Tulbagh Remembers: It's been 50 years since South Africa's worst earthquake

2019-07-10 12:00 - Gabi Zietsman
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Fifty years ago, the ground under Tulbagh roared. 

Today, the scars of South Africa's most devastating earthquake have faded, but many still remember that night on 29 September in 1969 - houses collapsed, lives were lost and communities were displaced into makeshift tent dorpies. 

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church graveyard

Church graveyard. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Although it affected the towns of Wolseley and Ceres as well, Tulbagh was almost destroyed. Church street's oldest buildings were decimated, but through a passion for their town the community rebuilt the buildings as they once stood, and today the street is home to the most heritage sites in the country. 

To mark the 50 year anniversary, Tulbagh's museum and tourism authorities will be hosting a weekend-long arts festival from 27 September to 29 September, with stories told about the Boland Earthquake from those who survived it. 

If you don't visit during the festival, you can also learn more about the earthquake at the Oude Kerk Volksmuseum in Church Street. The church that forms part of the museum was one of the few buildings to survive the earthquake due to its loose foundation.

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church museum

The entrance to the church that forms part of the Volksmuseum. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

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