Paarl (/ˈpɑːrl/; Afrikaans: [ˈpɑːrəl] or more commonly
[ˈpæːrəl] ; derived from Parel, meaning Pearl in Dutch) is
a city with 191,013 inhabitants in the
Western Cape province of South
Africa. It is the third oldest town and European settlement in the
South Africa (after
Cape Town and Stellenbosch) and the
largest town in the Cape Winelands. Due to the growth of the Mbekweni
township, it is now a de facto urban unit with Wellington. It is
situated about 60 kilometres (37 mi) northeast of
Cape Town in
Western Cape Province and is renowned for its haunting scenic
beauty and deep viticulture and fruit growing heritage.
Paarl is the seat of the Drakenstein Local Municipality; although not
part of the
Cape Town metropolitan area, it falls within its economic
Paarl is unusual in
South Africa in that the name of the
place is pronounced differently in English and Afrikaans. An unusual
feature of the name of the town is that Afrikaners customarily attach
the definite article to it: people say in die
Paarl or in die Pêrel
("in the Paarl"), rather than in Paarl.
Paarl gained international attention when, on 11 February 1990, Nelson
Mandela walked out of Victor Verster Correctional Centre (now known as
Drakenstein Correctional Centre) in
Paarl ending 27 years of
imprisonment and beginning the march to South Africa's post-apartheid
era and multi-racial elections. Mandela spent three years in prison
here living in a private house within the walls. Today, a bronze
statue of Mandela stands outside the prison.
Paarl hosted a match from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003. The
Ceres Fruit Juices
Ceres Fruit Juices are located in the city, although
its namesake, Ceres valley and source of much of the fruit, is around
one hour's drive to the northeast.
The district is particularly well known for its Pearl Mountain or
Paarl Rock". This huge granite rock is formed by three rounded
outcrops that make up
Paarl Mountain and has been compared in majesty
Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock) in Australia. (However, they
are not geologically similar.
Paarl Rock consists of intrusive igneous
Uluru is a sedimentary remnant).
3 Tourist attractions
6 Notable residents
7 Coats of arms
8 See also
10 External links
The area that is now known as
Paarl was first inhabited by the
Khoikhoi and San people. The Peninsular
Khoikhoi people and the
Cochoqua people lived in this area divided by the Berg River Valley.
The Cochaqua were cattle herding people and among the richest of the
Khoi tribes. They had between 16,000-18,000 members and originally
Paarl Mountain, Tortoise Mountain.
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company under the leadership of Jan van Riebeeck
established meat trading relationships with the
Khoikhoi people on the
Table Bay coastline. In 1657, in search of new trading relationships
inland, Abraham Gabemma saw a giant granite rock glistening in the sun
after a rainstorm and named it "de Diamondt en de Peerlberg" (Diamond
and Pearl Mountain) from which
Paarl is derived. Gabemma (often
also spelled Gabbema) was the Fiscal (public treasurer) for the
settlement on the shores of Table Bay. The "diamonds" disappeared from
the name and it became known simply as Pearl Rock or Pearl Mountain.
In 1687, Governor
Simon van der Stel
Simon van der Stel gave title to the first colonial
farms in the area to "free burghers". The following year, the French
Huguenots arrived in the
Western Cape and began to settle on farms in
the area. The fertile soil and the Mediterranean-like climate of
this region provided perfect conditions for farming. The settlers
planted orchards, vegetable gardens and above all, vineyards. Thus
began Paarl's long and continuing history as a major wine and fruit
producing area of South Africa.
The arrival of the European settlers brought on conflict with the
Khoikhoi people, as land and water resources began to be contested and
Khoi traditions of communal land use came in conflict with the
settler's concept of private property. The
Khoi peoples were defeated
in local war and were further decimated by European diseases. The
population scattered inland toward the
Orange River or became laborers
on settler farms.
In the 2001 census Paarl's population was recorded as being 82,713
people in 20,138 households, in a land area of 32.2 square kilometres
(12.4 sq mi). 67.8% of the inhabitants described themselves
as "Coloured", 21.2% as "White", 10.5% as "Black African", and 0.5% as
"Indian or Asian". 85.5% spoke
Afrikaans as their first language, 8.5%
spoke Xhosa, and 5.2% spoke English.
