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History tells us about the Huguenots' arrival in South Africa in 1688. They were not, however, the first ones...

Circa 1685 two Du Toit brothers left Lille (France) during the Huguenot persecutions by the Catholic Church and fled to Nederland. No details were found about their origins or professions, but, considering their success in Stellenbosch, they were surely also farmers in France.

In 1686, on board the "Vrijheit", the two brothers - Guillaume du Toit  and his younger brother François du Toit - arrived at the Cape and settled, almost immediately in the Stellenbosch region.

In 1687, Guillaume du Toit is granted a farm - Aan't Pad - which was only allocated to him in 1692. 

In 1690 François marries a Huguenot girl, Susanne Seugnet, who had arrived at the Cape with her two sisters Claudine and Jeanne, in 1689. François du Toit is also allocated  his first farm - De Kleine Bosch - in 1692 . He must, therefore, have obtained De Kleine Bos shortly after his marriage. Like his brother Guillaume, he also played a prominent part in the local community. He strongly opposed governor W.A. van der Stel. He was also a member of the heemraad for Stellenbosch and Drakenstein. 

He apparently prospered as a farmer, because he eventually owned three farms : De Klein Bos, Zoetendal in the Wagenmakersvallei and Limietrivier adjoining Zoetendal. 

François and Guillaume, who had come from the north of France, did cultivate vines, but not on as large a scale as some other Huguenots. They went in for mixed farming with a large number of stock and a reasonably high grain production. François was obviously the most successful Huguenot farmer.

 

We are still busy with this page! Please tell us your stories, as well!

Thanks to:

The Huguenot Memorial Museum