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The Old Slave Tree In George

19th February 2013

The Old Slave Tree in Yorkstreet, George, Western CapeA story is told of an old oak tree, named “ The Old Slave Tree”,  that still exists today. The tree can be seen in front the old library in George. Today the old library building, is home to the George Tourism Bureau.

(Click on Thumbnails to enlarge images)

Ludrich Barnard, the Tourism Administrative Official, showed me a book on the history of colonists, slaves and The Great Trek. He pointed out a paragraph on the “Emancipation of Salves” in 1834. It tells of a few slaves that were held in the George area.

The tree planted by magistrate Van Kervel in 1811 My eyes caught a sketch of someone chained to a big tree.
A note at the bottom reads:

“ An old tree still exists today, where the slaves were once chained and sold”

“So that’s where the tree got it’s name from”: I thought. 

Apparently not. According to some people this is only a myth.

Another story is told of a tennis court that once existed close to the tree. A huge roller was used to level and maintain the ground. A big chain was used to tie the roller to the tree at night. Some people then made the assumption that the chains were for the slaves.

The Old Library building, today home to the George Tourism Bureau Whichever story is the truth, this very prominent tree has come down through history and stood the test of time.  The dates and facts written up in history , indicates that this tree must be almost 200 years old. The tree was planted by Van Kervel, George’s magistrate of the time. It has also been declared a national monument.

Directions: "The Old Slave Tree” can be seen in front of the George Tourism Bureau ,Yorkstreet, George,Garden Route, Western Cape.


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