The story behind the cairn

2017-04-27 06:02
Daan Siebert from Jeffreys Bay started the rock cairn (Heap of Hope) at Kabeljauws some 14 years ago.                        Photos:SUPPLIED

Daan Siebert from Jeffreys Bay started the rock cairn (Heap of Hope) at Kabeljauws some 14 years ago. Photos:SUPPLIED

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SOME call it the Heap of Hope, others a remembrance cairn and some even the Stone Age Facebook, but one thing is certain: no one leaves the place untouched.

But the biggest question was: who started it?

After the article in the Kouga Express on April 20, Klippe van genesing, onthou en hoop, with regard to the ‘mysterious’ pile of rocks in Kabeljauws, that question has finally been answered. It is the dedicated work of a regular beach trawler, Daan Siebert from Jeffreys Bay.

According to Siebert, who daily walks to the rock pile with his dogs, it all started some 14 years ago over an Easter Weekend when he went to show his then four-year-old granddaughter the six pillars that a local residents erected from sandstone.

Then and there she decided to build her own pillar.

Being the proud grandfather that he is, Siebert erected a huge pile of rocks around her pillar over the days to follow in order to protect it from vandals.

This also served as a place for quiet time.

“Over the years there have been additions from other beach walkers, but unfortunately also destruction by angry boys and vandals,” says Siebert.

Additional contributions over the years

  • In 2009 Trevor Watkins from Jeffreys Bay added the first three rocks in remembrance of friends who have passed away over the years.

“More and more people started to put rocks on the stone pile in remembrance of lost loved ones,” says Watkins.

When his wife, Linda, passed away in 2012, he added her name to the ever-growing rock pile.

Realising that there is no place to sit, Watkins took it upon himself to place a concrete chair nearby.

“It was quite a job. For the most part we were able to float the chair on a canoe and surfboard, but it had to be carried for the last 150m,” says Watkins.

  • In 2009, Rob van Hemert from Jeffreys Bay decided to repair the cairn. Over the next five years, when walking his dogs, he spent about an hour daily at the cairn, adding an estimated 25 000 ranging in size from an apple to that of a cement bag. He also added sand that would dry and filter through the rocks and help to steady it.

“One day, approaching the cairn, I saw three men trying to destroy it. The next day I surveyed the damage, which was extensive. Many commemorative stones were either smashed or missing. Over the next two weeks I repaired the damage as best I could, but was then off to Azerbajan for four weeks,” says Van Hemert.

“On my return, I found that it been vandalised again, with similar damage and destruction. I didn’t bother continuing on my mission with the cairn and instead concentrated on picking up rubbish that littered the area from the Kabeljauws parking area to the cairn and along the high water mark on the beach.”

  • Teachers Adele Vorster and Wendy Thomson from Jeffreys Bay laid the first colourful stone with an inspirational message in December 2014. For the following six weeks they contributed between one and 18 inspirational stones on a daily basis.

According to them, they hope to inspire and give hope with their numerous inspirational messages to those visiting the Heap of Hope - their special place.

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