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, 250 kilometres (160 mi) by road 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 2015 was 35,000.

Pre-Colonial History[edit]

For thousands of years San hunter-getherers were the sole human inhabitants of southern Africa. About 2000 years BP the semi-nomadic Khoikhoi (or Khoekhoen or Khoikhoin) arrived with cattle, sheep and goats. These pastoralists migrated south towards the coast. Rock paintings and petroglyphs (engravings remain as evidence of the first people who lived here.

By the 4th century AD Bantu-speaking people had begun to migrate from central Africa down the east coast into southern Africa. The amaXhosa pressed further south to the banks of the Great Fish River where they met San hunter-gatherers and Khoikhoi pastoralists, and later still Dutch and then British settlers.

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]

Coat of Arms[edit]

Municipality — Cradock was established as a municipality in 1840. By 1902, the town council had assumed a coat of arms.[7][8] The arms were formally granted by the provincial administrator in May 1966[9] and registered at the Bureau of Heraldry in September 1969.

The arms were : Quarterly: I, Argent, a tree Vert; II, Gules, a beehive, Or; III, Gules, a fleece Or; IV, Azure, a garb Or. In layman's terms, this means that the shield was divided into four quarters displaying (1) a green tree on a silver background, (2) a golden beehive on a red background, (3) a golden fleece on a red background, and (4) a golden wheatsheaf on a blue background.[10]

Until 1966, the shield was flanked by two ostrich feathers. They were replaced with two mountain zebras, as supporters. The crest was a cornucopia and the motto was Perseverantia vincit.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Chronological order of town establishment in South Africa based on Floyd (1960:20–26)" (PDF). pp. xlv–lii. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Main Place Cradock". Census 2011. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Burman, Jose (1984). Early railways at the Cape. Human & Rousseau. p. 73. 
  5. ^
  7. ^ The arms were depicted on a medallion issued in 1902.
  8. ^ The arms were depicted on a cigarette card issued in 1931.
  9. ^ Cape of Good Hope Official Gazette 3348 (27 May 1966).
  10. ^ "Cradock". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 2016-01-04.