Schweizer-Reneke is an agricultural town on the R34 between Bloemhof and Vryburg surrounded by farming in maize, groundnuts, sunflower seeds, sorghum, cattle and sheep. There is also diamond mining in the vicinity of the town.
It was founded on the Harts River in 1888 and named after two soldiers, Captain C.A. Schweizer and Field Cornet C.N. Reneke, who were killed along with eight others while attacking the stronghold of the Khoi Koi Koranna Khoe in an attempt to put an end to cattle rustling in the area. The chief of the Koranna was David Massouw and the ruins of his settlement can still be seen on Mamusa Hill, also known as Massaoukop.
However, San rock paintings, evident on the Delareyville Road only two kilometres north of the town, point to habitation far older then the Koranna and the Boers, possibly stretching back 20 000 years.
Small it may be, but Schweizer-Reneke is the birthplace of a number of well-known South African personalities, such as politicians Ahmed Kathrada and Essop Pahad, former rugby captain Wynand Claassen and artist Irma Stern. The Afrikaans poet, Elizabeth Eybers, grew up in the town.
There is a selection of guesthouses for overnight visitors. The Schweizer-Reneke Golf Club also offers limited accommodation.
Look out for
The facade of the Town Bank Building, built in the early 1900s, today stands just as it was more than a century ago. The Town Hall also has architectural value and houses a historical photographic collection.
The town’s first police station is also a national monument, although today it serves as the premises of the Kliphuisie Guesthouse.
The Wentzel Dam to the north of the town is used for water sports and recreation. You can fish, swim, picnic and water ski at this venue.
The Voortrekker Monument, built in 1938, was part of the Great Trek centenary celebrations.
The Memorial Library has displays honouring World War I victims.
Photography: Chris Marais/Mainline Media