The small town of Villiersdorp in the Western Cape lies close to my heart. This is where I finished my school career in 1969 when I matriculated from the De Villiers Graaff High School. I spent my last two school years here and thoroughly enjoyed them.
The town has its roots in the farm established here in 1843 by one Pieter de Villiers. A village soon shot up. Scandal struck when the daughter of Pieter De Villiers married a farm labourer named Petrus Graff. The marriage was allowed on condition that the De Villiers name would not be lost. The couple had three sons, the most eminent of whom was Sir David de Villiers-Graaf, who became a Member of Parliament. He was created a baronet in 1911 and served as Minister of Public Works and of Posts and Telegraphs (1911–1912), Minister without Portfolio (1912–1913), and Minister of Finance (1915–1916). David de Villiers Graaff was also an astute businessman and amassed a considerable fortune, some of which he used to finance the South African war effort during WW I (for which he was knighted).
Sir De Villiers-Graaff financed the building of the De Villiers-Graaff High School in Villiersdorp in 1907, establishing a £100 000 endowment fund for the school.
Today the town has around 10 000 inhabitants and lies in an area renowned for its deciduous fruit, as well as wines. The large Theewaterskloof Dam built on the Sonderend River just outside town in 1978 today covers an area of around 5 059 ha and contains about 480 million cubic litres of water. Its catchment area is approximately 500 square km.