1905 Rondebosch Social Farm
In 1905 the Cape Town City Council approached the Salvation Army seeking a solution to a problem with released Pollsmoor prisoners. It was noted that prisoners who had no skills were returning to crime to survive.
The Salvation Army was requested to establish a skills programme for these men and a tract of land was given to the Salvation Army for this purpose. The land was in the Rondebosch area.
Since South Africa was at that stage a young developing country and that vast areas of the land were available to be developed it was decided that a programme incorporating agriculture would be appropriate.
The Rondebosch Social farm developed very well and at its closure in 1943 had a bed occupancy of 120.
In the years that the Rondebosch Social farm was in operation it was found that many of the released prisoners shared common problems and that most of them displayed symptoms of addictive behaviour.
It was also realized that the most common substance of abuse was alcohol. A rough and rudimentary rehabilitation programme was established, and this has now evolved and have been refined over the years.
In 1947 the City of Cape Town Council once again approached The Salvation Army, this time seeking to annexe the land in the Rondebosch area. This was due to the pressures of rapid urbanization. The City was fast becoming a boomtown, spreading at a rapid rate and the land was required to expand the subburbs. An amount of compensation was paid to the Army and the Superintendent (Captain Hesketh King) saddled his horse and left to seek alternative accommodation for the rehabilitation programme.
With a great deal of searching he found a large piece available land not far from Stellenbosch called Muldersvlei. After pegging out the property he paid the necessary dues and registered it in The Salvation Army’s name.
Then came the move from Rondebosch to Muldersvlei.
As there were no truck or rail link everything had to be moved to the new location on foot. This included the animals and all the equipment. It is recorded that the staff and patients slept in the bush for three days before arrival at Muldersvlei. Tents were erected to accommodate the staff and patients, who discovered the ferocity of the east and west wind in the area and they regularly had to rescue tents that were blown down or sometimes even away.
A small barn was built and housed the newly born calves together with Captain, Mrs. King and their two small children. A few months after settling at their new location Captain King saddled his horse again and ventured off into the surrounding area to meet the neighbours and to raise funds to build better accommodation for the patients.
In 1947 the programme was officially re-opened at Muldersvlei. A main building housing the patients and a small cottage for the Superintendent and his family was built.
In the years that followed a very successful farming operation was established and the farm had a good name in the dairy and pig industry.
1993 Farm Sale
In 1993 it was decided that a decision had to be made regarding the rehabilitation programme and the farming operation. It was decided that the main objective was rehabilitation and the farm was put up for sale.
It was purchased in 1996 and this left the Treatment Centre with a property of approx. 4.5 ha.
The Centre has experienced several name changes.
The original name given to the Centre was Muldersvlei Rehabilitation Centre. In time this was changed to Crossroads (signifying the crossroads in life a patient had to come to when admitted to the Centre).
Coincidentally the property was situated on a crossroads between Paarl and Stellenbosch. Due to the fact that The Salvation Army is an international organization many fears were raised during the recent period of transition and unrest in the country. When headlines appeared in the international press proclaiming riots and fighting at Crossroads in Cape Town. The press was referring to Crossroads settlement near the airport but many Salvationist gained the impression that the Centre was in the midst of great trouble. It was then decided to change to name in order to avoid confusion in this regard.
The name Hope Acres was chosen. This proved to be a complete failure as the name was not accepted or recognized by national or local parties involved in the programme.
In September 1996 at the time when the farm was put up for sale it was decided to change the name again and in the memory of the man who had been so instrumental in the establishment of the programme, it was name Hesketh King Treatment Centre.