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DIEPRAAM, Willem Pieter

Born: 1862 02 23
Died: 1936 09 26


Was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, as the son of Willem Diepraam and Barbara Klerk. He had, at the age of 15, declared that when he reaches the age of 21, he would come to Africa.

From February 1882 to November 1884 he worked as a draughtsman at the Royal Manufactory of Steam and other Machinery in Amsterdam. He worked in the section of bridge building and iron construction (See translation of letter - right).

On 5 May 1886, he was released from the Koninklike Nederlandsche Marine where he worked as a 3rd class sailor on the Evertsen, part of the sea military (See document - right). In the same year he came to the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek in the employ of the NZASM whereafter he settled as one of the first residents on the Dutch settlement Groot Suikerbos Kop (Dullstroom), where he taught as a school teacher on several farms, even though he was an architect (boumeester) by trade.

In 1891 the building of the Dutch Reformed Church in Dullstroom commenced with W.P. Diepraam as architect.

In 1895, a few years before the Anglo-Boer War he moved to Waterval Boven where he was an officer in the Voluntary Corps (Vrywillige Korps), and went on kommando (See photograph).

Mr. W.P. Diepraam jnr wrote that his father, W.P. Diepraam snr was a staunch Nationalist and rebel in the Rebellion, possibly because of the fact that after arriving in South Africa he had lost everything in the War. He married Charlotte Jacoba Stork, with whom he had four children (three daughters and one son). During the Boer War they were taken to the concentration camp in Middelburg, where both his wife and his son died together. Their house in Dullstroom was also burnt to the ground in Kitchener's 'Scorched Earth Policy' and W.P. Diepraam went to Waterval Onder to recover from his losses.

After the war he settled again in Dullstroom. Eight years after the death of his first wife, he married Catharina Jacoba Joubert (the author's great grandmother) from the farm 'Frischgewaagd' in the Carolina District, known to all till today as Tant Kitty (See photograph). They also had four children (also three daughters and one son). In the years that followed he served on several committees such as the school commission of the Belfast district, the church council, the town council and he was also the mayor of Dullstroom for some time.

In 1887 a memorial for the remembrance of the founders of Dullstroom was erected, but in 1901 the British removed the stone. W.P. Diepraam kept and preserved the stone in his house and it was later re-erected in 1934 in commemoration of the founding of Dullstroom 50 years earlier.

W.P. Diepraam died at the age of 74. He was buried in Dullstroom and the funeral was held in the Dutch Reformed church for which he had made immeasurable contribution through his labours.

Lorinda BEZUIDENHOUT, 2005
BSc. Interior Architecture
OMG 320

List of projects

With photographs
With notes

Nederduitse Hervormde Kerk: 1893. Dullstroom, Mpumalanga - Architect
Nederduitse Hervormde Kerk: 1905. Dullstroom, Mpumalanga - Architect

Books citing DIEPRAAM

Ploeger, Jan. 1994. Nederlanders in die Transvaal 1850-1950. Pretoria: Van Schaik. pp 59