Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Free State town of Wepener

For me the journey to a destination is just as important as the destination itself.  So many people get on the road and is in such a hurry to get to their end point, that they miss out on a whole lot of attractions and sights along the way.  Along the way I normally do quick detours into the towns I pass if time allows and the first thing I go looking for is the church.  Most small towns originally developed around a church in the early days which means that the chances are good of finding at least a historic church in them.

I was heading towards the Drakensberg through the Eastern Free State on a very gloomy day and although the day was getting on a bit, decided to swing through the town of Wepener close to the Lesotho border for a quick bit.  Wepener was named after Louw Wepener who was the Boer leader in their war with the Basotho people.  He was killed in 1865 while trying to storm Moshoeshoe's stronghold of Thaba Bosiu.  When a town was established in the "conquered territories" in 1867 to prevent the Basotho from resettling the land taken from them during the war, it was decided to name it after Wepener.  The Dutch Reformed parish was established in 1870 which means that the church would also date from about that time.  

The other historic building I found in the town is the old town hall.  In front of the building is a bust of Wepener as well as a number of smaller memorials.  The area around Wepener consist mainly cattle and sheep farms while crops like wheat and maize are grown.

4 comments:

  1. I love how these old towns all LOOK the same! With their sandstone churches at the end of the road! This one reminds me of our trip to Bethlehem ... and Clarens, and Bothaville ... and ...lovely!

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  2. Very interesting. I remember something about it in history. It is such fun visiting these old towns. Thanks for the tour.

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  3. I'd rather enjoy the journey than worry too much about the destination. Yet I don't pull into towns much and you remind me it's a good idea to learn about the history. Thanks for sharing places I didn't see last time.

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  4. Would be interesting to see the inside of the church.

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