Jan Gerritze Bantjes 1817 – 1887

b. 08 July 1817, Graaf-Reinet, the third child and eldest son of Bernard Louis Bantjes and Isabella Johanna Swanepoel.

Jan’s father, Bernard Louis Bantjes had a trading store and a farm in the Nieuwveld district of the town and was quite prosperous.

Jan Gerritze joined the Voortrekkers at Thaba Nchu on New Year’s Day.1837 and accompanied Andries Pretorius as his secretary. In this capacity he kept the journal of the “winkommando”. His most important legacy is the manuscript of the treaty between Piet Retief and Zulu King Dingane in his handwriting. Bantjes also served the Voortrekkers in a teaching capacity, and the later presidents Paul Kruger and Marthinus Wessel Pretorius received their first education from him.

In 1839 he settled in Pietermaritzburg as a lawyer, but returned to the Cape Colony in 1840. In 1848 he acted as teacher and “Clerk of the Church Council” at Fauresmith. He became a teacher in Potchefstroom in 1865 where he died in 1887 at the home of his eldest son, also Jan Gerritze.

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