Gansbaai Stories - Bye-bye B'Bosch beards

Where did Baardskeerdersbos get its name? Every Gansbaaier or B’bosser you ask has a theory, mostly built on the assumption that the scary, hairy "beardshavers" (not a spider as many people believe, but an insect more closely related to scorpions, with a set of mandibles looking like barbers' clippers) found there, is probably the best candidate.

There is another version, while possibly not as likely as this one, is more poetic and in keeping with the place and its people. It goes like this:

Somewhere early the 18th century, with shipping around Cape Agulhas reaching new volumes in a time of rapidly expanding European colonialism, a British square-rigger came to grief somewhere on the deserted coastline near the Buffeljachts River. One of the survivors is said to have set off westwards on foot to find help. Coming across the Uilenskraal River, he decided to strike out inland, and following the river he eventually landed up in a pleasantly wooded, fertile valley, already then home to the first Fouries and Groenewalds, ancestors to their any descendants there and in Gansbaai.

The sailor was clean-shaven in the best British seafaring tradition and  when he poked his rosy face through the shrubbery where he had heard sounds of human activty, the hirsute locals were alarmed by this unusual sight. With their flintlocks at the ready, they cautiously approached the British salt to examine his curiously bare cheeks.

The sailor saw they were nervous and tried to set them at ease, hauled out his cutthroat razor to explain his curious appearance and snapped it open.

The bearded locals, retreated in alarm at this apparently hostile act, and cocked their firearms to deter this unusual "sword". The sailor soon set them at ease, showing them how this peculiar instrument was only used for shaving the face.

The men from B’bosch were so intrigued by the results, that they soon persuaded the salt to shave them as well. Their wives were delighted too, not having to deal with beared men at the tabe and in bed any more. So pleased were the locals with this poor castaway that they gave him his own piece of valley and enough breeding livestock, fruit trees and seeds to start farming himself.

Apparently he settled in very nicely, took a local lass as wife and was soon sharing the famous B'Bosch "witblits" with the rest of the (by now) clean-shaven locals.

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