INCLARENS EASTERN FREE STATE TOURIST MAGAZINE
In Clarens en verder...
Waaroor gaan InClarens, wonder baie mense. Hier is 'n tydskrif met 'n prentjie op die voorblad maar wat gaan aan in InClarens se binneste?
InClarens gaan oor mense wat leef en geleef het. Oor mense wat tuinmaak in beknopte tuintjies en wat dit al jare lank doen, dit gaan oor vriende en oumense, oor legendes en stories en oor water en kleindorpies en gewone mense wat die kern van die Oos-Vrystaat vorm en omvorm.
In Clarens and further....
What is InClarens about, you may ask. InClarens is about gardening in tight spaces, it is about friends and trends and about legends and old stories and water and tiny rural towns. It is about the people of the Eastern Free State and their daily tread of the mill lives.
ENTER THE SMS COMPETITIONS AND STAND A CHANCE TO VISIT ONE OF TWO GUESTHOUSES IN THE EASTERN FREE STATE. SMS 'APPLEGATE' OR ' FOURIE' TO 078 800 6121.
MATCH THIS, BY JOHN MATCHETT
Of road hogs and slow coaches
During the holiday season we have all been conscious of traffic and have witnessed some good, considerate driving and alas much poor and selfish driving. Sometimes I wish drivers would see themselves as pedestrians: would they walk next to someone as they approached an obstruction on the pavement and squeeze past at the last moment causing the person to stop and walk around it? That`s exactly what so many drivers do on a freeway when they slowly overtake you, speed control set, as you approach a slow moving truck, causing you to slow down behind the truck until it is safe to overtake it.
Surely if you were a pedestrian you would allow the person ahead of you to move past the obstacle before passing him. And if a little old lady is walking slowly on the right hand side of the pavement, would you rush past her on the left and stop suddenly in front of her to teach her a lesson? Some drivers do! To make matters worse, more and more vehicles are being supplied with one-way glass so that the driver is totally anonymous and can behave as boorishly as he likes. I feel strongly that such windows on cars should be outlawed as it is important to see the driver and driving in town, to make eye contact.
By contrast, British drivers, so conditioned to traffic queues, can be annoyingly patient. Have you noticed how often as a tourist taking a quiet drive to enjoy the scenery one finds oneself at the head of a long train of cars following patiently behind? We would often pull to the left to allow them to pass us, only to find that they have also slowed down and are crawling along patiently behind us! Eventually, all we could do to shake them off was to suddenly swing into a side road or farm lane on the left so that the momentum of the following cars would sweep them past us allowing us to proceed at our leisurely pace before the next train accumulated behind us!
We don`t have this problem in good old RSA!
Neville Liddell remembers …
His Little Caledon Valley roots go right back to 1867 when his great-grandparents Joseph and Eliza Liddell came to the valley to settle there in 1867. This is where he was born and this is what Neville Liddell (70) came back to recently after a journey that took him to many different places and situations, writes Peter Howard.
Growing up, Neville loved the carefree open existence with his parents Bertie and Eileen on the lovely Clifton farm, where the pace of farm life was regulated by the horse’s power and not by the torque of the 4x4 bakkie.
His memories reflect the simplicity of his childhood. Disasters were coming off a horse and landing in an ant heap, or the natural justice of pulling a coffee grinder onto his nose because he wouldn’t leave it alone as he had been told.
Excitement equalling the moon landing came to the Valley when a 30-ton railway truck came sliding down the rain-drenched main road, doing a broadside and destroying much of the road verges and fencing. This event was discussed and ‘what if’ tongues were clicked over many a cup of coffee!
All aspects of a growing child were taken care of and the little Methodist Church functioned well, providing soul sustenance for English speakers. Neville remembers his mother once employing her strong voice to edge on the organist Mrs Holl, who was notorious for her slow approach to hymn tunes. Mrs Holl abruptly stopped, turned to the worshippers and enquired ever so innocently: “Was I playing too fast?” Harry Makoena, who pumped the organ bellows handle for many year, still attends services today even though the organ is now equipped with an electric motor.
Early education lay in the capable hands of Miss Carlene Maré at Sunnyside farm school where he joined George and Helen Mousley from Madrid and Keith and Des Sparks, the children of Harry Sparks from Skaapplaas..
In 1955 Neville went to Kearsney College in Natal and thrived on the facilities of this major institution. He played rugby and cricket and lived through many Spud-like adventures but recalls with amusement that before the days of luxury school buses they went on journeys to play sport against rival schools transported on the flatbed of an ancient three-ton Thames truck – enjoyable, happy-go-lucky formative days for our farm lad from Clarens.
Very unfortunately, his father Bertie suffered a severe stroke in 1958 and overnight Neville was called back to the farm to become the man-of-the-house. Tough going for a young fellow who had hoped to first complete agricultural training at Cedara.
To Neville the love and mutual concern among the people of the Valley was ever present. When his sister Anne’s wedding reception was given on the lawns at Clifton, Neville remembers how community members like Ann and Dennis Boland from Sunnyside offered help and support. These spontaneous acts of generosity made a deep impression on him. New or old, valley folk supported one another.
The communal spirit also crossed racial borders and when Neville settled down to marry Martie Moolman, his first love, Mama became part of the young family. Born on Clifton, Mama played a large part in raising their three children (Debbie, Robert and Derrick). His children have a special niche in their hearts for Mama. Well over 80 today and as sprightly as ever, Mama still lives in the neighbouring Kgubetswana.
Later he started LGL farms, a consortium, with Mike Goldblatt and Paul le Roux and in those fairly conservative yet delicate political times, this was unique, a partnership between an Englishman, a Jew and an Afrikaans dominee at that. No doubt jokes abounded behind their backs! Yet again, an excellent illustration of the co-operative spirit to be found in the community.
Clifton had been in the Liddell family for over 100 years but to Neville fell the huge decision of having ‘to sell and move on’. Farming days had become extremely difficult. He then turned his hand to the hotel trade where he and Martie became co-owners and managers of the Maluti Lodge for three years. At the same time, Neville’s versatility and self-taught skill at building came to the fore and apart from a number of fine residences in Clarens, he also built the Clarens Municipal offices and the stables at Golden Gate’s Glen Reenen camp.
