Iziko at Groot Constantia

  • Iziko Orientation Centre at Groot Constantia

    Ongoing

    PERMANENT
    The Orientation centre covers various aspects of the estate, past and present. Panels with aerial views of the farm explain the Constantia Valley and layout of the farm. More info
  • Iziko Wine Museum in the Cloete cellar at Groot Constantia

    Ongoing

    PERMANENT
    The Cloete wine cellar was built in the late 1700’s by Hendrik Cloete. The two-storey building above the ground boasts an exhibition on historical wine making techniques and... More info
  • Iziko Homestead/Manor House at Groot Constantia

    Ongoing

    PERMANENT
    The Homestead or ‘Manor House’ is furnished as the home of affluent Cape farmers of the 18th to early 19th century. Furniture dating from this time is placed in pairs and paintings according to... More info
Hire this venue

In this set of well-preserved buildings is a number of unique venues that will provide companies, incentive groups and individuals with a range of venues that can be utilized for a vast array of functions such as wedding receptions and product launches. Coupled with excellent estate wines and food from the region, Groot Constantia will provide you with a venue that will make a lasting impression on your clients or friends. 

The Groot Constantia Homestead is a magnificent example of Cape Dutch architecture and the Wine Museum pediment is one of the sculptor Anton Anreith's masterpieces. Built in 1685 by Simon van der Stel, the gracious Cape Dutch homestead houses one of the finest collections of early Cape furniture, paintings and ceramics. The grand dining hall is made available on a very limited basis to host major corporate events and grand banquets.

BMW Boardroom

Status: Available

Ideal For: workshops, meetings

  • Indoor Venue – Located inside the homestead
  • Pax Capacity: 10
  • Catering Options: Must be done through on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Bathrooms Available: 2+

Pricing:

  • Please note that the below fees do not include overtime fees or other costs that may arise depending on your event.
  • Please contact venuehire@iziko.org.za for a full quote or more information.
  • Venue Fee: Full Day: R2,000; Half Day: R1,000

The Bottom Lawns

Status: Available

Ideal For: weddings, corporate functions, parties, outdoor events, picnics, photo and film shoots

  • Outdoor Venue
  • Pax Capacity: 100
  • Catering Options: Must be done through on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Bathrooms Available: 2+

Pricing:

  • Please note that the below fees do not include overtime fees or other costs that may arise depending on your event.
  • Please contact venuehire@iziko.org.za for a full quote or more information.
  • Venue Fee: Full Day: R7,500; Half Day: R3,750; Evening: R7,500

The Cloete Cellar

Status: Available (but with restrictions due to renovations)

Ideal For: workshops, meetings, dinners, weddings, birthday parties, photo and film shoots

  • Indoor Venue
  • Pax Capacity: 40
  • Catering Options: Must be done through on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Bathrooms Available: 2+

Pricing:

  • Please note that the below fees do not include overtime fees or other costs that may arise depending on your event.
  • Please contact venuehire@iziko.org.za for a full quote or more information.
  • Venue Fee: Full Day: R6,000; Half Day: R3,000; Evening: R9,000

The Cloete Cellar Backyard

Status: Available

Ideal For: weddings, corporate functions, parties, outdoor events, picnics, photo and film shoots

  • Outdoor Venue
  • Pax Capacity: 100
  • Catering Options: Must be done through on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Bathrooms Available: 2+

Pricing:

  • Please note that the below fees do not include overtime fees or other costs that may arise depending on your event.
  • Please contact venuehire@iziko.org.za for a full quote or more information.
  • Venue Fee: Full Day: R3,500; Half Day: R1,750; Evening: R3,500

The Duckpond

Status: Available

Ideal for: weddings, corporate functions, parties, outdoor events, picnics, photo and film shoots

  • Outdoor Venue
  • Pax Capacity: 300
  • Catering Options: Must be done through on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Bathrooms Available: 2+

Pricing:

  • Please note that the below fees do not include overtime fees or other costs that may arise depending on your event.
  • Please contact venuehire@iziko.org.za for a full quote or more information.
  • Venue Fee: Full Day: R5,000; Half Day: R2,500; Evening: R5,000

The Herb Garden Courtyard

Status: Available

Ideal For: weddings, corporate functions, parties, outdoor events, picnics, photo and film shoots

  • Outdoor Venue
  • Pax Capacity: 100
  • Catering Options: Must be done through on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Bathrooms Available: 2+

Pricing:

