Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Christian Perspective

- Ailsa Tudhope -

We tend to associate the Prince Albert Town and Olive Festival with the olives which thrive in our district, yet there is another, vital image from the olive tree which lends itself to our town: the olive branch as a symbol of peace and friendship.

As you join in the Festival we extend the olive branch of friendship. This is a busy, noisy, fun-filled occasion. Our senses are aroused by music and the chatter of the crowds, the delicious smells floating on the smoke from braai fires, the colour filled streets, creative stall-holders and enthusiastic patrons. Actors and artists, story tellers and expert speakers entertain and inform. There are a hundred and one things to see and do. We pray that during the Festival you will enter a space where you can relax and enjoy the activity, the buzz and the fun of the fair.

At other times of the year Prince Albert extends the olive branch of peace. The village becomes a quiet haven where the sun warms your back, tranquillity warms your heart and peace warms your soul. We invite you to come back and experience this harmony.

May the peace of the Great Karoo be yours …
the peace of gentle morning
of sun-warmed day
of rustling evening breeze
of star-filled night …
may the peace of God fill you
and make you whole

Starry Splendour over Prince Albert

- Hans Daehne -

With the Autumn Equinox now well behind us, the nights are rapidly becoming longer than the days until June when we will reach Winter Solstice with the longest night on the 21st; then days will become longer again.

In May after the departure of the Summer Constellations we will be able to truly enjoy the Autumn Constellations overhead. They are Leo, the Lion, Boötes, the herdsman, Corvus, the crow and Virgo, the virgin.

Four planets will also be visible in the nights of May:

Mercury will be an evening object from the end of April until the middle of May but to catch a glimpse of the hasty planet one has to climb up Gordon’s Koppie just at sunset, and observe in that direction because Mercury follows the sun closely. Best days to observe it will be between the 6th and the 9th.

Mars will leave Gemini, the twins on the 5th and move into Cancer where it will pass the open cluster M44, Praesepe during the last third of May, something that can be observed with a pair of binoculars.

Saturn is the bright "star" that moved closer and closer to Regulus, the bright alpha star of Leo where it will become stationary on the 3rd and then move away again towards Virgo.

Jupiter appears around midnight in May and will be the brightest object in the night-sky – except the moon of course.

New Moon is on the 5th and Full Moon on the 20th but on the 12th of May the Moon will be close to Regulus and Saturn.

Ongoing celestial discoveries are continuously contributing to our understanding of the universe. Of special interest in this regard is that some of the 228 known extra solar planets have turned out to be close to earth-like and that the chances have improved to discover an earth-like planet in the vicinity of Alpha Centauri B, one of the closest stars to our solar system.

Letters - Briewe

Well done SAPS

What a wonderful letter complimenting our policemen on their star service towards two elderly tourists wanting to drive over the Swartberg Pass (PA Friend, March 2008).

In that simple act of kindness these policemen made a major contribution to the growth of tourism in our country. Can you imagine how many times these British tourists are going to tell the story of how they were given a police escort over the Swartberg Pass?

Well done SAPS. I am going to send a cutting of the original PA Friend letter to the head of SA Tourism. You deserve an award!

Carol Campbell

Leeu-Gamka Toerisme Forum Loods Fondsinsamelings

Die Toerismeforum van Leeu-Gamka is tans besig met fondsinsamelingsprojekte. Hulle beplan tans verskillende lewensvatbare projekte vir die Toerismebedryf.

'n Geslaagde fondsinsameling is op Allpay gehou toe 'n skenking van 'n "vleishamper" deur Mev Tersia Scheun van KAROOGOUD uitgeloot is. Die gemeenskap was baie goed in hulle ondersteuning.

Die gelukkige wenner was Mev Wilma Baadjies van Leeu-Gamka. Sy kon nie glo toe haar prys by haar afgelewer is nie. Sy het nog nooit in haar lewe iets gewen nie. Die vleishamper is werklik 'n goeie gedagte veral omdat 'n gesin vleis vir 'n groot deel van die maand sal hê. By die volgende toerisme vergadering sal daar besluit word of dit 'n maandelikse instelling gaan word.

As voorsitter wil ek graag my knap forum lede bedank vir hul toegewydheid
om Leeu-Gamka en toerisme op die kaart te plaas.