Saturday night was movie night, a practice started by Bill Annandale years before and the town would come to life. No TV so they showed bioscope in the lounge and your ticket included a light spaghetti bolognaise supper. Neville manned the projector where the reels of film often broke down giving moviegoers a chance to fill up their drinks at the pub. Some jokingly accused Neville of deliberately causing the movie reel to break.
As he and Martie had divorced, he left Clarens to settle in Johannesburg where he later married Roz Neuhoff and they were blessed with a son Andrew. Having joined a tyre firm that sent him to Germany for training, he became an expert at tyre retreading, adding to his many skills. After 25 years in that industry, he and Roz called it a day and settled in Port Alfred where he, of course, built his own house where they hoped to live out their well-deserved retirement years. But this was not to be, Roz sadly passing away shortly thereafter. Being alone, it was not long before the memories of the sweet smell of country air blended with the charm and ambience of the Little Caledon Valley started to draw him back to his beginnings. The date was October 2009 and Neville Liddell came home to Clarens.
Farmer, husband, father, hotelier, movie-projectionist, builder, electrician, plumber, tyre specialist, multi-linguist and home fruit bottler, the gentle giant came home – a true bloodline legend in his own lifetime.
InClarens takes a look at interesting individuals and their lives in Clarens.
It is not only thorough training in hotel management that prepared Lee-Ann Marais so well to manage the Protea Hotel in Clarens. Years of ballet left this young woman with a poise that is both gracious and commanding.
Hobbies, such as playing the piano, reading and making her own study of psychology, all stand this young woman in good stead in the varied and demanding position she holds, being responsible for staff members and involved in every aspect of running the hotel.
After school, this Middelburg farm girl had her future sorted. She is very fond of children and was set on a career that would allow her to live out this love. In fact the forms had already been completed for her enrolment to the University of Johannesburg.
Having never considered the hospitality industry as her niche, Lee-Ann was fascinated by what she heard and wasted no time to start training at the TWR Hotel School in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
From there, Lee-Ann’s career swept her up and took her first to Richards Bay. Starting at a brand new outfit, living through the teething problems, has been a wonderful learning curve, she says.
Despite some traditionalists initially objecting to the hotel being built in the centre of Clarens, it has become a true asset to the town. Not only is it a preferred spot for many of the visitors, it has become popular for locals to get together as well. Lee-Ann is adamant to continue good relations with locals. To her they are good friends and they add to the ambience.
Last year was a most meaningful year in her life; Lee-Ann was promoted to manager and she got engaged to the love of her life whom she plans to marry soon. A rosy future awaits her.
LOVE'S LABOURS WON
A former Director of the Vuleka Trust, headmaster of Waterford/Kamhlaba School in Swaziland and head of the Methodist Christian Education and Youth Department, Athol Jennings now devotes his many talents to making a difference in the lives of the orphans of Clarens, writes the InClarens correspondent.
Athol regards himself fortunate to have been able to pursue his passion through many years of life and has a clear view of how every one of these spun a thread through the course of his life until today.
As a young man, he represented South Africa at the Olympic Games in Helsinki in 1952, running the mile. That is where Athol maintains he developed the persistence to continue his altruistic work despite the obstacles that present themselves for time to time.
A second passion was reading detective novels, which has carried over into another of his consuming passionate interests - spiritual pursuits. His quest to study and analyse various researchers' interpretations, and new information and findings, serves to vindicate his view of the underlying unity and truths of disparate spiritual teachings and religions.
Athol was, for a decade, Kearsley College's Chaplain, followed by six years in the Methodist Christian Education and Youth Department, where he developed a curriculum for Sunday schools, and trained teachers who served all over Southern Africa.
Teaching is yet another of Athol's great loves, although, strictly speaking, he believes rather in educating, enabling people to make discoveries both for, and about, themselves. This also stood him in good stead when he was headmaster at Waterford, Swaziland's non-racial, co-ed private boarding school. King Sobuza the Second on a visit to the school was so taken by the harmony among children of different backgrounds and convictions that he dubbed the school Kamhlaba (little world of children).
An old and abiding passion is his love of nature and conservation. Athol was the original chairperson of the Clarens Conservancy, and currently chairs the Clarens Bioregion Conservancy.
Athol's refreshingly liberal attitude to religion is that behaviour is more important than belief, and that significance lies in the way in which faith communities demonstrate compassion. He is founder and chairperson of Bana ba Hlokang (Children in Need), a feeding scheme begun by the Methodist Church, where initially 30 children were fed once weekly. Today, in a joint project with CCIA, approximately 163 children get food every weekday.
Athol has been ecumenically involved from the early days of his ministry, and was therefore delighted to be part of one of the groups developing the CCIA, where the emphasis lies not in dogma, but on doing, jointly, in community. Their development of Tshepong (a Place of Hope), sees the holistic nurturing of not only children's bodies, but of their full human potential.
This loving and caring place offers children a computer room boasting ten machines with educational videos; art lessons by local artist Janie Wilson; volunteers reading to the children, and others coaching soccer, netball and volleyball. Planned future developments will include both musical tuition and a chess club - the latter being a useful teaching tool for instructing one in the art of forward thinking, and the consequences of one's choices!
The CCIA is embarking on its eleventh project - providing a counselling ministry to the wider Clarens community. Assistance will be given in handling any type of problem by providing a safe, empathetic, non-judgmental environment, in which trained counsellors will offer guidance.
And lest his eighty-year-old neurons are plotting insurrection and demanding better-late-than-never retirement - let them not entertain any hopes of rest or respite. Soduko has claimed another victim!
Nastergal did not originate in the area, but adapted itself wonderfully to the heart of the Eastern Free State and these exquisite preservatives are gracing the shelves of the Purple Onion Deli writes Mary-Ann Pickers. Pictures courtesy of Millen Studios
Nastergal (night shade) jam gleams deep purple from inside the clear jars enticing you to its sweet dripping goodness on freshly baked, please note, white bread. This is what you would call, finger licking good, to plagiarise the Colonel!
