Memory Hold-The-Door antiquarian and second hand book shop is no ordinary shop. Renowned for their extra-ordinary selection of Africana and other historical literature it also caters for the everyday readers who just want to lose themselves in a good read. You can also find collections of vinyls, comic and children's books, gift and post cards and other gifts. The Haenertsburg Museum where the history of the area is depicted in a categorized display is in the bookshop which spills out onto the veranda and the coffee shop.
Memory Hold-The-Door antiquarian and second hand bookshop boasts a name with lots of history. John Buchan, a Scottish born British writer was the first person to have elaborated on the beauty of the Haenertsburg and Magoebaskloof areas in his books. His first novel, “Prester John” was set in this area. Memory Hold-The-Door is the title of his autobiography.
This unusual store will excite any book-lover and you will want to put yourself down in front of the fireplace with a cup of steaming coffee in your hand.
Many a book launch have been held here. Prof Louis Changuion, who has written many books on the area and others on various topics has launched books such as "Silence of the Guns" and "John Murruy, The Duke from Haenertsburg" here . Writers like the late Kimon Neophyte, Clem Shunter, Jeanette Ferreira and Bridget Hilton-Barber also graced this little shop. The "writers wall" already boasts the signature of many known writers.
Music evenings have been a long standing activity and just as the writers the musicians get to sign the wall where they can proudly "mix" with other people of their stature. For quite a few years now Richard Cock and the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra have made The Pennefather their stop-off after their annual concert in Magoebaskloof in Spring. Make sure you have enough time as this could be a long visit... there is a lot to look at.
The bookshops spills over into The Haenertsburg Museum which is predominantly a cultural history museum with one small section on natural history. Professor Louis Changuion, who is a specialist on the Anglo Boer War and other wars, says: “My focus, when researching, collecting and selecting for the museum, was and still is on the village and surrounds only – loosely referred to as ‘The Mountain'”
The signage/captions are in three languages, English, Afrikaans and Northern Sotho. The displays are in chronological order and are divided into 5 periods, starting with:
1. Pre-1860: Before the White man came
Divided into three sub-sections each with a display cabinet with artifacts on that period:
Pre-History; Early Black cultures; Later Black Cultures
2. The Period 1860 – 1887: Arrival of the White man; Divided into two sub-sections each with a display cabinet with artifacts on that period: The Missionaries and Indigenous wood extraction and Early Gold Mining
3.The Period 1887 – 1896
Divided into two sub-sections each with a display cabinet with artifacts on that period:
The Founding of Haenertsburg, 1887, and The Magoeba War, 1895 – 1896
4.The Anglo-Boer War, 1899 – 1902
Two display cabinets with artifacts on the war
5.20th Century Developments
Divided into three sub-sections each with a display cabinet on that period: The period of New Settlers; The period of Afforestation and More Characters in our History
6.Our Natural Environment
The plan for future development is eventually to have all the hundreds of photos, maps, documents, newspaper cuttings and other material filed and made available in the museums. Our believe is that a museum should not only be a place of interest for visitors but a research centre as well.
You will be able to find an interesting selection of books on the area, many of them written by Prof Louis Changuion. There is an interesting book called “Our Corner of the World” in which the history of Haenertsburg and environs over 125 years is portrayed in pictures. A very nostalgic journey for those of us who have been here for a long time! This book is available at Memory Hold-the-Door Bookshop at The Pennefather.
Enjoy lazy hours on the veranda where you can indulge in a good cup of coffee, a chilled glass of wine and a light meal. breakfast is particularly good here. Open Wednesday to Sunday.