When history goes missing


Tonight, out of the blue, I thought about “lost history”. As an example, I thought of the Schoeman community at Vissershoek (Fisherman’s Corner), north of Pretoria, from the 1890s to at least the 1940s (when my father lived there as a child – my grandmother was a Schoeman).

Lives were lived there – but who still knows about it? Who can still remember the stories? Who can still say what happened on Christmas Eve in 1915? Who can still talk about the incident one quiet Sunday afternoon in 1927? Who remembers the reason why the children were so afraid one dark night in the winter of 1931?

The family cemetery is full. The wind gently rustles through the trees. The voices are quiet.

Vissershoek Primary School, 1909
Last resting place of MC Schoeman (1877-1923)
Last resting place of Frederik Stephanus Schoeman (1859-1892)
Last resting place of Susara Elizabet Johanna Schoeman (1887-1887)
My father at the graves of his grandfather Jacob Bernard Schoeman (1882-1968), and grandmother Maria Magdalena Schoeman (née Joubert) (1886-1955)
Veldt in Vissershoek, north of Pretoria