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Komani-Karoo
Visiting roots in Middelburg
Pictured are Sally Ann Bailey and Jennifer McIntosh with a picture of mayor JS Minnaar on their visit to the Middelburg Museum. Photo:ELSABÉ PIENAAR

THE Middelburg Museum recently received two very special visitors, mother and daughter Jennifer McIntosh (from Port Elizabeth) and Sally Ann Bailey, who lives just outside New York City with her family.

Sally, who also originally hails from Port Elizabeth, was on a visit to South Africa for family celebrations.

The duo visited the museum to take a look at a picture of JS Minnaar, one of Middelburg’s early mayors and a stalwart of the community back in the day.

Minnaar is Jennifer’s maternal grandfather and Sally’s great grandfather.

JS Minnaar was born in Robertson on December 16, 1880. He married Martha Magdalena (born Preiss in Robertson on March 18, 1883) and the couple were lifelong residents of Middelburg, where Minnaar was town mayor for many years. They lived in a gracious home at No. 8 Enslin Street, where Minnaar was a very keen and successful gardener and it is told that his gardens were always picture-perfect.

Martha passed away on August 16, 1970, and JS Minnaar on March 17, 1974, at the age of 93.

This is not the first time that Jennifer and her daughter have passed through Middelburg. They have a great interest in their family history and exploring their roots.

On this occasion they were very kindly taken on a tour of places of interest to them by Hubert and Steve Vorster, who are long-standing family friends.

They visited Enslin Street and then the avenue of trees planted by JS Minnaar, known as Minnaarlaan. They were shown around the offices of Minnaar & De Kock Attorneys, which, to this day, bear Minnaar’s name.

They were then escorted to the cemetery to lay flowers on the Minnaar graves.

Later in the day, Hubert and Steve escorted Jennifer and Sally to visit the family graveyard on the original Vorster family farm, Willem Burgersrivier, now owned by Gerrie and Louzette Snyman.

Jennifer and Sally were very impressed by the kindness, generosity and Karoo hospitality extended to them by everyone.

“Our visitors mentioned that they were so impressed to note that both the museum and Middelburg were looking good,” said Hubert Vorster, chairperson of the Middelburg Museum board.

“We will be back and will definitely stay longer,” said Sally, who has now returned to her home in the United States.

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