve heard of strange occurrences like the plumbing acting up, like taps running in the night and the bathroom flooding and causing leaks to drip water onto the ground floor below.

Back entrance to Fairmont High School

This is the back entrance to Fairmont High School. Before these metal fences were added, there were cheap green wire fences and a rusty old gate, accompanied by a turnstile for those on foot. These were replaced a few years ago.

Witboom Road

Probably named after Witteboom farm, which was what the land Kenridge is built on was called years ago.

Water reservoirs

I often used to come up here with friends and look out over the city. Sometimes we’d sneak under the fence and go on one of the taller ones inside.

The outer reservoir has now been fenced in. We used to go on top of that one often.

The city park

One of the many sections of grassy fields that you'll come across, near the back of Fairmont high. It was made a city park over the last few years and poles were put up around the section to stop people from driving across.

The Kenridge Sports & Social Club

More formally known as The Joe Eveleigh Clubhouse. This has been around since 1953. All they cater for here is tennis outside with the courts and inside they have more barroom type things like darts and pool.

The Olde Barn

There’s quite a lot of history behind this place. It would have kept Witteboom farm’s livestock at one point long ago. Then later in the mid 1950s, 1955 to be exact, it served as the forerunner to Kenridge Primary School. Mrs P. Mashford, the principal, and Mrs. Kierswetter, her assistant taught learners here.

Nowadays it’s often referred to as the Scouts’ Hall, as the cubs and scouts come here twice a week or so. Self-defense classes also take part here. The barn is basically like a small community hall of sorts.

The farmhouse originally existed behind the barn.

The farmhouse

Also called the “oldest house in Kenridge”. You can tell because of the typical Dutch Colonial style architecture presented on part of the roof. The number 1921, I’m guessing, is when it was built, although I’m not sure. I first learned that it was the oldest house in Kenridge while on a school trip around the neighbourhood.

Kenridge Avenue

Named after Kenridge Estate obviously.

Tulbagh Avenue

Named after Ryk Tulbagh, a governor of the Cape Colony.

Van der Stel Avenue

Named after Simon van der Stel, last Commander and first Governor of the Cape Colony.

Van Riebeeck Avenue

Named after Jan van Riebeeck, also locally known as Jan Van, or Oom Jan (Uncle John), a Dutchman who arrived at what was once known as the Cape of Good Hope (now more commonly referred to as Cape Town) back in 1652. He became the colonial administrator and founder of Cape Town.

That is why Cape Town is called the Mother City, and it is the provincial capital of the Western Cape Province. Van Riebeeck is also one of the names of the three houses at Kenridge Primary School, along with Van der Stel and Tulbagh.

De Villiers Avenue

Named after 1st Baron John de Villiers, a lawyer and judge, who served as Attorney-General of the Cape Colony from 1872 to 1874, as Chief Justice of the Cape Colony from 1874 to 1910 and as Chief Justice of South Africa from 1910 to 1914.

Tafelberg Road

Named after Table mountain.

Lötter Fields

These fields were named after Mr. M. Lötter, the former principal of KPS, who served the school in this capacity from 1989-1994. There are two fields, named "Lötter A" and "Lötter B".

The fences and pavilions were put up just within the last year. There used to be a park here as well.

Kenridge Primary School

KPS was established in the 1950s (1956), built by Mr. Störzner and opened by Ds. Klopper of the Parow School Board. It was rebuilt later on in the 1970s. During the fifties it was a preparatory, and later in the 60s, it was upgraded to primary status. There have been renovations over the years recently. You can see the entrance to the foyer beyond the gate, and the principal’s office to the right of that. The current principal, Mrs. Sandy Smith, became principal in 2011 after Mr. G.V. Albrecht, or Greg Albrecht (now retired) had been in the position since 1994. Before that, in reverse order, it was Mr. M. Lötter, Mr. G.F. Van Wyk, Mr. L. Hoorn (acting principal), and the first principal was Mr. F. Swiegelaar.