Letitia Solomons

Hoekom jy die “Ou Tannie-museum” moet besoek

Dis feestyd op Prince Albert en ons dorpie bars uit sy nate! Vir ons besoekers is daar stalletjies, kunsuitstallings, vertonings, historiese uitstappies… en dan is daar natuurlik tannie Fransie se museum!

Moeg en voetseer van straat op en straat af? Kom verwyl ‘n bietjie stilte-tyd by ons: Kom luister na die suiwer klanke van ‘n 150 jaar oue draai-orrel, drentel deur vertrekke gevul met oudhede wat spreek van ‘n ou-wêreldse sjarme, die lewe van ‘n jong Fransie …

Francina Harmse is in 1898 op die plaas Lammerkraal, in die Prince Albert distrik, gebore. Fransie het ‘n groot belangstelling in oudhede gehad en het reeds as jong kind aan haar versameling begin bou. In 1916 trou sy met Giddy Pienaar. Teen die tyd dat die egpaar aftree en dorp toe trek, is die versameling reeds baie groot en word ‘n groter perseel kort-kort benodig. Op 17 April 1972 open Administrateur Vosloo die museum en tannie Fransie skenk haar versameling aan haar geliefde dorp.

Uiteindelik was haar ideaal verwesenlik! Fransie het kurator van haar museum gebly tot sy 88 jaar oud was. Sy het graag haar besoekers met interessante verhale vermaak en op haar geliefde orreltjie en bekfluitjie gespeel.

This historical Victorian building was built by Jan Haak, the then owner of Haak’s Hotel (Hotel Swartberg). Since 1957 the building was used as a hospital and after the new hospital was completed, the old building stood empty. The Municipality stepped in before the planned demolition of the building. It was restored and now houses the Museum since 1982.

The Fransie Pienaar Museum portrays the natural and cultural history of Prince Albert and district. It has a large collection of antiques and hand carved furniture, imported porcelain and original paintings and sketches by Hekkie Moos, Boet v d Hoven and Gawie Beukes amongst other items. There are displays of the “Gold Rush” at the end of the 19th century, the Anglo Boer War, Swartberg Pass, Meiringspoort, Gamkaskloof and fossils from the area. One of the most precious displays in our Museum is a book of speeches by Prince Albert. The book is autographed by the Queen herself. Supported by the Piet Basson Trust, two new exhibits have been prepared. The museum archives are often used by reseachers and we get numerous enquiries about local family history.

Die museum het ‘n stooklisensie! Kom kyk gerus Saterdagmiddag hoe Witblits gestook word. Kom proe aan die “onskadelike voggies” met die gróót skop. Witblits, boeke, afdrukke, kaartjies, poskaarte en heerlike plaaslike produkte kan in die museumwinkel gekoop word.

Moet my asseblief nie glo as ek sê die “Ou Tannie se museum” is die beste in die Weste nie! Kom kyk liewer self hoekom besoekers van reg oor die wêreld so gaande is oor die huislike atmosfeer, die liefdevol-versorgde inhoud en die vriendelike personeel van dié klein-dorpie museum.

The Karoo Labyrinth at St John’s

- Ailsa Tudhope -

The congregation of St John the Baptist Church in Bank Street has taken a new step in faith – one in which we hope many people will join us. We have constructed a labyrinth in the church grounds. This ancient pathway, which predates Christianity by at least two thousand years, was adopted by the Church during the Middle Ages when it became dangerous for pilgrims to travel to the Holy Land. Instead they journeyed to Christian shrines, such as Canterbury. The cities of Chartres, Rheims and Amiens offered them the opportunity to complete their spiritual pilgrimages in their cathedral labyrinths. The most famous labyrinth is probably that of Chartres, a beautiful circular pattern in the cathedral floor, which has recently been re-opened for use after being covered by chairs for 250 years.

Our labyrinth is unique – instead of a full circle it is just a quarter circle, in order to facilitate its position in a small square plot of land with a tree offering essential shade in one corner. We have used Karoo images and materials. In our minds the tree has become a stone thrown into the great inland sea which used to cover the Karoo. The ripples which spread from its impact form the seven lengths of path moving from the centre towards the church, symbolising the seven Sacraments and Creation. The ripples roll ever onwards, carrying God's love out, across the village and into the Karoo and over the koppie and the mountains which form a backdrop to Prince Albert.

