My first visit to the Post Retief Barracks was in February 2017 during a period of rain that had turned the grass within the fort a lush green.

Four years later, and at the end of winter, not only was the grass dry and pale, but there were further signs of deterioration of these historic buildings designed by Major Charles Selwyn of the Royal Engineers in 1836.

Local clay bricks and sandstone were used in the construction of these buildings – both materials are showing serious signs of wear and tear. A stone lintel that was already bending and cracking four years ago despite being shored up with timber, has cracked further.

Compare the state of the first of the buildings in this row between 1917 and 2021.

There are other aspects of this fort that are worth returning to later. I will end, as I did with my earlier post, with the narrow gate in the wall opposite the officer’s quarters through which one had to pass to draw water from the Koonap River below.



  2. Wonderful. Looks like an ideal place to go and just be. To contemplate a bygone age and the passing of time.



    • Tourism assigned names to different parts of the country in order to highlight some of the main attractions. This area of the Eastern Cape is known as Frontier Country – this fort is one of many sites that bears silent testimony to the turbulent times experienced by the early settlers – and the many British soldiers who came before them. Sometimes I look at this hot, bushy (lots of thorns) landscape and cannot help wondering what those men thought about where they had been sent and what on earth the point of them being here was. As for the unsuitable uniforms they were expected to wear …

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There are so many history buffs from around the world that, if just a minute percentage of them could be attracted to our historic sites, it could be a huge boon for our hard-hit tourism industry. Sad to see such an opportunity be allowed to go to ruin, literally.


    • KZN has made the most of its Anglo-Boer War sites in the past – and post-pandemic will probably do so again. Despite being designated ‘Frontier Country’, tourism to such sites here appear to be sporadic. I only have to look at our crumbling town and the phenomenal tourist potential it has that is going to waste.


    • Hierdie deel van die Oos Kaap is baie mooi: berge, klowe, oop gras, blomme … Post Retief is vir my interessant omdat ons kan sien hoe dit gebou was uit sandsteen, klei bakstene, hout en zinc. Daar is perde stalle, verblyfplek vir die offisiere, ‘n kombuis … ek bewonder my oor wat daardie soldate gedink het om in ons land te wees en waarom … dit is ‘n plek om te sit en droom – en bly te voel dat ons hier behoort.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.