The farm Langlaagte 172, on which Heidelberg was founded in 1859, belonged to OA Strydom and his brother-in-law JL Venter. Apparently Fenter Street was named after him and he would have care less whether his name was spelt with an “F” or a “V”. Fenter Street leads in a northerly direction to the luxurious Kloof Estate. It was a sought after place for gatherings in the Old Transvaal. This was once an Aventura Resort.
It was the location for official festivities, also part of the official celebrations of the Union on 31 May 1910, from which date Heidelberg become a political seat in parliament. The first National Party political branch, Roodekoppe, was founded after the rebellion with Mr W.W Bezuidenhout (1910) and DJC Martins (1913) as representatives. The National Party attain this seat in 1948, for the first time with Mr S.H Eyssen, formal principal of Hoër Volkskool. Dr Verwoerd took it over in 1958, became premier and the rest is history. In 1996 honorary citizenship was awarded to Madiba and has since been an ANC stronghold.
The Kloof has been developed into an upper class development. Luxury homes are at the order of the day. The old ZAR Kloof Dam was laid out on the polder model and provided Heidelberg with water from the Kloof Spruit. Later the adventures of Trompie and his gang were filmed here and is now commonly known as the “Trompie Dam”
The development on the Western side of Fenter Street at the Kloof cemetry is symbolic of the old Egyptian custom. Pyramids were also built to the West of the Nile River and erected as tombs for the Pharaohs with shafts sending their spirits to the stars. A separated Jewish cemetery with its characteristic Star of David, was erected to the west of Fenter Street and across the “gentile” Kloof Cemetery. The Hebrew church, with its leader, Rabbi L. Wolk, was situated down in Fenter Street Nr 42 – 44. It was later sold and become the Free Mason’s Lodge and is now part of a residential development.
A single storey residential building on the corners of Fenter and Pretorius Street dates from 1865. It has two gables facing Pretorius Street. According to the conservation report in 1988, drafted by the University of Pretoria, this residence was home to Paul Kruger.
One would not believe that South Africa’s patron saint is regarded a woman – “Our Lady of Assumption”, Mother Mary. No wander they say: ‘Wathit abafazi, wanthit imbokodo’ –if you strike a woman, you strike a rock. A Roman Catholic monastery was situated on the corners of Fenter and Begeman Streets. According to an urban legend, a tunnel existed here, leading from the monastery to the original church. In Pretorius Street, palm trees, were planted in line with the entrance of the monastery door. On close inspection at the residence on the Roman Catholic stand the only clue left is a decorated concrete slab in the passage way. The church building next door was later built in 1937 and is named after South Africa’s patron saint, “Our Lady of Grace”
Well-known members of the Roman Catholic Church is the Kalil family in Heidelberg. Tony Kalil was born in Lebanon and settled in Heidelberg, during 1920 as a seven-year old boy. It was reported in 1983, that three generations of the Kalils attended the old public school. Tony, his four sons and ten grandchildren attended school here. This well-known family even ran a cinema in Jacobs Street. Presently their descendants are still operating family businesses; Hot Pot Paints and Rainbow Electrical. They personally experienced struggle with crime when Joe Kalil was robbed and fatally shot in front of his Hot Pot Paint shop. Jew and Gentile features in Fenter Street as part of history, albeit on an exclusive or spiritual level. Heidelberg stays amidst the struggle.