  • Please note that the below fees do not include overtime fees or other costs that may arise depending on your event.
  • Please contact venuehire@iziko.org.za for a full quote or more information.
  • Venue Fee: Full Day: R3,500; Half Day: R1,750; Evening: R3,500

The homestead

Status: Available (with restrictions)

Ideal For: dinners, corporate functions, tours, photo and film shoots

  • Indoor Venue
  • Pax Capacity: 40
  • Catering Options: Must be done through on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Bathrooms Available: 2+

Pricing:

  • Please note that the below fees do not include overtime fees or other costs that may arise depending on your event.
  • Please contact venuehire@iziko.org.za for a full quote or more information.
  • Venue Fee: R25,000

The Homestead Backyard

Status: Available

Ideal For: weddings, corporate functions, parties, outdoor events, picnics, photo and film shoots

  • Outdoor Venue
  • Pax Capacity: 100
  • Catering Options: Must be done through on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Bathrooms Available: 2+

Pricing:

  • Please note that the below fees do not include overtime fees or other costs that may arise depending on your event.
  • Please contact venuehire@iziko.org.za for a full quote or more information.
  • Venue Fee: Full Day: R5,000; Half Day: R2,500; Evening: R5,000

The Homestead Courtyard

Status: Available

Ideal For: weddings, corporate functions, parties, outdoor events, picnics, photo and film shoots

  • Outdoor Venue
  • Pax Capacity: 100
  • Catering Options: Must be done through on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Bathrooms Available: 2+

Pricing:

  • Please note that the below fees do not include overtime fees or other costs that may arise depending on your event.
  • Please contact venuehire@iziko.org.za for a full quote or more information.
  • Venue Fee: Full Day: R2,000; Half Day: R1,000; Evening: R2,000

The Middle Avenue

Status: Available

Ideal For: weddings, corporate functions, parties, outdoor events, picnics, photo and film shoots

  • Outdoor Venue
  • Pax Capacity: 100
  • Catering Options: Must be done through on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Bathrooms Available: 2+

Pricing:

  • Please note that the below fees do not include overtime fees or other costs that may arise depending on your event.
  • Please contact venuehire@iziko.org.za for a full quote or more information.
  • Venue Fee: Full Day: R7,500; Half Day: R3,750; Evening: R7,500

The Orientation Courtyard

Status: Available

Ideal For: weddings, corporate functions, parties, outdoor events, picnics, photo and film shoots

  • Outdoor Venue
  • Pax Capacity: 100
  • Catering Options: Must be done through on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Bathrooms Available: 2+

Pricing:

  • Please note that the below fees do not include overtime fees or other costs that may arise depending on your event.
  • Please contact venuehire@iziko.org.za for a full quote or more information.
  • Venue Fee: Venue Fee: Full Day: R2,000; Half Day: R1,000; Evening: R2,000

The Wagon Courtyard

Status: Available **

Ideal For: weddings, corporate functions, parties, outdoor events, picnics, photo and film shoots

  • Outdoor Venue
  • Pax Capacity: 100
  • Catering Options: Must be done through on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Bathrooms Available: 2+

Pricing:

  • Please note that the below fees do not include overtime fees or other costs that may arise depending on your event.
  • Please contact venuehire@iziko.org.za for a full quote or more information.
  • Venue Fee: Venue Fee: Full Day: R3,500; Half Day: R1,750; Evening: R3,500

Please note:

  • Capacity can be dependent on the details of the event.
  • Catering must be done through the on-site Jonkershuis Restaurant
  • Chairs and tables provided for some occasions (please contact for number and availability).
  • If this event would fall outside of normal operating hours and days, as listed above, an overtime fee for staff would be applied.
  • Parking is available, however we recommend booking in advance to ensure spaces.
  • As the venue is a public access venue, if you have your event during regular operating hours, please note that members of the public may be found walking past your event as they tour the Groot Constantia grounds.
  • AV Equipment is available on request at extra cost.

Restrictions:

  • No cooking of food / open flames are allowed on site.
  • If a tent or any other structure is to be erected, nothing may pierce the ground, however sandbags are an option.
  • If music is to be present, it must be cleared with staff in the museum first.
  • Some rooms prohibit dancing or other physically vigorous activities allowed in the room due to heritage and safety considerations. Please enquire.
  • No alterations of any kind may be done to the grounds – this includes removing or damaging items from walls, ceilings etc, removing artefacts/art work/plants etc or hanging/sticking items to the walls/ceiling etc without prior consent.

Terms and Conditions apply to any and all Venue Hires and Events.