Kenridge Pre-Primary

The pre-primary was started in 1992. Mrs. D. Riley was the principal. A fourth classroom was added in 1996.

Although the original building is still there behind it, there is a new face-brick one in front, now known as Grade R. Mrs. T. Alexander is the head of this place.

The pre-school

Also called the pixie play school or Pixies.The original building, which looked a lot like a barn, possibly used in conjunction with the Voortrekker Hall, was torn down and a new one put up in its place.

Doordekraal Voortrekker Hall

It was renovated and it’s now utilized by KPS. Voortrekker is Afrikaans and Dutch for pioneer, but literally translated, it means one who moves or "treks" ahead. The Voortrekkers were emigrants who left the Cape Colony during the nineteenth century, which was under British control at the time. Whether they actually used this building, I'm not sure. It is possible, due to the name.

Mashford fields

Named after Mrs. P. Mashford, the principal of the first school in Kenridge, held in the Olde Barn. The field was constructed by Clifford & Harris in 1978.

The Keith O’Kennedy Pool

This was opened back in 1995. Before that it was a tennis court, and this can be seen by looking at the areas above it, which also used to be tennis courts, used by the smaller learners. The pool was named after Mr. K. O'Kennedy, a former vice principal of KPS, and later groundskeeper.

Kenridge Shopping Complex

There’s a pharmacy, a DVD store, take-away places, a Hillside estate agency, salons, stationery store, home-made food shop and café, art shop and gallery, and the local convenience store (we call it a café). Across from this is a fish & chips shop, another grocery store, and a petrol station, with a car showroom in the background. There’s a Chinese restaurant at the back as well.

The NG kerk

There’s an old joke about this place, that people say if you attend this church, all you’ll do is “gee en gee en gee (NG)”, which means give and give and give (to the church). Note that "kerk" is Afrikaans for "church".

Bellville Dam

This is the dam behind the NG Kerk, and is right on the edge of Kenridge, perhaps going a bit into Bellville territory. Beyond this place lies more affluent, upmarket places like Protea Valley and Welgemoed, which come under Bellville. There’s also Vink's Arboretum, and the Magik (sic) Forest, a place frequented by BMXers, hikers as well as bums and drug addicts who camp out there.

Koos Eksteen field

This field was put up within the last couple of years. Before that it was a small nature reserve, which mainly consisted of fynbos plants, like Proteas, South Africa’s national flower.

The Old Apostolic Church

Years ago, when I was younger, my friends and I would come and skateboard down here, but we were chased off several times. In the end, all it took was one peeved parishioner (he certainly swore a lot for a Christian), and next thing that fence was up. Yeah - I did that.

KNI (Kenridge Neighbourhood Initiative)

People who are members have a sign up on their walls or houses. This sign means that the owner is a supporter of the new Kenridge Neighbourhood Initiative, basically a DIY security effort, started by a number of people locally who thought that the crime rate was rising and the protection offered by police and other security companies was dropping.

Over the years, the crime rate has risen since the end of Apartheid and the beginning of democracy. We’ve been burgled numerous times over the years.

© 2009 Anti-Valentine

Comments

Regardt Laubscher on October 18, 2016:

Hi there...thanks for the great post.

Kenridge is the place to be! I grew up there ( from 1987-2014)

where is the hunted house in Kenridge?

Im doing research for a project

thanks!

Regardt

Simon Hall on July 13, 2015:

I attended Kenridge Primary School until end of old Std 4: (left in 1974 to go to Villiers Graaf) - then in 1977 on to Settlers. I remember a chap called Russel Geiger from Settlers. Was he also at Kenridge? I lived in Ridgeworth until 1979. I also remember Jackie Carlson too from Kenridge and a lad called Scott Gordon Hogg - family lived ona a farm nearby (mother was Maxine who ran Cubs in Kenridge in the 70s.) I now live and work at King's College in Cambridge. Any little snippets of information welcome. Fond memories.

