If you’ve driven along Philip Kgosana Drive (M3) you may have noticed a windmill which appears out of place along the highway. This is Mostert’s Mill, the only working windmill in Africa, south of the Sahara.
This farm windmill was built in around 1796 in accordance with standards set by the Dutch. These standards were put in place as previous windmills had been damaged by the strong winds that rip through the Cape.
It was built on a farm called “Welgelegen” and became known as Mostert’s Mill after Sybrand Jacobus Mostert, who inherited the farm in 1823. It eventually came under the ownership of Cecil John Rhodes who was buying up land in the area to consolidate his Groote Schuur Estate.
Following his death in 1902, the mill and all other Rhodes properties were given to South Africa in accordance with his will.
It is a truncated tower-mill with a revolving cap, thatched, roof. The sails are turned by the wind. It is referred to as a Grond Zeile mill in Dutch and refers to the fact that the sails are serviced from the ground. The mill has been restored twice, once in 1935 and again in 1995 by the Public Works Department.
Access to the mill is only by permission from the Department of Public Works or by joining the Friends of Mostert’s Mill, the society who operate the mill.
Weather permitting. Friend’s of Mostert’s Mill, has an open day every 28 days. This year’s milling days are March 7, April 4, May 2, May 30 and June 27.
Pictures: @pizhobling/Twitter/Mostert’s Mill