One of our blog readers asked about the origin of the name Du Toit Station.
A few important Du Toit’s
I poked around in some of the old books. There were quite a few important Du Toit’s in Stellenbosch’s history:
- Dr D.F. du Toit, mayor and one of the first professors at the Victoria College
- Donald du Toit, co-founder of the Van der Stel-rugby club in 1919
I suspect, however, that the name comes from the early pioneer history – from the time of Adam Tas.
Adam Tas’s friend and Neighbour
My best guess is that the station is named after the French Huguenot Guillaume du Toit, who came to South Africa with his brother around 1687.
Although most of the Huguenots settled in the Drakenstein area, Guillaume and his wife Sara stayed in Stellenbosch with their three daughters. Their farm most likely included the area where the station is today.
Guillaume’s farm was called Aan’t Pad (or Aan-het-pad), probably because it lay en route to one of the big wagon ways from town. He was a neighbour and good friend to Adam Tas, and the two families often socialized together. Du Toit was one of the free burghers to get in political trouble because of a complaint against goewerneur Willem Adriaan van der Stel (read about Adam Tas here).
“Aan’t Pad” becomes “Cloetesdal”
After Du Toit farmed on Aan’t pad for almost 40 years, the farm was sold to Jacob Cloete, who probably gave it the new name – Cloetesdal. The farm was transferred to Nicolas Vlok and later sold to Martin Melck.
As the small Stellenbosch settlement grew, the farms closest to town were subdivided and sold off.
According to Drie Eeue the land in the Northern direction of town (the klipperige grond around bird street and andringa street) started to sell around 1859.
The coming of the railway
When the town’s first railway station was built, a small neighbourhood Du Toitsville appeared around it.
I’m guessing that Guillaume du Toit’s name was preserved in the same way than many of the old pioneers.
When the railroad came to Stellenbosch in 1962, the main station was built where Du Toit station is today (behind Mercedes Benz in Bird street).
The station only moved to the centre of town later (Stellenbosch station today).
The neighbourhood Cloetesville got its name from the farm Cloetesdal, and today the homestead is used as a clinic, the Aan-het-pad clinic.
Anyway, this is just my theory! If anyone can shed more light on the subject please send us a message!
To read more about the Du Toit family heritage, click here.
“‘n Dromer” is a young Stellenbosser who loves writing about the everyday things that often go unnoticed. She likes dusty books and seeing how the past isn’t always what it seems. She has written about Stellenbosch, it’s heritage and it’s people almost every week since 2015.
Article and photos: Y Coetsee 2016
Sources: Stellenbosch Drie Eeue,