The paths are defined with Karoo stones and will be laid with sand, to facilitate quiet walks. Under the tree we will have benches, providing a cool place for contemplation. The gardens between the 'ripples' are being created by a number of people from throughout the Prince Albert community and the focus will be on waterwise gardening using local plants, including vygies, vetplante and aloes. A fragrance garden will be established in one corner of the square, enfolding one of the 'ripples'.

Celtic Christian imagery also has its role to play: the stones, trees and gardens represent Earth; a bench against the Church wall, from which one can watch the sunset, and tree trunks with level surfaces for candles, will bring Fire into our labyrinth. Water is part of the design and there will be water to drink at the centre whenever we hold a facilitated walk. The evening breeze and wind chimes will fulfil the Air image, with the fragrance garden bringing scents into the sacred space.

A labyrinth has only one path, as it winds towards the centre it becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives. It touches our sorrows and releases our joys. By walking a labyrinth we continue a centuries old spiritual tradition, releasing our cares as we travel inwards, receiving illumination at the centre and carrying God with us as we travel outwards, back into our daily lives. We hope that the St John’s labyrinth will bring the gift of peace and calm to people of all denominations and faiths who visit it.

Ailsa Tudhope (023) 5411 211

Municipal bosses learn to be leaders at summer school

- Carol Campbell -

South Africa’s poor have to be favoured by local government when allocating resources and this has to be done responsibly and realistically. This was the message to emerge from the inter-provincial Governance Summer School held in Somerset West at the end of March.

Municipal managers and mayors from the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape spent a week undergoing intensive leadership training in an all out effort by the provincial leadership to upgrade skills at local government level. Prince Albert was not represented at the GSS.

Brian O’Connell, rector of the University of the Western Cape, told the 250 delegates that the time had come for South Africa’s leaders to be honest with the people they served by explaining the limitations of their budgets and the time it took to create infrastructure where there was none.

“What our government should have explained to the people was exactly what resources were available and how they would be distributed,” he said. Instead the majority of people expected much more than they were given and could not understand why their aspirations were left unmet.
O’Connell said it was fear of political unpopularity, especially in the Western Cape, that encouraged leaders to avoid the truth.

Harry Dugmore, from the South African Presidency’s Policy Co-ordination and Advisory Services, explained to the delegates that 45% of the country’s population still lived in “extreme poverty” surviving on less that R3000/year.

He placed the country in the international context explaining how the growth of China and India would impact on the economy in future years.
He also talked about the price of oil and explained why the country was experiencing a power crisis (apparently nobody took the strategic planners seriously!).

Iqbal Surve, CEO and Chairman of the Sekunjalo Investment Group, spoke on ethics and the importance of staying close to one’s “moral core” in every decision. “It’s not a sin to make money but it is important to do it in an honourable way,” he said.

On the final night of the GSS, Western Cape premier, Ebrahim Rasool, was interviewed on stage by E-TV news reporter Lukhanyo Calato.

His talk drove home the message that it was “an enormous honour” to be a leader in South Africa and that it was a role that should be conducted with discretion and grace.

Brett the Vet - Speaking of Tongues

Speaking of Tongues

Our gradual devolution of taste sensibility has been accelerated by modern trends of artificial additives and preservatives in pre-packaged food. Freedom to choose from a full flavour spectrum enhances the quality of life. Understanding the capacity and scope of this faculty in the animal kingdom gives insight into its fundamental influence.

Tongues come in a variety of forms ranging from delicate membranes to muscular models of taste. They function as organs of predation, apprehension, navigation, grooming, communication and recreation. Shape is determined by finely tuned adaptation. A fascinating example is the chameleon whose particularly dramatic organ can fling out twice the length of its body to retrieve prey. Cows curl theirs around tufts of carefully chosen grass, breaking it free with the weight of their heads. The forked tongues of snakes softly lick the air providing information and destiny. A crocodile’s tongue forms a thick throat bung so it can chew under water.

Human tongues can discern the bitter as well as the sweet, sour, salt, and umami. Less simplified when considering our ability to discern over 10 000 odours. Closely linked to the complex perception of what enters our mouths are senses of sight, smell, touch and hearing. Tastes develop with age, appreciation and understanding.

Cherished childhood delights mature towards sophisticated culinary distinction. The same is true of animals with their incredible range of tongue twisting manifestations. Some have vastly superior abilities to detect subtle flavours – reflected in their number of taste buds: pigs have 15 000, rabbits 17 000, while we have only 9000. Sharks can detect fish extracts in concentrations lower than one part in 10 billion. Many animals exceed our meagre range of taste sensations.