 

--------------------

What could be more romantic than hosting your special event at a historic wine farm? Groot Constantia estate boasts many strikingly beautiful areas to make your event a memorable one. Photo courtesy of Groot Constantia.
Groot Constantia wine in front of the Groot Constantia Homestead. Photo: Groot Constantia.
Groot Constantia provides charming settings ideal for most events. Groot Constantia can accomodate workshops, meetings, weddings, corporate functions, parties, outdoor events, picnics, photo and film shoots. Photo: Groot Constantia.
The BMW boardroom in the Groot Constantia Homestead. Ideal for meetings/presentations.
Evening photograph of the middle avenue leading towards the Groot Constantia Homestead. The front lawns and homestead are available for hire. Photo: Groot Constantia.
The Cloete cellar situated behind the Groot Constantia Homestead. Photo: Groot Constantia.
The wine museum pediment is one of the sculptor Anton Anreith's masterpieces. The pediment was commissioned by Hendrik Cloete and has the year 1791 sculpted in the centre.
The wine museum and cellar area provides a charming setting fit for any reception.
The Cloete Cellar located behind the wine museum. Photo: Groot Constantia.
Reverse view: The Cloete Cellar located behind the wine museum. Photo: Groot Constantia.
Inside the wagon museum close to the Cloete Cellar at Groot Constantia. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
The duckpond and back of the Groot Constantia Homestead. Photo: Groot Constantia.
The Cloete cellar and duck pond situated behind the Groot Constantia Homestead. Photo: Groot Constantia.
Closer view: Cloete cellar and duck pond situated behind the Groot Constantia Homestead. Photo: Groot Constantia.
The duckpond outside the Groot Constantia Cloete Cellar.
The Groot Constantia Homestead in spring-summer. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
The middle avenue leading up towards the Groot Constantia Homestead. Photo: Groot Constantia.
The Groot Constantia Homestead. Photo: Groot Constantia.
The Groot Constantia Homestead provides a fine setting fit for any occasion.
Bedroom in the Groot Constantia Homestead. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Kitchen in the Groot Constantia Homestead. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Back door of the Groot Constantia Homestead. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Search Collections
The collections of African Art in the Permanent Collection of the South African (SA) National Gallery mirror the histories of independence, division and democracy that have shaped the character of our country over the last century and a half.   Read more
The Ancient and Classical Cultures are well represented by artefacts from Egypt dating from the Predynastic to Graeco-Roman Periods.    Read more
This collection comprises mostly indigenous African artefacts, with a special emphasis on southern Africa. Objects from all over the world have also been collected for comparative purposes, such as Inuit artefacts to provide an example of hunter-gatherer material culture in environmental conditions very different from those in Africa.    Read more
The Modern Painting and Sculpture Collection contains excellent examples of many leading South African artists of the early and mid-20th Century, such as Gerard Sekoto, Alexis Preller, Irma Stern and Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef, all of whose artworks are very much in demand today. Modernism is not easy to define, but refers roughly to a period dating from the 1860s through to the 1970s, and is used to describe the styles and ideologies of art produced during that era.   Read more
The bird study skin collection focuses on South African species, but includes species from elsewhere in Africa as well as other regions of the world.   Read more
The Cenozoic period spans the Palaeogene (66 million years ago (Ma)) to the Quaternary (Holocene - present).   Read more
The ceramics in our collection originate from many parts of the world, mainly Asia, Europe, Africa, and in particular South Africa. Contemporary works by South African ceramic artists form an import and developing part of the collection.   Read more
Collection of Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture extends temporally from approximately the 1960s-1970s to the present day, and consists predominantly of works by South African artists. This is one of the most actively acquiring collections, and while the Art Collections acquisition policy considers the redress of historical omissions as vital to the collection, it is also forward-looking with regard to the output of emerging and established artists in South Africa.   Read more
The Iziko Slave Lodge hosts a display of Egyptian artefacts within the Iziko collection. The collection of Egyptian artefacts, however, span greater than what can be viewed in the upper level of the Iziko Slave Lodge.   Read more
The entomology collection includes about 1,000,000 pinned insects and about 30,000 alcohol preserved samples of insects, arachnids (scorpions, spiders, etc.) and myriapods (centipedes, millipedes, etc.). It is the oldest entomology collection in South Africa with specimens dating back to the 1860's, and it contains about 7,000 primary types, mainly those of Péringuey (beetles), Hesse (flies), Arnold (aculeate Hymenoptera), Purcell (arachnids) and Barnard (mainly aquatic insects).   Read more
The furniture collection contains a substantial amount of South African furniture, dating from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries. The emphasis of the collection is on Cape Furniture, originating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and is particularly well represented in the chair, table and armoire collections. Country and town furniture are represented; this collection includes some rare and unique items.    Read more
The glass collection includes items bearing the monogram of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), and the Rosa van Gelderen Collection, a small but representative collection depicting English Victorian glass. In the bottle collection is an empty bottle of Constantia Pontac, dating from 1791.   Read more
The Historical and Maritime Archaeological Collection is housed at the Iziko Social History Centre. The collection has an extensive variety of artefacts from several sites in and around Cape Town. The artefacts represent 87 land sites as well as 45 shipwrecks sites.     Read more
The historical collections of painting and sculpture within the Art Collections Department of Iziko Museums embrace a wide range of works for art that are both South African and foreign in origin.    Read more
Invertebrate palaeontology is the study of fossils of animals with no backbone or spine. Fossils are the remains or impressions of a once-living plant or animal found in rock and often hardened through natural processes. Invertebrates as the name suggests are animals that do not possess a vertebral column and this especially applies to the soft-bodied and smaller invertebrates such as worms and amoebae whose remains are poorly fossilised.    Read more
Invetebrates are animal species that do not posess or develop a vertebral collumn. Familiar examples of invertebrates include insects, worms, clams, crabs, octopuses, snails and starfish.     Read more
