Eye of Kuruman
|Eye of Kuruman|
The „Eye of Kuruman“
The Eye of Kuruman (Afrikaans: Die Oog) is a spring in the town of Kuruman (part of the Ga-Segonyana Local Municipality) in the province of Northern Cape, South Africa. One source states it is the largest known natural spring in the Southern Hemisphere., although the Te Waikoropupū Springs in Golden Bay, New Zealand has been reliably measured at an average flow some 60 times greater (14 m3/second).
The spring forms a small lake in the middle of the town, directly on the N14 road and is located in a fenced park. It has a daily flow of about 20,000 m³ of crystal-clear, potable water. Water from the spring supplies the town of Kuruman.
The town of Kuruman is located on the border of South Africa’s Northern Cape and North West provinces. The year 1895 was the only time in recorded history where the stream was constant throughout and moved from the eye, down the stream Kuruman river, Molopo River, Orange River and finally into the Atlantic Ocean. Originally, Tswana herders used the large spring as a water hole. In 1885, the British classified the area as part of the Crown Colony of British Bechuanaland. This classification of land prohibited the Tswana people from using the stream for any purpose.The upper Kuruman valley became a crown reserve and the Eye of Kuruman became the town site. Access to the valley became segregated by race in the twentieth century under the Union government. A modern irrigation project was operated by the municipality of Kuruman after 1918 and, in 1919 black cultivators were evicted from using water from the eye. However, black people continued to use the stream and moved 5 miles down the stream to Seodin. The water at the Seodin area had a much weaker stream making irrigation difficult for the Tswana people. The governments Department of Native Affairs drilled bore holes to assist the black farmers in 1940 however, this was still insufficient to sustain cultivation. In 1962, Apartheid legislation led to the forced removal of black people from Seodin. The ‘whites-only’ irrigation project never commercialised despite state aid. 
The Eye of Kuruman cave forms part of the eight caves on the dolomitic Ghaap Plateau of the Northern Cape. The Eye of Kuruman cave from which the springs emerge has been documented form as early as the nineteenth century. The first sketch of the cave was made in 1907 measuring a total of 138 meters.
Description of Cave
The dolomite cave has a series of cracks where streams of water flow. The streams of water travel through various passages and emerge together at the base of a cliff described as ‘Die Oog’ in Afrikaans which translates as ‘The Eye’.
Both the air and water temperature of the cave is about 21 degrees Celsius with a relative humidity of about 99% The common bent-wing bat (Miniopterus schreibersii) and Geoffroy’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus clivosus) were recorded in the Eye of Kuruman cave in 1985. Due to high levels of humidity as well as consistent human disturbance, very few bats are now found in the cave. Species that are found in the cave include:
- the airbreathing catfishes Clarias gariepensis
- C. gariepensis
- Tilapia spp
- cf.Rhagovelia a water skater
There are no aquatic invertebrates inside the cave. Detritivores include:
spiders of the families:
- Northern Cape Tourism
- NC Provincial Government
- Touring in South Africa By Sandra Olivier, page 166
- N Jacobs. The Journal of African History. The Flowing Eye: Water Management in the Upper Kuruman Valley, South Africa, c. 1800-1962. Cambridge University Press 1996 Vol. 37, No. 2(1996), pp. 237-260. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0021853700035210 Accessed 18 November 2017
- E.Irish, J.Marais. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum: Researchers of the National Museum, Volume 18, Issue 2, Feb 2012, p. 15-29. https://journals.co.za/content/nnm/18/2/AJA00679208_1439 Accessed 10 October 2017
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