The laws of desire fire up flirtations of palate in every shrew and gannet. It is not uncommon for cats to crave strange flavours that make little sense, like olives, melons or pearls on a fence, although cocoa is perfectly understandable! Their mindful choice of ingredients can become a tool of manipulation leaving every provider perplexed by the capricious feline appetite.

On closer observation, most animals relish variety and carefully select food when given the choice. On occasion dogs would dine at the Ritz; cats canoodle for smoked salmon; pigs root out truffles, horses succumb to sugar cane, and elephants maraud on maroela windfall. Every grain and bug on a hen’s menu is far from random pecking. Gathering select harvest is a squirrel’s prerogative. Finely tuned needs and desires drive dogs to devour bones, ostriches to swallow stones, and injured goats to seek out healing hopes of arnica on mountain slopes. It’s not by chance that animals prefer tastes of foods that grow readily in their natural environments.

In nature nutrition is linked to flavour and wild animals are generally healthy when there is access to essential food. Inherent instinctive knowledge of correct diet seems lacking in humans.

Our ideas of scientifically formulated food falls short bought and packaged for ease. When we impose in rows a crop that grows in mono clone and that alone for domesticated herbivores, it is not surprising that health gets compromised.

Variety is the vice of strife to standardise and simplify scientifically formulated food. The form, colour, odour, texture, freshness, temperature, sound, and availability of food have a direct impact on health and vitality in all species.

Learn all about Persian rugs

- Allister Sparks -

One of South Africa's leading Persian carpet experts will visit Prince Albert next month to deliver a lecture in the Prince Albert Gallery on the value, history and appreciation of these beautiful works of craftsmanship.

You will also have an opportunity to buy some of the hand-picked rugs. The lecture, by specialist Ibrahim Ravat, will be followed by an auction. A commission on the sales will go to the Prince Albert People’s Skills Trust.

The lecture and auction will be on Saturday May 3, at 6.30 for 7 pm. About 500 rugs will be on preview the day before, and out-of-hand sales can take place on May 4 and 5.

Ibrahim Ravat is a consummate connoisseur who has been in the Persian rug business for 55 years, has worked as an international consultant and has even been called upon to evaluate Persian carpets for overseas museums.

He is also a consummate South African, born of Indian descent and married to an Afrikaner woman who studied interior decorating in New York, then converted to Islam and called herself Madija.

The couple travel to the Middle East on carpet expeditions three times a year. They live on a seven-acre estate on the outskirts of Pretoria which is a kind of shrine with a huge carpet gallery that draws a constant stream of worshippers who share their passion for the ancient art of hand-woven Oriental rugs.

Ibrahim waxes lyrical over his rugs, describing the weaving of them, especially the knot which is the very essence of their creativity, as "a patient, devoted, almost biblical art of faith."

But he is also a practical man who will tell you how to tell a good rug from an inferior one, how to tell a hand-woven one from a machine-made one, how to watch out for the crooked dealer who will inflate the price so as to catch you with a seemingly irresistible discount, and even about how to learn the different motifs and symbols in the complex designs.

Olive tips from Jan Olyf - Jan Olyf se Olyftrieks

Here are a few ‘olive recipes’ to enjoy with a glass of local wine at the Prince Albert Town and Olive Festival:

Spicy olives can be served in a bowl with Gay’s Feta cheese, or her prize winning cheese, cut into small blocks. An enjoyable addition is a bowl of croutons, served separately to prevent them from becoming soggy. Or, instead of croutons, make your own Melba toast in the oven – add a touch of grated garlic and cut into blocks before serving.
Neem ‘n bottel olywe (swart of groen), dreineer en gooi dit vir ‘n hele paar minute op ‘n plat oppervlakte oop sodat die olyf se skil droog word. Maak ‘n sousie aan na jou eie smaak. Gebruik olyfolie as basis en meng dit met bv. balsamiese asyn, suurlemoensap, knoffelvlokkies, enige ander vars kruie en speserye. Laat jou verbeelding die loop neem met wat jy wil kombineer. Nog beter, bel vir Hilda van Sewende Laan!

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar, in separate bowls, served with Hendry’s freshly baked bread is a winning combination. The bread is dipped alternately in the olive oil and balsamic creating a mouth-watering dish in which the olive oil compliments the sweet taste of the vinegar.