Paarl Rock in foreground with the town behind it and Du Toit's Peak
Afrikaanse Taalmonument in Paarl
Like many towns in the Cape Winelands,
Paarl is home to a prosperous
community, with many well maintained and attractive Cape Dutch houses,
beautiful gardens and streets lined with old oak trees.
Paarl boasts a unique cultural attraction: it was here that the
foundations of the
Afrikaans language were laid by the Genootskap van
Regte Afrikaners. The "Afrikaanse Taalmonument" (monument to the
Afrikaans language) on the slopes of
Paarl Mountain, the Language
Museum (Taalmuseum) and the
Afrikaans Language Route through Dal
Josaphat are memorials to this achievement.
The former headquarters of the wine industry in
South Africa is also
situated here.: This was the famous "Co-operative
Association" (better known by its
Afrikaans initials KWV).
a South African institution that has acquired an international
reputation based on its unique achievements and its imprint of quality
on the local wine industry. Over the past decade, however,
been privatized and no longer has an administrative role in the South
African wine industry. (KWV's main wine production and maturation
facilities are on its
Paarl premises, while its brandy production
takes place in Worcester and grape juice concentrate production in
Upington in the Northern Cape.)
The town and its surroundings attract many visitors with an array of
activities and interests. There are magnificent Cape Dutch buildings
(17-19th Century), scenic drives, hiking trails, excellent restaurants
Paarl wine route, with its many wine tasting opportunities.
The old Spice Route Paarl, which was initiated in 1997 by Charles
Back, the owner of this estate as well as of Fairview, provides an
opportunity for visitors to appreciate and taste local delicacies from
the Western Cape, like biltong, draft beer or red and white wines from
the surrounding wine yards in Malmesbury and Darling. Back's vision
was "to offer local and international tourists a selection of
hand-picked artisanal producers who put as much thought, skill and
passion into their products as Spice Route wine maker, Charl du
Plessis, puts into his wines". Besides that a range of art galeries
and the traditional way of organic dark chocolate production can be
explored. The heritage of the Spice Route farm goes back to the
historical marieners who used to trade Eastern spices to
the "Spice Route" for spice trade in the 15th century.
Paarl from the summit of
Paarl Mountain, looking across to the
Klein-Drakenstein and Du Toitskloof Mountains
Paarl Rock itself is these days a popular Mecca for rock climbers.
However, in the pioneering period of rock climbing in South Africa,
the mountain was ignored or shunned because its steep faces were so
smooth and unfissured that climbers could find no place to attach
"runners" or anchor points for belays. The first climbing routes up
the rock were pioneered in 1969 by J.W.Marchant and G. Athiros, the
former from the University of
Cape Town Mountain and Ski Club. Soon
afterwards Marchant and John Knight established a few routes on which
the rope was run out for 100 m (330 ft) or more with no
protection whatsoever. This was in the days before bolting was
possible and these achievements are still held in high regard today.
Nowadays protection is afforded by bolts in the granite and there are
Paarl Rock a few dozen spectacular, beautiful and very hard routes
that attract the best climbers of the current generation. (All of
these climbs remain dangerous for the inexperienced.) A guide book for
these routes was written in 2006 by Stewart & Scott Noy who lived
at the foot of the mountain and were developing many of the new routes
at the time.
Amongst the neighborhoods include De Zoete Inval (middle class suburb
in the south); Courtrai (a wealthy suburb in the southern part of
Paarl (generally known as Upper-
Paarl and also
containing a lot of wealthy suburbs, popular area for local Jews);
Lemoenkloof (a wealthy suburb between the central and northern parts
of town); Northern
Paarl (middle class suburb, including the area of
Groenvlei); Denneburg (in the south east of the town); Vrykyk (in the
south) and areas in the eastern part of the town such as New Orleans,
New York, Amstelhof, Lantana and Klein Nederburg.
There are also large gated communities developed towards the South of
the town on the way to Franschhoek, such as Boschenmeer (golf estate),
Val de Vie (polo estate) and Pearl Valley (golf estate).
The town boasts some of the best academic high schools in the country
Paarl Gimnasium High School (est. 1858), La Rochelle Girls'
High School (est.1860),
Paarl Boys' High School
Paarl Boys' High School (est.1868) and Paarl
Paarl Girls' High was placed 17th in the National Senior
Certificate's "Excellence in academic performance" awards in 2012.
