The town of Olifantshoek is situated at the foot of the Langberg. This used to be the land of the Tswana, where tribes like the Thlaping and the Thlaro used to dwell. A hundred years of Tswana reign came to an end in 1885 when the area was annexed and became part of British Betsjoeanaland. In 1895 British Betsjoeanaland became part of the Cape Colony .
These political developments did not happen without hardship. In 1896 the chief of the Thlaping, Luka Jantje, paid with his life for his tribe’s rebellion against the Cape government. This, however, was not enough for some of the soldiers of the Cape Town Highlanders. Jantje’s head was cooked and his scull sold for 5 pounds to an officer of this regiment as a souvinier to take home to the Cape Colony. The incident led to an official investigation against those involved. After their surrender the land belonging to the Tswana was confiscated. Some 2000 Tswana were further taken to the Western Province where they had to work as forced labour on farms .
The first brick buildings in Olifantshoek were built in 1906 – a police cell and magistrate’s office. A huge tent next to the office served as the town’s first court. A policeman of the Cape Mounted Police, sgt. Hubert Warren, was the first resident to build a house in Olifantshoek in 1909 .
Those were the days when police patrol was done on camelback. The camels were obtained from a camel breeding station at Witdraai in the Kalahari. This practice came to an end in 1946.
The distance from service centres and bad communication lines with other towns have always been the most important challenges for the development of Olifantshoek. The car registration number awarded to Olifantshoek – CEW – was often referred to as an abbreviation for “corrugations everywhere,” – with reference to the condition of the local roads. The situation improved dramatically and the community was much less isolated after the road between Kuruman and Upington, travelling over Olifantshoek, was completed in 1975.
Since 2000 Olifantshoek forms part of the Tsantsebane Municipality with its head office in Postmasburg.
Situated 130km north east of Upington and 90km south west of Kuruman on the main road between Gauteng and Namibia
The name Olifantshoek is derived from the original Tswana name,”Ditlou”, which means “elephant” and was used due to the prevalence of these big animals in the area.
The towns found in the Green Kalahari are:
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