Madelein Swanepoel is the caretaker of the holiday resort at Boegoeberg Dam outside Groblershoop in the Northern Cape.
Her father was the sheriff and undertaker in Groblershoop, a tiny settlement that straddles the west-flowing Orange River.
Madelein and her dad would come out and fish at Boegoeberg Dam, the water-heart of the local table grape industry.
“Some of my best memories were made here.”
Boegoeberg Dam is all about peace. The road to the dam takes you past feeder canals and an incredible variety of bird colonies.
The long-awaited dam that kick-started the local farming economy was completed in 1929. Nicknamed ‘The Scheme People’ by disapproving locals, the dam workers and canal builders were recruited from the ranks of South Africa’s disempowered white communities. They earned less than five shillings a day, worked from sunrise to sunset and lived in crude, badly-built little houses with short life spans.
Today, it’s a different story. Boegoeberg Dam feeds local farmers, entertains families at its camp ground on weekends and promises to reward any swing of the fishing rod with a fat carp. Thatched chalets on the hill offer sweeping sunset views of Boegoeberg Dam.
The nearby town of Groblershoop lies directly on the twisting Orange River and its major income derives from the table grape industry.
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