AG Schoombee, settler near Middelburg

Rocks truly are the curators of history in the Karoo.  Way back in 1780, a Dane left his mark on a Karoo boulder. A G Schoombee was so delighted by the Karoo that he carved a message on a rock and settled right there despite the fact that the area was in the grips of a locust plague. In time his farm, 15km northeast of Middelburg, became known as Schoombeesklip (lchoombee’s stone). Years later, Joan Sutherland, a genealogical researcher “went looking for this stone on a delightful summer morning.” She wrote: “The view was magnificent with the Middelburg mountains in the distance, misty and ethereal against the sharp blue sky. Stark white labourers’ cottages filled the foreground and it was like walking through a painting. We had to step carefully so as not to trample the Karoo violets and other wild flowers. Eventually we found the boulder near a koppie. The letters, although carefully hewn out of the rock, were practically obliterated by orange and green lichen, but we could still decipher them. The inscription read: ‘Anno 1780 Aprel ik ben die plaas heft aangelygyt. AGSB uyt Denemark sprenghane als s/a/nt.’ (“The year is 1780 April and this farm was founded by me AGSB from Denmark. Locusts like sand.”) It must have been quite an effort for Schoombee to carve out this message. Sadly, however, he eventually straightened up to admire his work, he discovered he had left out the “a” in “sand”, so he had to go back and squeeze it in.”


© Rose’s Roundup, May 2011 (No 208)

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