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Ladismith’s light of hope shines once more

Jannie Crafford
Written by Mickey Mentz

Seven-year-old girl helps to bring oom Stanley’s Light back to life following six dark years

The iconic light on the Ladismith mountains which was installed by Stanley de Wit in 1963 is shining again thanks to the efforts of Jannie Crafford, Darius Botha (19) and seven-year-old Janelle Crafford.

This landmark situated halfway up the Elandsberg Mountain is the brainchild of the late De Wit who installed it on 31 May 1963.

Darius Botha
Darius Botha

For the last six years, however, the light that served as an indicator for water availability and a beacon of hope for local residents, was not maintained.

On 14 November the six years of darkness ended when Crafford and Botha carried the last items that were needed to restore the light, up the mountain.

“It wasn’t my first time up this mountain so I had an idea of just how tough it was going to be, but nothing could have prepared me for the agony of carrying the all the equipment we needed to get this job done,” Botha told News62.

Planning a trip to Ladismith? Click HERE

“When we eventually got back to our Bakkie and we could see the light in the rear-view mirror – that was truly a special moment,” Botha added.

Botha and Crafford added an additional solar powered light to ensure to the existing water turbine and solar system would not fail any time soon.

Stan climbed the mountain 278 times over 30 years to maintain his light because of the many fires. The original bicycle lamp was replaced by two 24-volt truck lights and an alternator and solar panel replaced the dynamo with the help of Hugh Sussens.

Youngest person to reach Stan’s Light

A few weeks prior to this historical day in Ladismith’s recent history, seven-year-old Janelle had accompanied her dad on this gruelling 10-hour hike to do the initial preparation work – making her one of the youngest persons to reach this point.

While she made it to Stan’s light on her own, daddy who had just carried heavy equipment up the mountain had to carry her back down.

Janelle Crafford

With the help of Jacques du Toit who refurbished the water turbine’s alternator that has generated electricity for decades, things finally returned to normal in the Klein Karoo town that is a popular destination adventure tourists from all corners of the globe.

“On behalf of the Ladismith Tourism Bureau would like to thank these three superstars for the tremendous work they did in restoring a light that plays such an important role in the lives of Ladismith residents,” said Hettie Weymar Manager of Ladismith Tourism Bureau.

Are you a passionate mountain climber? Click HERE to check out all the amazing trails Ladismith has to offer.

Pictures: Darius Botha

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About the author

Mickey Mentz

From my Barrydale base, my goal is to tell the stories of people and places on the picturesque R62. Ek het oor die jare 'n cappuccino verslawing ontwikkel en my honde se name is Bella en Obi.

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