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Blompark - A Flowering Fishing Village
The name Blompark (Flower Park) is a true description of this area and its colourful community, descending from the earliest fisherfolk who settled along Gansbaai's prolific shores.
Fishing has always been the life artery of this jovial group of people who even jollified their neighbourhood by naming the streets after flowers such as Roos- and Madeliefie Street. For most of the older generation, the salt of the sea is in their blood and bones and its ever-changing moods still shape and spice their daily lives.
An old fishing boat used for fishing many years ago.
The locals of this flowering hamlet in the heart of Gansbaai have come a long way since their forebears lived and loved almost on the shores of Roman's Bay until as recently as 40 years ago. Today referred to as the "old location" or "Nets Court" to pay tribute to the fishing tradition that was established there, the former settlement comprised of about 50 stone and clay houses with thatched roofs built around a central water tap feeding a lush green lawn. This was the gathering place where they congregated in the evenings after a long day at sea for a night of sing-song, drinking and fisherman's tales. A small primary school under headmaster Justus Smit kept the children at bay while their parents were at sea or cleaning and selling fish. It was hard, but good times.
Fresh fish for sale in Gansbaai near Blompark
During the Apartheid years, the people of the "Old Location" were moved to a new settlement, dubbed the Groenewald-skema after the building contractor, Hendrik Groenewald, who built the first houses that still exist today.
Since 1994 the area and population grew rapidly and the Groenewald settlement was transformed into Blompark, a neat neighbourhood adjacent to the central town and flanked by rich flowering fynbos fields and the abalone farm.
Arial photo of Romansbaai Beach near Blompark
Today, Blompark is a thriving community with a strong infrastructure and community involvement. Several church denominations, a pre-school facility and an established primary school form the heart of the community. It borders the new high school Gansbaai Academia and the world-class Spaces for Sport community sport centre. Several small businesses and community projects such as the Silwerjare Centre that caters for the elderly, are testimony of a strong social structure.
World-class sports fields near Blompark, Gansbaai.
The sea and its yield are still the lifeline and main income generator of the community. Most of the men still make a living from the sea or work at the nearby abalone farms and many women are employed at the fishmeal factory in the old Gansbaai Harbour. Although the younger generation now have the opportunity to study and pursue other careers, it will never be an option for the older generation who, like their ancestors for many generations, bear the salt of the sea in their veins. For them, the sea is not a profession or a job - it is a lifestyle that provides food for the table and food for the soul.
Sunset in Gansbaai near Blompark