The Karoo is a vast semi-desert region that covers much of inland South Africa, and is considered a national treasure for its abundance of desert-adapted plant and animal life, as well as its world famous fossils. The Karoo rock outcrops have long been regarded as the largest and richest collecting grounds for fossils of a long extinct group of vertebrates known as therapsids or “mammal-like reptiles”.   Read more
The mammal study skin collection includes a wide range of southern African large and small mammal species. Plains zebras Equus burchelli, which formed part of Reinhold Rau’s initial quagga project are particularly well represented.   Read more
Being situated near, the Atlantic, Indian and Antarctic marine systems has resulted in a wide diversity of southern African and other marine fauna being held in the collections at Iziko South African Museum.   Read more
Invertebrates are animals with no spinal column who dominate the animal kingdom, making up at least 95% of known animal species. Similarly, marine invertebrates make up the vast majority of ocean life; or at least those visible to the naked eye.    Read more
Marine mammals are a large and diverse group of 129 species that include seals, whales, dolphins, walruses and even polar bears. They share relatively few biological characteristics, but are instead grouped together because of one common factor – they all rely on the ocean for their existence.  The Marine Mammal Collection includes a comprehensive collection of cetacean and Cape fur seal skeletal material, as well as those from other marine mammals.  Cetaceans (whales and dolphins) are the largest and most diverse order of marine mammals.   Read more
Marine vertebrates have a vertebral column, i.e. a spine and are by comparison to their invertebrate counter parts small in number, constituting only 4% of the sea’s animal kingdom. They are nonetheless considered among the most structurally complex organisms.     Read more
Cape Town's famous collection of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings on view at the Old Town House.   Read more
The Iziko Natural History Collections stand among the oldest, richest and most distinctive collections in the country. Together, the millions of specimens chronicle the natural history of animals and plants from Southern Africa and across the world. In so doing, they tell a fascinating story of life on Earth – from the earliest origins to how life has evolved into what we have today.   Read more
The Numismatic Collection includes currencies, tokens, scrip, medals and medallions. The world coin collection ranges from ancient and classical times to the present.   Read more
Palaeontology is the study of the preserved remains or traces of plants, animals and organisms that died thousands to millions of years ago. These preserved remains are called fossils and are found in rocks and sediments. Fossils allow us to understand how the Earth has changed over time and how animals evolve to what they are today.   Read more
The collection has been augmented by welcome donations, such as the presentation of 50 photographic prints by Arthur Rothstein in 1976 by the US Government. In addition, individual photographers have supported the Gallery with extraordinary generosity: in 1981, Paul Alberts presented 76 photographic prints and, in 1986, David Goldblatt presented 182 prints of his work. More recently, Struan Robertson donated 505 prints and his entire archive of negatives in 2003. Without such open-handedness, the Photographic Collection of the Iziko Department of Art Collections would be infinitely poorer. Between 2002 and 2005, we were fortunate to have been awarded funding for acquisitions by both the National Lotteries Board and the Department of Arts and Culture, which directly benefited the Photography and New Media Collections   Read more
All drawing media, except silver-point, are represented and all types of print media are covered in its holdings. The early historical prints include examples by artists such as Martin Schongauer, Michael Wohlgemnut and Albrecht Dürer. The collection has a representative collection of South African prints and drawings from the early 20th century onwards and this area is its main focus with regard to acquisitions.   Read more
The Rocks and Minerals Collections at the Iziko Museum of South Africa include a fine collection of calcite, a large collection from the former Tsumeb Mines in Namibia, rhodochrosite, which is found in Hotazel in the Northern Cape as well as diamonds of many different shapes and colours. There is also a unique meteorite collection, including both iron and stony chondrites and a rare carbonaceous chondrite.      Read more
Of special interest is the silver collection, especially the Cape silver. There are several interesting items of Cape commemorative silver. Apart from European silver, there are also silver items from Malaysia and Russia   Read more
The bulk of this collection, which boasts works by British artists such as Sir Thomas Lawrence, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir William Beechey, Sir Henry Raeburn, Henry Alken, Samuel Alken Junior, Charles Henderson, John Herring Senior, James Pollard, John Sartorius and Dean Wolstenholme Senior.    Read more
A gift of British Art to South Africa, part of the permanent collection at the Iziko South African National Gallery.   Read more
The nucleus of the original collections was established in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as part of the historical, archaeological and ethnographic collections of the South African Museum (SAM), and later the South African Cultural History Museum (SACHM).   Read more
Terrestrial vertebrates are commonplace, distributed across the globe even though vertebrates, as a whole, make up a fraction of animal diversity. Other than that they’re land-based animals with vertebral columns (spines or backbones) they’re also characterised by their well-defined joints and digits (fingers and toes). In scientific jargon, terrestrial vertebrates are known as Tetrapoda, in reference to these limbs.    Read more
Iziko holds an extremely large textile collection which includes flags, household linen, Indonesian ikats and batiks, Oriental carpets, samples and embroideries, as well as tapestries.   Read more
Toys are important for understanding the material world of childhood and changing patterns of socialization. The Toy Collection contains mainly commercially-manufactured dolls, marionettes, soft toys, games and a range of metal and plastic vehicles and trains, as well as indigenous African toys.    Read more
The transport collection contains about thirty coaches, wagons and carts – most being part of the Isaacs Collection – and bicycles.   Read more
The weaponry collection is yet another rich and diverse collection within the Iziko Social History Collections department, containing different types of firearms, stabbing weapons, artillery, protective garments, shields, throwing weapons and many more.   Read more
The William Fehr collection is exhibited at the Castle of Good Hope and Rust en Vreugd. The Castle, Cape Town’s oldest existing building, houses the component of oil paintings, furniture and decorative arts. Rust en Vreugd, a fine example of colonial eighteenth century urban architecture, houses the art on paper – prints, drawings and watercolours.    Read more
A large collection of woodworking tools enhances the furniture collection and the majority of the tools were documented and donated by Captain W. J. Van der Merwe.    Read more
Open: Daily from 10h00 to 17h00
Closed: Christmas Day and Workers Day
Tel: +27 (0)21 795 5140
Fax: +27 (0)21 795 5150
Address: Groot Constantia Estate, Constantia, Cape Town
 
