Welcome To Philippolis
Philippolis is geographically located in the centre of southern Africa, in the province of the Free State. If one forms a star shape over the map of South Africa; we find that Philippolis - small and quaint - is located in the centre of the star. Historically Philippolis shows its great treasure. In 1823 - after the Toverberg mission was closed - Philippolis was founded. Dr John Philip, Superintendent of South Africa; was to have a missionary in this region. Philippolis is located just 60 kilometers north-west from the Gariep Dam and is the oldest settlement of the Free State. Philippolis received its name from Dr John Philip. "Philip" with the addition of the Greek word "polis", which means "city" = Philippolis!
Philippolis is closely associated with Emily Hobhouse (9 April 1860 - 8 June 1926). As a daughter of an English parishioner, Emily arrived in Cape Town on 27 December 1900. The curiosity about all the news about the suffering and spectacle of the Boer War in South Africa had taken interest to her; and most probably out of all the reports of the suffering of the women and children of concentration camps in Port Elizabeth. At that time, she did not know that other concentration camps were located elsewhere. 22 January 1901 Emily Hobhouse received the consent to continue her trip to Bloemfontein. Emily had arrived in the middle of the 2nd Boer War. The local "Afrikaans" language was alien to her. Yet, misery does not need language! More than 2,000 prisoners, including 900 children, were registered for the concentration camp.
The war between the Boers and English was at its height. Water scarcity, famine, and related diseases were phased out. English troops arrested many farmers - Free State is still the greatest farmland area of South Africa - and burned their houses and land. It was ensured that the rest of the groups forming the Africans did not receive any support or food. Emily Hobhouse demanded and struggled with all her might for the struggle for human rights, which became evident in her commitment to the afflicted population. Official reports do not necessarily reveal that in 1903, Emily had set up a spinning and weaving mill / school in Philippolis. Her concern was for the women to get a job to make some money. A concern of survival. At the present local supermarket there is still a small sign of the dining room that Emily had also built in Philippolis. Just across the street from FoodZone, a very faithful family of the village built a memorial garden in recognition of Emily as she was a true fighter in distress and earns recognition and respect.
Philippolis was also home to Adam Kok, father of the Griqua people. Kok was chosen to protect the mission. The Kok's did not leave a good light on their name. They killed and exasperated the Bushmen in the vicinity of the mission. When the Orange Free State government decided to sell the country to the UK for 400 pounds, the Kok family decided to leave the area. They first went to Bethulie; with the same result of leaving disaster behind, to move shortly afterwards 600 kilometers further to settle. "Kokstad" was founded. Adam Kok III had his influence there. The Kok'she house - for years it could never be proven properly - is still existent in Philippolis. Plates and cups were found, which were discovered by chance in a hidden wall. This was the proof that this was Adam Kok's house.
Among all the many historic buildings in Philippolis, the NG Kerk is probably the most impressive. In 1862, after Philippolis became part of the Orange Free State, the NG Kerk bought the old Griqua church for R1,800. In 1869 the foundation for the new church was laid on the basis of the growth of Philippolis. The pulpit of the NG Kerk in Philippolis is already worth seeing due to the fact that it was carved from a piece of wild olive tree. No nails were used for the woodwork.
Sir Laurens van der Post (13.12.1906 - 16.12.1996), next to his father, CW H van der Post, is another character of Philippolis, together with many others. Surely the many striking life stations that Laurens van der Post ran through formed him becoming and being a strong personality. Laurens, an adventurer, diplomat, journalist, and travel writer, was a born literary man, clearly reflected in the written reports, including 25 written books. Films are also part of his works.