Aintjie Somers

The spectre, Aintjie Somers, is a favorite warning of Cape parents when their children are misbehaving.

“Behave yourselves.” parents say,  “Be careful. Or Aintjie Somers will get you!”

Aintjie’s origins have two accepted stories. The first is that Aintje was a local fisherman who, after committing murder, became a fugitive. Unable to return home and continue a normal life, he fled wearing his sisters clothing in order to avoid detection and arrest.  It’s said that Antjie terrorised children of the city while disguised in his dress.

Another version is that the spectre was originally the Cape local torturer and executioner. When capital punishment was outlawed by the state he went mad and possibly hung himself from a tree that once stood near the Cape Town CBD. Other versions say it was the mad executioner that became a killer and fled in a dress.

There are also several theories around the origin of the spectre's name. Some say the name Aintjie is the shortened form of Annetjie, owing to the female attire he wore, others say the name comes from his original name of Andries.

Aintjie’s surname, Somers, is said to have to come from that fact that the spectre would be most active during the summer months.