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South African Stories




Jock of the Bushveld 

Jock of the Bushveld
is a true story by South African author Sir Percy Fitzpatrick.The book tells of Fitzpatrick's travels with his dog, Jock, an English Bull Terrier,during the 1880s, when he worked as a storeman, prospector's assistant, journalist and ox-wagon transport-rider in the Bushveld region of the Transvaal (then the South African Republic).

Not long into his career as a transport rider, one of his companion’s dogs had a litter of puppies. She was a well-respected bull terrier trail dog, though somewhat unattractive, and she had been covered by a pedigree bull terrier. Five of her six pups were the epitome of their breeding.

They were strong, fat and had good colouring. However, one of them was a runt. He was weedy, ill-proportioned and was the victim of constant sibling attack. Since the runt had not been spoken for, Percy slowly came upon the idea of taking him on as his own. Jock was saved by Fitzpatrick from being drowned in a bucket for being the runt of the litter (he would ruin the litter if left with them).However, right at the last moment Percy was offered the pick of the litter.

After a night of contemplation, he decided to stick with the little weakling of the litter. He called him Jock and it seemed as if the puppy knew that FitzPatrick was his master from day one. He even followed him home without any coaching. Jock was very loyal towards Percy, and brave.

This was the start of many a great adventure.The odd little puppy grew into a great and fearless dog. He was well-liked, well-respected and well-behaved.He lived out his life at Percy’s side with unwavering loyalty and his loving memory inspired many a bedtime story to Percy’s three children.

However, it was only when FitzPatrick had made his fortune, settled down to have a family and become an established and well-respected member of society that he took pen to paper at the urging of his children and shared these delightful tales with the rest of the world. ‘Jock of the Bushveld’ was first published in 1907 and it became and instant best seller and a local classic.

Since then it has never been out of print and it has been the subject for at least one great South African movie. There is also a statue dedicated to this most faithful companion and it stands in front of the Barberton Town Hall in Mpumalanga.

Fitzpatrick later recounted these adventures as bedtime stories to his four children.Rudyard Kipling, a good friend of Fitzpatrick, also took part in these story-telling evenings and eventually persuaded him to collect these tales in book form.Illustrations for the book were done by Edmund Caldwell, a brother of Mary Tourtel, creator of Rupert Bear.

The book was first published in 1907 and had an extremely warm reception, being reprinted four times in that year alone. Since then it has achieved the status of a classic South African book and has been also widely read abroad - more than one hundred editions have been printed and it has been translated into Afrikaans, Dutch, French, Xhosa and Zulu, amongst others.

Jock permanently lost his hearing when a kudu cow kicked him.This is attributed as one of the main reasons he died, as he could not hear Tom Barnett when he called him, and was mistakenly shot, because he was thought to be the dog killing chickens on the farm (when Jock had meanwhile already killed the other intruding dog).

Jock of the Bushveld  
Author Percy Fitzpatrick
Illustrator E. Caldwell
Country South Africa
Language Afrikaans, Dutch, English, French, Xhosa, Zulu, and others.
Subject(s) Jock of the Bushveld
Publisher Longmans, Green, and Co
Publication date 1907

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Uniondale is a small town in the Little Karoo in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. The town was formed in 1856 by the joining of two towns, Hopedale and Lyons. Its primary claim to fame is the ghost story of the Uniondale hitcher

The Uniondale Ghost

In stormy weather on Easter weekend of 1968 a young engaged couple had a car accident on the Barandas-Willowmore road around 20 kilometers from the town. The woman, Marie Charlotte Roux, was sleeping in the back seat of their Volkswagen Beetle when her fiancé lost control of the car. The car overturned and she was killed.


The first reported sighting of a ghost matching her description occurred during the Easter weekend of 1976, and since then many other sightings have been reported. All involve a female hitchhiker who is given a lift, then disappears a few kilometers down the road, and some have reported car doors opening and closing, laughter and a chill in the air.

The Uniondale Ghost

The girl and her fiancé was driving on his motorbike on Easter weekend on the road to Uniondale. They made a major accident where she died, the fiancé survived and later married someone else. If, on a dark night during Easter you drive to Uniondale and see a smallish girl hitchiking and you happen to pick her up, usually the smell of appleblossom would accompany her. She would disappear sometime during the drive and only the smell of the flowers would remain. Other times if you become aware of the smell of appleblossoms while driving on that road you should know that the Uniondale Ghost had hitched a ride with you and she wishes to go back to her fiancé

The Flying Dutchman 
Captain Hendrik van der Decken, of Holland, wanted to sail past the Cape of Storms (Cape Town) but apparently the weather was horrid and it was Good Friday or something, he cursed and swore at the weather and made an oath to that he will sail past the Cape even is he has to try until the end of days. Well as long as there is an ocean, the "Flying Dutchman" will sail the seas and try to get past the Cape of Storms. It is said that when another ship approaches the Dutchman and accepts the letters it hands over to post they will suffer a major accident. The ship has been sighted and recorded by King George V and his brother Albert. Thus the sighting of the ship promised a future of impending doom.