Entrance fees:
Adults R30
6-18 years R15
Family ticket (2 adults + 2 children, 6 years & older): R 75
SA students & pensioners (on provision of valid student/pensioner card): R 15
School groups (booked): R 5
School groups (unbooked): R 8
Under 5’s enter for free
 
*SA students and pensioners enter free on Fridays on provision of valid cards
*ICOM and SAMA members enter free on provision of valid cards
*50% discount for kids accompanying an adult during local school holidays

The house is furnished as the home of affluent farmers of the 18th to early 19th century at the Cape. Furniture was placed in pairs and paintings according to themes where possible. Most of the furniture in the house was made at the Cape.

During restoration in 1926, the architect Kendall and his team discovered traces of decorative motifs which included stencilwork and dados on the interior of the entrance hall of the house. These motifs must have been removed, as no trace of them could be found during the recent restoration. The paint colours and dadoes are typical of Cape houses of the 18th century.

The entrance hall contains furniture and paintings which date from the late 18th to early 19th century. The festoon blinds or ophaalders are similar to those used by the Cloetes, the family who owned the farm from 1778 - 1885.

The study is to the left of the entrance hall. The men traditionally gathered here to converse and to smoke a pipe of tobacco. Furniture used for writing is found here. The objects in the room date from the 18th century to early 19th century and the furniture is in the Neo-Classical or Louis XVI style. The earthenware is of Delft and Chinese origin and was made for household use. The paintings depict military scenes and a horse rider.

