Harrismith Author Leon Strachan

Harrismith History – Free State Fables – Rural Legends . . well told. Harrismith has had a few published authors over the 171 years of the town’s existence. One day I’ll make a list. The best by far is Leon Strachan – imho of course! I have four of his books and am searching locallyContinue reading “Harrismith Author Leon Strachan”

Caveman Spies in Engels

Four Spies brothers lived in the Harrismith and Kestell district. These broers had very different personalities; it was said Andries fought for the Spies clan, Hans cursed for them, Frikkie drank for them and Martiens prayed for them all. Harrismith’s historian Leon Strachan has kept this lovely tale of an amazing Eastern Free State characterContinue reading “Caveman Spies in Engels”

Caveman Spies – by Leon Strachan

Harrismith has always had Spies families. The ones I remember were horsemen; or at least, the times I saw them they were usually riding horses at our agricultural shows, playing polo or competing at gymkhanas. Leon Strachan, Harrismith’s historian, tells of one family of four brothers who all had different characters or traits – andContinue reading “Caveman Spies – by Leon Strachan”

A Harem in Harrismith?

You know that mansion Mal Jurie is building on his farm? It’s a harem! A what? A HAREM! A place where you keep lots of ladies in rooms and they lie around swimming and eating grapes and looking beautiful. When they do have clothes on its not clothes like your mother wears. He says he’sContinue reading “A Harem in Harrismith?”

Another Successful Campaign

A well-drilled, orderly troop of Queen and Empire Poms marched up Platberg. And when they were up they were up **. They reconnoitered the surrounding area looking for Boer commandos, ready to report any sightings to some grand old Duke, or Lord, or someone. Ridiculously dressed in anti-camouflage they stuck out like sore thumbs, butContinue reading “Another Successful Campaign”

Home-made Bound

Three Norwegians in Witsieshoek were homesick and probably horny. They longed to go home to Norway, so they rode their horses to Port Natal, bought a ticket on a sailing ship and off they went, right? Actually not. They decided they would build their own ship in the veld on their farm Bluegumsbosch in theContinue reading “Home-made Bound”

Annie’s Msobo Jam

Steve Reed visited SA from Aussie. He’s a Vrystaat boykie, mainly Bethlehem and was the mayor of Clarens – the first son actually – so was on a visit home. Him: When visiting my bro in Johannesburg we had plenty of jams and preserves all from ‘Annies Kitchen’ in Harrismith. Wouldn’t be the famous AnnContinue reading “Annie’s Msobo Jam”

Abe Sparks

I thought of Abe Sparks as the “Lord Mayor of Swinburne”. Ever since he went to Texas he wore a stetson, cowboy boots and a string tie with a polished stone clasp. He was a larger than life character, colourful. He and Lulu were always very friendly to me. He drove an old Rolls RoyceContinue reading “Abe Sparks”

Martha and My Man Friday

This beautiful 1938 Buick Coupe was a regular sight on the streets of Harrismith back in the Sixties. Martha McDonald and her friend Carrie Friday used to cruise the streets going nowhere. Mom Mary called them Martha and My Man Friday after Robinson Crusoe. She says Roy Cartwright coined the nickname. Roy ran the TattersallsContinue reading “Martha and My Man Friday”