JACKAL and Wolf went and hired themselves to a man to be his servants. In the middle of the night Jackal rose and smeared Wolf's tail with some fat, and then ate all the rest of it in the house. In the morning the man missed the fat, and he immediately accused Jackal of having eaten it. "Look at Wolf's tale," said the rogue, "and you will see who is the thief." The man did so, and then thrashed Wolf till he was nearly dead.

The De Deur Ghost

The origins of the story are that a local farmer was very protective of his pretty young daughter and discouraged all suitors. He became suspicious of her activities at night after he had retired to bed. He was positive that she was sneaking out of the house to be with a local lad that often zoomed up and down the dusty road on his noisy motorbike. No matter how closely he watched his daughter he was never able to catch them together. So he decided to set a trap that would teach the young man a lesson, and scare him off for good. He waited for a moonless night, and strung a piece of wire between two trees at about chest height across the driveway of the farm. That evening after the farmer had fallen sound asleep his daughter quietly slipped from her bed and flicked her bedroom light three times. This was the signal to her lover that the coast was clear and he could come and collect her. The young man sped along the road unaware of the danger. As he approached the house the wire caught him across the neck and he was instantly decapitated. Another version of the story claims that the young man did in fact collect the daughter, and that it was on their way back that the wire decapitated them both!

Ghosts in South Africa

For over 300 years, the Cape Town Castle ghost is seen walking along the battlements. It is a tall lanky figure that haunts the castle built in 1665. The ghost of one of the men, who died building an underground tunnel in Johannesburg, haunts the dark passageway to this day. A haunted car is seen racing down the Port Elizabeth Highway causing numerous accidents.

Even to this day, no one can describe what ghosts really are and why they are there. No one knows if they are real or just a work of the imagination. The idea of ghosts has existed throughout the Greek, Shakespearean and Elizabethan times. The Elizabethans believed that the spirits of men who had committed suicide and those people who were murdered mercilessly haunt the world because they can't enter the afterworld. They are condemned and as a punishment, have to wander about in the world forever. In the movie, The Sixth Sense, it has been shown that one of the reasons that ghosts exist is because they have something to impart and some secret to share. Perhaps ghosts exist because they are too possessive about what they have left behind in the world. Maybe ghosts are just a force that connects this world from the other. We may never know for sure. Today, photographs of ghosts are abundantly available on the Internet but it is impossible to tell if they are fake or real. It's easy to create fake ghost photos so we might never know for sure...

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Pretoria"s Ghosts

Pretoria's ghost tours reveal a city haunted by the feared Pangaman, by a little grey man, and a strange newspaper-reading ghost wearing a red jacket. You'll visit what must be one of the most haunted residences in South Africa – and find it belonged to a highly respected statesman.

Pretoria, for all its pretty Jacaranda trees and leafy suburbs, is a city of ghosts. You might not think so by day, as Pretoria goes about its business, but there's talk about children in secret rooms under the stairs, fights to the death in cellars and ghost babies crying in the nursery of an historical house called the Sammy Marks Museum.

Pretoria's ghost tours bring the skeletons out of the capital's cupboard.

There are ghosts of the Pangaman and his terrified teenage victims at the various drive-in theatre sites around the city. One of the haunted places in Pretoria is the former home of General Jan Smuts in Irene, which is said to be haunted by 'a little grey man' – not from the taxman's office, one is assured – and the ghost of a Royal Hussar who committed suicide on the premises.

First prize for 'Pretoria's saddest ghost' has to be awarded to an apparition who makes a bit of a pest of himself in a home in the suburb of Silverton. No one knows who he was in life; he just enters the sitting room in the evening, sits down in a particular chair wearing a red jacket and begins to read a newspaper.

As part of your Pretoria ghost tour, you will hear about the most 'Gump-ish' ghost in Pretoria, an English soldier from the Anglo-Boer War, whose remains were stashed in the Uncollected Goods section of the Pretoria Railway Station, before being moved to Lost Goods. He has been seen wandering about the station late at night ever since.

Your evening of Pretoria ghost stories begins at The Dros restaurant on Atterbury Road, proceeds to the Erasmus Castle ghost house, the railway station, Church Square (another quick pit-stop) and finishes at the Church Street Cemetery.
Johannesburg Ghost 

Johannesburg's ghost tours are particularly fascinating. This is a young city with a vivid and often violent history. The famed poisoner Daisy de Melker still walks the Supreme Court. And dozens of other unfortunates who suffered sudden death haunt mines, old buildings and graveyards.

