Bezuidenhout Family Cemetery

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Bezuidenhout Family Cemetery

On 15 February 2013 The Star published an article titled A history buried under the grass which highlighted the poor state of Bezuidenhout Park and more specifically the 'Bezuidenhout Familie Begraafplaas'. The graves were overgrown, crumbling and in dire need of care. The following excerpt provides some background to the importance of the cemetery:

"...but the main memorial arch, inscribed in Dutch, commemorated Frerick Bezuidenhout, born in the Cape Colony 1825, buried here in 1900 next to his wife Judith Viljoen. They owned the farm Doornfontein in the days of the gold rush in 1886 and gave their names to the suburbs of Doornfontein and Judiths Paarl and, of course, Bezuidenhout Park. The land, 40 hectares, was sold to the the city in 1949 by their son Willem to be used as a public park, on condition the original farmhouse built in 1863 (and presumably the cemetary) was maintained. No doubt Willem also lies somewhere under the undergrowth."

Please use this thread to add more background and to keep the citizens of Johannesburg informed on the state of this historic cemetery.

7 March Visit

Today I visited the cemetery with Elaine and Isabella from the Kensington Heritage Trust. The power of the press was evident as the grass had been cut and it appeared as though some weeding was done.

My gut tells me it will be a long hard struggle to maintain the cemetery. City Departments are overloaded and under-resourced so it will be difficult to expect a sustained effort from them. Very few family members remain in the area... the only one I know of (Yvonne Collette who organised the big Bezuidenhout family reunion in 1982) is leaving Johannesburg in July. The task, like many heritage tasks, will probably fall on the shoulders of a small but committed group of volunteers.

Feel free to post any ideas that could help on this one.

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Old Photo & Reunion

Not sure when the black and white photo is from but the coloured one is from the reunion in 1982.

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Movie?

I received an email earlier today asking for the contact details of Yvonne Collett (the last Bez in the Valley). It appears as though there are plans to film a scene from a new Leon Schuster movie at the Bezuidenhout Family Cemetery. I have no way of verifying whether this is true or not. I am not even sure what process should be followed. My gut tells me they will need to get official approval from the PHRAG but I stand to be corrected.

The email did say that the company would build a fence and gate which is exactly what the cemetery needs. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

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Info on the graves at Bezuidenhout cemetery

I visited the cemetery in 2011 and documented what graves where still there. The info is published on my blogsite below with a little history on the farm.
I see the surrounding fence has now disappeared.

http://johannesburg1912.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/bezuidenhout-cemetary/

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Jonkershuis

Here is the link to a related thread... Jonkershuis

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Filming and Fence not going ahead

Things were looking good for the filming of a scene from the new Leon Schuster Movie at the graveyard. Part of the arrangement would have been the upgrading of the cemetery and the installation of a new fence.

Unfortunately the scene involved some expensive stunts and after looking at the budget the producers cut the scene. No shoot = no arrangement with the fencing company = no upgrade and fencing.

I will be seeing if there is anyway the heritage community can resurrect this positive initiative.

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A descendant wants to help

Sanet Bezuidenhout: 'I am a descendant of Frederik and would like to join the JHB Heritage Foundation. I read with interest James Ball's article on the last of the "Bezzes" and also sadly the one about the state of the Bez family cemetery. I visited the cemetery about a year ago and was also rather sad to see the neglect. My full name is Susanna Adriana, and I am the youngest daughter Piet Retief Bezuidenhout, brother of Barend C. V. "Bennie" pictured at the 1982 family reunion. My father passed away in 2011, and thereby the last of his generation. I have taken a keen interest in the family history and would like to contribute in preserving a part of this history for future generations.'

[We have put Sanet in touch with the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation and Kensington Heritage. A wonderful email to receive!]

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Aliche Bezuidenhout (not verified)
bezzies - willem

Hi,
I'm a Bezuidenhout and have been doing research on my father's line. we are direct descendents of willem - who sold the land to the municipality - however, of course he moved away, bought land elsewhere and would not necessarily have been buried there. would like to get in contact with other decendends of Cornelis Willem Bezuidenhout.

I am situated in Nelspruit and visited the cemetery during an extended visit in december, and was very saddened to see the stat that it was in.

I am in Joburg at the moment and wouldn't mind getting in contact with anyone with interesting info on the Bezuidenhouts and CW.

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52 users have voted.
Hey Aliche. Very exciting.

Hey Aliche. Very exciting. Please send an email to admin@heritageportal.co.za and I will put you in touch with the family members I know. They will be very excited to hear from you!

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Photos and names on graves
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Beginnings

A meeting between City Parks, the COJ Heritage Department and the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation has just taken place. It was positive but there is a long way to go. The Jonkershuis was the main topic of conversation. The cemetery was touched on...I hope it will form part of any intervention. As with many things in the heritage world budget will be key. See the Jonkershuis thread for more.

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Site visit

A spectrum of officials and experts visited the cemetery today. Reports will be compiled in the lead up to a big meeting on 6 August 2013.

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Brendan (not verified)
Gerrit Pieter Bezuidenhout, 1762-1837

Hi
Thanks for this article. My wife is a direct descendant of Gerrit Pieter Bezuidenhout, 1762-1837, brother of Cornelius Frederick Bezuidenhout of the Slagtersnek Rebellion fame. I would appreciate being put into contact with other Bezuidenhouts who are interested in this cemetery and who can give me more information about it.
Thanks in advance.
Regards
Brendan

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40 users have voted.
Hey Brendan. Thanks so much

Hey Brendan. Thanks so much for getting in touch. The Bezuidenhouts are everywhere. Send an email to admin@heritageportal.co.za and I'll forward it on to the family members. All the best.

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Lorraine Jordaan (not verified)
Good day. I am a descendant

Good day. I am a descendant of the Bezuidenhouts, but I cannot figure out how. I am interested in the descendants of Fredrick Jacobus Bezuidenhout. The connection is with Jacoba Johanna Elizabeth Bezuidenhout now a Harmse, she was my grandmother. I will appreciate any information. Lorraine Jordaan

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