CHANDELIER HISTORY

(We would like to point out that parts of the history of Chandelier may not be correct, since we gathered some of the information from elderly people & neighbours. We had to rely greatly on the memories of these people.)

The founder of the then called farm “Frischgewaagd” was Marthinus Johannes Keller. He was born on 30 January 1858 and married Maria Magdalena Sophia Rademeyer who was born on 30 September 1863. Two children were born from the marriage, Burtena on 27 September 1894 and Josephus Johannes on 28 June 1896. They both passed away before they became eighteen months old, Burtena on 28 August 1895 and Josephus Johannes on 5 September 1897. Leaving the Kellers childless.

The story goes that Marthinus had an affair with one of his white labourer’s daughters, named Sarah Loftie Snyman. Sarah was born on 29 October 1896 or 1897, (younger than both the two late Keller kids) almost 39 years younger than Marthinus. After his wife passed away he married her.

They never had any children, but Marthinus played a leading roll in the ostrich feather industry in South Africa. (Evidence of the feather boom can be seen in the ostrich feather palace, behind the Kings Mask Restaurant on Chandelier, as well as the remarkable stone wall that encloses the buildings on Chandelier.) The story goes that the stone wall has been build by the farm worker, Hennie Welsch. What makes it very remarkable is that Welsch was almost completely blind and could only determine between light and dark.

Marthinus, and his successors, bought the neighbouring farms, leaving the farm as it is with 23 title deeds and almost 3500 ha.

It is common knowledge that the ostrich farmers in the beginning of the previous century became stink rich from ostrich feathers. At one stage the price for a pound of white ostrich feathers was higher than the price of a pound of gold. The money made many ostrich farmers in the Klein Karoo like kings on their own land. On Frischgewaagd, nobody was allowed inside the stone wall, without invitation.

According to a late neighbour, as a young girl she was driving past the Keller homestead by horse cart between 80 and 90 years ago. They had a very sick baby onboard and needed water for the kid. She had to go to the back door to ask for water. After knocking at the door, she had to take five steps back to avoid any physical contact, before the door had been opened. She received water in a jam tin and was instructed to leave the tin at the dairy for the farm labourers to destroy.

Marthinus fell ill in 1935 in a hospital in Cape Town. According to some of Marthinus ancestors, Sharah got hold of an attorney in Cape Town and visited Marthinus in hospital. They told the dieing Marthinus that Sarah was pregnant with his child and he changed his will before he died. When it become clear that Sharah lied, the three sons of Marthinus brother were furious, since they were suppose to inherit Frischgewaagd after they had to work day and night for Marthinus. The story goes that, to calm them down, Sarah promised the land to the three gentlemen after her death, but never kept her promise. According to the Kellers, the Ferreira family was the first real buyers of Frischgewaagd. They claim that the land has been stolen from the Keller family twice.

The Ferreira family bought the greater Frischgewaagd in February 2003 and soon changed the name to Chandelier, after the glittering flowers of the majestic “Aloe Ferox” of the Klein Karoo. The Ferreira’s grew up in the Klein Karoo and know the region well. Their greatest assist is the fact that they love and respect the Klein Karoo for what it is. They know that: “If you ignore the elements of the Klein Karoo, she will destroy you, but if you respect the Klein Karoo, she will reward you.”

“We had a dream, but did not know how to create reality from it. We have started to live our dream on Chandelier, even though we have never stopped dreaming. Our dream is often pleasant, sometimes a nightmare, always rewarding - we love every moment of it. Come and share in our dream on Chandelier.”

View a short video clip all about Chandelier »
Cell: +27 (0)72 742 4405                                  Email: chandelier@wispernet.co.za
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