TOPIC: Unearthing the past: The recording of Groot Zeekoegat – Trekboer farmhouse to artist’s retreat
LEADERS: The project team members who measured up the ruins of the farmhouse outside Molteno that formerly belonged to the artist Johannes Meintjes, consisted of Lita Webley, the intrepid project coordinator; Anton Roux, who drew up the plans of the ruins and coordinated the measuring up; Pat and John Kramer- the latter our photographer; Karen Strom and Andre van Graan. We also had input into our research from Judy Maguire.
In September 2019 a group of members set off to Molteno in the Eastern Cape to undertake a recording of the ruins of the farmhouse on the farm Groot Zeekoegat. The house dated from the early 19th century, possibly earlier and had been a typical Trekboer structure, built of stone and opgekleide walls, originally under thatch.
It became the home of the Meintjes family and underwent a transformation in the hands of the artist Johannes Meintjes who returned to the house as a young man in the late 1940s and remained there until his death. His artistic output was intertwined with the house and the landscape. He felt part of this vast, often forbidding countryside.
After his death, his widow remained there for a while before returning to town life and the house gradually succumbed to the forces of nature and the destructive hand of people.
We who went there sensed the haunting presence of the open veld and the distant koppies.
We will share our experience of our recording trip with you and show the extensive research that was undertaken to bring the farmhouse back to life, albeit only on paper.
The project was initiated and sponsored by Keith Meintjes, a distant relative of the artist.