Makwassie (Northern Cape)


Makwassie is situated in the south-western region of the former Transvaal, south of Wolmaransstad. A small village that has never expanded much over the years, Makwassie lies at a railway junction on the main railway line from Johannesburg to Cape Town via Kimberley.

The first Jewish family, Mr and Mrs J. H. Bloch, arrived in 1897 and played a leading role in the community.
The Makwassie Hebrew Congregation was founded in 1912 with 12 members. A synagogue which could accommodate 100 people and a cemetery were established.

There was a medical practitioner in the town for a short period but prior to that, doctors had to be called from the neighbouring town of Wolmaransstad. Makwassie is essentially an agricultural and diamond digging district and the occupations of the residents to a large extent reflected this. The Jews were engaged as general dealers and dealers in grain, hides, wool and farming equipment.