Van Riebeeck’s Hedge, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town.

By 1659 growing problems with their Khoikhoi neighbours forced the Dutch administration at the Cape to undertake a number of defensive measures. Under Governor van Riebeeck, it determined to define a boundary to the settlement by ploughing up a strip of land 3.6m wide and "to plant and sow bitter almonds and all kinds of quick-growing thorn bushes in the form of a land barrier so thickly that no cattle or sheep will be able to be driven through it", thus inventing the concept of a "gated community". Part of this hedge survives in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, while another portions remain on the Bishopscourt Estate. The former was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation on 17 April 1936, while the remains of the latter, in Klaassen Road, Bishopscourt, were proclaimed on 11 April 1945.

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Last updated : 27-Apr-2018

This article was produced for South African History Online on 14-Jul-2011