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How Putsonderwater got its Name

Back in the dim and distant past, this little dorp was called Klippan. Then an old coloured man called David Ockhuiswhose dug a well in the 1880s but was loathe to share the water with passers-by.

So whenever a trekboer asked him if they could have a drink to slake their thirst in this dry and dusty land the man replied "Ja meneer, ek het 'n put, maar dis 'n put sonder water." ("Yes sir, I have a well, but it's a well without water.")

According to this article: "The name stuck and the land was later split into two. The one farm was called Putzonderwater (with the Dutch "z") and the other Middelka."

Interesting factoids:

  • The railway siding was named Putsonderwater (with the Afrikaans "s") and the town was apparently first called Krombegin (Skewed Beginning).
  • Bartho Smit wrote the play Putsonderwater in 1962, but it could not be performed in South Africa because of its political message. In 1978 it won the Hertzog Prize for Literature.
  • Putzonderwater once won certificates for being the neatest railway station in South Africa. Now, there are on only four families left.

Stay in the Northern Cape

For a unique South African travel experience visit the Northern Cape, South Africa's biggest and least densely populated province which comprises mostly semi-desert Karoo and Kalahari. Think big skies, empty spaces and small towns. However the Orange River flows through this province providing an alternative landscape and lots of fun on the rapids.

Portfolio Collection offers Northern Cape accommodation in Springbok, Namaqualand (renowned for carpets of wild daisies in spring), Kimberley (with its big hole), Kakamas, Near Augrabies Falls, Colesberg and Upington.

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