The Ghost House on 1st Avenue in Bezuidenhout Valley always fascinated me. When i first saw it over 14 years ago I was drawn to the mystery that surrounded it. I had been told about the lone vigilante that patrolled the street from morning to dusk and warned that I dare not enter the closely guarded property.

There was a sign above the door that warned trespassers would be shot. The elderly man with the big white beard was feared in the area but he also reminded me of a gentle teddy bear. Now I knew that he would go to the corner shop and occasionally down to Darras centre to shop at Pick n Pay so I waited.

Then the day came when he went to Darras and I grabbed the opportunity, I entered the house and went upstairs stumbling over all the furniture and possessions strewn every where. It was layers upon layers of memories, the curtains blew eerily in the broken windows. The beautiful trees in the garden where in full bloom with pink flowers. The floor boards creaked, terrified that I might fall through the cracks ( to be honest I think I had watched to many horror movies ) I looked around and could sense that something very sad had happened. I could not bring myself to touch anything. Everything was still in the house, it was just chaos. Precariously I climbed down the rickety staircase.

I left, with a heavy heart. This beautiful house with a rambling garden was once the pride and joy of the Bezuidenhout farm and now it had become an isolated piece of deep sadness.

I set about finding out more. The vigilante was Tino de Carvahlo . They had come from Beira in Mozambique in 1961, Diamantino jnr. ( Tino ) was 14 years old and his younger brother Rui and Susanna ( Twins ) who were a few years younger. They lived in another house in Bez Valley but later bought this house in 1973. They traveled to South Africa in the car that lay in the garden and rusted away. His parents were Diamantino Baptista De Carvalho and his wife Edith.

The historic Mansion was built in 1903 and occupied by the famous Bezuidenhout family who owned most of the land in the area . They lived in this house for many years. At the time it was know as Morf Lodge

Tragedy struck one night in March 1995 when 4 men armed with knives broke into the house. They surprised the elderly couple who where in bed at the time demanding money and valuables.They didn’t get what they wanted so proceeded to beat the couple who were in their 70’s with an iron water pipe and strangle them. In the morning they left them for dead. The following morning Tino found them, he packed up some essentials and had them hospitalised, once recovered his parents went to live with him.
Sadly his father passed away the following year from his injuries and Edith passed away in 2004.Nobody was ever arrested even when they were recognised in the streets.
Tino went on to call the house his monument to democracy .

Iaan Waldeck an artist became a friend of Tino’s, he lived down the road and Tino allowed him into the house to photograph it.

The houses misery didn’t end there. It caught on fire and burnt down and Tino was murdered in 2016.

In October 2017 I went walking in the shell of the burnt out house again noting how the house had been stripped. Then in August 2018 I went back and in less than a year it is a miracle that this grand old lady is still standing. The vagrants that Tino fought so many years to keep out are now living on the property, there is not a tree or plant on the garden and no boundary wall.

Its ironic that the people Tino fought so hard to keep out are the people who now live in the shell of what was one of the most historic properties of the area.

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