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Bongolo Dam
Komani (Queenstown) district, Eastern Cape


Style:Industrial Archaeology


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31°52'37.99" S 26°54'54.76" E

Located about 5 km from Queenstown on the Dordrecht road. It is one of the town’s main sources of water supply. The all-concrete arch-gravity wall was begun in 1905 and completed in 1908. It is of the earliest where formwork, rather than the traditional stonework, formed the facings, and was for years the largest concrete dam wall in South Africa. In 1934 it was raised by 1,22 m and in 1940 provided with three syphon spillways with a battery of 18 double syphons in all. Incidentally the origin of the name Bongolo has been cause for some controversy, but it is believed by some to have been derived from the Xhosa word mbongolo meaning donkey, as these animals were extensively used in the construction of the dam.

(Queenstown website)

Writings about this entry

Anonymous . 1906. East London and Frontier Red Book. East London: Griffith-Standard Co., Ltd.. pg 444
Fredman, R. 1964. Structural concrete in South Africa: Some Observations on the Development of Reinforced and Prestressed Concrete from the Time of Van Riebeeck to the Present Day. Johannesburg: South African Reinforced Concrete Engineers Association. pg 48, 49 ill
South African National Committee on Large Dams . 1994. Large dams and water systems in South Africa. Pretoria: SANCOLD. pg 128 (ill); 129