What’s in a name?

Berta van Rooyen, Tokai

In response to (“Pines and sadness,” Bulletin March 9), and the name Dennedal as opposed to Dennendal. There is not a separate name for the remaining plantation.

The remaining plantation, so called Denne(n)dal Plantation, alias Tokai “forest”, is confusing. It is a commercial plantation, the last remaining compartments of what was once Tokai Plantation (1883/4 to 2005).

Tokai Nursery and Forest Station was established in September 1883. The first plantations were planted in 1884 on the mountain slopes above the Manor House. Since the late 1890’s official reports used the name Tokai Plantation, which became the official name. This is in line with the 2003 map of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR).

The 2006 Baseline Report states that the name Tokai Forest Station is the historic name.

The name used by Map Studio (1994/95), the Tokai Forest Reserve, is an older version and in contrast to the official name. The plantation became Tokai Park in 2005. The Tokai/ Cecilia Framework Management Plan refers to Tokai and or Cecilia plantations, suggesting that Tokai Plantation (as a place name) no longer exist, which is correct.

The “Flats”, which refers to the Cape Flats-like plain below the estate, was planted in 1886, but failed miserably. The “cover” of fynbos was so “heavy”, according to J S Lister, the conservator of the western conservation area, that the bush had to be burnt. Nursing trees (wattles) were planted and it took four years before the Flats plantations in the sand got established.

To distinguish the different areas, Tokai Plantation was divided into three sections in circa 1912. The Flats plantations became Section A, Section B was on the Constantia Mountain slopes and Section C was Vlakkenberg plantations (planted since 1912).

Every section was subdivided into compartments with numbers. The remaining pine compartments in Section A are A19wc, A19ce, part of A19b, A19a, A20, A21b, A21b and A21a.

For land surveyor purposes it forms part of Farm 1464, which was never private land, it was part of a declared wood (fynbos) reserve by the Dutch East Indian Company (DEIC) then became Crown Land and eventually plantations. It is now a buffer zone to the Table Mountain World Heritage Site. The DEIC name was Baas Harmenskraal.

Boshek was at the north east corner near the horse-crossing via the Palmiet Vlei but there was no historic name attached to the compartments in the south-east corner, now suddenly called Dennendal.

The Ondertuine refers to the gardens in the Prinskasteel Riverbed. It was the vineyards of the Eksteens. The Ondertuine area was never under plantations.

The “river” running through the fynbos is a man-made canal and was called the Prinskasteel Canal.

The suburb Dennendal comprises the area opposite the remaining plantation which was a farm and got its name from the plantations.

The original farmhouse was called Dennendael. Dennendal farm was a subdivision of Kleinbergvliet Farm, issued in 1814 to Carr. According to the 2003 Department of Rural Development and Land Reform map the Dennendal suburb does not fall under Tokai. The river is the Kleinbergvliet. The Dennendal farm was subdivided into 92 plots on 14ha in 1969. The name of the Dennendal suburb was given by the Oak Trust, according to H Mauve in Under the Elephants Eye, A History of Tokai.

* Other sources: Thesis and several archival resources; Map 3418, sheet AD, Cape Peninsula, 7th edition of 2000; Office of the Land Surveyor General, map section, Mowbray; and Map Studio Street Guide 7th edition 1994/95, page 77.