By: Angela Kewney
There is another place I happen to find a solitude and escape from the hectic pace of life. Just off the picturesque coast of Melkbosch Strand, rises the historically rich site of Blaauwberg Hill. Incredibly, the name given was first recorded two centuries ago. It was dubbed this because of the colour of the hill when seen from the ships approaching the Cape coast. Its historical association derives from a battle which changed the history of our country, as well as other countries – and perhaps even the world.
Blaauwbergstrand was mainly populated by individuals who lived off of the land, known as the “Strandlopers”, or by farmers who either claimed land or were awarded land by the governments at the Cape of Good Hope all those years ago. Also by the Hottentot People – previously proud tribes living off the land and farming goats, sheep and cattle.
In 1806, Melkbosstrand already had its foreshore – albeit only the Damhuis (Dam House). This structure still exists today on the Melkbos beachfront, but without the dam. It is this dam the British troops swarmed to for relief of thirst, when they set foot on this shore in early January 1806. When you walk into the Damhuis, you feel this great sense of serenity. Although slightly modernised, you will find that this incredibly well kept part of our history has been treasured with pristine diligence by the owners. There is an original canon and an anchor from a ship which is on display that stem from the era gone by. After a couple of months following my trips to have coffee and think, this one has been one of my most enlightening. I was honoured to have met a great man. A man that actually had a part of the restoration and preservation of this restaurant. On my journey to regain some sanity, I happened to get a job in this small little town of Melkbosstrand at an attorneys office. The attorney who allowed me to join him and was willing to teach me all about the Deeds Office and let me learn about Conveyancing has been part of much of the towns history, has a real heart of gold.
I started a half day job here catching the bus from Blouberg via MiCity. The days were interesting as we learned all about the history of the area as well as The Dam Huis. The kind-hearted attorney actually found the big anchor and purchased the canon and placed them where they are today. One day I was lucky enough to travel in the City and see the Deeds Office, the original deeds preserved in time from the 1700’s.. still in Dutch.
What I love about coming to this restaurant is the friendly staff and the beach sand under your feet with exceptional food. When you think about it, you will find that a lot of good comes out of bad. When situations get you down and you think that things will never get better, just look around you and you will see other opportunities waiting to be unveiled. I never dreamed I would be sitting in a small part of history and meet such inspiring people that really care about one another. This town has a lot of love and when you walk the streets and see the little stores such as the fishery and the boutique shops and how people chat and appreciate their coffee together, it gives you a sense of belonging and with such simple deeds of kindness and friendliness, makes each day great. I have learned a lot on my journey and am beginning to see the light at the tunnel. I may not have a car, I may not have the cash, but I am surrounded by light in the way the people here are. For that I will forever be grateful.