The cross on top of the koppie

Saartjiesneck lies in the Witwatersberg range, south of the dam and is the main gateway to the Hartebeespoortdam area. This mountain range is a smaller resemblance to the Magaliesberg, with the same general rock formations.

The name “Saartjiesneck” could have one of several origins. One explanation is that it is an Afrikaans distortion of  “Seargent’s neck”, after a Brittish seargent, but this neck was of no real significance during the Anglo Boer War.

Another possible explanation has it that a certain Martiens Jones (The Joneses were residents of Welgegund and pronounced their surname in Afrikaans.), drove his mule driven scotch-cart through the neck when it was still quite impassable for other vehicles. For his scotch-cart with mules it was a shortcut to transport vegetables over the mountain. Other vehicles had to use the pass at the river, which was a considerable detour. Aunt Saartjie Mocke, who lived north of the mountain, for once became impatient and charged this shortcut with her horse-cart. Halfway up the neck, the beam of the cart broke and the old lady decided to walk. Martiens Jones had to go and repair the cart and bring it down again. Since then the neck was named after Saartjie.

In 1955 the Schoemans erected a granite cross on the prominent koppie on the northern slope. Since then the koppie got the name of  “Kruiskoppie on Saartjiesneck”.

UNIQUENESS OF THE KOPPIE

The regular conical shape of the koppie and its location among the mountains, with the dam as backdrop, impressed travellers, artists and photographers for years. Pierneef’s painting from 1925 is a good example. HEHA also uses this landscape in it’s emblem. This is a natural resource without comparison in the NW-Province or South Africa, which was formed two thousand million years ago, that could easily be spoiled by man. Escom as well as the Roads Department recognised this resource and took their developments around the koppie.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MONUMENT

The Cross-monument was erected in 1955 to the memory of Genl. Hendrik Schoeman’s efforts to bring peace between Boer and Brittish people during the Anglo-Boer War. The cross shape also recognises Jesus Christ as Peacemaker. On the plaque, the names of other unrecognised peacemakers are mentioned. This monument to peace and reconciliation is very relevant to South Africa and the rest of the world. The inscription on the plaque reads:

“This symbol of  tragedy and triumph, of victory and defeat is erected to General Hendrik Schoeman by a group of admirers. Cruel is the fate of the prophet and peacemaker. His lonesome road always leads through Gethsemane to Golgotha. Think of Hess, of Petain, of the Crucified. But more tragic is the fate of those who refuse his advice disdainfully. Erected 1955.

Genl. Hendrik Schoeman, and later his son, Johan Schoeman, were the most prolific farmers of the region. Johan founded the towns Meerhof, Schoemansville, Kosmos, Ifafi and Melodie. Johan Schoeman and his wife are buried beneath the koppie. His son, Lincoln Schoeman, looking for a suitable spot to bury his father, stumbled over a cattle-bell. Since his father was very fond of bells, he decided on that place for the grave. Johan Schoeman’s wife, Agnes, a friend of the family, Annie Lottering, as well as children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the Schoeman family are also buried in the graveyard.

2018-04-08T08:42:01+00:00