Because it is a tiny berry, harvesting is an enormous task. It is a wild and low-growing flower and harvesting takes place by hand in late summer. At the Purple Onion all the hard work is proudly presented in medium sized jars. But nature has a habit of springing surprises on one when you least expect it. Night shade is poisonous when green but safe when deep purple and therefore safe to buy at the Purple Onion. Purple here is the magic word.
The deli also stocks a wide selection of other homemade and organic produce. The combination of tomato and rum jam reminds one of Hilda’s experiments in the soap 7e Laan. But there is no experimenting at Purple Onion. Their produce is proven guilty of causing indulgence and sweet joy. Add to this the friendly assistants, Engelina, Joseph and Jeanett and a fully stocked biltong bar to boot and your experience is one to come back for.
Colleen Viljoen manages the deli and can be contacted on 058 256 1898.
Drift on a fragrant cloud at Kado Clarens
Next door to the Purple Onion Deli, the chic and dainty little Kado Clarens is a captivating surprise. Upon entering the quant shop, rich fragrances of different bath salts touch the zen cords within your soul. Vivid and soothing images flash through your mind. Green ferns and tranquil lakes, pale blue hazy morning drifting by, almost sacred and one feels compelled to take off one’s shoes. It is quiet inside, customers keeping pace with the delicate pieces on offer, careful not to break it by talking out loud.
Kado is an old Afrikaans word derived from the French meaning gift. And Kado Clarens certainly is a gift to the Eastern Free State and Clarens. Special gifts in porcelain and leather, bath salts and lather, clean cut lines of abstract figurines in pewter and tin all beautifully presented in a show of light enhancing the attractiveness. Kado certainly is a star in the Windmill crown.
Phone Kado Clarens on 058 256 1759.
JUST BECAUSE IT IS THERE!
1940 and early impressions of the Little Caledon River Valley
Peter Howard writes about his earliest hiking experiences in the Eastern Free State in this first of a new series of hiking trails that are there waiting to be explored. He resides in Pietermaritzburg, but has his roots firmly set in the Eastern Free State. Photos by Peter Howard.
My brother Neville and I were first brought to the Little Caledon River Valley on a family visit at the very tender ages of four and one, when really all we were interested in was where the next meal was coming from. But on further visits the full effect and atmosphere of the mountains struck a chord in us. There were no tarred roads in those days and arriving for a farm holiday after a dusty journey or a wet and slippery one depending on the weather, created great excitement.
Having been born and raised on the flat central plains of the dear old Orange Free State, setting our eyes for the first time on a real mountain of any significance instantly captured our hearts and imaginations. And thankfully the first mountains we were introduced to were the Clarens beauties. The stupendous magnitude and overpowering grandeur of these masses of raw earth rising up before one – rock, sandstone, cliff and overhang, held us in spellbound awe.
Yet what would mountains be without their subdividing valleys? Over aeons of time rivulets flowing down from heady heights have carved a way through supposedly impenetrable rock, creating intriguing gorges and caves of mysterious shadow in the sandstone at lower levels. Valleys are adorned by water-loving trees and green shrubs, lush lily, fern and reed, exquisite splendour. Exploring these valleys provides an exciting sense of anticipation – on a hot sunny day, cool natural pools invite one to cast off clothing and swim in spine-tingling abandon. Ah yes, mountains are something different.
One year it had rained heavily and in those far off days, only one road lead out of Clarens towards Fouriesburg. Upon leaving Clarens the road dipped down to near the stream below and between present day Kgubetswana and the golf course then climbed steeply up the next rise. Our solid old pre-war Hudson sedan found great difficulty gaining traction for the driving wheels so everyone excepting the driver of course, had to get out into the slush and rain at the very muddy places … and push! Luckily that day some good Samaritans came to our aid and slipping and sliding from one side of the road to the other, we managed to edge both the vehicle and ourselves up that intimidating slope. From thereon it was joyful plain sailing past Clifton, round the Mushroom Rock and on to our family Hugo and Marjorie Walker of St Fort. Needless to say those of us who had been doing the pushing were caked and splattered with mud but at St Fort they turned the garden hosepipes onto us before granting entry to the house. Sodden clothes were merely abandoned on the lawn.
As children we clambered up practically every promontory and mountain around St Fort for the sheer joy of gaining the crest, from where we would have vista magnificence across seemingly endless miles; kilometers sounds so commonplace. Then too reaching the top of each rise brought an amazing feeling of elation, a satisfying sense of achievement. Climbing has to be experienced to be appreciated.
The Little Caledon River Valley is probably one of the most beautiful valleys in South Africa and finding it for the first time is like discovering a rare diamond. This vale and basin is elusively tucked away between the many lesser mountain ranges of the Eastern Free State whose folds after folds finally butt against the purple pinnacles of the massive Malotis in central Lesotho. Pedestal and backbone, these bastions of earth, sandstone and basalt are all part of the eventual heady heights and awesome cliffs which together give rise to the region’s most lofty terrain – the magnificent Drakensberg Range. Aptly, eminent architectural and art critic of his time, John Ruskin (1819-1900) stated: “Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.”
Carving the Valley in two, this stream meanders its way down from the grandeur of Golden Gate in the east to the narrow Caledon’s Poort opposite Fouriesburg in the west where it joins its imposing sister, the big Caledon River.
The vicinity is magnificently adorned by the world-renowned Golden Gate, prominent Gladstone’s Nose, the towering Titanic and even great Queen Victoria’s crocheted facsimile. Nevertheless, among these many splendid sandstone rock formations, at the Valley’s very core the unparalleled and imposing Mushroom Rock somehow, for me, stands uniquely supreme.
Yet for today, folk entering the Valley would do well to stop their perpetual scurrying about. Take time to gaze in wonder across the wider encompassing scenic beauty of massive brooding mountain and deep darkened vale, and ponder anew the depths of those inspirational words uttered a long time ago by our shepherd-boy psalmist: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills …”
BUS TO NOWHERE..... FOURIESBURG
For the bus enthusiasts there is something terribly sad about seeing an old favourite in final stages of destruction. For the photographer, the opportunities for startling pictures are numerous. To Philna Fourie, it was dedication in its soundest form. Mary-Ann Pickers went to the bus stop to catch the unique story.
