Name - Jakkalsfontein
has been said that “The name Jakkalsfontein does not conjure
up the right image. It is more appropriate for a game farm in the
Eastern Transvaal. One does not visualise a coastal estate with
white beaches, sand, blue sea and Cape fynbos. Your first and most
important impression is the name.”
To many, however, the sound of the name, with its string of vowels
rising and falling from low to high, is pure music. It sings of
the wild, of free roaming animals and of fountains where flowers
and grass grow.
Property developers like to attach names to innocent, unspoiled
landscape that, to their minds, “conjure up” white beaches,
blue skies, etc. Club Mykonos springs to mind. To the discriminating
however, such a name merely sounds outlandish, artificial and meaningless.
The attempted illusion or conjuring trick is so obvious that the
reader/hearer feels insulted. Who needs cheap illusions when you
have the real thing?
name Jakkalsfontein was not created to satisfy popular demand. An
old, plain, descriptive name it dates from the 1690’s when
farms along the West Coast road were first given names. To date,
the earliest source is a report from 1804, when Jakkalsfontein was
set aside by the government for the breeding of wool bearing sheep.
(In those days, Cape sheep were hairy).
Long before that Jakkalsfontein was one of the stops or signposts
on the old post road between Cape Town and Saldanha Bay. It took
a soldier three days to slog the weary distance through his region,
known as the Slagtersveld (Butchers’ Field), a region where
elephants, lions, leopards and wild dogs roamed, to deliver a single
letter or bring news of a ship arrived in St. Helena Bay in a desolate
state. Slog it, they did, and back again, from fountain to fountain.
name Jakkalsfontein existed centuries before game farming was dreamed
of in this country, a century and a half before the Eastern Transvaal
existed as a province or as a name, or before Europeans inhabited
that region. Unfortunately, we not know what the Khoina, the aboriginal
herdsmen who grazed their cattle here for about 17 centuries, called
the place, if indeed they had a name for it.
Island, some twenty miles offshore from New York is the “summer
place” of cultured and wealthy New England Americans. There
are stretches of that fourteen-mile long sea-beaten coastline that
strongly resemble Jakkalsfontein – except, over there, there
is no Table Mountain in the distance. Nantucket’s name is
of Red Indian origin. There were 1000 Algonquin still living on
the island when the Quaker settlers arrived in 1642. Would today’s
homeowners dream of changing Nantucket’s name now because
it does not “conjure up the right image”, or plainly
put, because it does not reflect their pretensions?
name is rich, rare as its fresh air, sea views and peace, and quiet.
In a drab and fading world called this-or-that Ridge, this-or-that
View, and those heights, of acres of dead concrete and tar, the
name Jakkalsfontein speaks of remoteness, silence, and unbroken
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