Historic information on the greenbelts

Berta van Rooyen, Tokai

I read about the planned walk and runway via the greenbelts between the mountain and the sea on Facebook (“Linking mountain to sea”, Bulletin, November 3).

The following historic information is of the utmost importance:

* The name of the Constantiaberg Mountain was Prinskasteelberg. It was a title of the Prince of Orange, like the several corners of the Castle, and was named most probably by Commissioner Van Goens. In the 1650s when the Keyser River and Orangieskloof got their names.

Keyser River was named as part of the canal system planned by Van Goens who travelled in the Orangie sailing ship and the name obviously was also part of the title of the Prince of Orange.

The name of the cave was never Princess Kasteel but the Prinskasteel Cave. It was a well-known beacon for that time and is used in several title deeds.

The name of the mountain, Prinskasteel, was used in 1883 by the English when they bought the Tokai Estate, which was surrounded by crown land. The surrounding crown land was also called Prinskasteel by the colonial English government.

The Prinskasteel River ran into the Buffelsvlei area, which is today the Ondertuine and part of Soetvlei and Keyser River and was never navigable.

All indications are that the Prinskasteel Cave was not a dwelling place but could provide temporary shelter.

Wentzel is describing the cave with huge trees and bushes at its entrance. Not before archaeological findings can prove the opposite – the cave was not inhabitable.

The chances were higher that a princess would have been killed by predators … the first gunner who explored the area in the early 1650s died of hypothermia and his body was never found.

* The name of the Diepe Vlei was changed to Princess Vlei in commemorating the eldest daughter Princess Victoria, of Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901).

The change of the name happened at the same time or shortly after the queen’s jubilee festivities in Cape Town when several driveways were named after the royal family. Princess Victoria (1840-1901), crown princess, was married to the Kaiser of … a German state (name slipped my mind) and he died shortly after he became kaiser.

She was the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, 1888-1918. (Research not completed).

* The legend was told to Jose Burman. He had no document proof. Neither could it be linked to the version by Bulpin (1970s) referring to Dorha from the Overberg nor D’Almeida, described by Lashbrooke in 2014.

* But there was an abduction. Koree, leader of the Gorachoukwa near Saldanha was abducted by the English in 1613. His fellow prisoner died at sea and Koree was returned to his land of birth on his request. Saldanha area (Velddrift) has a potential navigable river – later called the Berg River … The Berg River is running close-by Kasteelberg where a cave was discovered in 1998, high up in the mountain, complete with artifacts. This cave was the dwelling place of a tribe, and, according to Van Riebeeck’s journals, Koree’s tribe, Gorachoukwa, lived in that area.

There are thus historic facts and places linking the legend to a real incident, but not at Tokai. I know there is going to be a public outcry about this, but it is an alternative of verifiable material in contrast to Jose Burman’s narrative. It is what my research has revealed.