Philna Fourie is an Eastern Free State girl who spent her formative years in Harrismith and Bethlehem, left for Bloemfontein but returned two years ago to settle in Fouriesburg. She stumbled upon the plot on Roos Street and put up a bed-and-breakfast guest house. Alas, there was no dining room and in an eureka moment, she remembered seeing a discarded bus body on her way to Fouriesburg. When the plot adjacent to the guesthouse came on the market, she bought it. The hunt for old bus bodies started in all earnest.
Upon investigation, the local property agent, Lora Naude, (who knows the area like the palm of her hand and can sniff a good deal a mile off!) told Philna where she could get hold of an old bus. Philna wanted a ‘nose-bus’ and the one Lora told her about, was a Thames ’63. The bus, promptly named Lora, used to serve as mobile home, then for many years as dolls house and finally as store room. A delighted Philna struck the deal and Lora was towed from Clocolan to Fouriesburg, manoeuvred through the gates and into position and Philna’s dream of a restaurant with a difference was beginning to take form.
She needed another bus body, though, to serve as kitchen and she enquired at junk yard after junk yard but nose-buses are scarce. On Jors Roos’s indication, she went off to Lesotho where rows upon rows of bus bodies are pressed together like forwards in a scrum. There she found Super Boy, a ’74 Ford with a nose and it was immediately renamed Jors. After long negotiations and deliberations, money changed hands and Jors was towed away, going through customs and excise at the border post at Caledonspoort, with more money changing hands and then, at last, on the road to Fouriesburg.
She planned the garden, a little lapa and pathways around the main subjects while renovations were in full swing and after blood sweat and many tears, the bus-restaurant of Mama Fourie was operational. She celebrated this with a quiet soiree for the bus namesakes and her guests at the guesthouse need now not go further than the bus back yard, for a nourishing home-made meal.
Mama Fouries bus restaurant is now open to the public. To book your place for that unique culinary experience in a Fouriesburg town bus, phone Philna Fourie on 083 564 0756
KNIPSKIL SE DOPPIE OP DIE KOPPIE GEKLINK
Met die uitbreiding van Mashaeng (woonbuurt buite Fouriesburg) het die moontlikheid om Hermanus Knepscheld se graf op te spoor heeltemal vervaag en diegene wat geraak is deur sy teregstelling sal altyd bly wonder. Andrè Ferreira ’n Van Niekerk-afstammeling, bekyk die gebeure rondom die teregstelling.
Dat Hermanus Knepscheld deur Evert van Niekerk en twee ander buite Fouriesburg op die koppie ten weste van die dorp, tereggestel is, is ’n alombekende feit. Hulle het hom doodgeskiet in die rante waar die hedendaagse Mashaeng aangelê is. Verskeie mense het al oor dekades heen in verskillende stadiums sy graf gesoek maar nooit gevind nie.
Hermanus Knepscheld is allerweë as verraaier gebrandmerk. Hy was in die omgewing van Fouriesburg bedrywig. Die Boeremagte het net dan en wan in die Brandwaterkom (’n gebied wat Fouriesburg en Clarens insluit) gekom en in hulle afwesigheid het Knepscheld met ’n swart bende hoogty gevier.
Hy was van Duitse afkoms en ’n ou Republikeinse Vrystaat-polisieman maar hy en sy gesin was bywoners op die plaas Waterval. Dit was voor die uitbreek van die Anglo-Boere-Oorlog. Aanvanklik, toe die Boere sukses behaal het in die eerste fase van die oorlog, het sy lojaliteit daar gelê, maar namate die oorlog gevorder en hy begin swaar trek het, het hy sy mantel na die wind gedraai.
Hy het sy bende meelopers gekommandeer en vee, vroue en kinders bymekaar gemaak om hulle teen kommissie aan die Engelse te oorhandig. Maar daarmee het hy dit te ver gevoer. Evert van Niekerk sou dit nie duld nie.
Knipskil, soos die Boere hom gedoop het, het by al sy sondes ook ’n oog vir ’n mooi vrou gehad. Van al sy swakhede was hierdie een sy ondergang. Gedurende een van sy togte in die Brandwaterkom wat hy vanuit sy skuiling in Lesotho onderneem het, het hy weer eens besoek afgelê op ’n plaas waar die vrou alleen gebly het. Sy was, volgens oorlewering, hom nie juis ongeneë nie maar was ook benoud oor wat die Boere sou doen indien hulle dit sou uitvind. Knipskil het dit later ’n gereelde bestemming gemaak. Sy vrou wat in hierdie dae nog op Waterval gewoon het, het die toedrag van sake by een van haar huisbediendes verneem en besluit om hom aan die Boere uit te lewer.
Die storie is dat dit Knipskil se minnares was wat hom verraai het, maar oorlewering leun sterker op sy vrou se woede. Na jare se swaarkry was dit die laaste druppel wat die emmer laat oorloop het. Sy het geweet wanneer hy “opruimingswerk” sou kom doen en sy was pynlik bewus van sy voorkeure.
Hoe sy hom uitgelewer het, val in verskillende stories die verhaal binne maar hoe dit ookal sy, hy is skuldig bevind aan hoogverraad en veldkornet Evert van Niekerk het ’n vlak graf in ’n sloot buite Fouriesburg laat grawe, Knipskil op die voetenend laat staan en hom geskiet. Sekondes voor sy dood het hy Van Niekerk vervloek en word daar baie bespiegel of hierdie laaste woorde van Knipskil die oorsaak was van die veldkornet se latere ongeluk en miserabelheid. Alhoewel hy ’n briljante krygsman was wat selfs ’n masjiengeweer uit rommel en afvalyster kon bou, het sy lewe na die oorlog nie veel beter as Knipskil s’n verloop nie.
In dokumente uit die argief in Pretoria lees ons dat Hermanus sy weduwee en vyf kinders agtergelaat het en hulle na sy dood na die Brandfort konsentrasiekamp verskuif is. Baie tragies het die arme weduwee na die oorlog in Standerton beland waar sy om “pauper relieve” of maatskaplike pensioen aansoek doen. Van haar vyf kinders was daar ’n enkele seuntjie oor.