Gebruik olyfsmeer (swart of groen) en meng saam met dit ‘n smeerkaas of anchoviesmeer en maak jou eie smeer.
Make your own stuffed olives by de-pipping olives and filling with a variety of different ingredients for example, pickled garlic, onion, orange or lemon peel, cheese or capers. Do what you think is interesting or what your guests will enjoy. Remember though that the shelf life of some ingredients is very short.

En vir die braai...

Meng olyfolie, sojasous en suurlemoensap as ‘n marinade vir vleis.

Meng olyfolie, suurlemoensap en kruie-asyn om vis mee te braai. Gooi die res van jou speserye oor nadat die vis gaar is.

Meng olyfolie, suurlemoensap en heuning of appelkooskonfyt om vis mee te braai of in die oond te bak.

Il Molinetto – The Little Mill That Could

After hearing rumours of interesting developments that would affect our local olive industry we asked John Southern, owner of Rosendal Farm, to comment.

The decision to purchase an olive press for the farm Rosendal at the end of the Prince Albert Valley, or Die Gang, was a difficult one. Most of the presses used are manufactured in Italy and are expensive. However, we bit the bullet last year and placed the order through South Africa’s “Mr Olive”, Gerrie Duvenhage of Morgenster.

Il Molinetto is made by the company Gruppo Pieralisi, in the small town of Jesi in central Italy. I visited them in June last year and couldn’t help but be impressed by the efficiency and cleanliness of the factory itself.

So it was with nervous expectation that I received the machine in February in time for the picking season. We were concerned with the offloading of the machine and its placement in our newly renovated shed. But, thanks to the careful planning of our project manager, Aidan Liepner, all went well and the machine was immediately commissioned under the supervision of Gerrie.

Many of you will have noticed that the farm buildings are being altered to house the machine and its related operations such as settling, storage and bottling. Hendrik de Villiers is the builder involved and he is doing a fine job, particularly with regard to the four big double doors that are being used.

Farm manager, Anthony Mullins, started picking our olives on 25 March and within hours the freshly picked fruit were turning into green extra virgin olive oil. We have chosen to call our product Kredouw Oil after the name of the pass above the farm and from now on the farm will be known as Kredouw Farm.

The press, where Aidan is ably assisted by Sias Schoeman, is available to other olive growers and by Festival time we will have a farm shop open with a viewing window of the press itself. You are welcome to come and see the operation first hand. The shop will sell olive oil and other related products, almonds and other farm products as they become available. Our olive picking and pressing will take place from the end of March to the end of May.

Life in Karoo Country… or, Put Your Best Face Forward

-Elizabeth Storey-Lawson -

My small island country finally allowed automobiles on our roads in the late 1960’s. Until then, boats, horses, mules, bicycles and feet had provided adequate means of transport. The government in its wisdom: simply poured tar over the existing carriage tracks and bicycles lanes, severely restricted the size of body and engine capacity, and curtailed speed to 35 kilometres per hour – conveniently, exactly the time it takes to transverse the entire length of land. There are no shoulders, hard or soft. Most corners are ‘blind’ and roadside vegetation, beautiful and lush, obscures superbly. Speeding fines will soon deplete Midas’ purse and if convicted of drunk-driving, one’s licence is forfeited for life.

Obtaining a driver’s licence, at age 21, is an ordeal in mechanical skill and knowledge of arcane law. The written test emphasizes questions on when to give way to horses, hearses and, at all times, tourists who may not hire cars and are limited to riding motorbikes with an engine slightly smaller than the average sewing machine. The driving test, taken in the environs of the capital city, mandates extensive knowledge of the warren of one-way streets, all of which are unmarked. And, reversing down a triple – S-curve, identical to most driveways. (Land is just too precious to waste on turn-arounds.) A family, no matter how many members therein, may have only one car and yearly registration requires that it be in perfect working order with not a single dent, scratch or rust spot.

Of all the adjustments needed for my new life in South Africa, driving is one of the most demanding! Lorries travel at ‘warp speed’ and verges are shared by pedestrians, hawkers, stray stock and blown tyre shards. Three lanes means being passed on either side, brakes lights are a luxury, and indicator signals remembered, if at all, after the move has been made.

