Aliwal North - The tenth step ... SISA Episode II - CycleBlaze

Aliwal North

We woke up to a cold and rainy morning which didn't make it easy to get going.  We hung around until after half past eight when we decided it wouldn't clear and we resigned ourselves to getting wet. 

Before leaving town we wanted to visit the Dutch Language Monument which depicts a woman pointing her finger at a book in her hands..  It was built in 1893, twelve years after the Afrikaanerbond was established in the town.  The Afrikaanerbond was a political movement set up to oppose British Imperialism in South Africa and promote "Afrikaanerdom".  According to Wikipedia it claimed to:

"represent all those who considered Africa to be their home, rather than Europe.  These so-defined "Afrikanders" were predominantly white farmers of Dutch extraction, though the initial bond was explicitly defined as a non-racial organisation, open to people of all races. Its stated aim was to advance "Afrikander" interests from the Cape to the Limpopo River."

The monument was damaged by anti-Boer forces during the Second Anglo-Boer War by having the head cut off and Lord Milner, the British governer of the Cape Colony, had it removed.  A replacement was erected in 1907 but in 1939 the original was  discovered buried in King Williamstown a few hundred kilometers to the south-east.

The original.
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The replacement with the original in the background.
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Next to the monument is another dedicated to the men from Burgersdorp who took up arms on the side of the Afrikaaner Republics.  Because Burgersdorp was in the Cape Colony it made them subjects of Queen Victoria.  The result was a number of them being executed as traitors on capture by the British because they were not deemed to be prisoners of war.

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We eventually left town about nine o'clock with the rain now falling lightly again.  Thankfully there was no wind and the rain eventually cleared but was replaced by a light and cold headwind.  However the wind wasn't strong enough to dispirit us and it was a very pleasant ride on a good road.  With the light rain and cold wind we wore our jackets and buffs for most of the ride.

The countryside now bears little resemblance to the Karoo through which we traveled for the first two weeks. It is much lumpier and grassy and it has been a nice change.
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These roadside picnic spots are invariably dirty and littered but occasionally we encounter one where we are prepared to risk stopping.
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Aliwal North is a typical agricultural town.  Slightly unraveled and disheveled but somehow having a bit of a spark to it.  As we moved away from the Karoo the towns populations have shifted from being mostly so-called Coloured and Afrikaans speaking to mostly Black and Xhosa speaking and Aliwal North seems to have completed this shift.  We will just spend one night here before crossing into the Free State where the demographics will shift again, this time to being mostly Sotho speaking.

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Today's ride: 58 km (36 miles)
Total: 672 km (417 miles)

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