Sarah Williamson Sussens was born Sarah Bantjes, from a long line going back to the mid 18th Century in the Cape, and before that to at least 16th Century Holland.
The story begins with claims of a sizeable family fortune in Holland (the “Bantjes Millions”), and ends with a notable contribution to the early history of gold mining on the Witwatersrand.
In between, their pattern of migration across South Africa mirrors that of Dutch/Afrikaans settlement and migration as a whole. Beginning with a move from Holland to the Cape, they were initially established in Paarl, later moving to Graaf-Reinet in the Eastern Cape. From there, they joined the Great Trek on their movement into the interior, accompanying Piet Retief into Natal, where they were involved in the Battle of Blood River. Later they moved again, into the Transvaal, where two members were involved in the Boer War – and Sarah herself was interned as a child in one of the notorious “concentration camps”.
The full line of Bantjes descent, as far as it can be traced, comprises
- Jan Bantjes ? – ?
- Gerrit Bantjes (b. 1595, Holland – ?)
- Jan Bantjes (b. 1640 Holland – 1710, Holland)
- Gerrit Bantjes (b. 1667, Holland, – 1735, Holland)
- Jan Bantjes (b. 1700– 1779, Amsterdam)
- Jan Geert Bantjes(b. 1737 Paarl, – 1759-?)
- Jan Gerrit Bantjes (b. 1759, Cape of Good Hope – 1794 Paarl )
- Bernhard Louis Bantjes (b.1788 – ?)
- Jan Gerritze Bantjes (b.1817, Graaf-Reinet – 1887, Potchefstroom)
- Bernard Louis Bantjes (b.1839 Pietermaritzburg?-1911 Bethal)
- Jan Gerritze Bantjes, (b. 1865 Rustenburg– 1933, Ventersdorp)
- Sarah Williamson Bantjes (b. 1893, Rustenburg – 1971, Jhb)