A short history of Kraaibosch
Kraaibosch is situated directly on the boundary of the Knysna Forest, within 800 meters of the Homtini River Valley, 32 km from Knysna. Kraaibosch has 24 lots of allocated land of which all are currently occupied in some way.
Kraaibosch was originally set up as a Woodcutters lot in 1895. The first steps began when the Cape Colony was granted a bicameral Parliament empowered to legislate on domestic matters. In 1892 these powers were extended to establish what became known as “Responsible Government” which gave the Cape Parliament control over most aspects of colonial administration. A new ministerial Office known as the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Public works was created under Act No 1 of 1892.
This commissioner was charged with the administration of Land Laws in the Cape Colony. His responsibilities included control over the Colony’s natural and mineral resources, geographical exploration, irrigation and immigration. The Crown Forests were included under the heading of Natural Resources.
In September 1879 Act No 33 named the Agricultural Immigrant’s Land Extension Act. This Act allowed for the selection of suitable lots of Crown Land on which British immigrants could be settled. After six years of acceptable tenure the immigrant became entitled to purchase the said land on a quitrent basis.
The duty of the Commission was to call for and receive applications from persons desirous of possessing land, either as woodcutters, or on the grounds of having been dispossessed of land. The appointment of ground and the erection of beacons were done with the approval of and under the direct supervision of the Surveyor General. The actual allocation of the ground would require a proper survey and the commissioners were to make clear to each applicant the boundaries of the land assigned to them.
The Land Claims Commission first assembled at Kraaibosch on 18 September 1882. Twenty Four allotments of 10 Morgan (8.5 Hectare) were laid out to form Kraaibosch, also known as Barrington B.
From this point on it became illegal to live in the forest. The forest was being destroyed by woodcutters living in the forest and harvesting the indigenous trees. These woodcutters mostly descendants of Italian immigrants brought here by Lord Barrington in the late 1700s. Many were living in squalor in the forest. They had interbred with the local Xhosa and bushmen people and interbreeding was producing malformed offspring. Thus the decision to remove people from the forest and allocate woodcutters lots for them at the edge of the Forest.
As far as my research has revealed, there were no settlements in this area before this time, although it could have been used by Bushmen ‘Strandlopers‘ to pass thru the location on their way to visit relatives in the Karoo however it would be unlikely that Bushmen tribes would ever settle next to a forest due to their suspicion.
Since 1900 and now, many of the pieces of land have been sold or handed down to heirs.
Farm 150 (allocated originally as lot number 13b) Kraaibosch is the land purchased by Pachamama Forest Retreat (Pty)Ltd in 2016 from Hadiqa Osho Meditation Centre (Pty)Ltd.