Rondebosch and Mowbray, two neighbouring suburbs in Cape Town, have a rich and fascinating history that has helped shape the city into what it is today. Rondebosch is situated on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain and is one of the oldest suburbs in Cape Town.
Mowbray, located to the north of Rondebosch, was originally part of a farm called “Pennywich” and was named after a village in North Yorkshire, England.
Originally known as “Het Ronde Doornbosjen,” Rondebosch was named after the indigenous vegetation of the area, a type of round thorn bush. In 1657, Jan van Riebeeck, the founder of Cape Town, granted a large area of land to a Dutch farmer named Pieter van der Byl, and the land that is now Rondebosch was part of this grant. The area was primarily used for farming during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The British colonial authorities started developing Rondebosch as a residential suburb for the wealthy in the early 1800s. They saw it as a place of refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Many grand houses were built in the area, and it became a fashionable place to live. Over time, the area became more accessible and affordable, and middle-class families began to move in.
In the late 1800s, the railway was extended to Mowbray, and it became more accessible to people from the city. Like Rondebosch, Mowbray was developed as a residential suburb, and many of the grand houses built in the area were used as summer residences for wealthy people from Cape Town. By the early 1900s, Mowbray had become a fully established suburb, and its streets were lined with trees and flowers.
Rondebosch and Mowbray played an essential role in the history of Cape Town. Rondebosch was the birthplace of several famous South Africans, including the Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee and former President F.W. de Klerk. The University of Cape Town, one of the top universities in Africa, is also located in Rondebosch adding to the area’s prestige. The area has a rich cultural heritage, with many historic buildings and landmarks, including the Dutch Reformed Church in Rondebosch, which was built in 1841.
Mowbray is home to the Mowbray Golf Course, one of the oldest golf courses in South Africa. The golf course was established in 1910, and it has been an essential part of the Mowbray community ever since. The golf course is well-known for its beautiful scenery and challenging greens.
Today, Rondebosch and Mowbray are both popular suburbs for families and young professionals. They are well connected to the city centre and offer a relaxed, suburban lifestyle. Rondebosch and Mowbray are also home to smaller shopping hubs and are popular shopping, dining, and entertainment destinations for residents and visitors alike. Stay tuned to learn more about one of Rondebosch’s landmarks in our next blog post.
In summary, Rondebosch and Mowbray are two of Cape Town’s oldest and most prestigious suburbs. Their history is intertwined with that of the city, and they have played an essential role in shaping the Cape Town that we know today. From their origins as farming communities to their development as residential areas, these suburbs have a rich and fascinating history that continues to be celebrated and remembered by the people who live there.