The History of 'tZamenkomst

'tZamenkomst is a farm on the Seacow River in the District of Colesberg, South Africa. It was originally granted to van der Walt in 1836. Before then it was never “owned” by anyone. There is ample evidence that it was occupied from time to time by bushmen who moved around following the migratory herds of springbuck.

It was bought by H C van Zijl in July 1842.

A note of explanation - van Zijl is the original Dutch spelling of our surname, and van Zyl the Afrikaans spelling.

H C van Zijl settled his son Johan Wilhelm on 'tZamenkomst. On 24th January 1888 Johan Wilhelm married Emma Katie Weakley. They had six children. The eldest son Johan Wilhelm took over the farm after the death of his father on 4th October 1908. He married Doris Doble nee Rutter late in life. They had no children, but Doris had three children - Leslie, Keith and Heather.

After his death in November 1974 the farm passed into the hands of Christopher Anthony van Zyl, youngest son of Benjamin van Zyl, youngest son of Johan Wilhelm van Zijl Sr. Christopher farmed with his wife Ute (known as Dassie - born Nieswandt) for 18 months. He then moved to Fort Beaufort as a senior lecturer in Land Survey at the University of Fort Hare. They had two children, Catherine and Caroline, and moved to Dresden in 198x, where Christopher worked as a Professor in the Survey department of the Hochcshule fuer Technik und Wirtschaft. To our great sorrow Ute died in January 1991. In June 2004 Christopher married Birgit Schmallfuss. Birgit has three sons Sascha, Ivo and Roman.

Herbert George, the second son of Benjamin then took over the farm. He farmed until his death in January 1982 with his wife Margaret Wenda Bensted-Smith. They had four children, Sandra, Gaynor, Diana and Rosemary. Wendy married again to Dr. David Perkins. They spent some time in Australia. After their return David got a post at a hospital in Zululand. He died in 200 . Wendy now lives in Cape Town

Johan Roben van Zijl, the eldest son of Benjamin van Zijl then took over the farm, and farmed it with his wife Margaret (born Adam) until his retirement. Their son David Roben then took over management of the farm until it was sold to Q-Safaris in 2017 as detailed below. David now manages Seacow Enterprises and also farms with his good friends Rob & Elma Dean on their small holding in Bloemfontein growing tomatoes & other vegetables. Their daughter Anne lives in Johannesburg with her husband Micheal Munro and their children Joshua and Ruth. Anne, who has qualified with a CIS, has a business – Mopani Office Pty (Ltd) which offers company secretarial services.

Johan Roben van Zijl, the eldest son of Benjamin van Zijl, then took over the farm and farmed there with his wife Margaret (born Adam) and son David Roben until 2010 when he retired and moved into an old family house in Colesberg. David took over management of the farm, and ran it until 2017 when the farm was sold. He now runs Seacow Enterprises. and farms vegetables with his good friends Rob & Elma Dean on a small holding in Bloemfontein. Their daughter Anne lives in Johannesburg with her husband Micheal Munro and their children Joshua and Ruth. Anne, who has qualified with a CIS, has a business – Munro Company Suppport which offers company secretarial services. 

HowTzamenkomst changed hands.

By Johan Roben van Zijl.

My Grandfather Johan Wilhelm van Zyl was settled on Tzamenkomst in the district of Colesberg by his father H C van Zyl.

It was later divided into two portions. One lies on the bank of the Seacow River, and is relatively flat. This is the Remainder Tzamenkomst no 57, 2656Ha in extent. The other portion is the hilly portion known as Glenroy. It is Portion 1 Tzamenkomst, 2555Ha in extent.

At some stage that I have not been able to track down a nearby farm Byvoegsel no 96, 1086.4923 Ha in exent was added to Tzamenkomst, as was a farm lying between the Seacow River and Byvoegsel, known as Portion 1 Elands Rivier no 63, 793.9552 Ha in extent.

When my grandfather died on 4th October 1888 he left Tzamenkomst to his five surviving children, Johan (known as John), Hermione (Hermy), George, Joan and my father Benjamin (Ben) in equal shares. Joan died on the 6th October, 1936 and left her share to Hermy. George sold his share to John who farmed Tzamenkomst after his father died.

John, Hermy and Ben bought Remainder Elands River no 63, 825.3828 Ha in extent in equal shares, so that at this stage John owned 2/5th Tzamenkomst, Portion 1 Elands Rivier and Byvoegsel and 1/3rd Remainder Elands River. Hermy owned the same while Ben owned 1/5th Tzamenkomst, Portion 1 Elands Rivier and Byvoegsel and 1/3rd Remainder Elands River.

My father Ben died first on 10th May, 1970. He left his share in Tzamenkomst in equal shares to his sons Roben, Herbert and Christopher. These shares were to be held in trust for the benefit of my mother until her death or remarriage. My mother remarried, so ownership of Bens undivided portion was passed in equal shares to his sons.

At this stage John still ran the farm.

Next to die was John in November 1974. He left his share to Christopher provided that he farmed Tzamenkomst for three years. Christopher farmed for a while, but then decided that he wanted to pursue his career as a Land Surveyor, and Herbert took over the farm.

Herbert died on the 29th January, 1982 after farming for years, and left “Uncle Johns portion” to Roben, Christopher and his heirs in equal shares. Before this estate was settled Hermy on the 9th July, 1983 died leaving her portion to Roben, Christopher and Herberts heirs in equal shares.

Provision had to be made for my brothers family. The lawyer who handled Hermys estate, J Olivier of Schutz & de Jager drew up a Partion and Redistribution Agreement which was accepted by Roben, Christopher and Standard Trust as executors of Herberts will. This agreement was based on valuations done by an official evaluator NAJ van Rensburg. As far as I know this was the first and only time a valuation of the parts of the farm were done. The other times the farm was valued as a whole.

Tzamenkomst as farmed by JR & DR van Zijl

Tzamenkomst as farmed by JR & DR van Zijl.

Christophers portion was Grasbult, Draaikamp and Ox Camp.

Byvoegesl is adjacent to Christophers porttion.

Glenroy is  adjacent to Upper Horse Camp, Hammerkops  Nes & Vlakkamp.

This Agreement allocated Byvoegsel and Portion 1 Tzamenkomst (Glenroy) to Herberts estate, Remander Elands Rivier to Roben, Portion 1 Elands Rivier to Christopher and Remainder Tzamenkomst to Hermys estate.

Byvoegsel and Portion 1 Tzamenkomst were sold by public auction. Remainder Tzamenkomst was allocated to Aunt Hermy's estate, Portion 1 of Elands Rivier to Christopher and Remainder Elands Rivier to Roben.

When Aunt Hermy died she left her portion in equal shares to Roben, Herberts heirs and Christopher. Roben decided to come farming, and Remainder Tzamenkomst was transferred to him after he had paid cash adjustments to Christopher and Herberts estate.

In 2015 Christopher decided to sell his share to Richard de Vos, owner of a neighbouring farm, a game farm, Quaggasfontein, known as Q-Safari.

Richard then made an offer to purchase Cow Camp, across the Seacow River from Christopher’s portion and adjacent to Quaggasfontein. After family consultations, and bearing in mind the damage done to the farming operation by the loss of a lamb crop due to Rift Valley Fever and a recent drought, a decision was taken to tell Richard that Cow Camp was not for sale, but that he could make an offer to purchase the whole farm. This he did, and as a result Tzamenkomst was sold to him in 2017.