ALBASINI Lukas Willem 1862-1936
son of Joao ALBASINI & Gertina Maria Petronella VAN RENSBURG.
João Albasini was born to an Italian family, but according to tradition born in Portugal on a ship leaving for Africa – hence the Portuguese form of his first name. A passionate tradesman and big game hunter, Albasini came to Lourenço Marques in 1831. He revolutionised trade in the Lowveld more than a decade before the first settlers from European descent arrived there. Albasini set up trade routes and infrastructure that reached from the port at Lourenço Marques far into the mainland.
In 1838 he met Carel Trichardt when the Voortrekkers of the Tregardt Trek reached Delagoa Bay, and the two formed a hunting partnership.
In 1845, Chief Magashula of the Shangaan gave him land on the Sabie River. João built a settlement known as Makashula Kraal. The ruins of his brick house are not far from where the Hippo Pools are located, near Pretoriuskop.
In 1845 he became the first Portuguese to trade with the Voortrekkers led by Andries Ohrigstad. After a few years he settled on the farm Rustplaats near Ohrigstad and opened a shop in the town in 1847.
In 1849 he had to abandon the area because of fever, and moved to Lydenburg. Again he set up as a trader, with Casimiro Simoes being his partner and Mariano Luis de Souza his clerk.
In 1850 he married Gertina Maria Petronella, daughter of “Trekker” Janse van Rensburg.
In 1859 the Transvaal Republic government appointed Albasini as Native Superintendent in Zoutpansberg charged with the collection of a poll tax.
After the restoration of the Transvaal Republic, João lived in poverty on Goedewensch because of the tribal disturbances in the 1880s and because he often had to pay for administration out of his own pocket. He continued to serve as a justice of the peace, a Bantu commissioner and a member of the district council, but his remuneration was very poor.
After an illness of more than a year he died on his farm on 10 July 1888 and was buried on Goedgewensch farm opposite what is now the entrance to Albasini Dam named after him.
In 2002 the Kruger National Park officially opened the Phabeni gates to facilitate tourist access to Albasini’s 1846-1848 settlement in the southern region of the Park.
Date: 07 Jan 2020
Contributed by: Tracy Botha Knoetze