Lower Albany Historical Society invited Trevor Webster to talk about the history of Hogsback at their meeting at Settlers Park last Thursday.
The hall was filled to a capacity with a lot of interest from the attendees.
The village is magnificently sited on the slopes of the Amatole Mountains, overlooking the rivers and fertile plains of the Tyume Valley in a region dominated by three ridges said to resemble the bristles on a hog’s back.
“My descendants arrived in 1820 in Algoa Bay and farmed at Port Alfred, spread around the country and established a home in Hogsback. That is when I noticed that Hogsback is a beautiful, wonderful paradise. The first descendant’s residents were the Summerton family back in 1884,” Webster said.
He went on to talk about the community services in Hogsback, and how they all started back in the day, and about the beautiful waterfalls which are a feature of Hogsback.
“After the disaster of World War 1, teachers at Jack Press started Hobbiton-on-Hogsback, fetching orphans for a holiday in Heaven Jikani, and Hobbiton continues to this day, and they offer many other services to the people of the community,” Webster said.
He told the audience about the iconic spots such as St Patrick’s Chapel built in 1935, the Hogsback Inn, and the oldest hostelry in Hogsback. He spoke about how people of Hogsback celebrate nature differently and their magical attractions being the Eco-shrine, Fairy Realm, Starways and Labyrinth.
“The Eco-shrine gained the Green Dove Award from the USA in 1998. John McKinnell and Ken Harvey have taken beautiful photographs of Hogsback scenes. Felicity Wood, a resident, wrote the biography of the herbalist, Extraordinary Khotso. There are many artists, sculptors like Anton van der Merwe and the Mafika Potters, poets like the Ecca poets and musicians who live on the Hogsback who, from time to time, present their work, especially at the Annual Arts Festival, organised by Gwyneth Lloyd,” Webster said.
Hogsback is so beautiful that one can forget the other perspective of the paradox of the place, Webster said. Major poverty and inequality are challenges for the future. There is a huge contrast between the forested mountain and the grassland valley. Hogsback was recently affected by a huge service delivery protest and people started to build shacks illegally.
“Those who are privileged to reside in this heavenly beautiful town are aware of their responsibility to care for this natural realm. Although the village has grown there is permanence about the place that makes it unique. Many try to protect the streams, the indigenous forests, the simple style of life and nature in all its abundance and beauty,” Webster said.
BY NTOMBENTSHA MSUTU