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 Post subject: Mapungubwe - Destruction of Greefswald Military Base etc.
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:42 pm 
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I'm writing a study on the development of Mapungubwe Park in relation to South African political change, as part of an Archaeology degree. Does anyone have any knowledge about the demolition of the Greefswald Military Base, Jan Smuts house, and/or any other 'European' structures on the park site itself? Any help would be most appreciated. Please email me at j.w.l.hargreaves@durham.ac.uk or post back here.


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe - Destruction of Greefswald Military Base etc.
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:36 pm 
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Image
I have only 1 photo of Smuts cottage which I took in Dec 2006 .
I saw remnants of the military structures in the Vhembe wilderness trails area which were part of the military base , they in fact resemble something like a jail .
There is evidence of structures near the public picnic site , a rock painting of a "flash" (military unit identity badge) of Rhodesian Light Infantry , I assume there were previously structures there .

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe - Destruction of Greefswald Military Base etc.
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:39 pm 
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Thank you for your swift reply. I was rather rushed when I started this topic and didn't perhaps make clear my interest exactly. I previously visited Mapungubwe in September 2008 and decided to base my degree's thesis on the park's management in relation to political change, particularly looking at the role Mapungubwe plays in the South African state ideology, e.g. lending name to a medal order: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Mapungubwe. Part of this also concerns how the park has seemingly been reverted to 'nature', as European buildings have largely been demolished. During my visit I took photos of the regimental flashes you mention, which appeared to have been half-demolished, but also the concrete foundations of barrack houses nearby. Unfortunately my colleague managed to delete these photos. Essentially, I need an image or images that depict deliberately demolished European structures to illustrate some of the managemental changes that have occured to the Mapungubwe park since the end of apartheid. In email correspondence with SANparks I have largely been fobbed off from one contact to another, so any help at all would be much appreciated.

Thanks again, Jonny


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe - Destruction of Greefswald Military Base etc.
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:52 am 
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I think a forum member who knows a lot about Mapungubwe boffin , Joel R , may have more info , perhaps send him a personal message ?
My opinion is that it was beneficiall to the large multinational company which operates diamond mines directly to the south of Mapungubwe to have a military presence in the area , as this ensured the safety during the insurgent war of the 70's & 80's of the mines water pump stations and pipelines which disfigure the area .
How nice it could be for these structures to be buried or removed as well ...
Was the removal of all structures not purely a consequence of the proclamation of Mapungubwe as a national park which co incided with the end of the apartheid era and resultant decline of the military threat to the multinationals interests in the area , and therefore less a political decision ?

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe - Destruction of Greefswald Military Base etc.
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:22 am 
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ndloti wrote:
...Mapungubwe boffin , JoelR...

I have been in touch. Thanks, ndloti - I have never been called a boffin before. :lol:

ndloti wrote:
...diamond mines... How nice it could be for these structures to be buried or removed as well ...

Nice, but impossible. De Beers does not only own the entire Venetia Game Reserve (part of the planned transfrontier park), but also quite a few crucial pieces of land (former farms) in Mapungubwe itself.

Surely the world economy will pick up again and Venetia will start digging again (most staff is sitting jobless in Musina at the moment). I think it's safe to say that Mapungubwe as a conservation effort would not have been possible without De Beers... That does not take away the fact that the mine is extracting a LOT of water from the sensitive riverine forest along the Limpopo. :?

ndloti wrote:
Was the removal of all structures not purely a consequence of the proclamation of Mapungubwe as a national park which co incided with the end of the apartheid era and resultant decline of the military threat to the multinationals interests in the area , and therefore less a political decision ?

True, demolishing of 'European' buildings would have happened in any newly proclaimed national park. However, there WERE politics involved because the former National Party deproclaimed the earlier national park in the 1940s to woo local farmers (and initially not for military purposes). Here's a bit more on past politics and a bit on why Mapungubwe is promoted & touted so much by the current governers.


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe - Destruction of Greefswald Military Base etc.
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:05 pm 
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Joel R you are a boffin IMHO ! I just received this link on proposed coal mining in Mapungubwe area. http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/articl ... 09-04-17-1
I have been watching 50/50 recently and I am rather disturbed about the proposed coal mining in the Wakkerstroom area. Seems to me that certain people are intent on lining their pockets at the expense of the environment. Lets hope that this doesn`t start happening in Mapungubwe. Surely with its world heritage status it cannot be allowed to happen?


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe - Destruction of Greefswald Military Base etc.
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:34 pm 
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The pics really brought back memories....I was last there in March, 1974. It had been my home for 9 months, and was the most beautiful place I had ever seen, even though the military existance was almost intolerable. I had always intended to revisit Greefswald, and when I heard it had been opened I was overjoyed.

One incident I remember vividly was taking a rest from parade, under a large boulder. I noticed some hebrew writing in extremely old, peeling, faded pink paint, which said, "Am Israel Chai" which means, basically, "Israel Lives Forever". Never discovered the author's identity.

Under the old military laws, it was a punishable offence to discuss military topics, but I could write a book about that place. Just everyday life. Over the years I lost contact with almost everyone else who was with me in Greefswald.

A strange co-incidence was that my best friend in civvy street, who had been drafted into the army 6 months before me, ended up 2 beds away, in my bungalow. Is there anyone else in this forum who was there in the early 70's?


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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe - Destruction of Greefswald Military Base etc.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:26 am 
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Shawn and Jonny, a very warm welcome to you both :D I am so happy to see people who love and have an interest in Mapungubwe.

My daughter is extensively involved with the history department at WITS. She arrives back from the UK soon. I will certainly ask her if she has any sources of knowledge. She has just been involved with a history book on Mpumalanga.

I know that Mpumalanga and Limpopo are separate provinces, but WITS has been very involved with Mapungubwe.

I will be visiting Mapungubwe again soon, I intend to do the Vhembe trail... again... and again... and again. If there is anything I could assist you with, I would be most happy.

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 Post subject: Re: Mapungubwe - Destruction of Greefswald Military Base etc.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:35 am 
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Jonny,
My daughter is "Explorer" on the site, so if you wish to contact her directly, I am sure that she would reply. I am just not sure of her computer access for the next couple of weeks. She has also just completed an "African Studies" Masters in the UK, so she would be well aware of the frustrations that you are facing.

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