The bedroom on the eastern side with its view of the garden, vineyards and sea is situated next to the study. This is the main bedroom and the owner of the farm and his wife slept here. The furniture and other objects date from the 18th and 19th centuries. The four-poster bed is reputed to have belonged to the Afrikaans poet J H Hofmeyr and is typical of four-poster beds used at the Cape. During this time houses did not have bathrooms and toilet facilities. The baby bath and bidet are examples of portable washing facilities used.

The kitchen contains objects from the 17th to 19th centuries. The spindle chairs, described by some as slave chairs, were found in kitchens of the time. The Frisian tail clock or staartklok was traditionally used in Friesland as a kitchen clock and would also have been used as such in the Cape.

The dining hall is the biggest room in the house and is the enlarged passage of the original Van der Stel house. Here the Cloetes entertained visitors and guests, apparently every day. The room is furnished with objects used in dining-rooms during the 18th and 19th centuries. The paintings have a seafaring theme.

The workroom was originally used as a bedroom. Objects in the room date from the 18th and 19th centuries. The paintings have interiors as their theme.
The bedroom on the western side is furnished with objects from the 18th to 19th centuries.

The women used to gather or kept themselves busy with handiwork in the drawing-room or sitting-room. At the time of the Cloetes, the room had many mirrors as is presently the case. The furniture in the room dates from the 18th century and is in the Rococo or Louis XV style.

The cellars below the house are probably those of the ground floor of the original Van der Stel house. The rooms were used by the Cloetes as storage area for good-quality bottled wine, vegetables and fruit. The rooms with windows were used as living space and workplaces for slaves and later for house servants. The area below the bedroom on the western side is a chicken run.

The Wine Museum is situated in a part of the historic wine cellar. Storage and drinking vessels for wine, dating from antiquity to the early 20th century are presently exhibited. A room next to the wine cellar was used by the Cloetes as an office for wine sales, with the desk they used as one of the exhibitions.

The Wine Museum is also used to exhibit a part of the carriage collection, amongst which are a Sefton Landau, Cape Cart, Ralli Cart, Buggy and a Farm Cart. The remainder of the carriage collection on the farm is exhibited in the coach house that forms part of the Jonkershuis complex. Amongst them are light trolleys or 'molwaens', a wagon drawn by six horses and a pioneer wagon known as a 'kakebeenwa'.

Entrance to the Iziko Homestead at Groot Constantia. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Iziko Homestead bedroom. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
The bed is reputed to have belonged to the Afrikaans poet J H Hofmeyr. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Kitchen area within the Iziko Homestead. Photo: Carina Beyer (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa.
Groot Constantia Wine (1791). Produced by Hendrik Cloete sr. (1725-1799). This bottle is labelled to be shipped to "His Grace: The Duke of Northumberland". (c) Iziko Museums of South Africa Social History Collections.

The Orientation centre covers various aspects of the estate, past and present. Panels with aerial views of the farm explain the Constantia Valley and layout of the farm. This is enhanced with a scale model of the Groot Constantia estate.

There are panel displays of the Khoe-San people, the first inhabitants of the Cape, and a fascinating and informative timeline inter-relating information on Groot Constantia with South Africa. There are also panels on the botany of Constantia Valley and the famous oak trees on the farm. The importance of wine farming in the early Cape economy and the role of Groot Constantia as the earliest wine farm in South Africa is traced.

A particular focus of the exhibition is rural slavery and the basis it provided for wine farming at the Cape. For the very first time there is an attempt to trace the lives of Groot Constantia’s slave men and women. The challenge in trying to discern the voices of individual slaves at the Cape is that the historical record is largely lacking. As members of the working classes of the Colony at that time, their specific histories were not documented. Instead, the presence of slaves at Groot Constantia, as elsewhere on Cape farms, is refracted through lists of slave owners’ possessions, estate transfer documents and court cases. The new exhibition includes slaves’ work on the farm - from labourer to cellar master to musician – their places of origin, many of their names and their medical treatment. Reference is made to a planned slave escape of 1712 when some 23 slaves led by an Eastern exile priest, Santrij from Java, gathered at Groot Constantia where Santrij lived. A visual highlight is a late 18th century drawing of a slave depicted with Groot Constantia’s owner, Hendrik Cloete senior. The slave, who may be the owner’s personal attendant, and named only Jacob in the historical record, supports Cloete’s long clay pipe – a depiction indicative of the indulgence demanded by slave owners at the time. For more information about the slave history of Groot Constantia, visit the Slavery in South Africa website.

