Jerry van Graan was a scholar when his father told him of an old man he had met on his travels beyond the Blaauwberg mountains . The old man reminisced about a sacred hill where kings once lived where it was rumoured there were clay pots containing treasures of gold , diamonds & emeralds .
In 1932 as teacher in the Soutpansberg region Jerry van Graan was invited on a weekend hunting trip on a farm in the Limpopo valley . While looking for water they came across a kraal on an escarpment , they were given water in an unusuall ceramic container by a local man named Mowena . Jerry van Graan offered to buy the container for a sustantial amount at the time of depression of 1 Kruger pound , but Mowena refused as he said the pot came from a "sacred hill" nearby .
Van Graan questioned Mowena who eventually revealed that the pot was given to him by a french friend named Lotrie (Francois Bernard Lotrie) . Lotrie was a well educated son of a french botanist who chose a life as advenure , exploring , hunting & prospecting for gold , and had acted as guide to David Livingstone .
Van Graan then realised that Mowena was the man his father had met 30 years earlier .
The eccentic Lotrie had at a time in his 80's lived as a recluse in a cave on the slopes of Mapungubwe and had given his friend Mowana the water container . It is said that Lotrie removed large amounts of the treasure to his home at Kalkrand south of the Soutpansberg , but that much of it was washed away in a flash flood , besides a golden bangle which he wore on his right wrist untill his death at the age of 92 in Feb 1917 .
Van Graan tried to find out from him where the sacred hill was , but the 90 year old Mowana refused .
On 28 December 1932 van Graan & others returned and Mowana again fearfully refused , but after some financial persuasion the allmost blind Mowana's son showed them the hill . Shivering with fright and with his back turned to the hill Mowanas son showed them a cleft in the vertical rock behind a large fig tree with a sort of stairway to the top .
On reaching the summit they found boulders balanced on small stones that were ready to be rolled off the edge onto intruders . The previous days cloudburst had exposed potshards , rusted iron tools , copper and glass beads in the soil .
Returning on 1 Jan 1933 the first spadefull of earth revealed golden anklets , iron rings , copper & glass beads , and it was clear they had excavated an ancient grave as it was found amongst brittle bone .
They filled their hats with gold nails , beads and Jerry van Graan held a golden rhino in his hand .
Perhaps through fate and through van Graans luck , foresight & wisdom , these artefacts and many others were preserved where they are on display at the university of Pretoria .