In front of the Kalahari-Oranje Museum in Upington you will find a statue of a donkey harnessed to a crushing mill, frozen in bronze, which was sculptured by Hennie Potgieter to symbolise the unselfish contribution made by the donkey in developing the Lower Orange River valley.

This Museum was erected in 1875 by Reverend Schroder as a church and a mission station.  Today, the museum displays articles and pictures that represent life along the Orange River at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Back in 1929, 350 men were employed by the government to build the Buchuberg Dam about 120km south-west of Upington where they worked by hand, using shovels, picks and wheelbarrows and often used donkeys to assist in their efforts in order to tame the lower reaches of the Orange River for irrigation purposes.

The donkey is still a big part of transport in the rural communities of South Africa.

“When I read things like the foundations of capitalism are shattering, I’m like, maybe we need that.  Maybe we need some time where we’re walking around with a donkey with pots clanging on the sides” – Louis C.K



Leave a Reply