Kenhardt (Northern Cape)

Kenhardt is a small town in the Northern Cape, situated on the Hartbees River, a tributary of the Orange River. It was founded in 1876. Sheep framing (merino and karakul) is the main economic activity.

In about 1906, a congregation was established and funds collected for the building of a synagogue, torahs and prayer books. The sum of about £3 was paid for an ‘erf’ (empty lot) in 1907 from the government, on condition the “erf” was to revert back to government when no longer required.

So the synagogue was built and the congregation functioned until 1948. When the synagogue closed at that time, eight Jews from Upington fetched the Torah.

The Kenhardt school board purchased the building after restrictions were lifted in 1962. A 1987 report states that the synagogue is still standing, but in disrepair.

In 1904 there were 25 Jews living in Kenhardt; in 1936 there were 36; in 1951 there were 18. By 1980, only one Jew was still living there and by 1991, there were no Jews left in Kenhardt.