f.2. Gideon Retief VON WIELLIGH, geb. 01/04/1859

f.2.  Gideon Retief, geb. 01/04/1859, Vrijguns, Paarl, oorl. 09/08/1932  Kafferstat, Hendrina x 12/05/1885, Paarl, met Elizabeth Johanna Hendrika DE VILLIERS, geb. 24/06/1860, ged. 15/07/1860, Paarl, oorl. 09/06/1908, Robertson, (MOOC 6/9/2160 3137)  47 jr 11 mde, musikus, d.v. Jan Stephanus de Villiers en Johanna Maria Wilhelmina van der Lingen.  Geskei.

Gideon Retief was die seun van Nicolaas von Wielligh en Martha Maria Retief.


Gideon Retief von  Wielligh, ook bekend onder die skuilnaam Hans Kaapnaar, was op 1 April 1859 gebore.  In ‘n artikel in Die Brandwag, gedateer 10 Desember 1918, word GR von Wielligh (1859-1932) se geboorteplek as die plaas Vrijgegunst in die Paarl distrik aangegee.  
 Von Wielligh is genoem na sy grootvader, Gideon Retief, broer van die Voortrekkerheld, Piet Retief. Gideon behoort aan die sesde geslag wat op Afrikaanse grond gebore is. (P.J. Nienaber & G.S. Nienaber: Geskiedenis van die Afrikaanse letterkunde. J.L. van Schaik, Bepk., Pretoria 1941)

Van sy 7de jaar af moes hy die ploeg lei, vee oppas, op die oeslande hopies maak en soortegelyke werkies doen, wat vir ‘n plaaskind nie ongewoon was nie.  Sy eerste skoolonderrig het hy van Jan Balt, 'n Hollandse matroos, ontvang. En toe kom die groot avontuur in sy lewe. (P.J. Nienaber & G.S. Nienaber: Geskiedenis van die Afrikaanse letterkunde. J.L. van Schaik, Bepk., Pretoria 1941)  Op sy elfde jaar het hy sy vader op ‘n handelstog na die Boesmanland vergeselHis first encounter with “the wild Bushmen” was at age 11:  “... at that time we undertook a (trade) journey with our father through parts of Namaqualand, Bushmanland and the Hantam. During the evenings, and also during the day, many of these chaps would join us around the campfire from hunting in the wilds. For a small reward they were willing to tell the little master stories, which we absorbed with mouths agape.” (Von Wielligh, G. R. (1921) Boesman-Stories. Deel 1: Mitologie en legendes. De Nationale Pers: Cape Town. Introduction)  Baie van sy ervarings op hierdie reis vind ons terug in Jakob Platjie.

Toe hy terugkeer het hy net soveel Engels as Jacob Platjie geken.  Sy vader het al sy besittings a.g.v. borgstaan verloor en Gideon moes self vir sy studies betaal.  Deur bemiddeling van verskeie vriende kon hy nou aan die Paarlse Gymnasium gaan studeer en op agtienjarige leeftyd lê hy sy landmeterseksamen af. In 1884 is hy aangestel as Landmeter-Generaal van die Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. (P.J. Nienaber & G.S. Nienaber: Geskiedenis van die Afrikaanse letterkunde. J.L. van Schaik, Bepk., Pretoria 1941)  

Op 25 jarige ouderdom was hy Land-meter-Generaal van Transvaal.


(http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?bibcode=2007AfrSk..11...13K&db_key=AST&page_ind=0&data_type=GIF&type=SCREEN_VIEW&classic=YES)

Nadat hy gekwalifiseer het as landmeter het hy opnames in die Karoo (1876-1878) gemaak en daarna 'n landmeters-kantoor in Calvinia, suid van die Hantam berge (1880-1883) oopgemaak.  Deur die aard van sy beroep, het hy groot streke van Suid-Afrika goed leer ken.  Al die ondervindings en ervarings wat Von Wielligh op sy landmetersreise deur ons land opgedoen het, het daartoe gestrek om van hom 'n onuitputlike skrywer te maak. Hy was sestien jaar toe hy lid geword het van die Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners, en vanaf 1876 het hy bygedra tot die Patriot waaraan hy hom in 1891 onttrek het. Van Ons Klyntji en veral van Ons Taal, was hy een van die getrouste medewerkers. (P.J. Nienaber & G.S. Nienaber: Geskiedenis van die Afrikaanse letterkunde. J.L. van Schaik, Bepk., Pretoria 1941)

  
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GR het in 1883 na die Transvaal verhuis. Op 12/05/1885 trou hy met Elizabeth Johanna Hendrika de Villiers.



