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Scan photo of Artivive

The Swartberg Pass was completed in 1888 near Prince Albert in the Western Cape by Thoman Bain. One of South African’s most iconic gravel road passes, it runs for 24 kilometres through the Swartberg mountains. Much of the Swartberg is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and because Bain built walled sections of the pass so well, it remains practically untouched by modern technology.


In 1950, James John Matthée, Jan Matthée, and George Hattingh were driving through the pass towards their family farm. The farm, Kruisrivier, was located just outside Calitzdorp. They stopped on one of the pass’s hairpin bends to take photographs. 68 years and 11 days before the 131st anniversary of the pass’s opening, James’ great-grandson, Vian Roos, was visiting friends in Prince Albert. He drove along the same road.


After discovering the original family photographs, Roos – along with composer Cornell Boshoff – reimagined the picturesque journey. The new photographs taken by Roos in 2018 provide a breathtaking panorama untouched by the relentless march of time.


The remarkable VR experience the Artivive phone app creates with the imagery is both enchanting and mesmerising.


Composer Cornell Boshoff derives much pleasure from giving either static or moving pictures a voice of their own; a voice that in many ways is visionary. Drawn to this project by the power of technology and the beauty of the images, the goal was to encapsulate the mood, tone and grandeur of Vian Roos’ images.


Together, they have created a true work of modern art.


Swartberg was part of the 2020 Vrystaat Arts Festival Veystroom programme

How to view the VR experience:

1. Open this page on a computer.

2. Download and open the Artivive phone app.

3. View the images through your phone via the app.


Apple App Store   |   Google Play

Scan photo of Artivive

Scan photo of Artivive