Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal’s Ben Greyling, a passionate advocate of South African history, is dedicated to ensuring that the country’s rich and dynamic past remains alive and accessible to future generations.
Greyling, along with fellow history lovers in the group called Heritage on the Air (HOTA), is actively engaged in locating and documenting historical sites across the country.
HOTA focuses on identifying sites that are 75 years or older, such as grave sites associated with significant events like the Anglo-Boer War. Armed with radio equipment, the group ventures into various regions, plotting these sites and compiling a comprehensive database.
Greyling emphasises the importance of this endeavour, as many children today have limited knowledge of South African history.
“We encounter children who are unfamiliar with figures like Paul Kruger,” Greyling laments. Thus, his primary objective is to identify historical landmarks in the Newcastle area, while his fellow history enthusiast, Andre Rheeder, focuses on monitoring sites in Vryheid.
Greyling reveals that their recent attention has shifted to Northern KwaZulu-Natal, and they have already discovered several noteworthy sites, including the local town hall, Fort Amiel, Amajuba Mountain,Fort Mistake, Laingsnek, Schuinshoogte out near Ingogo and an area in Aviary Hill where horses were exhibited during the Anglo-Boer War period.
However, they now seek the assistance of local farmers and other history enthusiasts to expand their search.
“We are particularly interested in old grave sites on farms in the area, dating back 75 years or related to the Anglo-Boer War. We also welcome any information regarding other significant sites in the area, ensuring that future generations can access this valuable information,” Greyling explains.
Once all the sites have been documented and the database is complete, Greyling plans to create a website where people of all ages can easily locate and visit these historical sites. In addition to preserving the locations, Greyling highlights that the search for historical sites also presents an opportunity to identify and safeguard any historical artefacts or memorabilia in the area.
Furthermore Greyling appeals to farmers and community members to reach out to him or Andre Rheeder, providing information that will help in safeguarding South African history.
He encourages interested individuals to contact him directly at 082 332 9918 or Andre Rheeder for the Vryheid area at 078 195 9539.
By actively preserving and sharing South Africa’s heritage, Greyling and his team aim to ensure that the rich tapestry of the nation’s history remains a vibrant part of its present and future.
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