THE unique little hamlet of Kasouga, established circa 1820, a few kilometres from Port Alfred, was a holiday camping area for the settlers from the Lower Albany, where they would arrive with their wagons, cattle, horses and staff, and of course numerous family, for the Christmas rest.
Everything had to be carted down with them. Included in the packing would be poultry, a staggering number of cloth bags containing flour for bread making, smoked bacon, if not the live pigs, and all the kitchen paraphernalia, bedding, clothes, medicinal concoctions and naturally, their Bibles and guns.
Often, if a new cottage were in mind, the wagons would contain items of furniture as well. They had to be well prepared for the unexpected too, such as possibly births and deaths.
The name Kasouga, is derived from Khoekoen – a Khoisan word meaning “the place of many leopards”. The lovely little river, Kasuka, has the same meaning, adapted by Xhosa people.
A social holiday settlement, this exquisite place has a way of holding onto its settlers, in the manner that generations of family own property there and naturally, marry some, and surely meet up with long-time friends every year.
The almost untouched bush abounds in natural game, Oribi being just one of the species. As a spectacular bird sanctuary, in addition to the prolific fishing off the beach, the settlers worshipped this haven of peace.
The James Ford Hall, built in 1952, added a new venue for social occasions to take place. The hall, which still stands today, is still used for all social occasions which take place among the Kasouga family. One delightful old gentleman told us a story about crossing the river on Saturday nights, having walked some 20km from his farm, to meet up with the girl he fancied. He said many of his friends did similar, and that the music in the hall was not loud enough to drown out the shuffling of feet covered in sea sand. He said it was deafening.
Another dear old lady, aged 90, regaled us with gossip. While her memory was very clear on the happenings, she slipped slightly as to the number of her siblings, which in the end we were able to establish, 11 spinsters and four brothers.
“They were all so ugly and mean, no one wanted to marry them,” she said.
Nearly all of them arrive for the Christmas holidays, even now.
On June 22 1965, a trawler named Cape St Blaize went aground near the high bank of the Kasouga Beach. The trawler was operating a crew of 13 members who all made it out alive. However, due to bad gale force winds, and mountainous seas the rescue did not prove to be easy. Very small items of this ship yet remain to be seen at low tide.