Hermanus Knepscheld is sekerlik nooit vereer met ’n grafsteen nie. Daar sou hoogstens ’n houtkruis vir hom opgerig gewees het, maar selfs dit is nie seker nie. Niemand sou hom herbegrawe nie bloot omdat daar nie geld voor was nie. Sy graf sal tot in lengte van dae ’n tergende geheim bly.
Andrè Ferreira woon in Theunissen en sy telefoonnommer is: 057 733 0644
082 336 6312
Foto: Aniena Aber
LURING WATER AND MORE
Joe Dolan writes about the easy trip to Phuthaditjaba and Fika Phatso dam wall situated between the S20 and A1 roads in QwaQwa and he shot some terrific photos too.
Each tourist and passer-by has his own choice of words to describe the reason for a visit to the Eastern Free State with its many attractions. Yet, there are many concealed places, laying hidden, waiting to be discovered.
Fika Phatso Dam in QwaQwa is such a place. For the anglers there is a manmade lake; for the photographer, the scenery is unsurpassed; and for four-by-four trackers there are just enough uses for the diff-lock.
Restaurants are few and far between in these parts; pack a picnic basket and follow the road, a mere hundred kilometres from Clarens, Phuthaditjaba nestles in the foothills of the Drakensberg and the landscape is second to none.
Sentinel Peak and its disciples, forms a ready backdrop to the relatively small dam wall of Fika Phatso. The catchment area is also small and there are no rushing waters but, after the rains, adjacent land would be sodden and difficult to angle from. Yellow fish abundant roam the waters of the dam and is quite a challenge to catch.
Follow the road through Golden Gate, the park on our front porch; take the turn-off to QwaQwa and Phuthaditjaba. The road surface is good and even the dirt track is negotiable. The road leads across the dam wall and on to green pastures and tranquil waters.
Fun lets funds roll in.
Amanda van Blerk attended the annual Fire Association Golf Day.
Local radio station OFM, and the Clarens Golf and Trout Estate hosted the fun-filled second annual Fire Association fund raiser, golf day on Saturday 5 February. The event had to be postponed in December due to a water-logged course.
The rescheduling didn’t deter players or supporters. They came from Gauteng, elsewhere in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal and played a mean round of golf.
When dusk crept in over the course, they came in team after team. Tired, hot and happy. In their minds they had played another round of a lifetime and perhaps they did. Any round of golf is worth fighting conditions for, whatever those may be. They were fortunate though to see the sun rise in a semi overcast sky but as the day wore on, it became more humid and hot.
Each four-ball received a golf hamper and the holes were sponsored by various companies and individuals. Lamb on the spit by Riempies Claasen, local butcher and businessman, was cooked to perfection and Michael Scheepers of the Brambleberry restaurant at the Golf Club, took care of the table decor and prepared the side dish. Fran-zel, tall blond singer from Bloemfontein brought glamour to the event after she had helped the witty OFM team hand out prizes.
An auction was held to further the Fire Association’s funds and second-hand golf clubs, putters and drivers, sold for good money. Volker Stoll, German painter who recently opened his South African exhibitions in Clarens, donated one of his latest artworks to be auctioned off. Although it didn’t fetch a price near its actual value, Jutta Mutschler artl over and Volker Stoll’s manager in South Africa explained that it was a donation towards a cause and also a gesture of gratitude towards InClarens for reporting on the exhibition.
The tired but satisfied players enjoyed their drinks at the bar and relived their game with arms and hands mimicking the day’s play. It was a good day and the Association received a cheque to the value of R60 000 from main sponsor OFM.
This year’s event will take place, weather permitting, on 16 December and they will all gather at the t-off once more. Once a golfer, always a golfer for fundraising or for fun.
DIAL A PUMPKIN
Glen Lyon farm is situated about 20 km from Clarens on the banks of the Caledon River and for the past three months, it has been a very busy place. Helen Boucher and her fiancée, Mark are growing organic vegetables and herbs for distribution in Clarens and surrounds. Amanda van Blerk paid them a visited.
When we met up with them on the farm that is their pride and joy, the marigolds were in bloom and showing off beautifully against the deep green of the vegetable plants. Every available square inch or centimetre of the farm where a spade full of soil can be turned, is being planted. Terrace upon terrace is covered with butternut and other varieties of pumpkin leaf. Yellow flowers crouch underneath massive green growth soon to be a white potbellied pumpkin. And there are Japanese cabbage and rocket and beetroot and spinach. You name it and you’ll find it at Helen’s.
The farm is ideally suitable for growing vegetables. Situated on the banks of a river, the soil is dark and fertile. The mountain breeze keeps the plants and fruits cool and crisp when the rest of us wither, in the heat. Growing veggies is labour intensive and the couple don’t have much spare time on hand but it is truly rewarding. One sees it in their eyes and in their smiles. To present Clarens with basketfuls of green, red and yellow, is the ultimate prize and they are grateful for the blessing of good old Mother Earth.
If fresh organic herbs and vegetables are what you want, phone Helen on 076 574 3433 to order and they’ll deliver to your doorstep.
A view worth a visit
Applegate Lodge still has the characteristics of the family home it used to be. Enormous built-in cupboards, four bedrooms and a spacious family room makes this a true home from home, writes Mary-Ann Pickers of Clarens’s guesthouse of the month.
The impressive Mount Horeb dominates the view from Applegate’s front porch. The lodge got its name from two apple trees guarding the gate and those were laden with red Starking apples when we visited this fine guesthouse situated in Lerola.
The owners still use the home for family gatherings from time to time and many happy hours are then spent on the porch, in the well-equipped kitchen or around a fire in the outside braai. The décor is simple and only good quality linen is used in the four-bedroomed two bathroom, self-catering guesthouse. A separate scullery makes holidaying all the more comfortable and enjoyable.
The home sleeps eight people and is ideal for a family or just a couple who wants to get away for a weekend. A daily cleaning service is available and all you have to do is to relax. Full DSTV bouquet is a bonus and a wood burner in the lounge ensures warmth in winter at this privately owned lodge.