If you had the time, a Johannesburg ghost tour could last for a couple of days. A lot has happened to the people of this relatively young gold mining city, and in Jozi (as the city is affectionately known) the ghosts don't just walk; they shuffle and dance, in keeping with the electric spirit of Africa's urban powerhouse.

There have been murders in Johannesburg to rival gangland Chicago in its heyday. Murders most foul indeed, and the historic Queen of Gore was the eerie-looking Daisy de Melker, who took to poisoning members of her family with strychnine to claim the insurance money on their deaths. They say she's still running around the Supreme Court building where she was sentenced to die by the rope.

The Mystery takes you to some of the haunted places of Johannesburg, with the guide telling of famous society murders and the 'head in the lake' homicide story which gripped local headlines nearly 40 years ago.

But the first Johannesburg ghost stories came from the miners who arrived here in the late 1880s and began to fight, scrabble and plunder for their share of the rich seam of gold that runs through the area.

Then there are the ghosts of the Anglo-Boer War, in the form of dispossessed women, children and migrant workers. Then the ghosts of the Apartheid-era, mostly from Soweto, who are all remembered in various museums across Gauteng.

And now, in the modern era, have come the ghosts of serial killers and their victims . In fact, a developmental plan was devised in 2002 to establish a chilling tourist route and museum to tell their blood-stained stories. But this history is still a little too fresh to be included in a Johannesburg.


Secrets Of Modjadji The "Immortal" Rain Queen 

During disturbances in the 16th Century a princess of the karanga people in Zimbabwe, fled to the fertile valley of the Molototsi River, east of Duiwelskloof. The princess became the most famous rain-maker in Africa. She called herself Modjadji and withdrew from public view. People began to believe she was immortal and the book "She" by Sir Henry Rider Haggard is based on her. Even the savage warriors, the Swazi's and Zulu's held her in awe. The mystique of Modjadji remains to this day. The capital of the present successor to the original rain queen is situated on a hill slope, below which is a weird forest of trees known as Modjadji cycads. Gifts are still sent to Modjadji as an inducement for her to make rain.

Tales Of The Rip Van Winkle Of Zastron 

Tales about Renier du Wapenaar are part of the folklore of Southern Africa. Renier lived on a farm on the site of what is now the town of Zastron. With his long flowing beard, ragged trousers and peaked cap, he looked like Rip van Winkle. It is said that one day when food was short because of a drought, he fired into a flock of pigeons and killed so many that the overjoyed people of Zastron had to cart them away in six ox-wagons. In the Zastron area is an odd-looking peak named "Vulture Mountain" which has a great big hole beneath its summit. According to Renier he was out hunting one day when he met the devil. The devil eyed his ancient gun and asked what it was. Renier replied that it was a pipe. The devil, being a keen smoker, asked if he could sample Renier's tobacco. Renier warned him that the tobacco was strong, but the devil nevertheless insisted. Renier then loaded his gun with a triple charge of gun powder and a variety of projectiles and give it to the devil. He told the devil to put the one end in his mouth and he lit the fuse. There was an enormous explosion and the devil's head went hurtling through the air and knocked a hole in the mountain. "Damn it!" came the voice of the devil in the distance, "that tobacco of yours is on the rough side!".

The Nation That Committed Suicide

At a pool in the Gxara River, the strange predictions of a 14-year-old girl called Nongquawuse, virtually led her people to commit suicide. One day in 1856, she was sitting at the pool and looked down and thought she saw the faces of her ancestors. She told her people that their ancestors were prepared to return to earth to drive out the Europeans, but first the people had to commit an act of faith which would prove their belief in the spirit world. They would have to kill all their cattle and burn all their crops. Those who refused would be turned into frogs, mice and ants and would be blown into the sea by a mighty whirlwind. For ten months they destroyed their provisions waiting for the day of their salvation that Nongquawuse predicted, 18 February 1957. On that day a blood-red sun would rise, stand still, and then set again in the east. As the great day dawned the people waited in anticipation, but the sun rose and set as normal. About 25 000 people died of starvation. Others survived only with the help of neighboring communities and Europeans. As for Nongquawuse, she would have been killed by her people had she not fled to King William's Town and was kept for a while on Robben Island for her own safety.


