From Leliehoek to Clarens
A farm called ‘Leliehoek’ (English: Lily Corner) was bought from Hermanus Steyn in 1910, and in 1911 Piet de Villiers sold his farm ‘Naauwpoort’ (situated near the Titanic rock) to a company wanting to establish a village there. These two farms were divided into erven and sold for fifty pounds each.
What is in a name
A commission was appointed in 1912 to finalize negotiations, and a decision was made to name the village ‘Clarens’ in honour of President Paul Kruger’s influence in the area. This came about in the following way – during the Free State-Basotho War of 1865 – 1866, five ‘burghers’ from the Transvaal were murdered in the Eastern Free State, and as a result war was declared against the Basotho leader, Moshoeshoe.
Paul Kruger, together with a commando of burghers, defeated the Basotho at the Battle of Naauwpoortnek (near Titanic rock). President Kruger spent his last days as a voluntary exile in the attractive village of Clarens in Switzerland, and thus Clarens was named for this Swiss town. A monument was erected on the farm ‘Ararat’ just outside Clarens, in honour of the five burghers murdered by the Basotho on 29 September 1865, during the siege of Naauwpoort. This monument was later moved to Clarens and placed in the central town square, where it stands to this day.