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Coligny




Edited/updated 11 November 2016.

Situated about twenty kilometres south-east of Lichtenburg, Coligny was founded in 1923. It started life as a railway junction, on the line, opened in 1911 from Lichtenburg to Delareyville and Schweizer-Reneke. The junction was situated on the farm Rietvlei. However this was the name given to another junction in the Transvaal, and to simplify matters it was named Coligny after Gaspard de Coligny, the French Admiral and leader of the Protestant Armies who died in the massacre of St Barthlemew's Day during the French Wars of Religion in 1572. The reason for this was because several descendants of the Hugenot (French-speaking) immigrants to the Cape in the late seventeenth century, farmed in the district.








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The man who instigated the name change however, was H. J Malan, the editor of a local newspaper, "The Western".

 A Town Council was constituted in 1929. A township named Tlhabologang has developed next to the town over the past thirty years.    
 
A railway repair workshop was the main economic activity in the town for many years, and it served as an educational centre for the district. Maize and sunflower farming however remained the major occupation of the district and Coligny was predominantly a farming town. The construction of the first vertical silo in the North-West Province attests to this fact.  In 1914 an "Armed Protest" occurred on the farm Rietvlei by disgruntled Afrikaners who opposed South Africa's participation in the First World War. A German medium school, the Gerdauer Gemeinde-Schule, supported by german state funding, operated in Coligny for over half a century,



South Africa's North-West province: A Guide to its History and Heritage. © 2017

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