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Elizabeth was born on 24 June1860 and passed away on 7 June 1908. She was married on 12 May 1885 to GR von Wielligh, who was already Surveyor General of South Africa. Her paternal uncle, Ds W.P. de Villiers of Carnavon, conducted the ceremony.  The couple had six children while living on their farm Villieria in the Pretoria area (now the suburb Villieria): - Nico (died when 10 months old) - Jan Stephanus de Villiers von Wielligh - Maria van der Lingen von Wielligh - Gideon Francios Alexander von Wielligh - Wilhelm van der Lingen von Wielligh - Pieter (died when 15 months old).  She was divorced in February 1904, and thereafter changes her married surname to the German spelling "von Willich". Her second son, Don, followed suit and his surname as well as that of his children were therefore "von Willich".  (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/De_Villiers-1096)



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In November 1919 (bl. 188) verskyn die volgende van GR in Die Huisgenoot:





Die borsplaat van Nicolaas von Wielligh was in die besit van GR soos beskryf word in Die Huisgenoot van Junie 1920 (bl. 56).



In 1903 was hy ‘n ongeluk wat tot feitlik volslae blindheid gelei het.  Hy het slegs ‘n kwart van sy sig in sy regteroog teruggekry.  "He went to Delgoabay (present-day Maputo Bay, Mozambique) to fetch the astronomical equipment of the Transvaal government. At this event during a carnival, lime was thrown into his eyes. Medical treatment improved his condition so that he 'now has recovered in his right eye a quarter normal vision. He reads with strong spectacles and a double magnifying glass – his nose almost against the paper, and even then he sees only five or six letters at a time.'  (Langenhoven (1922) "Stille Waters", Die dokter se viviseksie, Die Burger, 1922 December 25).  Hy het ‘n baie goeie geheue gehad.

Hy was landmeter-generaal van die Transvaalse Boererepubliek, skrywer en Afrikaanse taalpionier. In sy laaste jare was hy ’n erelid van die SA Akademie vir Taal, Lettere en Kuns, later die SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns.

GR von Wielligh het vir die minderbevoorregtes en oningeligtes geskryf. Sy aanslag was eenvoudig, maar met ’n sjarme wat sy lesers bekoor het. Op dié wyse het hy sy doel, om hulle op te voed en lief vir lees te maak, bereik. Sy Boesman-, Hottentot- en dierestories is in wese didakties, en terselfdertyd agtingwekkend vir die kulture van die vroegste inheemse mense van Suid-Afrika.  Hy het dié verhale versamel toe hy as landmeter in die Karoo, Boesmanland en Agter-Hantam werksaam was.  (http://m24arg02.naspers.com/argief/berigte/dieburger/2009/08/15/BY/16/ERFENISBOEKE.html)



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Von Wielligh, Gideon Retief (pseudonym: Hans Kaapnaar)

