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Last modified: 23 Nov 2022
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BRAVE FISHERMAN'S FRIEND HONOURED WITH STATUE IN HOMETOWN

24 November 2022

EVERY morning just after 03:00, four-legged Brag would accompany his fisherman-owner to the sea in Jeffreys Bay – running up and down the beach until he disappeared out of sight.

He would wait patiently at the high-water mark – with his head on his paws and his eyes watchful on the water – for his owner and captain of the rowboat Poor Man’s Friend, Charles October Hammond, and his team of eight to return with the day’s catch at around 14:00.

However, on the day when a huge wave overturned the boat and the men all ended up in the sea, Brag fearlessly jumped to Hammond’s rescue – showing that true love and bravery know no limits.

Caught in a strong current Brag paid with his life. Hammond helplessly watched as his best friend’s head disappeared under the water. He never saw his beloved Brag again.

However, the residents of Jeffreys Bay have not forgotten.

Statue

Earlier this month, a bronze-coloured statue of Brag was unveiled close to the Amphitheatre at Dolphin Beach in Jeffreys Bay, honouring the brave dog.

His head raised above his stretched paw; Brag now rests proudly on a decorative stone base – overlooking the sea.

“This specific location was chosen by the municipality due to its close proximity to the area where boats were launched in the 1940s,” said Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks.

The statue, created by well-known local sculpture, Renier Viljoen, weighs approximately 75kg. It is 400mm wide, 500mm high and 1 000mm long – all done from one available photo.

The basic form and framework consist of very high-quality round stainless steel, which was plastered with cement and bonding compound.

Hendricks said although it was the vision of Jeffreys Bay Tourism and Dorp van Drome, they could not do it all on their own and asked the municipality to join hands to turn the dream into reality.

Most of the work was done by members of Jeffreys Bay Tourism and Dorp van Drome, while the municipality helped with the transport and placement of the statue.

“For us, Brag is more than just a hero to his owner,” said Hendricks. “We want residents to remember his legacy – and the rich history of Jeffreys Bay that was named after Captain Jeffreys who was forced to land his vessel in the 1840s and built a primitive port on what is now the main beach.

“We, furthermore, want to teach young and old about true friendship and sacrifice.”

Source: Old Jeffreys Boy – Lest we forget by Bert Behrens

Fisherman’s Graveyard

Dedicated to the early fishermen of Jeffreys Bay and their families, the Fisherman’s Graveyard situated on the sand dunes at Duine Road in Pellsrus, Jeffreys Bay was recently upgraded at a cost of R150 000 by Kouga Municipality.

A total of 155 symbolic white concrete crosses were erected, the walkway paved, and an information board erected at Mr Pells’ grave. The fence around the cemetery was, furthermore, repaired.

With the oldest headstone dating back to 1937, very little is known about the graveyard due to the original cemetery book being lost over the years. The only information remaining is that obtained in records of historians and books published about the early years of Jeffreys Bay.

Records from Bewaarders van ons Erfenis indicate that Jacobus Nicolaas Swart (1805 – 1867) occupied the farm Klein Seekoeirivier (where the cemetery is situated). His so, Petrus Lafras Swart (born 20 September 1843) made a piece of land available to the community – now known as Pellsrus.