Anti-Valentine (author) from My lair on August 19, 2013:

@Tisat: Fixed.

Tisat on August 18, 2013:

Sorry, but the one picture of the astro turf at Fairmont has a caption saying it is the new soccer field, but it is actually an astro field used specifically for hockey.

Anti-Valentine (author) from My lair on May 12, 2012:

Jo, if you happen to be reading this, you left a comment here on this hub which I decided to not allow through, as you left some personal information in it which I thought was a bit unsafe to publish online. Don't ever publish your street address online, please. Thanks.

Anti-Valentine (author) from My lair on January 30, 2011:

Yes, Mark, I did in fact grow up in Kenridge. I still live there.

But none of the names you mentioned really ring a bell seeing as I've only been around since the 80's - about two decades after you. :)

Sorry about that. I might ask around though. Perhaps someone in my family, or a neighbour, knows those names.

Good hearing from you again, though.

Mark Etheridge on January 30, 2011:

Hey there .. went back there the other day and the memories came flooding back .. I presume you grew up in Kenridge as well . . . would you know anyone who went to Kenridge Primary .. I remember names like Brian and Karen Divine (Devine) .. Steve Wyndham (who until recently owned the go-kart track at Access Park here in Kenilworth) .. Christian Burlo, Hilary and Hazel Middleton, Russel and Mark Geiger, Alan Fivaz and if I remember correctly one of my first ever kisses was with a girl called Rowena Collins!! .. I'm sure some of those people must still be around .. if any of those names ring a bell let me know? :-)

Anti-Valentine (author) from My lair on January 15, 2011:

That's wonderful, Mark! It's great to hear or read more about what Kenridge was like back in the day. I actually have some photos or slides somewhere which detail what the place looked like back in the early 70's or so, which belong to my parents, which I should find some time.

The last principal of KPS, Mr. Albrecht, actually retired recently too, as I read in the paper.

The place is still changing. ;)

Mark Etheridge on January 13, 2011:

Hi there .. just found this side while looking for directions to Kenridge Avenue .. because Kenridge as I knew it has changed heaps over the years. I'll take more time to read your site in the next day or so. I moved to Kenridge in the mid-60's and lived opposite the Pat Mashford you mention as being from the primary school. Her husband's name was John if I recall. We lived in Oak Lane and a lot of the roads were gravel ... with lots of cobras and molesnakes .. I remember the old barne very well .. there used to fruit trees with sour apples etc. I also remember the first principal of the school, Mr Swiegelaar and also, not so fondly, remember being dealt six-of-the-best by him for climing on the school tractor. Those were the days when there was still discipline. I'm going back to Kenridge today for an eye appointment and will soak up the memories when I'm there .. nice site .. will rekindle more memories when I'm there .. thanx (Mark Etheridge)

visita virtual on December 16, 2010:

I want to say to author thanks for this beautiful article. i really like in. Kenridge has wonder beauty. and author is right about less info about Kenridge on net.

Anti-Valentine (author) from My lair on April 01, 2010:

Thank you. I'm glad that it's received such a positive reaction.

I was planning on doing a follow-up or two to this article, or adding new pictures to it some time.

febriedethan from Indonesia on March 31, 2010:

I love the pictures and thank you for sharing this :)

Anti-Valentine (author) from My lair on December 17, 2009:

Thanks SXP. There are quite a few South Africans on HP, it turns out.

SXP from South Africa on December 17, 2009:

Great hub. Even me as south african found it very interesting.

Anti-Valentine (author) from My lair on December 12, 2009:

Thanks for the comment Tony. And I'm glad you found it interesting. :)

Tony McGregor from South Africa on December 12, 2009:

Very interesting Hub, thanks. It's a part of Cape Town that I know very little about so this was enlightening.

Love and peace

Tony

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