Prof Tinus Kühn - The Portrait in the Passage

Tinus Kuhn fotoTinus Kühn, 14 November 2020
The story that unfolds in Tinus' PowerPoint presentation is disturbing. Although he remembers the photograph in the passage of his parents' house well, he had little information about it. His father did not know much either.
It was Tinus' paternal grandfather: Willem Johannes Kühn, the 6th generation from the progenitor Hans Kune. The latter worked from 1688 to 1726 at the Castle in Cape Town. Tinus' research on the ancestors shows that Willem Johannes was born in Swellendam in 1854 and married a Combrink lady in 1887. They had two children.
After this he was married a second time: to Hester Johanna Petronella Cilliers with whom he had six children.
During the Anglo-Boer War he was on commando while his family was in the concentration camp. After the war, with only the clothes on their bodies, he moved with his family and other relatives to German West Africa (later South West Africa, now Namibia). They were not part of the Thirstland Trekkers; only four families who moved out in April 1904. Tinus' father Danie was a few months old.
They trekked from Sendelingspos in Marico via Mafeking (now Mafikeng) to Rietspruit on the border, and further to the vicinity of Mariental. Meanwhile, their oxen had died and they had to borrow a cart and oxen. Willem and his son-in-law Tom Knoesen went into the interior with £ 3,000 (three thousand pounds), where they were allegedly killed by the Witboois - against whom they were warned.
According to a statement made by one Wouter Gronum, Willem was strung up from a tree, while Tom first fled but was later shot by the Witboois and also hanged.
The survivors were housed at a mission station for a time and later returned to the Cape via Windhoek and Swakopmund. Eventually, they returned to Sendelingspos.
Tinus concluded by showing a photograph of a doll his Grandpa Willem had bought for the one daughter Hester; still in its original packaging. It is with a family member in Pretoria.