The Castle of Good Hope

The Castle Dungeons

When the Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck landed in the Cape in 1652, he set out to build a fortress to govern from. During the early years of the Cape Colony, many people were imprisoned in the castle dungeons. 

©Roger de la Harpe
The Castle of Good Hope is a star Fort in Cape Town, South Africa.

One dungeon was known as the Donker Gat 'dark hole' because it had no windows. Its most famous prisoner was Adam Tas, but he did not die there. The ghost said to haunt the castle, sometimes patrolling between the Leerdam and Oranje bastions, occasionally ringing the bell, is most often claimed to be that of Pieter Gysbert van Noodt, reputedly the most hated of all Dutch governors.

He apparently overturned a lighter sentence of seven soldiers and sentenced them to death. One soldier cursed him, and on the day they were executed in 1729 the governor died in his office chair.

By David Bristow