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Wolraad Woltemade

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Wolraad Woltemade worked for the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) at the Cape and during a shipwreck saved 14 sailors from drowning.

Wolraad Woltemade Vonk

Wolraad Woltemade a dairyman was born in Hesse-Schoumberg in the present-day Germany.  At the time of his death he was according one source working in the Zoo.  His son Corporal Christian Ludwig Woltemade was one of the guards on the beach the night the Ship De Jonge Thomas ran on the rocks at the mouth of the Salt River.

Many of the sailors drowned but when Wolraad Woltemade saw what is happening he mounted his horse ‘Vonk’ and saved 14 sailors by entering the sea on horseback.  After saving 14 sailors Wolraad went in for the 8th time but as the ship fall apart he and his horse was pulled down into the water by a group of sailors that hanged onto the horse.  Wolraad Woltemade’s body was found the next day.

Wolraad Woltemade

One source report of the 191 souls on board, only 53 survived and of these 14 was saved by Wolraad Woltemade.  Wolraad Woltemade became a hero that gave his life trying save others.  Story of Wolraad Woltemade were told to many school children and at statue can still be seen of Wolraad Woltemade and his horse ‘Vonk’ close to the Cape Town Station.  Wolraad Woltemade was also honoured bu the Dutch East Indian Company by naming a ship Held Woltemade after Wolraad.  The Dutch East Indian Company also looked after his wife and children.  In 1976 a salvage tug were also named after Wolraad Woltemade – SA Wolraad Woltemade.  In June 1973 stamps were also issued in remembrance of Wolraad Woltemade.   

Wolraad Woltemade was 65 when he died but his life and bravery is still remembered till today.

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