Friday, January 11, 2008

The Name: van der Riet

The Name: van der Riet

In the eastern regions of the Cape Province the name van der Riet is one which is largely allied to the legal profession.

It seems to be a sort of tradition dating from a famous lawsuit in those parts just over a century ago. This was the celebrated Bishop Burnett action in which a Mr. R. J. van der Riet was the sequestrator and which ultimately led to much trumpeting in the House of Commons and the British Press. The first of the actions in which Mr. Burnett was involved by his sequestration began in 1821, but a number of others followed, and together they made up one of the factors which led to the downfall of that autocratic old Governor of the Cape, Lord Charles Somerset.

It is possibly the same van der Riet who was appointed Civil Commissioner at Uitennage and to whom, in 1828, eight Zulu chiefs (brought from Durban to Port Elizabeth in a hommade boat by lieutenants King and Farewell) appealed in his capacity as Civil Commissioner to know on behalf of their overlord Chaka whether his annihilation of all the kafir tribes between Pondoland and the Great Fish River would meet British views and wishes. Chaka had promised to wait two months for a reply before beginning operations, but unfortunately for him he did not keep his promise. He was very soon to learn that his plans were definitely not in accordance with British desires.

Van der Riets to-day are to be found mainly in the older professions, such as law, medicine and education, and the first of their name, Johannes van der Riet, who is described as hailing from "Bergen op Zoom", came to South Africa as second surgeon in the service of the Hon. Dutch East India Company. On May 13th, 1753, he married Maria de St. Jean. One of his granddaughters, Maria Sophie Petronella, in 1798 Married Rynhard Perrijn, a naval "captain-lieutenant" of the Hague.

(quoted directly from family papers in my possession - Terry Ann)

2 comments:

tamela said...

It's great to have family history right at my fingertips! Great job mum :)

Karen said...

Hi there, My name is Karen Bothma and I am a descendant of the same Johannes van der Riet. The van der Riet family is well known for there musical talents although none of them became famous! My grandfather was James William Anthony van der Riet and was born in 1892. I am glad to see some one is also interested in their roots. You will find quite a few van der Riets on facebook. Because of all the children per family, we are all related somehow. Kind regards, Karen (vand der Riet) Bothma