To reserve your relaxed holiday at Applegate, phone Sue at 021 913 8464 or at www.applegate.co.za
To win two nights midweek for two people at the Lodge, sms Applegate to 078 800 6121 before 30 April 2011 and the prize is valid for twelve months.
Come to Mama’s and stay enchanted
After a few years in Bloemfontein, Philna Fourie calls Fouriesburg home now and she, her surname being Fourie, set foot in the village and found that both the scenery and climate suited her like a glove and that the stars shine brighter here than in any other place, she told Mary-Ann Pickers.
Roos Street, Fouriesburg, leads you up the path to Mama Fourie’s Guesthouse. Roos Street is not paved, it is lawned! Taking the turnoff, a road completely covered in neatly mowed lawn ensures a soft and safe landing. In contrast with the other dirt roads in town, this lane is like a haven of lush green.
Surprises do not end at Mama Fourie’s front gate. No, natural materials are evocatively used to make those first impressions endure. Not rustic, but comfortable and interesting. Always interesting.
From the onset, you know you are in sandstone country. Along the road to Fouriesburg, yellow-red Clarens sandstone leads the way and Philna used it where ever appropriate and possible. At the front door, to screen off the neighbours or just to accentuate.
In her quest for the unexpected, Philna stopped at nothing. A chamber pot for the toilet paper and a zinc tub for the towels. Enchanting artwork of well-known artists endorses the unexpected. Bright and colourful, patiently waiting and watching over visitors who enter this room. A Gideon Rossouw painting that was done in 1989 most certainly makes one ponder the circumstances that initiated the painting of an attentive eye behind the colourful mask. This forms the focal point in the room. Are there lessons to be learned here?
Mama Fourie’s cottages most certainly evoke thoughts and if you enjoy surprises and love total peace and quiet, then you have come to the right place. Mama Fourie’s is situated in the heart of Fouriesburg and faces the realness of a small Free State town. Rooms are spacious and romantically decorated, exceptionally comfortable and serviced daily. Double and family units are available. The guesthouse sleeps ten people and is self-catering with fully equipped kitchennettes but home-cooked meals are available on request.
To reserve your place in the heart of Fouriesburg, phone Philna Fourie on 083 564 0756
To win two nights for two people midweek at Mama Fourie’s, sms ‘Fourie’ to 078 800 6121. Closing date is 30 April 2011 and the prize is valid for 12 months.
Grafte vergaan maar geskiedenis bly staan.
Begraafplaas, op Clarence, ’n plaas geleë tussen die 552 en R711 paaie naby Clarens. Amanda van Blerk is die skrywer van die gereelde rubriek.
Die Begraafplasie, op die plaas Clarence net buite die dorpie Clarens, is goed omhein, die hekkie-ingang kort drade maar dien tog nog ’n doel, dit is kikoejkoe gras wat hier grootskaalse vernietiging veroorsaak. En die son, wind en weer. Die data op die twee grafte wat nog hier is, is glad verweer en onleesbaar.
Gelukkig is daar mense soos Niel van Schalkwyk wat erns maak met geskiedenis en wat hom dit ten doel gestel het om die gegewens na te gaan sodat baie, nie eers die meeste nie, net baie van die geskiedenis vir die nageslag behoue bly; so ook oud-dominee Paul le Roux wat aktief in die gebeure belangstel en ons na die begraafplasie begelei.
Die verhaal van die Clarence-begraafplaas begin by die groot bevolkingsverskuiwing van Afrikaners vanuit die Kaapkolonie (Oos-Kaap, vandag) na beter weivelde en boerderygeleenthede. Hulle kom in aanraking met die Basoetoes van die hedendaagse Lesotho en konlik was onvermydelik.
By Moorddraai naby Harrismith speel die afskuwelike moord op die transportryers onderweg van Durban na Pretoria, op die oggend van 27 Junie 1865 hom uit.
Volgens Boet Pretorius wat die Pretorius-familiegeskiedenis beskryf het, het Henning Pretorius en sy seuns die oggend osse ingespan toe hulle omsingel en oorrompel is. Vyf Pretoriusse verloor hulle lewens en twee dogtertjies en swanger vrou word weggevoer. Oorlewende bediendes haas hulle om die nuus oor te dra.
Die swanger weduwee Pretorius en haar twee kinders kom twee dae later uitgeput en te voet in Harrismith aan.
Die gebeure laat die waarnemende president van die die Transvaal, M. J. Viljoen, ’n beroep doen op vrywilligers om hulle susterstaat, die Oranje Vrystaat, te hulp te stel om die moordenaars te straf. Daar is nie sekerheid oor wie van die hoofmanne, Letsoana of Molappo, die skuldiges was nie, maar albei se statte was in die omgewing van die huidige Clarens.
Volgens oorlewering was die oorledenes wat op die plaas Clarence begrawe is, deel van die vrywilligerkorps wat onder kommandant-generaal Paul Kruger gekom het om wet en orde te handhaaf ná die afgryslike Pretorius-moorde. Hulle het in ’n donga, nie ver van die begraafplasie nie, skuiling teen die yskoue van die nag gesoek. Geen laer is getrek nie, perde was nie eens gekniehalter nie en die kommando word vroeg-oggend gewek deur die bloedstollende gille van burgers wat met spiese doodgesteek word. Vyf manskappe verloor hul lewens voor die aanvallers verdryf kon word en hulle word begrawe op wat later die plaas Clarence sou word.
Alhoewel die name verlore gegaan het op die sandsteen is hulle name verewig op die monument wat vandag op die Clarens-meent staan. Dit is aanvanklik op die plaas Ararat, destyds die eiendom van ECD Roos aan wie die plaas Clarence ook behoort het, opgerig en die opskrif op die marmer lui:”Slag van Naauwpoort, 29 September 1865. Opgerigcht door de j Vereenigings en de publiek. Onthul 16 Des 1895 te Ararat deur kommandant H J Bruwer.”
