With thanks to Natasha Bezuidenhout (excerpt from the article published Cape Argus 22 Jun 2011)

‘Swellendam has renamed itself the New Republic of ‘community, unity, love, art, music, good food and beauty’ – 216 years after it was first declared a republic.

Johan Kriek, curator of the Drostdy Museum in Swellendam, said the first time the town was declared a republic, disgruntled farmers marched in protest against the government of the Dutch East India Company, which was in control of the Cape. “In 1795, National Commandant Petrus Jacobus Delport and 60 farmers marched to Magistrate Faure because they were disgruntled with the money that they were offered for cattle by the Dutch East India Company. After the farmers had marched and forced the landdrost of the government to leave, the community decided to declare the town a free republic”, he explained. The Dutch East India Company ran the commercial initiative of farm and produce, sheep and cattle, vegetable gardens and fruit gardens.

Now the Swellendam Tourism Bureau has redeclared the town a republic, saying it was the beginning of a mission to establish the area as one “which celebrates country life, simplicity, good food, home comforts, friendship, outdoor adventure and hospitality at its best”. With that comes “unparalleled service”, said the bureau’s Amanda Shackley.

An ambassador scheme was announced to encourage locals to learn more about their area and to, in turn, serve visitors.

The republic takes in Barrydale, Buffeljachts, Infanta, Malgas, Stormsvlei and Suurbraak.’

Schoone Oordt country hotel is so excited to be a part of this fabulous new initiative. We all look forward to welcoming you to our gorgeous town of Swellendam… soon.

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