Cradock, Eastern Cape

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Cradock is located in Eastern Cape
 Cradock shown within Eastern Cape
Coordinates: 32°11′S 25°37′E / 32.183°S 25.617°E / -32.183; 25.617Coordinates: 32°11′S 25°37′E / 32.183°S 25.617°E / -32.183; 25.617
Country South Africa
Province Eastern Cape
District Chris Hani
Municipality Inxuba Yethemba
Established 1816[1]
 • Total 125.96 km2 (48.63 sq mi)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 36,671
 • Density 290/km2 (750/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[2]
 • Black African 61.8%
 • Coloured 25.4%
 • Indian/Asian 0.4%
 • White 11.8%
 • Other 0.5%
First languages (2011)[2]
 • Xhosa 55.9%
 • Afrikaans 38.2%
 • English 3.5%
 • Other 2.4%
Postal code (street) 5880
PO box 5880
Area code 048

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.


The original inhabitants of the region were the Khoi herders and hunter gatherers. In the first millennium CE, the iron-working Xhosa stock farmers arrived from the north-east.

Colonial history[edit]

Lieutenant Governor and war leader Andries Stockenström 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. Its design was based on that of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London.

In the 1830s the Great Trek began, as Afrikaners who were discontent with British rule left en masse for the interior. Most of the migration departed from (and via) the area around Cradock.[3]

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.[4]

In the early 1900s, a boom in demand for ostrich feathers led to a massive rise in prosperity for the local ostrich farmers.[5]

The Cradock Four[edit]

The Cradock Four — Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkhonto, Fort Calata and Sicelo Mhlauli — were abducted while travelling from Port Elizabeth to Cradock in 1985.[6] 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.

Economy and tourism[edit]

Cradock is one of the Cape's chief centres of the wool industry, and also produces beef, dairy, fruit, lucerne, and mohair.

A notable attraction is the Mountain Zebra National Park just 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the town, where the once-endangered species together with lion, cheetah, buffalo and a range of antelope species are to be seen in magnificent surroundings.

Notable attractions in the town are the "tuishuise" (at-home houses), superbly restored Victorian era craftsmen's houses in Market Street which form part of the Victoria Manor Hotel; the Dutch Reformed Moederkerk which was designed after the style of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, London; and Schreiner House where the renowned author of The Story of an African Farm lived as a young girl. The house, which is located at 9 Cross Street and is a satellite of the National English Literary Museum, contains a modern set of exhibitions portraying the life of Olive Schreiner.

Notable people[edit]

External links[edit]