Edzard Roussauw, Pieter de Beer, Gerhard Broodryk, Michel Horn, en Jan Minnaar is op hierdie wyse vereer en hulle name is in die wit marmer ingebeitel. In 1962 met Clarens se vyftigjarige feesviering is die monument na die meent verskuif en deur die destydse staatspresident C R Swart ingehuldig.
Inligting oor die begraafplaas of grafte kan gestuur word na firstname.lastname@example.org.
Niel van Schalkwyk kan gekontak word op 0582561569
Tombestones erode – story lives on
Amanda van Blerk, visited the farm Clarence, outside the town Clarens to document the badly eroded graves. Although it is well fenced, no inscriptions are legible, since the sandstone has been badly eroded with time.
Fortunately Niel van Schalkwyk, a local farmer, researched the history of the area and made his findings available. The retired dominee Paul le Roux also has a keen interest in the history and guided us to the site. Without people like them, the history would have been lost.
It started with the Great Trek from the Eastern Cape when Trekkers encountered the local tribes. At Moorddraai, Harrismith, five transporters were murdered on the morning of 27 June 1865. According to Boet Pretorius, author of a book on the Pretorius family, Henning and his sons were yoking their oxen when they were surrounded and killed. The attackers made off with the women and daughters. The pregnant Mrs Pretorius and her two daughters escaped on foot and arrived in Harrismith two days later.
M.J. Viljoen, acting president of the Transvaal called on volunteers to help the neighbouring Free State republic punish the killers.
Unconfirmed information is that the people buried on the farm Clarence were volunteers who served under Commandant-General Paul Kruger who came to restore law and order after the gruesome murders. The commando was spending the night in a donga close to the burial site to get shelter from the icy wind. They took no precaution as they were not expecting an attack. Very early the next morning, they were awoken by the screams of some of their comrades being stabbed to death by assegais. Five people died and were buried on the farm.
A monument was erected on the Farm Ararat of ECD Roos with the inscription, “Slag van Naauwpoort 29 September 1865. Opgerig door de j vereenigings en de publiek. Onthul 16 Des 1895 te Ararat deur commandant H. J. Bruwer.”
Ezart Roussauw, P de Beer, Gerhard Broodryk, Michel Horn and J Minnaar are honoured with their names carved into the white marble.
In 1962, with the commemoration of Clarens’s 50th anniversary, the monument was moved to the town square and inaugurated by President C. R. Swart.
Any comments or information can be emailed to Amanda@synapsys.co.za
Niel van Schalkwyk can be contacted on 0582561569
Hoe die kundige vroue uithang
VLU Sheridan se suksesdag
Dit was die vlytige vroue van die Sheridanse Vrouelandbou-unie, net buite Fouriesburg, se beurt om die jaarlikse sirkelbyeenkoms aan te bied ‑ iets wat hulle met harde werk, deeglike beplanning en heerlike grasie gedoen het.
Van vroeg af het vroue van heinde en ver aangekom om blommerangskikkings, naaldwerk en allerhande ander handewerk te bewonder. Die beoordeelaars se kommentaar is van naderby beskou en in hul agterkoppe geliasseer vir latere gebruik. So het hulle met hul oë gesteel heel dag lank.
Maar die dag het aan die Sheridanners behoort. Maandelange beplanning en weke van harde werk het uitgeloop op pragtig gedekte tafels, heerlike kos en lekker gesels.
Dit was voorwaar ’n klinkende sukses. Baie geluk aan Elsa Corbett, Elma Maartens en Petro Fouchè wat die leisels gehou het en aan almal wat gehelp het.
Dit smaak mos vorentoe
Riempies Claasen is beter bekend as die kêrel van Horeb Slaghuis daar in Sias Oosthuisenstraat, amper langs die hoofweg na Golden Gate. Maar Riempies het ook ’n baie spesiale vaardigheid aangeleer in die bykans twee dekades wat hy die slaghuis bedryf. Deur harde werk en duur ervaring het hy geleer om skaaplam se kind saggies te vertroetel tot die vleis murgsag van die bene afkom om bedien te word met ’n spesiale sousie wat hy in sy selwigheid bymekaargesit het.
Maar Riempies het die kuns nie vir homself gehou nie. Nee, hy het dit deeglik oorgedra aan die klong van Ficksburg wat hom deur die week in die besige slaghuis help. Dit was dan die einste Francois Nel wat bak gestaan het agter die spitte die aand by die Gholf en Trout Estate en OFM Radio se gholfdag.
Nadat een en almal uitgekerjakker was agter die klein balletjie aan was die geurige skaap net genoeg om die mond te laat water. En die vleis, van die beste gehalte en ten beste voorberei vir hongerige baljagters.
Besoek gerus vir Riempies of Francois by Horeb Butchery in Sias Oosthuisenstraat of bel hulle by 058 256 1375
Like good art, love lasts
Few admirers of the work of well-known artist Louis Smit realise that he has a remarkable story to tell.
Louis married his childhood love, Marie when she was only seventeen and he eighteen. As often happens with youth marriages, theirs lasted five years when their ways parted and both remarried. For 20 years they lived separate lives in different towns, each with a new partner.
Louis’s second marriage ended in divorce and for 11 years, his artwork and his only daughter filled his life. He moved to Bethlehem and has since been exhibiting at the Street Caffé Gallery, Clarens.
Marie was happily married when her second husband passed away. When he heard this, Louis phoned to sympathise and their love of many years ago was rekindled.
After 38 years, they were presented with a second chance and in 2005 they married and are now living their fairy tale in Kroonstad. Both these artists’ work is exhibited in the Louis Smit Gallery at the Street Caffé.
Kom snuffel in dié kardoes
Op Bethlehem is daar ’n plek waar ’n mens jouself kan verloor terwyl jy aan die soek na iets wat jy nie nodig het nie of al jare na soek.
Die goeie nuus is dat jy nou kan snuffel en krap terwyl Flaffie, ma se vierbeenkind, geskeer en gepamperlang word. Die tweebeenkinders kan ondertussen hasies, katjies, ganse, eende en al wat getroetel kan word, troetel en nie vir ma pla terwyl sy besig is met daardie terapie wat enige vrou enige tyd nodig het om die gemoed te streel.
