Rondebosch’s rich heritage

Monica Sutherland at 24 outside her home in Klipper Road.

I was born in Rouwkoop Avenue, Rondebosch, nearly 86 years ago, then moved to College Road, then to Westerford Road, finally, at the end of 1938, we moved to Klipper Road where I have lived since.

This used to be a nice quiet area with a country-like road and a deep gully in front of the properties where, in winter, the water from the waterfalls on the mountain used to run.

Sometimes it got so full that it overflowed, but when it got low, I used to climb in and gather up some tadpoles.

My dad, Ralph Pentecost, gave me an old tin bathtub, and I used to look after the tadpoles until they became little frogs. Sometime in the 1960s, I think, the water was redirected into a pipe and the sloot was closed off.

Klipper Road was also widened a bit and moved nearer to the houses, and a pavement was built on it while the Government Estate side of the road had space to walk on.

The next houses close to where I stay are in Park Lane, which is very much as it is today, except for the high fences. Park Lane was a wide untarred lane, and there were three families living in it. The last house also had a garden across the end of the lane.

This also meant that Mount Road was closed off and Princess Anne Avenue was considerably widened. This meant that the road became a bit busier, but we still shared the traffic with Dean Street, and most of the heavy traffic used that road.

The bottom of Klipper Road, which connected to the Main Road, consisted of the historic Westerford Arms Hotel. There was also a lounge or pub on the Main Road side and a bottle store on the corner of Klipper and Main roads.

On the Government Estate side, we had a small barbed-wire fence, which I used to climb over to pick flowers for my mom. The area was a vegetable garden with a few fruit trees, and the government and the workers used to live off the farm.

The workmen used to help me pick the flowers, and I knew most of them. When the change came, they were all dismissed and the farm turned into a lawn. I was sad to see them go.

Previously one could walk through the estate when the government were not there, and I used to go into the forest area and sit on a large rock. It was nice and peaceful, but now one cannot enter it at all, and security is very tight.

One of my hobbies is to keep an eye on the community. If something needs to be fixed or requires attention, I like to raise it with the relevant people.

In my years here, I have grown to love the area and have worked in the Rondebosch and Mowbray ratepayers’ associations and the Rondebosch Community Police Forum and celebrated the Rondebosch Fountain’s centenary.

It is an unfortunate fact that this area’s rich heritage and history do not seem to matter anymore as all the old buildings are being demolished and even the remains of the historic Outspan Area are now disappearing.