* Vrye Guns, Paarl, 1.4.1859 - † Kafferstat, Hendrina, Tvl., 9.8.1932), surveyor, head of a Transvaal department, popular writer and champion of Afrikaans, was the second of the five children, all sons, born to Nikolaas von Wielligh and his wife, Martha Maria Retief. Von W. belonged to the sixth generation of a family whose first South African ancestor was Nikolaus von Wielligh, an officer in the service of the V.O.C., who, as Peter Kolbe's assistant, accompanied Kolbe from Hamburg to the Cape in 1705. Von W. was named after his grand-father, Gideon Retief, youngest brother of Piet Retief, the Voortrekker leader.  Von W. was educated by Jan Baalt, a Dutch sailor. When he was eleven, he went with his father on a trading expedition to Bushmanland, and on his return was sent to Paarl Gymnasium by his mother, a sympathetic and devout woman, who realized that he had no aptitude for farming. Hers was perhaps the greatest influence on his childhood.  At eighteen he sat the Cape surveyor's examination, and became surveyorgeneral of the Transvaal republic in 1884. He developed his department into one of the best of its kind in South Africa, achieving a reputation for his meticulous ccuracy.  During the Second Anglo-Boer War he became the commissioner in charge of the British prisoners of war at Waterval (north of Pretoria),  but, later, was temporarily interned in Lourenço Marques. After the armistice, in 1903, he went to Delagoa bay to take charge of astronomical instruments belonging to the prewar Transvaal government. During a carnival in Lourenço Marques lime was thrown into his eyes. Virtually blind, he could read only five letters at a time with his right eye, if he used powerful spectacles and a magnifying glass. In this fashion, with his eyes against the paper, he wrote all his books after the war.  Energetic, robust and independent, he secured the admiration and respect of all who knew him. Socially he was pleasant and courteous. He was a gifted raconteur with a fine sense of humour, and was a welcome guest wherever he went. He accepted misfortune with cheerful faith, evident in all his work.  The last representative of the Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners, he was a link between the first and second Afrikaans language movements. Joining the G.R.A. at seventeen, he designed the society's badge, reproduced in Die Afrikaanse Almanak (1877). From 1876 to 1891 he wrote for Die Afrikaanse Patriot , but stopped contributing when it began supporting anti-national politics. He was one of the most regular contributors to Ons Klyntji (1896-1906), and, in particular, to Ons Taal (1907-09). He wrote for almost all the later Afrikaans periodicals, and at an advanced age was elected an honorary member of the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Taal, Lettere en Kuns, in recognition of his services to culture. His works during the second language movement retained the spirit of the first movement. Most of the material which he incorporated in his books had been collected before 1900. In Eerste skrywers; of, Laaste stem en naklank uit die Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners (Pretoria, 1918), he described the aims, ideals and chievements of the society, defending its attitude against the attacks of the second language movement. He discussed its literary, cultural and political significance in Baanbrekerswerk.  Although his remarks on language were sometimes inaccurate, they reflected his extensive knowledge of colloquial speech. In Ons geselstaal (Pretoria, 1922), first published in Die Huisgenoot (1921-22), he explained the derivation of certain words and idioms and the influences which had affected language in certain regions. He surveyed the Afrikaans spoken in various parts of the country, referring to his own observations and to data from questionnaires he had sent to ministers, in particular, and to teachers throughout the country. Though not a trained philologist, he was an early student of regional Afrikaans.  Von W. wrote for the under-privileged and intellectually starved section of his people in an attempt to cultivate in them a love of reading. In Die Afrikaanse Patriot he chatted to his readers, instructing them and helping them to solve their difficulties. Stressing the customs and virtues of earlier days, he pointed out deviations from the behaviour of their ancestors. The frequent republication of his books indicated how successful he was in teaching his countrymen to read.  Von W.'s narratives are slack and simple in construction and plot, but their very simplicity explains the charm of his Bushmen and animal stories. His main significance lies in this type of story and its educational value. His Boesmanstories: mitologie en legendes (4 v. Cape Town, 1919-21) and Dierestories soos deur Hotnots vertel (3 v. Pretoria, 1917-22) are told simply, 
discursively and colloquially. His reshaping of their material makes these didactic tales more than historically interesting. The second work is an amplification of his Dire storiis (soos deur Hottentots ferteld), which was published at Paarl in 1907. The following adventure stories make good reading for the young: Nimrod Seeling (Pretoria, 1921); Ghwennie Barnveld (Pretoria, 1922); Langs die Lebombo: 'n awontuurlike verhaal oor moedhou, jag, gouddelwe en Swasies (Pretoria, 1923). Finding themselves in various difficulties, the characters save themselves through independent and decisive action. Interesting details about the ethics and customs of native tribes are woven into the stories. His last book was Die vrouens van Vrindenburg (Pretoria, 1924). But even his best works are not unblemished: they suffer from repetition, verbosity, unnecessary elaboration, unconnected thought, deviations from the main plot and faulty Afrikaans. On the other hand Von W.'s search for truth, his amiability, his love of his language and people and his simplicity of style inspire his readers; it is mainly in this that Von W. is remembered as a writer of animal stories. He married Elizabeth de Villiers, eldest daughter of Prof. J. S. de Villiers ('Jan Orrelis'), of Paarl. They had three sons and a daughter.  
(G. Munnik's Memoirs (Cape Town, 1934).  W. L. M.  Source Dictionary of South African Biography)


Op 9 Augustus 1932 is Gideon Retief von Wielligh in sy 74ste jaar naby Hendrina aan die huis van sy jongste broer oorlede. Met sy heengaan het ‘die laaste stem van die Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners’ verdwyn.  As laaste verteenwoordiger van die Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners was hy ’n skakel tussen die Eerste en die Tweede Afrikaanse Taalbewegings. Hy het stil gesterwe, stil soos sy lewe was. Byna niemand het oor sy dood gepraat nie. Aan Langenhoven is talle artikels in tydskrifte en koerante gewy - aan Von Wielligh 'n enkele. In die A.S.B. se Gedenkboek is die meeste Patriot-manne herdenk - ‘en ou oom Gideon, wat met sy gesig vlak op die papier, deur twee stelle brilglase en 'n vergrootglas iedere letter moes uitsukkel, word gevra om dese en gene te gedenk, maar daar is niemand wat dink hoe hyself verdien om gedenk te word nie.’ (G.S. Preller in Die Huisgenoot, 3 Sept. 1932).





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eGGSA library Gravestones in South Africa Mpumalanga Mpumalanga, HENDRINA, Urban area Mpumalanga, HENDRINA, Main Cemetery

MOOC 6/9/2160 3157.  Elizabeth Johanna Hendrina de Villiers.  Geb. Paarl.  Ouers.  Jan Stephanus de Villiers & Johanna Maria Wilhelmina van der Lingen.  Musician.  Woon Robertson.  Geskei van G.R. von Wielligh.  Oorl. 09/06/1908 huis Robertson.  Kinders.  Jan Stephanus de Villiers, Maria van der Lingen, Gideon Retief Francois, Wilhelm.



eGGSA library Gravestones in South Africa Weskaap : Western Cape Western Cape, ROBERTSON, Urban area Western Cape, ROBERTSON, Main cemetery