Northpine takes a trip down memory lane

Northpine before the developments.

What was a pine forest 40 years ago has blossomed into a close-knit community, and today Northpine celebrates its 40th anniversary. It was on November 6, 1979 that the first set of keys was handed over to Hashim Dennis, who settled at 6 Conifer Close.

The 75-year-old recalls that at the time, the other nine houses in the road were empty and for a week he, his new wife and their three daughters had a whole community, “surrounded by tall trees” to themselves.

Mr Dennis said he bought the two-bedroom house from property management company Garden Cities for R17 000.

“I started the first residents’ association here, and when new people came into the community, I would introduce myself.

“But as time went on,” he added, “about five years down the line, more developments took place and I just couldn’t keep up with everyone.”

At the time, he said, there was no school and all children had to attend Eikendal Primary School in Kraaifontein. Earning, just R200 a month, said Mr Dennis, paying for transport to get his daughters to school, was a blow to his budget.

However, two years later Northpine Primary School was built.

It was followed by “drastic changes over time,” he said.

“Churches and mosques started going up, our trees were cut away to make room for more houses and before you knew it, we were a big community with people from all over Cape Town. I like the diverse cultures,” he said.

He added that the thought of moving from Northpine was not an option because “everyone knew everyone”.

Recalling an incident which illustrated their community spirit, Mr Dennis told Northern News about an attempted housebreaking in Dennesig Way in 2014 , to which nine residents responded in an effort to “help catch the criminal”. They were, however, unsuccessful.

Founder of the Northpine Community Improvement District, Lindsey Scherecka said he was proud to be a resident of Northpine.

As a member of the Northpine Neighbourhood Watch, Mr Scherecka decided to start the non-profit in 2015 with the hope of creating job opportunities in the community and establishing a 24-hour “safety service”.

The NCID now has a list of 139 members who have each been assigned a task to help keep the community safe.

“When I moved here 17 years ago I had the vision to upgrade Northpine, creating gardens and making the area attractive.

“Our area is now known to be more upper class than others but it’s only because the community is so close,” he said.

Stellah Diedericks, 83, moved into her Northpine Drive home on December 9, 1981, and she recalls attending an Anglican church based in a newly built classroom at Northpine Primary School.

“My son, Andre, was three-years-old when we moved here and I remember showing him the squirrels and picking up pine cones right outside our house.”

She said Old Paarl Road could be seen from her front yard and she could see when her work bus was arriving, but all that changed as new developments mushroomed.

“For the 38 years that I have been here, I am happy with my community,” she said.

John Matthews, group chief executive officer (CEO) at Garden Cities said he bought land from the Stellenbosch Divisional Council City of Cape Town in 1978 but remained tight-lipped about the price he paid for 125 hectares at the time.

He added that the name Northpine had been derived from the area being in Cape Town’s northern suburbs and the many pine trees they had removed.

“We started the developments here in 1979 and to date have built nearly 3 000 houses in this community. We are proud to be part of its 40th celebration.”

The City of Cape Town did not respond to additional queries by the time this edition went to print.

If you are a long-time resident of Northpine with a story to share, contact Tara Isaacs at tara.isaacs@inl.co.za or 021 488 4774.