Diep River

Diep River Image source

Johann Georg Rathfelder was born in Stuttgart in 1811 and emigrated to the Cape in 1835. Following his marriage in the colony, he inherited a halfway-house near Wynberg, on the Cape Town-Simonstown road. Rathfelder's Inn, as it soon became known, was famous for its hospitality and in the 1840's became the headquarters of the Cape Hunt. It also became a popular destination for Cape Town day-trippers.

The site, which was officially known as Halfway House, Simonstown Road, was also a mail-coach halt, and thus became the obvious location for a post office. Consequently when one was opened there on 7 September 1854, Rathfelder was appointed its first postmaster. When the inn was sold to WH Coghill in 1861, these duties were passed on to the new owner. Today the buildings house the Eaton Convalescent Home. In 1858 the name of the village was changed to Diep River. The Cape Town-Wynberg suburban railway was extended to Diep River on 15 December 1882.

 

Diep River has a River of the same name running through it, lies wedged in between Plumstead, Heathfield and The Vines. On the whole the little suburb is not well known and, possibly because of this, has pockets hidden deep in the area that are particularly beautiful, with effortless gardens and homes. Closer to the Main Road and the Railway Line lies the Industrial area, give a false impression of Diep River as less than savoury.

 
Diep River is secretly coveted by its neighbours. It is close to two railway stations (Steurhof and Diep River), making a commute in and out of Cape Town a lot more simple than many other suburbs, and, it has Martins bakery on the Main Road. Martins bakes anything from rye ciabattas, through ouma breads, to scrumptious tarts, biscuits and pies. It is a one-stop-shop for all your bread needs, as well as functioning as the local coffee shop for those meeting friends and business acquaintances.
 
Together with areas like lower Wynberg, Rondebosch East, Goodwood and Sea Point, Diep River is one of the areas touted by estate agents to soon 'take off', as prices here are still reasonable. Just around the corner from Diep River, on the Main Road, is the newly and partly refurbished 3 Arts Theatre, once again open for business in theatre. People who have lived around here for years remember coming here for double bill movies and parties, and rumour has it that Depeche Mode rehearsed here back in 1994 for their world tour - quite a history for one old building.
 
In the lower reaches of Diep River you will find Rietvlei Reserve, with a sanctuary on one side and a recreational area on the other.
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Last updated : 24-May-2017

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

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