Other panels deal with the farm’s owners and the famous ‘Vin de Constance’. Noted here is that Napoleon was supplied with Constantia wine while in exile on St Helena and that King Louis Philippe of France and Frederick the Great of Prussia ordered quantities of Constantia wine. There are further panels on the architectural development of the farm over the 300 years of its existence. Alfred de Pass, benefactor of the Groot Constantia house museum, whose donation of furnishings and decorative arts, forms the nucleus of the exhibition in the house, is also commemorated.

Entrance to the Iziko Orientation Centre at Groot Constantia.
Interior of the Iziko Orientation Centre at Groot Constantia.
Excavated ceramics on display at the Iziko Orientation Centre.
Artefacts on display at the Iziko Orientation Centre.

The history of the farm dates back to 1685 when it was granted to its first owner, Simon van der Stel. He arrived at the Cape in 1679 to take over the post of Commander, later upgraded to that of Governor.

Van der Stel was very keen to acquire a farm and in 1685 a piece of land of more than 2454 hectares was granted to him. He named it Constantia and, probably in the same year, built a double-storey house on it. Vegetables and fruit were grown on the farm, in addition to the practice of viticulture and the production of wine. The produce was supplied to ships which called at the Cape. Van der Stel also specialized in cattle-breeding on his leased land. He died in 1712. In 1716, Constantia was divided into three portions before being sold. Two parts became known as Bergvliet and Klein Constantia and the third part on which the Van der Stel house stood, became officially known as Groot Constantia during the mid-19th century.

The history of Constantia from then on became the story of mainly three families. Oloff Bergh was the second owner of the farm. After his death in 1724, his dynamic wife of slave descent Anna de Koningh, became the owner. She owned the farm until her death in 1734. Agriculture and viticulture continued on Constantia during this period.

The following two owners, Carl Georg Wieser and his stepson Jacobus van der Spuij, respectively owned Constantia from 1734 - 1759 and from 1759 - 1778. Wieser had a good knowledge of viticulture and enlarged the vineyards. Van der Spuij on the other hand did not trouble himself with wine making. He owned a slave who acted as cellar master and wine maker. In 1778 Jan Serrurier bought Constantia from Van der Spuij, but eleven months later sold it to Hendrik Cloete, owner of the farm Nooitgedacht near Stellenbosch.

Constantia remained Cloete property from 1778 - 1885 and the Cloetes gave a new lease of life to the farm. Hendrik Cloete gave the farm a new look by having a new wine cellar built, situated at the back and on the same axis as the entrance to the farm and the homestead. He also had the original house adapted by structural changes such as adding gables, sash and new casement windows, and a higher and more pitched roof. Cloete also expanded the outbuildings in front of the homestead. He improved the vineyards and introduced his own wine making methods to the farm. His wine became world famous.

He died in 1799 and his oldest son, also Hendrik, became the new owner. He maintained the standards set by his father and died in 1818. His wife Anna Catharina Scheller, became the next owner, with their oldest son Jacob Pieter Cloete acting as farm manager.

During this period they acted as wine supplier to the exiled French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte on St. Helena. In 1823 Jacob Pieter bought the farm from his mother, and continued the highly established viticultural standards. During his ownership the farm officially became Groot Constantia. Jacob Pieter Cloete died in 1875 and he was the last private owner of the farm. The farm remained in his estate and his son Henry acted as farm manager. The vine disease phylloxera urged him to leave for Europe to study methods for treatment, and during his absence his two sons were left in charge. Henry returned in 1885 and it was decided to sell Groot Constantia by auction.

It was bought by the Master of the Cape Supreme Court for the Cape Government which used it as experimental wine farm, and during this period, in 1925, the homestead was severely damaged by fire. Restoration was done under supervision of the architect F. K. Kendall and from 1927 - 1952 the house was refurbished with items donated and bought solely for this purpose by the art collector A. A. de Pass. To this day, the De Pass Collection still forms the nucleus of the exhibition in the homestead. In 1969 the South African Cultural History Museum became responsible for the house and its collection, while in 1976 the Groot Constantia Control Board became responsible for the viticultural functions, previously the responsibility of the Department of Agricultural Technical Services. In 1993 the Groot Constantia Trust which owns and represents the farm in its entirety, was established.

A project to restore the architectural nucleus of the farm, which includes the homestead, started in 1993 and was completed in 1994.

