Cradock, Eastern Cape
The Dutch Reformed Church in Cradock
|• Total||125.96 km2 (48.63 sq mi)|
|• Density||290/km2 (750/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||61.8%|
|First languages (2011)|
|Postal code (street)||5880|
Cradock is a town in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, in the upper valley of the Great Fish River, 292 kilometres (181 mi) by rail northeast of Port Elizabeth. The town is the administrative seat of the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality in the Chris Hani District of the Eastern Cape. The estimated population in 2005 is 28,689.
Lieutenant Governor and war leader Andries Stockenstrom established this spot as the magisterial seat for the surrounding region in 1812. The area was chosen for being strategically located for the frontier wars. It was originally located in the Western Cape.
The town was founded on 27 August 1818 when a Dutch Reformed church was built; it is named after Sir John Cradock, governor of the Cape from 1811 to 1813. Interestingly, the design of the Dutch Reformed Church building is based on that of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London.
The Cape Colony received a degree of independence in 1872 when "Responsible Government" was declared and, in 1877, the government of Prime Minister John Molteno began construction of the railway line connecting Cradock to Port Elizabeth on the coast. This was officially opened on 21 November 1880, and led to significant growth and economic development in and around the town.
The Cradock Four
The Cradock Four — Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkhonto, Fort Calata and Sicelo Mhlauli — were abducted while travelling from Port Elizabeth to Cradock in 1985. They were then taken to Olifantshoek Pass and later to Port Elizabeth, where they were assaulted, killed and their bodies and the vehicle in which they were travelling burnt on 27 June 1985.
Three Security Branch policemen, a Sergeant Faku, Sergeant Mgoduka, and one Sakati who participated in the killing of the activists were later killed in a car bomb blast at Motherwell in 1989.
Two inquests were held following the killing of the Cradock activists. During the second inquest in 1994, evidence was presented which pointed to the involvement of the then South African Defence Force in the killing of the activists. This evidence related to a signal which was allegedly sent by Colonel Lourens du Plessis on behalf of Brigadier van der Westhuizen to Major General van Rensburg, in which the 'permanent removal' from society of the deceased was recommended.
Economy and tourism
Cradock is one of the Cape's chief centres of the wool industry, and also produces beef, dairy, fruit, lucerne, and mohair. In the neighbouring district a few herds of mountain zebras survive, now protected by game laws.
Due to its hot sulphur springs, the town enjoys a reputation as one of the best health resorts in the province. It stands at an altitude of 871 metres (2856 ft). 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) north of the town are sulphur baths (temp 38 °C (100 °F)) used for the treatment of rheumatism. Among the town's other attractions are the Victoria Manor Hotel and the "tuishuise", a collection of restored Victorian era craftsmen's houses in Market Street.
||Middelburg||Steynsburg 96 km
Hofmeyr 63 km
|Burgersdorp, Aliwal North|
|Graaff-Reinet 56 km||Tarkastad 76 km, Queenstown|
- Cradock South Africa Guide
- Cradock history and other information
- Panoramas of Cradock and further information on the area
- "Chronological order of town establishment in South Africa based on Floyd (1960:20–26)". pp. xlv–lii.
- "Main Place Cradock". Census 2011.
- Burman, Jose (1984), Early Railways at the Cape. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, p.73. ISBN 0-7981-1760-5
- STATEMENT BY THE TRC: AMNESTY APPLICATIONS FOR CRADOCK FOUR KILLINGS, 16 February 1998
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.