Huberta The Wandering Hippo Who Went On A Three-Year Ramble

No-one will ever know what made Huberta leave her muddy home n Zululand, but in November 1928, she started on one of the most dotty animal adventures of all time. For the next three years she wandered over 1600 km through South Africa. She wandered across railway lines, golf courses and gardens and popped up in cities and towns. Her fame spread quickly and soon she had a contingent following her, who thinking she was a he, wanted to capture her as a mate for a lonely female hippo in the Johannesburg Zoo. The public began to love the adventurous hippo and the Natal Parks Board proclaimed her royal game and the zoo men were ordered to leave her alone. Early in March, Huberta's footprints were found on a housing estate, and rumor had it she was looking for a house, but none had a sufficiently large bathroom. After a brief stop at a reservoir in Pinetown, Huberta pulled her most dangerous stunt, she gate crashed a party at the Durban Country Club. In the ensuing confusion, she charged off across the golf course and a policeman found her in the doorway of a chemist's shop in the city. When she reached the Wild Coast, the Pondo people overlooked the fact that she was eating their crops because they thought she was the reincarnation of a legendary diviner. In March 1931 Huberta had reached East London and was spotted sleeping on the main railway line. An engine driver, who failed to wake her with his whistle, edged the train forward and gently nudged her off of the tracks. In April 1931, Huberta's luck finally ran out, three hunters shot her. There was a national outcry and her killers were tracked down. They pleaded ignorance and were fined R 25 each for destroying royal game. The body of Huberta can be seen at the Kaffrarian Museum in King William's Town.

Sara Baartman

The story of Sara Baartman is at first seen as quite a cut-and-dry story, involving the exploitation and restraint over a southern African woman around the turn of the 19th century, showcased around Europe as a specimen of the "lower" forms of human kind at the tip of Africa, and touted as the possible link between humans and other animals by scientists. Her life has been used in many contexts since her death, and has most recently stood in the limelight, upon her return to South Africa from Parisian museums, as a glaring symbol of the colonial oppression associated with the late 18th and 19th centuries.

What Crais and Scully vividly portray, however, is that Sara Baartman's history is anything but a cut-and-dry account. By extensively surveying primary and secondary sources from across the world, Crais and Scully not only explain the life of Sara Baartman, but also take the reader on a side-by-side voyage with Sara as she went from the rural areas of South Africa to the growing colonial outpost of Cape Town, and then all the way to the metropoles of London and Paris. The book drives home the point the interpretive values held within the field of history, as well as the frequent lack of self-power and choice given posthumously to historical figures. By empowering Sara Baartman, and returning her voice to her after centuries of only others speaking on her behalf, Crais and Scully guide the reader through a questioning of otherwise-assumed historical fact and exploration of the different themes underlying a very prominent character in world history.

This book serves as a wonderful insight into the topics of world history, scientific research, and gender studies. The writing style and storyline superbly captures the continued attention and fascination of the reader, and offers a welcomed change to a field typically inundated with dry, solely analytical role. Crais and Scully's book actively energises the life of Sara Baartman and her role in it, and takes the reader on a trip around a world of the not-so-distant past.

The story of Hauntings of South Africa.

South Africa is a beautiful place in which to visit and if you enjoy ghosts, legends and tales of mysterious happenings then you must visit. There are many wonderful legends and ghost stories from various locations throughout South Africa the most popular are:

Cape Town Castle in Cape Town, Mine Quarry in Cape Town, The Old Presidency, TibbieVisserlaan 13, Estoire in Bloemfontein, Avion Park Recreation Centre in Kempton Park, Celia str 1 in Witbank and The Simon's Town Museum, Housed in the old Residency in Simonstown.

Cape Town Caste throughout history is known for its inhuman treatment, torture and death of slaves and so-called traitors. The hole is where many captives were put; there was no form of light filtering into this dark and damp area. After a very long time in total darkness, the captive would be blindfolded and lead out into the sunlight and then made to look directly into the sun, which made them go blind, as the legend goes. From the hole, reports of screams have been heard by visitors.

Mine Quarry is another eerie place in South Africa. Nothing has been seen, but many have heard the abusive voices, the overpowering smell, and intense feeling of fear.

At the Old Presidency, many have had the feeling of being of being watched, but other than that a wonderful place to see.

A visit to TivvieVisserlaan will give you a scare when you see the ghostly image of a woman or even hear or call to you, and if that is not enough you may catch a glimpse of a black man that is not really there, or see windows slam closed by themselves.

A cricket player that died when he was struck by lightening on the playing field can still be seen walking around the area with his CD player or just strolling along through the corridors.

Celia str 1 was the address of a brutal murder. A woman killed her husband and their three children. It is believed she hangs around to make sure no one allows her family’s souls to be set free.

In the Simon’s Town Museum, there is a haunted painting along with ghosts in the punishment cell below ground. The painting will not allow photographs to be taken, if you do in fact get a picture it will not develop. Sounds from below can be heard of moaning and groaning.



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