In short, the facts are as follows: The farm Twee Rivieren, described in V.O.C. records as “in de lange Cloof aan d’andere zyde van de Wagenbooms Rivier”, was originally granted as a loan farm to one Jacobus Scheepers on 14 February 1765 (some sources state the 13th), and was duly registered in his name. (p141 ; Die Storie van Langkloof ; 2008 ; Anista van Huyssteen)
A great deal of competent pioneering work followed over the next century, to produce the fully independent rural community which Twee Riviere grew into during the mid- to late 1800’s. It refreshes one’s understanding and perspective to be reminded that even a V.O.C. drostdy like historic Swellendam (400km to the west) is a mere 20 years older than Twee Riviere. By greater contrast still, a town like George would not come into existence until the early 1800’s. And, along this same course of time, not less than 142 years of Twee Riviere’s pioneering history would be fulfilled before the first stirrings of nearby Joubertina eventually appeared on Twee Riviere’s horizon in 1907. Such are the facts…
It is entirely fitting therefore to approach the commemoration of this considerable milestone as a subject which holds relevance solely for Twee Riviere itself. An intimately local matter, therefore – by Twee Riviere, for Twee Riviere and its people. Having said that, residents of long-established The Heights and Kouga areas share of course a similarly historic footing as Twee Riviere, and should consider themselves as equal stakeholders in this matter.
What form will the Week of Dedication take?
What is not being planned, is a “festival programme”. Such an attempt can all too readily ring hollow, or strike one as superimposed. Therefore, no attempts will be made to attract casual visitors – reaching out instead only to those with established links to Twee Riviere. The casual visitor will after all encounter nothing of interest, having no shared heritage – nor finding anything to purchase or attend. Rather, what is intended then is a sincere and warm-hearted Week of Dedication, during which townsfolk (past and present) may communally retrace and celebrate Twee Riviere’s storied past, also rekindling the significance of our being together, and of lives shared.
Written invitations are currently being mailed to addresses countrywide, aiming to reach as many Twee Riviere descendants as can be located, wherever they may currently be. Here is our request therefore: Do you know of any other, perhaps distant persons who traces back to Twee Riviere’s established families – or who owned property that once formed part of the historic farm? If so, could you help us to reach them and to extend to them an invitation to the historic town’s Week of Dedication? Having encouraged them to join us all, please also deliver their contact details to The Belfry Kitchen, so that a letter of invitation may be sent to each person. If anyone would like to view the current, growing list of names, please feel free to peruse it at The Belfry Kitchen. Especially in the case of Twee Riviere’s deeply rooted, long-established families, a rare opportunity hereby beckons to see cherished family bonds renewed and refreshed through a joyful week of reunion and fellowship.
One also wishes to encourage every household in Twee Riviere to host and receive any former townsfolk, or descendants, with liberality and warmest hospitality. Let us set aside our privileges for those few days, being ready to accommodate whomsoever we can during the first week of February. Bear in mind that there may also be a caravanner or two amongst the kinsfolk. Whichever way, let us extend a generous hand to all, on our streets and from home to home. Let Twee Riviere not turn away even a single soul, but let our town host every one of these in a spirit of kinship and belonging, on these cradle grounds from whence they sprang!
The central idea with this reunion gathering is dedication – to one another, communally, and anew to the place in which we find ourselves. Let us seek a togetherness and, along with it, the growing recognition that we short-change ourselves (and each other) if we submit ourselves to idle dreams about “some better place awaiting us elsewhere”… And herein lies the test, one suspects: Do we, as inhabitants of Twee Riviere, reckon that this town is good enough, complete enough for our children? For nearly two centuries Twee Riviere’s inhabitants had evidently thought so – and lived accordingly. The community also flourished as a result. Can this principle operate, still? Looking at the world, one gains the impression that the pendulum has in fact already begun its’ return, also economically, and that the past may very well repeat itself where willingness, soberness and humility revives itself. And if so, it will be to a very joyful result indeed and Twee Riviere may yet see a revival of that vigorous, close-knit community which had once sustained itself over the course of two centuries!
And in this vein, let us be encouraged in thankfulness, taking satisfaction in our neighbours, contentment in our shared home and in our lives – shared lives after all – and already in full flight, and… soon even…. over altogether!
A Week of Dedication therefore. (“ ‘n Week van Toewyding”, vir die Afrikaanse leser.)
Twee Riviere’s Week of Dedication extends from Sunday to Saturday, 1 – 8 February, 2015, and will get under way gently:
The first few evenings will be marked by warmhearted singing & music on the streets at sunset – a serenading of townsfolk from the sidewalks of Twee Riviere. Anyone who can play an instrument, or who wishes to join in song (or to simply come along for the joy of it!) are warmly encouraged to add themselves to this company of street singers. Over the course of that week, family and former townsfolk are expected to arrive in Twee Riviere, steadily swelling the town’s ranks.
2) Friday night, 6 February rings in an Evening of Dedication in Twee Riviere Kerksaal. During this gathering, the presence of relatives and former townsfolk will be celebrated, and there will be opportunity to enjoy – and contribute – to music, song, reminiscences and fond speeches. Let us treasure and honour one another in this, our shared home, Twee Riviere.
3) On Saturday evening, 7 February, a Long Table Communal dinner will be hosted along Twee Riviere’s Main Road, prepared for perhaps 200 diners. Directly after dinner, follows the closing ceremony in the Institute’s campus gardens, with entertainment, speeches and fond goodbyes. (It will be summer’s peak, with a near-full moon set to rise after dinner – one banks on suitable weather…)
4) Sunday morning: Visitors and guests begin their homeward journeys. Almost inevitably, some will have seen each other for the very last time… May we honour this week of togetherness in a spirit of sincerest love.
In closing: Our heartfelt appreciation is hereby expressed towards the many fellow workers whose assistance, equipment, support and encouragement helped us to prepare Twee Riviere’s access road with the humble beginnings of a stately tree lane! Generous help was lent by several members of the Olivier, Schreiber and Ferreira households – also by the enterprises along this road – resulting in this visible expression of communality that will be to the lasting honour of all in Twee Riviere!
With warmest regards,
Persons with questions regarding the Week of Dedication, or wishing to offer their help, are welcome to contact Retha Grundlingh during office hours at Tel 042 2731567, or may choose to approach Reuben Botha at The Belfry Kitchen, Tel 042 2731089. Emails may be directed to email@example.com (More can be found soon at www.tweeriviere.net)
Needs: It is foreseeable that additional tables, chairs and so forth will have to be borrowed from townsfolk for the Long Table dinner event. Everything will be provided free of charge to the guests, and The Belfry Kitchen intends to contribute the lion’s share. Even so, if anyone is able to lend assistance with food provision and/or preparation (side dishes like potato salad, for instance), it will be accepted gratefully!