The Building

It was presumed that Elsje built the homestead, but it has now been established that a three-roomed cottage existed from about 1757 and that it was altered in about 1769. The original dwelling was probably occupied by an employee of Jacobus Botha. When Elsje went to live there the simple three roomed cottage became a T-shaped homestead with a new wing projecting back from the front hall.

zanddrift

During the next hundred years the basic structure of the house was not altered much. The only addition conforming to the general plan was a bedroom that was built at the end of the front wing.

Zanddrift was last occupied permanently in the 1950s, twenty-five years before it was offered to the Drostdy Museum. It had deteriorated seriously during that time.

The Museum’s Decision to accept the offer was prompted by the following considerations:

If the museum did not take the building it would probably fall into complete ruin.

  • It was a good example of a type of dwelling dating from the eighteenth century and it was remarkable that such an early structure dating from the first settlers had survived.
  • Zanddrift was desirable to the museum because of its historical associations. Jacobus Botha was one of the four local burghers to serve on the board of heemraden in the new district of 1743.
  • By transporting not only the woodwork, but also the entire fabric of the building, the project became an exercise in traditional building methods. The challenge of reassembling the structure using these old techniques was a learning experience that could not be passed over.
  • A setting similar to the original was available at the museum. The building could be reconstructed in the shadow of the Langeberg, only 25km from its original site.