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The Van Riebeeck Hedge

To many this historical hedge of intertwined indigenous wild almond trees represents the beginning of a racial conflict in South Africa, Apartheid. This hedge of trees can be found in the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, and is one of the first barriers ever set up by "white" settlers in the Cape to prevent access for the local Khoisan people. It was seen as the first of many steps taken by the settlers to dispossess the local African people and to keep the best Africa had to offer to themselves, and this was in 1660. Most of those barriers have been broken down over the last almost 20 years, but it has been a long and hard struggle and this 350 year old hedge serves as a reminder of a strong peoples fight for freedom. An interesting point about Wild Almonds is that they contain cyanide and are poisonous unless specially treated by soaking and roasting, a technique discovered by the Khoisan people who used to eat them.

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