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The aftermath of the Anglo Zulu War of 1879 left Zululand divided into several fiefdoms each with its own ruler who was supposed to swear allegiance to the British Resident. The most powerful of these was uZibhebhu and his Mandlakazi who lived in the north of Zululand. uZibhebhu promptly set about stamping his authority on the rest of Zululand. A bitter civil war broke out between the Mandlakazi and the much weakened Royal House of Usuthu during which King Cetshwayo is defeated and finally dies while under the protection of the British Resident. His son Dinuzulu continues the struggle by enlisting the assistance of Lucas Meijer and a group of Transvaal Burghers to fight for him in return for land. Together the Burghers and the Usuthu defeat uZibebhu and the land around present day Vryheid was ceded to the Burghers and on 16th August 1884 the land was proclaimed as the Nieuwe Republiek with Vryheid as its capital. A Raadsaal was formed and Lucas Meijer was elected as its first President. The Republiek was not to last long and was absorbed into the Transvaal in 1888.


Lucas Meijer acquired the property in 1884 and in 1885 built the original house.
He died in 1902 and his widow married to Bob Foord in 1909, but it was not until 1922 that she carried out extensions and changes to the building. After her death in 1961 the house changed hands several times, even being used as a Children’s Welfare Organisation, the Barclays Bank and even an Educational College before finally being purchased by the Vryheid Municipality in 1987 and turned into a museum.

The Museum now features many period displays together with some of the history of the District.

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  • I have visited your beautiful museum about 20 years ago.
    I grew up in Vryheid in the 1960’s and attended Nuwe Republiek Laerskool.
    Could you please help me with some information.
    I was a small boy on the farm Welgevonden and Weltevrede near Lenjane.
    My grandparents (who are burried in Vryheid cemetary) build that original house, but i never had the chance to ask them who the buiders were.
    I want to know who the people were that had the knowledge to cut the “Blou ysterklip” and build those beautiful cut and stacked stone cattle kraals.
    I dout if it was the Zuloes, because they never used that method pf building.
    Maybe Basoetoes??
    Who cut the sandstone of the NG church? And the police station?
    I will really appreciate if you could enlighten me.
    Kind regards
    Steve Coetzee.

    • Hi Steve

      Ouma het gebly op Smalstraat en ek het soete heringininge vanaf die 70’s op Vryheid, my ma en haar broers en suster het daar groot geword.

      Stuur asb n e mail vir my as jy kan?


  • When Dingaansstad Museum was closed were the items from that museum taken over by Lucas Meijerhuis Museum?

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