Historical Paradise awaits in the Riebeek Valley
We, in the Riebeek Valley, have an extraordinary history. Our Arts town, the jewel of the Swartland, has attracted so many historic and unequalled milestones.
This stunningly romantic and friendly village, with miles of olive and vine valleys bathed in sunshine, makes one feel like you could be in the Tuscan hills of Italy.
Behind the scenes
It belongs to us all, and we proudly call ourselves the Riebeek Valley people. We have had our different pathways to this Valley, but our love for it never ceases. I firmly believe that we are all caught by the vantage point of the most exquisite vistas over the Bothmanskloof Pass, and then we never leave, once we learn the secrets of the Riebeek Valley.
The town’s name comes from the combination of Jan van Riebeeck and the Kasteelberg, which is our nearby mountain.
Riebeek Kasteel and our sister town Riebeek West, are two of the oldest towns in South Africa, and was founded around 1661, when Jan van Riebeeck sent a group of explorers on an expedition to discover the inland of South Africa. The group was led by Pieter Cruythoff.
Former South African prime minister, the right-wing Afrikaner nationalist Malan, who was responsible for introducing the policy of apartheid into SA, was born in the Riebeek Valley.
Daniel Francois Malan, bought the well-known Allesverloren estate in 1872, and it is currently owned by the fifth generation Danie Malan, who is the winemaker. To this day, the family owns the land and farm.
Jan Christian Smuts, another former prime minister, was born on a farm in the nearby Riebeek Valley. Smuts however opposed the segregationist policies promoted by the National Party led by Daniel Malan.
A lovely old Cape Dutch House, where Smuts was born in 1870, is situated in the town of Riebeek West. It stands today on a property that is owned by PPC cement, and has been converted into a museum.
Both these men have left a mark in the Riebeek Valley, South Africa, and the world for different reasons.
Examples of visible legacies of the past leave their mark even today in the Riebeek Valley. Two items commemorate the Great Trek in 1938; on the square in Riebeek Kasteel, a cement ox created by local Christoffel Basson. A further example is a cannon, used to indicate the arrival of ships in Table Bay.
The Riebeek Valley’s past is very much key to its future. We need to be aware that like the words of George Orwell, “the most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history”. We cannot discard our heritage, as the future of our Valley lies in the acknowledgment of the events of our past.
An inclusive narrative for the future
In having come of age in our culture and experiences in the Riebeek Valley, the legacy of our future is about shaping an inclusive narrative, which is vital to broadcast to South Africa and the World about the powerful story of the Ouklowers.
One can become part of an Agent of change within our community, an expression in time, to propel a pioneering sanctioned culture, so that the old is not forgotten, but that our future in the Riebeek Valley can embody inclusion, diversity and authenticity.
Come experience our historical valley, the old and the new – and book your stay at Julu Guest House today. Challenge yourself for that great adventure to the gem in the Swartland! Escape into the country, just a mere 80 kilometres away from Cape Town.
The Riebeek Valley locals have a wealth of information to share with you, and you will have fun exploring this magical town, and definitely learn more than you would from any guidebook!
Maybe you will even find out some more history fun facts or urban legends about the town that you didn’t know before. Start your morning right with a breakfast, served with perfectly tailored country-style hospitality.