Afarmhousein the cityEST. 1693

As a property, it has been there for over three hundred years, from the time it was granted to Andries de Man in 1693, over four “morgen” (about four hectares) in extent. The name that it was given means “well-intentioned”. The “garden”, though not large, had a natural spring on it (which is still there today) and was to prove an exceedingly successful farmlet.

Welgemeend Manor is an historical residence, build in 1693 and is situated on the grounds of Hoërskool Jan Van Riebeeck (HJVR). It is one of three surviving Table Valley farmstead, the other two being Leeuwenhof and Waterhof.

In 1693, Andries De Man, the Secundus of the Dutch East Indian Company (DEIC) at that time, was granted Welgemeend to be used as a ‘market garden’ to produce vegetables, fruit and meat to the passing ships. It had a natural spring on it (which is still in use today) and proved to be an exceedingly successful farmlet.

After his death in 1696 he left Welgemeend to his widow, Elsje van Suurwaarden. For the following half-a-century the property passed through many different hands. In 1772 the longest period of ownership, by one family, began when the widow of owner Bartholomeus Bosch married Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr. For a full 172 years Welgemeend remained the home of the Hofmeyr family.

It must have been during the Hofmeyr period that the homestead of Welgemeend gradually assumed its present appearance, but also that it was gradually reduced from a mini-farm to a generous suburban residence.

In 1944 it was acquired by the Cape Education Department to become part of the HJVR. The principle of HJVR lived in part of the house from 1945 to 2002 and the rest of the house was used for art, music and cultural activities and to house the Boerneef Art Collection. The Boerneef Collection consists of 64 artworks as well as a collection of books by Boerneef.

Today, Welgemeend is primarily used as an art and cultural centre which celebrates the traditions historically associated with being Afrikaans. In addition, this establishment serves as a function venue, used and supported by HJVR together with the larger community in Cape Town

The name Welgemeend suggests, “well-intentioned”, it is not just a building, apart from the physical structure and the heritage status, it represents something more significant. It is a platform for the development and realisation of a cultural life, a forum for debate and the beginning of new ideas, a beacon of hope and inspiration for the city centre, a platform to increase the Afrikaans culture, an educational sanctuary; and an art exhibition centre of exceptional standards, supporting art and the appreciation of art in all its forms.