During the Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1902), Charles Sim, a Scotsman came to South Africa with the British army. After the war, he decided to make Hermanus his home, where he married a local lass, Hester Henn. He was one of the men who drove the first buses from Bot River to Hermanus and with Harry Fay and others, was in charge of the station.
Some nights when he was homesick for Scotland, he played his bagpipes entertaining the townfolk. On those nights, nobody supported the bioscope of Mr Oblowitz who in desperation approached Charles and offered him free haircuts in his barber’s shop if he stopped playing his bagpipes in town.
Town Clerk of Hermanus
Charlie progressed through the ranks of the municipality and retired in 1991 as town clerk. He was well-loved and highly respected but never forgot what it was like to be the new boy with his foot on the bottom rung of the ladder. Charlie always showed the same courtesy to everyone.
He was in the top administrative post of the Hermanus municipality when many crucial developments were dealt with – developments like De Box Dam in 1973, Hermanus Heights residential development in 1970-1980 and the first complex for elderly residents, Mollergren Park.
He was also there when 53 people lost their lives when a bus with Mount Pleasant and Hawston rugby players plummeted over a bridge into a river near Villiersdorp in June 1972. Charlie assisted with the lengthy rescue operation at the scene of the accident. Today the bridge is submerged under the water of Theewaterskloof Dame. Charlie was the administrator of the nation-wide fund started for relatives of the disaster.
Joan Beukes, who worked at the municipality for more than three decades, was Charlie’s secretary for many years, until he retired in 1991. She reached the highest administrative position in the municipality.
Charlie really left his footprints all around Hermanus – the town where he was born and where he gave of himself all his life in many ways. Like many brilliant men, Charlie suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and was lovingly cared for by his wife, Tokkie and the staff of Huis Lettie Theron. Charlie passed away in December 2006.