History of Jansenville

Jansenville is located in the Noorsveld, an area known for its dry, arid climate and its abundance of succulents, and about 90 kilometers from Graaff-Reinet

The town was founded in 1854 on the farm Vergenoegd, which was owned by Petrus Jacobus Fourie. The need for a new parish was evident from 1848 and the establishment of the village is largely due to the efforts of Minister Alexander Smith from Uitenhage. 

The new parish was named Jansenville in honor of General Jan Willem Janssens, the last Dutch Governor of the Cape of Good Hope.

Jansenville quickly grew into a thriving agricultural community. The town’s location in the Noorsveld made it ideal for farming sheep and goats. In the late 19th century, Jansenville became a major center for the mohair industry.  Angora goats are well-suited to the harsh climate of the Noorsveld, and their hair is highly prized for its softness and durability. The earliest Angora flock in the Jansenville district was established from stock imported by William Cary Hobson on the farm Martyrsford in 1871. 

Today, Jansenville is still a major center for the mohair industry. The town is home to the South African Mohair Growers Association and the Angora Goat Breeders Society of South Africa. Jansenville is also known for its production of wool, lucerne, and other agricultural products.

The outbreak of the 2nd Anglo Boer War in 1899 pitted the many the Dutch speaking residents against their English neighbours. Although a number of the Dutch inhabitants were loyal to the Colonial Administration the majority favoured the cause of the Boers. This resulted in Martial Law and the town and district came under military occupation under the command of a Captain Gould.

In January 1901 the Town Guard decided to fortify the town against the growing threat of lightning raids by Boer Commandos and constructed two blockhouses and the Jansenville Fort. The fort still stands on the hill immediately to the north of the village.

The town is also home to a number of historical buildings, including the Dutch Reformed Church and Jansenville Museum. The Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1860 and is a fine example of Cape Dutch architecture while the Jansenville Museum is housed in a restored Victorian building and exhibits artifacts from the town’s history. 

Jansenville is a quiet, rural town with a rich history. The town is home to a friendly and welcoming community and is a great place to visit if you are interested in mohair production, agriculture, or South African history.

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