History of Riviersonderend

Province: Western Cape
Coordinates:34°09′01″S 19°54′52″E
Area:5.57 km2

This area was populated by many Hessequa Khoi Khoi people in several settlements. When Ensign Isaq Schijver passed this way in 1689 on one of his explorations it was called Tygerhoek (Tigers Corner) the name was retained by the Dutch East India Company’s livestock and forestry posts. because of the insatiable need for timber most of the stinkwood and yellowwood trees were eliminated.

Origin of the name Riviersonderend

In 1673, Willem ten Rhyne visited the Cape. He referred to the river here as “sine fine flumen” (Latin for “endless river”). In 1707, Jan Hatogh, a Dutch East India Company horticulturist, referred to the river as the “Kantdydnn”, probably from the Hessequa “Kamma-kan Kamma”, meaning “water, endless water” or “endless river”.  The perennial Sonderend River is at the foot of the Sonderend mountains. Riviersonderend, or “Rivier Zonder End” as it was known in earlier days, was established in 1923 when Miss Edith S V McIntyre sold the farm Tierhoek for 6000 pounds to the church council of the local Dutch Reformed Church when the congregation was established

. The church clergy wanted to call the area Nuwedorp (New town) but they eventually agreed on Riviersonderend and the layout of streets began in 1925.

Trading with the Khoi people

The area was occupied by Khoi people and the land here was considered impenetrable by the Dutch settlers, however, in 1669 Jan Van Riebeek sent Corporal Hieronymus Cruise and Ensign Oloff Bergh to barter for cattle and to explore the region. The number of settlers at the Cape had increased and the demand for livestock was greater than that which the Khoi people could meet. More livestock farming was needed. By the 1700s the notoriously greedy and corrupt Willem Adriaan Van Der Stel gave VOC members grazing rights but he went on to claim 18 farms in the area for himself. This created an unfair monopoly, the farmers and Hugenots petitioned and he was dismissed in 1707.

Smallpox decimated the indigenous tribes

The outbreak of smallpox introduced by European settlers decimated much of the KhoiKhoi people leaving some farms unattended. This meant less competition for land and more settlers moved in. In 1726 the VOC established posts in the Overberg to supply provisions and health care for explorers and travelers. By the 1780s the abundant and fertile land with its grazing opportunities was beginning to be known and settlers moved in.

The postcode for Riviersonderend is 7250


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Useful Numbers in Riviersonderend

  • Police: 028 261 8040
  • Municipality: 028 261 1360
  • Traffic Department (Caledon): 028 212 2875
  • Fire Services: 028 212 3727
  • Fire Department (Caledon): 028 212 257
  • `Ambulance (Caledon): 028 211 0177 / 10777.
  • Post office;Riviersonderend Post Office-028 261 1203
  • Library: 028 261 1360
  • Closest hospital; Provincial Hospital (Caledon): 028 212 1071.
  • Clinic- 028 261 1784
  • Pharmacy: 028 261 1205
  • SPCA: -RSE Animal Welfare Society-072 604 6001
  • Schools:
  • Riviersonderend Hoer Skool-(028) 261-1066
  • Riviersonderend Primereskool-028 261 1390                                                                       [/vc_column_text]

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