Demeter

This is a dedication to the Past, Present and Future of South Africa, with reference to the fruitful town of Ceres.

May our Country always prosper, may our people always support and celebrate each others� individuality,

May we stand together in times of great celebration and also in times of great sorrow,

Let our leaders always bring the message of hope, peace and compassion and our country always be under the protection of our Mighty God!

AMEN

Ceres, Western Cape, 2012

 

Ceres is am amazingly colourful and inviting town, named after the Roman Goddess of agriculture. Nestled in a valley surrounded by numerous mountains, Ceres� warmth from the locals seems to come through in every area of the little town. In this painting I represented history once again through the old buildings I illustrated, I have people picking fruit in the foreground, orchards in the background, and a lot of scenic beauty (the present). A timid and gentle little girl represents the purity and innocence in our country.

There are 6 re-occurring elements throughout my town and city paintings, important national treasures: the Protea, The Galjoen, the Blue Crane, the Geelhout tree, the Springbuck and Nelson Mandela. Lastly and most importantly, the White Dove appears, representing God watching over our country.

Ceres� History

Ceres was established in 1854 on a part of the belonging to Jan Frederik Munnik, the Senator G. G. Munnik, and was named after the Roman goddess of agriculture, on account of the fertility of the soil. It became a municipality in Situated in the Warm Bokkeveld on the River with its well-wooded banks and surrounded by the Witsenberg, Skurweberg and Hex Ranges and the Gydo Mountain, it is one of the most attractive towns in South Africa.

It can be reached only through the Michell's, Theronsberg and Gydo Passes. The mountains are frequently snow-capped in winter, and hence Ceres is sometimes referred as 'the Switzerland of South Africa'

The town is the centre of an important agricultural and fruit-growing district. It has factories for dried fruit, canned fruit and fruit juices, and a large co-operative cold storage.

The Ceres Cold and Warm Bokkeveld is one of the largest fruit-producing areas in South Africa, growing chiefly apples, pears and other deciduous fruits.

The most destructive earthquake in South African history struck the Ceres area at 22H03 on the 29th of September 1969. Its magnitude was 6.3 on the Richter scale. The shock was felt as far as Durban (1175Km). The earthquake was followed by a number of aftershocks, the most severe of which was on the 14th of April 1970. (5.7 on the Richter scale)

During the earthquake, even well-constructed brick houses were extensively damaged, and many adobe-type buildings were completely destroyed. Nearly all the roads in the area were cracked, pipelines were broken and tombstones fell. Fortunately none of the dams in the area failed, although the earth walls of some were cracked.

Extensive fires ravaged the mountains due to sparks caused by falling rocks and screeslides. The duration of the main shock was 15 seconds.

 

Featured Items in the Painting:

1.         Michell�s Pass

                The pass was named after Col. C Michell, Surveyor- General of the colony for 20 years.

                This great event laid the foundation for agricultural development in the Bokkeveld, and with the  discovery of gold and diamonds, the pass became an important route to the gold and diamond fields. The transport industry started to blossom in Ceres. Goods were brought from Ceres Station (now Wolseley) over the Michell�s Pass.

                 Michell�s Pass passes through the Ceres Nature Reserve and as its impact on nature had to be       limited, the rebuilt pass mainly follows the old route. The roadway was widened from 6 m to 9.8m and the hairpin bends were cut out. Three passing lanes were constructed and the surfaced roadway is bordered with concrete paved side drains and guardrails conforming to modern   standards.

                During construction the pass was closed for traffic for three hours per working day to accommodate blasting. All other construction work took place in full traffic with a minimum of  workspace available.

                The old toll house and parts of Bain�s original stone retaining walls were preserved for posterity so that future generations can acknowledge Bain�s engineering genius.

                They began to rebuild the pass in August 1988, and completed it four years later at a cost R42 million.

 

2.        The Toll House

A toll house was built on the pass, and the following tolls were levied: 3d per wheel of four-wheeled vehicles without remschoens; 2d per wheel of other vehicles; 1d per pack animal; ½d each for sheep, goats or pigs, and 2d each for all other animals.

               

3.        Transport Rider�s Museum

(Represented by the wagon in the foreground.)

 The coming into existence of towns in the interior, such as Graaff-Reinet, Grahams Town, Bathurst, King William�s Town and later Pietermaritzburg, Bloemfontein and Winburg, introduced a new factor � the need of a regular source of supply from the coast. This was the birth of the transport rider. The expansion of the country was demanding more and more from the transport rider who found the ox-wagon, which carried only some 1 800 kg, too small for his requirements. In 1860 a new transport wagon came into production. It was far bigger than the ox-wagon, with side rails and a half tent. The braking system was also changed completely. No longer could the driver rely on the old brake shoe to slow down or stop the huge wagon with its load; instead brake blocks were fitted to the rear wheels operated by means of a screw. This new transport wagon could carry loads up to 4 500kg and was far more versatile than the ox-wagon. The new span of oxen was between 16 and 20 per wagon.

 The Museum showing all this is now a much loved attraction and a wealthy source of information in the area.

 

4.       The Picture Church (Dutch Reformed Church)

This church is an amazing site to see: the enchanting Mosaic makes the church to be the most loved building in the town.

 

5.       The Magistrates Court

 

6.       The Bellmont Hotel

Sadly, the Bellmont Hotel was one of the last remaining buildings that survived the 1969 earthquakes. It was renovated and became a real gem for the town. However, recently  a developer bought the property and demolished the Hotel even after the town protested. Shortly after, the developer went backrupt, and the rubble -remains of the once spectacular Hotel can still be seen from the roadside today...

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