Roots of the De Waal Family in South Africa

Jan de Waal, born in Amsterdam in 1692, arrived in the Cape in 1715. He was working for the Dutch East India Company, an international corporation that was involved in trade and colonization until the 18th century.

Jan de Waal was granted a property or “erf” by Governor Ryk Tulbagh in 1752. This property was 93 Bree Street in Cape Town, restored and known today as the Jan de Waal House, now a National Monument.

In 1760 Jan de Waal bought the farm Schotcheskloof lying between Dorp and Wale Streets (known today as the Bo-Kaap). He developed the single storey house on the farm into a long, double story house with 14 bedrooms, just perfect to be able to accommodate all of his 17 children! It was here that the De Waal family started making wine, nine generations ago.

For the next couple of years until 1768 De Waal built many small houses which was known as “huurhuisjes” to be rented out to the slaves. He named this area Waalendorp (“Waal-town”). The Malay Museum of today was one of the rental houses he built in Waalendorp. This is the oldest existing house in Cape Town still in its original form.

There are two well-known sites in Cape Town named after the De Waal family. De Waal Drive against the prominent Table Mountain is the main highway leading out of the city towards Cape Town International Airport and the Southern Suburbs. The popular De Waal Park, one of the city’s largest public parks and a heritage site, lies in the heart of the city. David de Waal established this park in 1881 on condition that dogs must be able to run off leash in the park. They still enjoy this freedom today!

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