In die groot rofgekapte sandsteengebou, aan die punt van die eenrigting verkeer na Krapkardoes, , is daar letterlik van ’n wit, of enige ander kleur en grootte, rot tot ’n olifanttand. Bentwood stoele hang aan die dak omdat daar in elk geval nie plek is om hulle op die vloer in te pas nie en so teen die dak vertoon hulle ten beste.
Koperware, porselein, nuwe meubels, ou skilderye, versamelstukke, weggooigoed, optelgoed en nuwe goed, alles onder een dak. Andrè Myburg ken sy besigheid. Hy bou al jare aan hierdie verleidelikheid. En verlei, dié word ’n mens. Hier is geen sprake van haas jou langsaam nie. Hier is haas in ’n hok vir die kinders om mee te speel. Hier vergaan die tyd en staan al die horlosies stil. Hier verloor ’n mens jou hart.
Bring gerus vir Flaffie en boet en sus en ontspan en kyk na alles en nog wat terwyl die kinders nader aan die natuur kom speel met marmot of makou.
Komloerkardoes is in Staffordshill, Morelig, Bethlehem en Andrè Myburg se nommer is 083 701 6234 of 072 531 4891.
Johan weaves wonders
Since its inception, metal work as an artistic medium has captured the imagination. The development by ancient artisans of techniques such as the drawplate for forming wire allowed raw metal, naturally heavy and crude, to be worked into pliable and flowing pieces. The most familiar form of such ‘metal weaving’ is the chainmail worn by soldiers in the Middle Ages. The ancient Greeks created elaborate and beautiful jewellery using a technique called loop-in-loop and Johan Combrinck extends that heritage through the jewellery he makes.
Johan does all the pieces by hand, just him, one ring at a time and he takes great pride in the quality of his work. His designs employ sterling silver and gold but mostly a good grade stainless steel.
He enjoys exploring the possibilities of ‘metal weaving’ and is always willing to modify a piece or custom craft to your specifications. Self-taught Johan started with simple designs and by trial and error, discovered that not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but also satisfying.
Every Saturday morning he sets up a little table, unpacks pliers and rings and creates the most beautiful pieces with intricate weaving designs. He also displays the finished products for all to see.
Tucked away at the Sandstone nook between Street Caffé and The Village Grocer, you will find Johan behind the table weaving ring by ring.
To order your piece of ancient Greek history to wear around your neck or on your ears, phone Johan on 058 256 1977 or 082 951 1861
Fran-zel ready for the challenge
Tall, blond and talented, Fran-zel has her eyes fixed on the future. She is adamant to make it in the competitive world of entertainment. With her surprisingly strong range and a wonderful command of music with the added advantage of playing the piano and guitar, this ideal seems quite reachable.
This gracious young lady has been performing since high-school days and recently provided the entertainment at the Clarens Golf Club’s fundraiser where she sang a number of her own songs, in addition to popular covers.
The horse reigns here
Goats are the only animals you won’t find at Bokpoort. In the early days when the first settlers settled here, many game roamed the hills around Clarens and at Bokpoort there is a natural basin with only a narrow ravine to the outside. Buck and other antelope found this place a true haven where they could assemble and take shelter during the long and cold months of winter.
Today, game still roam Bokpoort, but Christo Roos owner of this guest farm situated high in the hills, specialises in horses and horse-riding. Accommodation packages that include horse-riding for the novice or master are available at email@example.com or phone Christo on 0582561181 or Helena on 083 744 4245
… And finally –
The majestic Wattled Crane makes up the African trio of crane species.
As previously mentioned, the only crane endemic to South Africa is our National Bird the Blue Crane. So, you will realise that the Wattled Crane can be seen elsewhere in Africa predominantly in countries with huge floodplains – Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana where the greatest numbers of these birds are to be found.
Wattled Cranes are the largest flying birds and a big one standing at full height can be six feet high. That’s tall! And possibly because of their size and extreme sensitivity to change or disturbance near their nesting sites, their numbers are declining. The world population is estimated at about 7 000 with South Africa having about 260 birds scattered around mostly the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal with a few in the eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. There are a few reports of sightings in the Eastern Free State but these are generally birds passing through and stopping over in the extensive maize fields. There were a few nesting pairs near Memel but they no longer seem to be around.
Like Crowned Cranes, these birds, are reliant on wetlands for breeding but they are far more troubled by peripheral disturbance. They too return to historic sites to nest each season and a pair may be seen in one area for many years. It is presumed that they also have a partner for life and if one meets an untimely death, the other will take its new mate to that site.
Their nest is a built up platform of old reeds, usually a couple of meters into open water from the edge of the dam or wetland, with tall reeds nearby, but with reasonably good visibility around. They generally nest in winter to late winter. Should they re-lay, however, the season could run into spring. They normally lay one large white egg but on rare occasions, the clutch is two eggs.
Many readers will have seen or heard of the captive breeding of Wattled Cranes. How this works is that only if a “double-clutch nest” is found, one of the eggs will be taken. This involves an intensive monitoring period for the field workers who obviously know where all the pairs nest and when they begin breeding. They then check the nests for two eggs and if any are found the eggs are weighed to determine about when the chicks will hatch. And as soon as the first chick hatches, the other egg is rushed to a waiting and ready incubator for that chick to hatch for captive rearing.
The reason, and the only reason for taking this second egg is, that as soon as that first chick hatches, the adults take it away and the second egg is left so they only ever raise one chick. The idea is that once there is a viable flock of captive bred birds, their off-spring will be released back into the wild. This too is not a hit and miss situation and is researched extensively. It has to be known where flocks tend to spend time. It is never certain that an “outside” chick will be accepted into a flock - it has to be released with the chance of going into a flock as it will surely not survive on its own.
This whole exercise is run by knowledgeable and dedicated people and is incredibly expensive.
It is not just a matter of breeding up a species in trouble and releasing the young to increase a wild population.
For any comments or reports of sighting,- especially of ringed cranes, or information as per the above, please contact Glenn Ramke, EWT Crane Conservation Programme, Wakkerstroom , on 072 770 4646 or <B><I>firstname.lastname@example.org</I></B> or Debbie in the Johannesburg office on 011 486 1102