Antonie Van Angola

The farms in the Jonkershoek Valley called Lanzerac, Old Nectar, and Klein Gustrouw (previously ‘Leef op Hoop’) are successful wine farms today. They were first established in 1683 and passed through several owners’ hands. A reregistration process was instituted in 1692 when Lt Isaq Schrijver registered his farm. However, the initial farms were an all-black pioneering effort. The farms were started by a group of African, Bengali and Sri Lankan manumitted (emancipated) slaves, namely, Antonie Van Angola, Manuel van Angola with Lijsbeth van Angola, and Susanna van Bombasa. There was also a farm owned by Louis van Bengal, and another owned by Marquart van Ceylon and Jan ‘Luij’ van Ceylon. The manumitted slave, Evert van Guinea, relocated from his Table Bay market garden to Stellenbosch. Here he was the first of the early Free Black pioneer farmers. He started another farm project and named it Welgelegen.

Antonie van Angola first named his farm, Angola. He and his neighbouring Free Black farmers enjoyed a decade on their own in the valley, until in 1692 when Lieutenant Isaq Schrijver, settled among them in the Valley. Schrijver is incorrectly recorded as the first pioneering farmer. His farm named Schoongezicht was only established in 1692 almost a full decade after the first farms were established in the area.

D’Zwarte Antonie van Angola is considered a principal pioneer among other significant farmers drawn on a map of the South Western Cape in 1688/90. He and his partner on the farm, Manuel of Angola, were granted almost 58 morgens. Antonie was the harder-working and more consistent of the two farmers. He became very successful. In the 1688 records, he is noted as the owner of horses, 18 cattle, 196 sheep, fields of wheat and rye and 600 vines. By 1692 he had increased his vineyard to 4,000 vines. When he died in 1696, he left a solvent estate. On the farm east of Antonie’s farm, was Leef-op-Hoop, about 29 morgens, farmed by Louis van Bengal who acquired it in 1683. After the deaths of the pioneer Free Black farmers, Schrijver encouraged by his wife Anna Hoeks (widow Hasselaar), bought up these farms and they were attached to his farm. Schoongezicht. It was Antonie’s farm combined with Schoogezicht that was renamed Lanzerac.

Lanzarac got a romanticised French make-over in 1914. Today these farms are among the great wineland’s attractions, but the real history of the farms has been airbrushed out of the story.

Antonie was born in Angola in 1645 and died at the Cape on his farm, Angola, at Jonkershoek in 1696. Pioneering black farmers started many of the best farms across Stellenbosch and the Drakenstein. These farms existed long before the arrival of the French Huguenots.

Source: Camissa Museum    Anthea P Daniels

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