Skip to content ↓

View entry

Back to search results

Name: CLOETE, C. Valerius 'Sonnie'

Nee: 3rd son of Christiaan Johannes Cloete

Birth Date: 4 Dec 1906 Bethlehem, Free State, S. Africa

Death Date: 29 Dec 1989

First Date: 1904 - arrived with his father who went back to fetch the family in 1905

Profession: Questionmark over who C.V. Cloete's father was. Arrived aged 3. Farmer

Area: 'Concordia', Eldoret

Married: Johanna Magdalena De Bruyn

Children: two dau.

Book Reference: Eldoret, Hut, Pioneers, Habari 2009, Sitrep2, Red 31

General Information:

Pre-war volunteer to the Kenya Regiment (KR 764)
Eldoret - Now [1967] over 60, came when he was three years old, arriving in Mombasa with cattle, sheep and horses. Rotich, an Elgeyo taken on by his father in 1910, worked for Sonnie until at least 1960. The Cloetes had over 50 peafowl at Concordia. He says that in the early days whisky was only Rs. 3 (about 4/50) a bottle. Many people, of course, took advantage of this. For instance an old man fell off his horse on his way home; next morning very early, his horse was seen near a friend's house and was recognised as belonging to the old man who was well known to the farmer and he knew the old man could not be far off. A short distance from the house the owner of the horse was found fast asleep next to an ant hill. On being asked whether he was not afraid of being eaten by lion, he replied that lion would not eat a drunken Christian. Another story of Mr Cloete's is that when the first settlers arrived on the Plateau, everyone had to have Rs500 in cash or stock, wagons etc. to that amount. A short while after they had taken up their farms, a Land Officer was sent from Nairobi to investigate their financial positions. He arrived on the first farm where several farmers awaited him, and that particular farmer showed his stock, implements, etc. Before the Land Officer left for the next farm, he was delayed on purpose and given a drink. Meanwhile the stock were driven to the next farm. This was repeated many times. About midday the owner of the stock asked to have lunch and a rest before going on. The Land Officer said this was a good idea as "those animals can have a rest too". He knew what was going on; but needless to say, all those people were granted farms and made good. Mr Cloete said that when the first flour was milled in Kenya, many people were averse to using it and said it was not as good as that from Bombay. One day a lady came into a shop in Eldoret where only local flour was stocked and asked for Bombay flour. The attendant was very obliging and scooped the flour out of the bag containing local flour. The lady was quite satisfied. Another person then asked for local flour and was served from the same sack. ..…..    
Letter from C.V. Cloete to A. Cloete - see p. 30 - "... At the beginning of 1907 Dad and John de Waal and D. & B. v Breda took a trolley on the Slatters road and that was the 1st wagon ever to be on the Plateau. Shortly after that I took our big wagon with Mother, Madge and Jos through. This was a very hard journey as the road was all right for a light wagon. So our family were the first to be on the Plateau as a family. Shortly after Lockstone arrived. We went up to the Plateau again with them, so Mrs Lockstone was the 2nd family or woman there, the two journeys being in 1907. .…."
Pioneers - Eldoret - Letter to Mr A. Cloete - Dear Anaak,  Yes, this long ago history you will have to show John de Waal, as he knows a lot about the things that happened then. Bon van Breda was pushed over the Portuguese Boundary by the English Forces in 1900 with other Burghers, as also John de Waal, but Bon managed to get away from the army and by slow stages arrived in Lourenco Marques. From there in early 1901 he took ship to Dar es Salaam and Mombasa. He worked sub-contracting somewhere near Nakuru. From there he joined a small party on a shooting expedition. They passed Eldama Ravine and on to the Plateau by native footpaths in 1901. In 1902, at the termination of the S.A. War, he went back and brought his two brothers, Dirk and Piet, with him in the middle of 1903. They applied and each received 10,000 acres. At the end of 1903 Dirk met Dad in Jo'burg and told him about the country. At the end of 1904 Dad and I came up, but the war with the Nandi was on. I stayed in Naivasha. ………… …In October 1905 my father and family arrived, also John de Waal in 1906 approx. One month after, Janie and Jan Viljoen came with their families. Together we trekked up to Nakuru with our stock, with untrained oxen. …… ……At the beginning of 1907 Dad and John de Waal and D and B van Breda took a trolley on the Sclater's Road, and that was the first wagon ever to be on the Plateau. Shortly after that I took our big wagon with Mother, Madge and Jos through. This was a very hard journey. So our family was the first to be on the Plateau as a family. ….. …..At the end of 1908 van Rensburg's trek came in. They all landed at Nakuru. After an expedition to the Plateau, they left early in 1909 (March approx.) I went with them, taking a load for us. From 1907, the first time we went up with the family, there was always one or other of us on the Plateau with the sheep and cattle ……. Ever Yours C.V. Cloete (C. Valerius 'Sonnie' Cloete)
Habari 2009 - Sonny Cloete, together with his father, mother and siblings relocated from South Africa to Naivasha in October 1905.
Habari 2009 - At the end of 1906, the Arnoldis, John de Waal and the Cloetes, joined by the Viljoens and Fred Loxton from Bethal, trekked with all their possessions to Nakuru. From there, in the beginning of 1907, Frans Arnoldi and John de Waal, accompanied by Sonny Cloete's father, Abraham Joubert and Fred Loxton travelled by ox wagon up the western wall of the Rift Valley to the Plateau (a hazardous journey lasting 2 months) where they stayed with the Van Breda brothers. Afterwards they settled on the Plateau.
Gazette 6 Dec 1938 Uasin Gishu Voters Roll

Back to search results