Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday News: My holiday

Hello everyone, this is a quick news update post for all my readers.  I’ve been travelling all over the Eastern Cape the past couple of days.

Here is a map of the route we have travelled in the past 3 days.

Eastern Cape Trip - July

We started off in Bloemfontein (point A).  This is the place where I work and live, as well as Mark.

Bloemfontein to Queenstown

On Thursday we travelled to Queenstown.  It was quite a slow trip up until Aliwal North, due to construction on the roads.  They are going to look great when the construction is finished.  From Aliwal North to Queenstown the route was much quicker.

A picture of Mark when we were stopped at the road construction site, waiting to be let through.

Mark Letley, trip to Queenstown

Queenstown to Frankfort

On Friday we found out that the route we were originally planning to take, through Fort Beaufort to Port Elizabeth had a snow warning, there were rumours that the road was already closed.  We decided not to chance it and rather take the coastal route to Port Elizabeth, which is 2 hours longer.

My mom booked us into the Gonubie Caravan Resort on Friday night, and came with us for the trip.  We left Friday afternoon.  Just after passing through Stutterheim, we saw the sign to Frankfort, and we decided to drive there to take a look.

Frankfort exploration

Frankfort is the town where my ancestor, Carsten Langhein, and his children as well as some of his grandchildren are buried.  When they came to South Africa from Germany in 1858 they lived in Frankfort.  Carsten Langhein was the first Baptist minister of the Frankfort Baptist Church, which doesn’t appear to be a Baptist Church anymore.

I did a little research on Frankfort.  The population is 362 now, and 100% African.  All the German settlers descendants have moved on.  I should have taken photographs, but what I can say is the village is quaint, but in desperate need for attention.  I can see the population there is very poor and unable to care for the village.  They do have a police station, a school, and a post office.

We were successful in finding the graves of my ancestors, the graveyard had street signs showing the way to it, but the entire cemetery is completely overgrown with thorn bushes and various other vegetation common to the area.  We had no problem entering the cemetery because the gate locking it had been broken down by vandals and had never been fixed by any authority.  Carsten’s grave was one of the graves that had had the tombstone smashed, along with many others.  It it hadn’t been for a metal plaque put up by the Baptist church in 1961 we wouldn’t have known it was his grave.

His son Claus’s gravestone was intact.  Here are the photographs from that leg of the trip.

An eerie looking tree greeted us on the way to Frankfort, Eastern Cape

Eerie Tree, Frankfort Eastern Cape

The signs pointing us to the German Graves, the last of 4 (all along dirt roads)

German Graves Signboard, Frankfort Eastern Cape

The entrance to the graveyard.  The remains of the blue gate locking the graveyard can be seen on the ground towards the bottom of the photograph.

German Cemetery Entrance, Frankfort Eastern Cape

The overgrown graveyard of the German Settlers in Frankfort.

German Cemetery, Frankfort Eastern Cape

The plaque on Carsten Langhein’s grave (for some reason our surname is always spelt wrong).

Carsten Langhein, Grave Plaque, Frankfort Eastern Cape 1Carsten Langhein, Grave Plaque, Frankfort Eastern Cape 2Carsten Langhein, Grave Plaque, Frankfort Eastern Cape 3

The Grave as it stood on Friday 13th, July 2012

Carsten Langhein, Grave, Frankfort Eastern Cape

This is what is left of the tombstone.  It is lying face down on the grave.

Carsten Langhein, Vandalized Tombstone, Frankfort Eastern Cape 1

And this is what is left of where the tombstone would have sat.

Carsten Langhein, Vandalized Tombstone, Frankfort Eastern Cape 2

The tombstone of Claus Langhein, Carsten Langhein’s son.  Claus is my great, great grandfather.

Claus Langhein, Tombstone, Frankfort Eastern Cape

The grave of my great grandfather, Julius Langhein and his wife, Johanna.

Julius and Johanna Langhein tombstone, Frankfort Eastern Cape

And this post is to be continued with more of the trip … Adventure is out there!!!


  1. Wonderful pics. So sad the cometary is in such bad shape. Your family I'm sure sacrificed a great deal to start a church there and so little is left of the village. But the lives they touched is what is important.

    1. Thank you! I agree, it is sad that everything is in such bad shape, not just the cemetary but the village too. You are right, it is the lives touched that is more important than the places. What I keep remembering is that my ancestors are now with God, the memories are with those they touched and only an empty shell remains in the grave.