The Stellenbosch Section was established in 1893, shortly after the Cape Town Section. However, after a few years it died a slow death. In 1953 it was again established. This history is described in an article of Ernst Lotz in Journal No. 86 of 1983, pp.12–15, with the title “Dertig jaar is ’n leeftyd” [Thirty years is a lifetime].

The first committee members after the re-establishment of the Section were:

  • Dr T.B. Scheffler
  • Mr E. v.d.S. Lotz (“onse Ernst”)
  • Mr C.A. Smith (“Oom Tjaain”)
  • Mr W. Martley

The first trip: The Cathedral on Saturday 24 October 1953.

(It is interesting that the first Circular (October 1953) referred to it as “Die Katedrale” (“The Cathedrals”) – nowadays we always use the name “Die Katedraal”.)

They were to meet at the corner of Jonkershoek Road and Van der Stel Street (the fork at the Willow Tree) at 06:00 sharp. (To meet at that place would nowadays cause traffic problems!)

Transport: “Prospective participants must please contact one of the committee members before Friday, 5 pm. so that the possibility of providing transport can be investigated. If we don’t have any success, we’ll use our bicycles.”

(And in the past few years we have ONLY had two trips using bicycles!)

The report on the trip mentioned that 13 members took part, including three of the four committee members. Oom Tjaain Smith was the leader.

The Stellenbosch Section also caused a stir with a language struggle. Ernst Lotz writes in the journal of 1983 how the mountain club coat of arms on the cover of the journal was the first one with Afrikaans wording! I quote:

“Circular number 3 had scarcely reached Cape Town when all hell broke loose. Afrikaans on the coat of arms! Outrageous, uncalled-for and totally unacceptable!”

There was a fierce debate at the next meeting of the Central Committee, but in the end Afrikaans on the coat of arms did get the green light!