Archie Crail - writer
Stephanus Jacobus du Toit
Stephanus Jacobus du Toit - Taalstryder (language warrior)
Jacob Daniël du Toit (Totius) - (Born
Paarl 1877) poet and
Jean de Villiers
Jean de Villiers - rugby union player
David James - actor
Wayne Julies - rugby union player
Elsa Joubert - author
Eugène Marais - author and poet
Karel Schoeman - author
Marius Charl Joubert - rugby union player
Justin Lee Ontong - cricketer Cape Cobras
Gurthro Steenkamp - rugby union player
Willem de Waal - rugby union player
Chester Mornay Williams - rugby union player
Louis Theodor Weichardt - founder and leader of the Greyshirts
Nelson Mandela - released from Victor Vester Prison in
Paarl on 11
Ryk Neethling - swimmer and Olympian
Peter de Villiers
Peter de Villiers - former coach of the
South Africa national rugby
union team (Springboks)
Kathleen Aerts - Belgian singer
Coats of arms
Municipality (1) — On 18 July 1905, the municipal council accepted a
coat of arms presented by Adriaan Moorrees (af). It was the
arms of Hendrik van Reede van Drakenstein : a silver shield
charged with two dancetty black bars and crowned with a golden
coronet. The supporters were two golden gryphons. The motto was Pour
le salut du peuple ("For the wellbeing of the people"). Sometimes, the
arms were depicted as silver dancetty bars on a blue shield.
Paarl coat of arms (1951)
Municipality (2) — The arms were re-designed in 1950 by Colin Graham
Botha, and granted by the
College of Arms
College of Arms on 22 January 1951. They
were published in the Cape Province's Official Gazette in 1955,
re-granted by the provincial administrator in 1967, and certified by
Bureau of Heraldry
Bureau of Heraldry in 1969.
In the new version, each of the dancetty bars on the shield displayed
two pearls; the supporters were red with blue wings dotted with golden
fleurs de lis; and the crest was a red demi-gryphon with blue wings
holding a bunch of grapes.
Divisional Council — The divisional council was the local authority
which administered the rural areas outside the town. It registered a
coat of arms at the
Bureau of Heraldry
Bureau of Heraldry on 20 October 1978. Once again,
the Van Reede shield formed the basis of the design. Down the middle
of the shield was a red pale displaying a bunch of grapes between two
pearls. The crest was a fleur de lis. The motto was Animus et fata
("Courage and fortune").
Mbekweni — The local authority for the Black township of Mbekweni
registered arms at the Bureau on 5 May 1989. The shield is divided per
chevron into red and green, with a golden chevron rompu across the
centre and a silver cross pommy below it. Above the arms was a green
mural crown decorated with a band of red edged in gold. The motto was
List of heritage sites in Paarl
^ a b c d "Main Place Paarl". Census 2011.
^ a b Raper, P. E. Paarl. Dictionary of Southern African Place Names.
archive.org. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
^ BBC on this Day 11 Feb 1990: Freedom of Nelson Mandela
^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 June 2011.
Retrieved 26 March 2011.
^ The concise illustrated South African Encyclopaedia. P. Schirmer,
1980. Central News Agency, Johannesburg. First edition, about 211pp
^ A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and
Travels in All Parts of the World, Vol XVI. John Pinkerton, 1814.
London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme.
^ "Main Place 'Paarl'". Census 2001. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
^ "Things to do in
Paarl Directory". www.paarldirectory.co.za.
^ "Spice Route Destination Paarl, South Africa".
www.spiceroute.co.za. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
^ "The Swartland Revolution Spice Route Winery".
www.spiceroutewines.co.za. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
^ Annual Bulletin. University of
Cape Town Mountain and Ski Club
^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June
2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
Western Cape Archives :
Paarl Municipal Minutes (18 July 1905).
^ a b c National Archives of South Africa : Data of the Bureau of
Paarl Tourist information guide[permanent dead link]
Cape Winelands Tourism guide to Winelands accommodation, holiday and
visitor information[permanent dead link]
Everything in Paarl
Paarl travel guide from Wikivoyage
Municipalities and communities of
Cape Winelands District
Municipality, Western Cape
District seat: Stellenbosch
Prince Alfred Hamlet