THE BOJANALA REGION OF THE NORTH WEST PROVINCE

Kroondal • Historical Treasure

Location

Close to Rustenburg: if you continue on the R27 through Kroondal you will reach Rustenburg, about 7.5 km from this little town of Kroondal.

Interactive Map

Bojanala

History

Kroondal, situated on a farm originally known as Kronendal, was one of 22 German Lutheran mission congregations established in the former Natal and Transvaal.

The farm Kronendal, which was in existence since 1843, was registered in 1858 in the name of Jan Michiel van Helsdingen. A mission was established here, but when the society could no longer afford to provide maintenance for anyone but the missionaries, the lay workers who had worked at the station settled as independent farmers nearby.

The settlement was surveyed and divided into plots in 1889 and a school which acquired a reputation for excellence was founded. Among those of the pupils who were not German-speaking were Louis Botha, who was to become South Africa's first Prime Minister, and the Afrikaans poet Totius, J D du Toit. The largely German-speaking town has a distinctly Teutonic architecture and cultural atmosphere.

Attractions

Lutheran Church
A national monument built in 1896 and restored between 1979 and 1982

The Kroondal Watermill
The mill has been restored and is now a restaurant where one can sip coffee in the company of the original milling equipment

Tobacco and Cotton Research Institute
An interesting tour is offered by this branch of the Department of Agriculture

Once Upon a Time in Kroondal

The Kroondal Watermill

In 1880, a German by the name of Georg Wilhelm Ottermann arrived in Kroondal, seeking a healthier climate. He began to farm wheat, maize and tobacco and in 1889 built a mill on his land. He gave his mill the edge over his competitors in the area by commissioning a Rustenburg carpenter and fellow mill-owner, Mr W Glatthaar, to construct a sifting system of conveyors, reels and elevators, which meant his was the only mill in the area that offered sifted meal. In 1896 the mill was relocated to a position by the Sandspruit, where the water of the Modderspruit could be used to power a wide over-shot wheel, and the steam engine whose services were employed in the original mill were only required when the river was too low to power the wheel.

Sadly, the Boer war interrupted this steady, prosperous progress and Georg Ottermann and his entire family found themselves living in the squalor of the Irene concentration camp. The British soldiers, meanwhile, removed bearings from the mill so that the Boer farmers could not be supplied with meal, and then, just to be quite sure, razed the building to the ground.

In June 1902, Ottermann and his family returned to their ruined farm, and moved undamaged portions of the mill to a miraculously intact barn while they rebuilt their homestead. In 1903, their new mill took shape and prospered once more.

Expansion of agriculture in the area resulted in a further relocation of the mill, to its present site on the Rustenburg-Pretoria road. Georg’s sons began to assist their father in the mill, and in 1928 bought it from their father, forming their partnership, H & B Ottermann.

Along with technology, the family flourished, and sons followed fathers into the business. By 1960, the Ottermann family owned the Rustenburg Produce and Milling Company, as well as the Kroondal mill. Georg's son Bernard retired in 1988, after 70 years in the milling industry.

Since all milling operations were moved to Rustenburg in 1994 the Kroondal Mill has slipped gracefully into retirement. The mill has been restored to what it would have looked like prior to its modernisation, and is now a restaurant where one can sip coffee in the company of the original milling equipment.

Information courtesy of http://www.millsofsa.co.za/

Kroondal Missionary Station • Yesterday and Today

Kroondal, situated on a farm originally known as Kroenendal, was one of 22 German Lutheran mission congregations established in Natal and the Transvaal.

The farm, which was in existence in 1843, was registered in 1858 in the name of Jan Michiel van Helsdingen, formerly of the Hermannesburg Missionary Society. A mission was established here, but when the society could no longer afford to provide maintenance for anyone but the missionaries, the lay workers who had worked at the station settled as independent farmers nearby.

The settlement was surveyed and divided into plots in 1889 and a school which acquired a reputation for excellence was founded. Among those of the pupils who were not German speaking were Louis Botha, who was to become one of South Africa's Prime Minister and the Afrikaans poet Totius, JD du Toit.

Kroondal is a rural congregation with over 400 members. The church is situated in the centre of Kroondal. The Kroondal congregation was founded in 1896 by a small group of German missionaries and farmers. Over the years Kroondal has grown into the vibrant congregation it now is.

Of the 400 congregation members about 80% use German as their home language, with the rest being mainly Afrikaans. Each Sunday at 09:30 the main church service of the week is conducted. Once every second month the service is in Afrikaans. On all other Sundays the service is conducted in German. Other church services and group activities are advertised in our newsletter and also on the notice board at the church.

Some of the groups that are active in the congregation are: Brass band, choir, women support group, bible study, Sunday school, youth group and a senior citizen group. Each year a bazaar is held, which is organized jointly between the school and the congregation. The church supports a library and an old age home in Kroondal.

Kroondal Today

Kroondal is a lovely place to visit today, with a variety of art & craft shops, candle shops, lovely rose gardens and has some of the finest restaurants in and around Rustenburg.