The Royal Karoo

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By Rose Willis

Photographs By Chris Marais

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Lords, lairds, dukes, and Britain’s queen

Are forever linked to the dryland scene.

Victoria and Albert, will remain

With many governors on the thirstland plain.

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Among these Lord Charles gave family’s names

To little towns across the plains.

Soon brilliant Beauforts, were a part

Of Africa’s great, growing heart.

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Somerset, both East and West

Honour this Lord, at whose behest

Worcester, the Boland town so friendly,

Was named in honour of brother Henry.

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Then Peregrine Maitland to Richmond granted

His in-law’s name – they were enchanted

Colesberg shared Sir Lowry’s fame.

A duke to Bedford gave his name.

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George Grey, Cradock, Caledon

Gave their names a local spin.

Then Donkin and Chris Barnard play

Roles in Beaufort, to this day.

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Donkin kept his wife’s heart forever

in a casket, like a treasure.

And Barnard, transplant pioneer

with brothers spent his boyhood there.

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The Scottish clergy, who came to guide

far-flung flocks, all took pride,

Robertson, Fraser, Sutherland too

Added their names to the Great Karoo

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Graaff-Reinet was Murray’s home

From there he far and wide did roam

Naming Aberdeen, Bethesda , Murraysburg

As he travelled preaching God’s own word.

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Hanover, shares a German name

It also shares Olive Schreiner’s fame.

Afrikaners then tried for par

Naming Noupoort, Middelburg, De Aar

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Vos, Brits, Loxton and Merwe, too

With Laing and Willis, are in the Karoo.

William Moore became Willowmore,

Sharing fame with men of yore.

Matjiesfontein – quite unique

of a “Scottish Laird” and spa did speak

Uniondale paid tribute to

the end of old, the start of new

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So shakers, movers, men of merit

Were honoured and in this zone got credit

People, weather, politics and chance

Wove a tapestry of rich romance.

 

 

  • Poem by the original Rose of the Karoo: Rose Willis, author of the popular monthly Rose’s Roundup newsletter. If you want to subscribe (R100 annually), here are her details:

 

 

Landline: 051-436-2471

Cellphone:082-926-0474

Email: karootour@telkomsa.net

 

 

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