The 2017 Simon van der Stel Certificate of Merit award winner, Rina Wiid, was recently honoured at a ceremony held at Doornbult farm outside Hopetown. The award is one of three presented annually by the Heritage Association of South Africa (HASA).
Rina and her husband, Lemmer, purchased Doornbult farm in 1994 – not knowing that they had acquired arguably the best-preserved and intact archaeological terrain relating to the South African War. The site is that of a now-demolished British concentration camp for Boer women and children and a graveyard. Many relics, like condensed milk tins and buttons, strewn across the veld provide clear evidence of the existence of the camp, while the mounds of numerous graves speak of lives lived and ended there.
Since 1994, Rina has widely researched and published on the history and archaeology of the site and, together with Lemmer, has taken great care to preserve and promote this rich heritage. Thanks to Rina, there remains, for future generations to see and experience, a well-preserved historical archaeological site which, because of its untouched authenticity, provides an extremely powerful historical experience. Now fairly elderly, Rina still conducts guided tours of the extensive camp and administrative areas.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Dr Judy Maguire expressed HASA’s wish – and support – for the declaration of Doornbult as a National Heritage Site. She called on all parties to work towards this goal.