DR KENNETH KAUNDA DISTRICT

Ventersdorp

Ventersdorp was founded as a Dutch Reformed parish on the farm Roodepoort in 1866.

Ventersdorp, today, is at the centre of a large agricultural area.The enormous silos, with a two million bag capacity, stand as proof of farming successes.

All sport clubs and facilities are funded by private members.

Location

Ventersdorp is located in the fertile Vaal River Valley. Four roads lead to Ventersdorp. It is 110km from the Witwatersrand or Pretoria on the Tarlton-Ventersdorp road; and 50km from Potchefstroom, 70km from Klerksdorp and 90km from Lichtenburg.

Interactive Map

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Attractions & Historical Sites

Eye of the Schoonspruit River

This is one of many river eyes in the area. It is 6km from Ventersdorp on the road to Koster. The town depends on its water for human consumption. The water level stays constant, even during dry seasons. It was from here that the first mineral water was bottled in South Africa, under the label "Schoonspruit"

Water Mill

The mill is in Roscher Street (off N14 on R30 just south of town). The mill was built on the Schoonspruit River, on a farm the government granted to Mrs de Beer after the death of her first husband. Her next husband, a Welshman named Mr Richard Carew Wilson, built the mill in 1866. It still works today, although it has been electrified and the wheel has long since gone.

Rietspruit Dam Resort

Rietspruit is an angler's paradise. It is 8km from town on the road to Klerksdorp, 10km from Ventersdorp. A variety of water sports may be enjoyed at this resort.

Elandskuil Dam

Ideal for a day out in the sun. Only 3km from Ventersdorp on the road to Klerksdorp.

Klerkskraal Dam

Klerkskraal is fed by the Mooi River - a beautiful spot and not to be missed. It is 22km from Ventersdorp on the road to Krugersdorp.

Swartrand Caves

The caves are on the farm of Willem Boshoff. The roar of water can be heard from deep within.

Tarentaal Hiking Routes

Information obtainable from the Tourism Information Office

The grave with eternal flowers

In the town cemetery is the grave of an Irish soldier, G. Shaw, who fought on the side of the Boers during the South African War. He was court-marshaled by the British authorities and executed by firing squad. Use the entry gate to the left of the old cemetery. The lonely grave is in the shade of a huge tree, next to the fence on the left.

NG Church Hall & NG Church

A red brick building on the main street of the town.

Anglo Boer South African War Memorial

Near the Voortrekker Hall, next to the fire and ambulance services. In memory of Boer soldiers who died during skirmishes, and women and children who died in the concentration camps.

Boer Fort

The fort is on the farm Elandskuil 4km out of town on the road to Klerksdorp. It is on the left side of the road, at the turn-off to the Rietspruit Dam.

Battle of Ventersdorp Memorial

In memory of those who died on August 9, 1994.

History

The Eye of the Schoonspruit attracted people for hundreds of years to this fertile valley and it still is a never-ending source of life for the people of the town, even during the harshest drought.

Some BaTswana groups settled in the Ventersdorp region in the mid 18th century, but fled the area in the early 19th century during an invasion by other groups. Most of them fled to the Free State. They later returned only to find that white farmers had already claimed the land along the Schoonspruit River.

The first white people came to the area in 1840, making it one of the first settlements in the old Transvaal Republic. The first farm in the area was called Sterkstroom ('strong flowing stream'). The town was established on the farm Roodepoort 22, property of Mr JH Venter. It is believed that Venter allocated stands as early as 1860.

With the development of a farming community in the area, more and more people bought property from Venter.

The first NG Church parish was established in 1866, and the first church was built in 1889. This building was later used as the church hall, with the completion of a larger red brick church in 1912, which still stands sentinel over the town.

More people settled in the town after the discovery of diamonds in the area. Gold was also discovered but turned out not to be worth mining.

During the South African Anglo Boer War, most of the men folk joined the Boer commandos. When the British introduced their scorched earth policy, an Irish soldier, G. Shaw, considered the tactic immoral and defected. He stayed with the Engelbrecht family at Ventersdorp. When food ran out he went to a local shop for rations. British soldiers recognised him. After his capture he was tried and executed. He was buried in a far corner of the cemetery, away from both British and Boer soldiers. The site is known as The Grave With Eternal Flowers. The grave is under a tree which stays in bloom for months.

In the 1960's and 1970's, hundreds of blacks in the town and surrounding areas were forcefully removed under apartheid laws. They were relocated to newly declared townships such as Makgokgwane in the former Bophuthatswana.