Water en sanitasie in die landelike Hoëveldse woning 1840 -1910: n kultuurhistoriese studie / deur Claudia Gouws
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The location of the site where the pioneers settled permanently was determined by the availability of water in the immediate environment. The Highveld contains fertile soils, a fine climate, and an abundance of water. The area has always been extensively used for crop and stock farming, but in general, mixed farming was practiced. The farmers depended on the availability of water, therefore their experiences, observations, weather forecasts, and conclusions, developed into a popular folk meteorology. Furthermore, environmental factors such as local topography, micro climate, hydrography, ground fertility, and the appearance of natural vegetation determined whether or not an area was suitable for permanent residence. The farmstead may be divided into three functional zones (the core-, extended-, and outer farmyard) that are joined by a canal network, used for irrigation and drinking water. The farmhouse and buildings, erected a stones throw away from the water source, served as a focal point for the activities of the farmer. The manipulation of the water source by obstruction of streams and the construction of water canals, weirs and water furrows, assisted the farmer in planning his activities and in using the water to his advantage. The settlement and development of the residence on the rural parts of the Highveld may be divided into three distinct phases. Firstly, the temporary trekboer phase, secondly the pioneer phase and thirdly the permanent settlement phase. The permanence of residence had a direct influence in the layout of the house, the method of construction, and the use of the available water supply. At first, the trekkers were content to reside in roof dwellings (their wagons and tents and a grass screen as their kitchen and a hut near a spring). The first houses were hartbieshuise and kapsteilhuise. The more permanent homesteads of the earlier settlers were a simple rectangular structure (pioneer house) with a saddle grass roof. With the introduction of galvanised iron sheeting, the house was expanded and developed into the veranda-, stoeproom- and a flat roofed rectangular house. This development resulted into a typical rural Highveld homestead. After the discovery of gold in the vicinity of the Witwatersrand, the first gold rush took place resulting in the proclamation of Johannesburg in 1886. Prospectors, mostly foreigners, descended upon the Witwatersrand. Housing took on a more planned structure resembling the late Victorian period of housing in England. The water supply and drainage systems were planned and improved, making it possible to provide running water to kitchens and bathrooms. This impacted firstly on the upper riches of society in the cities, later on the lower middle classes and lastly on the rural areas. European technology regarding the supply of hot pipe water and drainage systems changed the layout of the house. The cooking activity moved from outside behind a screen to a seperate room inside the house. Inevitable changes regarding collecting, storage, purpose, saving and drainage of household water took place. Between 1840 and 1910, evolutionary changes took place regarding sanitation, water supply and personal hygiene. Being part of a particular social class made certain facilities available to certain individuals. A rural Highveld dwelling rarely included sanitary facilities, instead dwellers had a more primitive wash basin in each room in which they washed daily. On a Saturday, a weekly bath was taken in a bathtub in the kitchen or bedroom. Trekkers simply relieved themselves outside. A revolution in sanitary habits and facilities became inevitable. The Victorian dwelling on the Highveld was built according to a standard plan, including a flush water system already in place. This was the ultimate manifestation of sophistication and civilization. The aim of this investigation is to identify the similarities and differences between the use of water by the pioneer, the poor people and the wealthy in their rural dwellings. Furthermore, information has been obtained regarding water usage and sanitation in the bathroom and kitchen in the rural dwelling to be useful in the area of historic architecture and the heritage of our water history.
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