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The Griquas of Griquatown

Griquatown is steeped in history. The original site was called "Klaarwater" ("clear water"), located about 50km north of the Orange River, and so it was within BaThlaping territory. In fact, Kgosi (Chief) Molehabangwe allowed the Griquas to base themselves there in 1807.


The Griqua were a people of mixed-race origin, combining white, black and San origins. They spoke the local dialect of Dutch (one of the early forms of "Afrikaans"), and wore European-style clothing. Many of them had worked on white farms in the past, and they were now eager to maintain their freedom and independence.

The town was renamed as "Griquatown", in 1813, when Reverend John Campbell visited the community. He also helped them to write a written constitution for their little state, and this encouraged the Cape Colony to recognise them as an independent state.

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