The history of Willemsrivier’s name

Posted on Thu February 25, 2021.

Originally the farm was called “Kliprivier”, named after the river that flows here. But after a violent Khoi group murdered a San woman who looked after the cattle for earlier generations of Kotzé’s, in the fields, the farmer decided to move the farm site to where the current building is today.

Just a bit from where there is a depression in the ground which formed a natural open space in the bushveld (“taaibos” and “kraaibos”), and which was known as “Willem’s river”. From this the farm’s originates.

At dusk on the day of the murder, when it became time to bring the cattle to the enclosure for the night, the San woman and the cattle never showed up. Farmer Kotzé then began to suspect something was off, and saddled his horse and went to investigate. To great dismay he found the body of the woman –  her head was cut off – and his cattle was nowhere to be seen.

He informed the neighbours and a search party was organised. The farmers saw the Khoi group in the area of Van Zyl’s hill. But by then it was already too late in the day and there was a decision made to wait until the following day before they would confront the group.

Early the next day the farmers began to shoot on the Khoi, and in the process one of the farmers was wounded in the leg by an arrow. Finally the farmers got the upper hand. According to accounts all the Khoi were shot dead and the whole cattle herd was found.