The wine cellar houses a Wine Museum exhibiting wine making equipment, especially wine storage and wine drinking vessels.

Simon van der Stel and his son Wilhelm Adriaen. The original canvas (destroyed in 1962) is attributed to Jan Weenix. Courtesy of the Stichting Iconographisch Bureau.
The deed of sale between the first owner Simon van der Stel and the second, Captain Oloff Bergh.
The second owner of the farm, Captain Oloff Bergh.
The deed of sale between Jan Serrurier and Hendrik Cloete, who bought Constantia in 1778.

Personal histories of the Groot Constantia slaves as reflected in the slave register (1816 - 1834).

Slavery today is outlawed in most countries and in 1948 the United Nations issued a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 4): "No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms". Despite this it is believed that 27 million adults and children are still enslaved to oppression, and it is also estimated that there are at present more slaves than ever before. Modern slavery, like past slavery, includes human trafficking between countries, bonded and mandatory labour, slavery by descent, forced marriage, and child labour (Web Ref). Most of these factors were part of Cape slavery and in particular, slavery at Groot Constantia.

In 1680 Commander (later Governor) Simon van der Stel bought his first slave, Jan van Oldenburg from Bengal. In 1685 the farm Constantia was granted to him. By 1686 he had 22 slaves who mainly worked on the farm. Thus, slavery was part of the farm since its establishment. In 1716 Constantia was divided into three and sold. Two parts were called Bergvliet and Klein Constantia,while the part on which the Van der Stel farm buildings stood, were called Constantia (later Groot Constantia) (Van der Merwe 1987: 38, Van der Merwe 1997: 14).

Various persons then owned the farm. The history of the Groot Constantia slaves is fragmentary and little is known about them or their occupations. Anna de Koningh, wife of Oloff Bergh and a descendent of slaves became the first female owner of Groot Constantia. During her tenure (1724-34), a total of 27 male slaves, one of them from Natal, attended to the farm. Most of the others came from India and Madagascar. One came from Bengal, the birthplace of Anna’s mother Angela (CA: MOOC 8/5 Inventory 118, Van der Merwe 1997: 17-20). During and prior to 1734 there was little or no wine produced at Groot Constantia, while there was production at Klein Constantia (Schutte 2003: 268). This may explain the lack of information, especially with regards to the duties of the slaves. Interestingly, from 1759-1778, a slave acted as cellar master, but nothing is known about his identity. It is also known that Jacobus van der Spuij, who then owned Groot Constantia, did not really involve himself with the winemaking (Swellengrebel 1982:112).

In 1778 the farm became the property of Hendrik Cloete of the farm Nooitgedacht near Stellenbosch, with his son Hendrik being the next owner. After his death in 1818, his wife Anna Catharina Scheller became the second woman to own Groot Constantia. During her ownership, in 1823, the farm officially became Groot Constantia. In 1824 she sold the farm to her son Jacob Pieter Cloete, and it was to remain his property till 1885 when it was sold to the Cape Government. During Cloete tenure extensive use was made of slaves on the farm. One reads about the restoration work of Groot Constantia roundabout 1778 requiring many hands, and sometimes 120 to 150 men were required to do the work (Schutte 2003:271). Who they were, where they came from or to whom they belonged, is not known.

In spite of this, the history of the slaves during the Cloete tenure became better documented, but still fragmentary. A big improvement however, came in 1816 with the inception of the Slave Office and Slave Register.

 

Groot Constantia is a national monument.
Anna de Koningh, the child of Batavian slaves, inherited the farm from her husband in 1724. Image courtesy of the Cape Town Archives Repository (CAR).
Slaves were purchased by private colonists to work on farms. Artist: RJ Gordon, c. 1778, Rijksprentenkabinet.
A drawing of Hendrik Cloete (senior) smoking and playing cards.

Contact Venue Hire

About the Museum

The farm, Groot Constantia, dates back to 1685, when the land was granted to Simon van der Stel – thus making it one of the oldest commercial wine farms in South Africa. Its Orientation Centre in the Jonkershuis complex uses panel, object and archaeological displays to give an overview of Groot Constantia from the past to present, including slavery on the estate.

Carriages are on display in the Coach House and in the historical wine cellar, while the Wine Museum exhibits wine storage and drinking vessels from antiquity to the early 20th century.

The Homestead, with its exhibition of furniture, paintings, textiles, ceramics, brass, and copperware, provides an insight into the life of a successful 18th to late 19th century Cape farmer.

Location