Our farm road, on the other hand, is an exercise in pothole roller-coastering. One is never out of second gear and the life expectancy of a tyre is about 4 months. Kudu pose more of a danger than Cape Town mini-buses and farm gates are likely to blow closed when I am only halfway through. My husband insisted upon my getting professional 4x4 training just to traverse the 10km of our property to home.

Tragically, our section of the N1, half way between Laingsburg and Beaufort West, is one of the deadliest in the country. Deservedly so, there are police inspection stops every week. So, after innumerable examinations of my small, innocuous and very unofficial looking foreign licence, I was convinced by various traffic police to finally obtain a proper South African driving permit.

With girded loins and gritted teeth, ominously forewarned about the trials of dealing with the Motor Vehicle Department, I hied myself to Beaufort West. What relief to be told that South Africa kindly issues a life-time driver’s licence to those fortunate few who come from a country which drives on the left! (There are 64 – the last pink bits of the old British Empire – and oddities such as Sri Lanka, Surinam and Sikkim!) No tests, no fingerprints, but a photograph was required.

On the stoep an ancient lady sat waiting with an even more ancient Polaroid camera. Ah, but “Vanity, thy name is woman.” Cringing at the memory of my passport picture, I begged her patience whilst I did much needed face and hair repairs. My presence, and my primping, attracted a wide and highly bemused audience. Lipsticked and brushed, I settled in my chair and asked of the tolerant photographer, “Should I smile or look serious?”

Karoo humour too knows few bounds. One spectator leaned forward, and with a wisdom garnered from long experience, whispered in my ear: “Mama,” he counselled, “Better you should look innocent!”

Karoo Kombuis celebrates 10 years of food and fun

- Ailsa Tudhope -

On the first of May it will be ten years since three South African Airways cabin crew came into land at the Karoo Kombuis in Deurdriftstraat to cook the most delicious Karoo lamb in the world.

Ten years during which Denise, Theunis and Michael have played host to many tourists and loads of locals, officiating at countless birthday and wedding anniversary celebrations and evenings of jollity. Patrons return again and again for delicious meals from their well-tested menu. Nothing has changed much over the years, since they hit upon an ideal form-ula from the very beginning: wonderful food, excellent service and just a touch of lunacy.

Patrons from the early days will recall Denise informing us that there might be a slight delay because the cook was having a nervous breakdown, moments later Theunis would emerge from the kitchen with a hand raised to his brow to declare that all was well and that Denise’s earrings weren’t regulation and she was grounded. Denise’s hair has remained mainly pink - with occasional forays into other areas of the spectrum. Then there was the brief interlude when Michael and Theunis insisted she wear a turban in the evenings since her hairdresser had given her a VERY short trim.

Over the years Chris Hare and Jill Gordon-Hogg have been guest dessert-makers at times and JP Meyer and Louis van Brackel lent a hand at serving and dishwashing. Maria Hendricks has been the kitchen manager since the Karoo Kombuis doors first opened.

Besides their hospitality and good food, the Karoo Kombuis crew became known for their wild and woolly hat collection. When the mood was right, out came the hats and patrons found themselves crowned with just the right headgear. Such is the Karoo Kombuis’ reputation that tourists have been known to visit Prince Albert specifically to enjoy a meal there. Bookings are essential.

Congratulations on your 10th anniversary, Denise, Theunis, Michael and Maria. Long may you continue to serve your tasty meals and entertain us with the pleasure of your exceptional company.

Grafbemarking – Toe en Tans

-Adri Schoeman-

Op 6 Maart staan ek in die Kerkkantoor toe daar ‘n man inkom en homself aan die Skriba voorstel as Cornell Haak. Dadelik sê ek: “En jy soek seker na my?” Hy is my neef Beaton Haak, se seun. Hy het my kom opsoek om sy ouma se kwitansie vir ‘n graf hier in die begraafplaas vir my persent te gee. Sy ouma (my tannie Helene) is in die tussentyd oorlede en op ‘n ander plek begrawe.

Ons het baie lekker gesels en onder andere het ek hom toe vertel dat ek die graf nie sal neem nie, want my man, Jurgens, het reeds voordat ons trouplanne gehad het, vir my graf hier gekoop. Op my aanbeveling skenk Cornell toe die graf vir die Kerk.

En nou die storie van my graf. In Maart 1958 sterf Jurgens se vader en hy gaan onderhandel met Piet Maagseer wat in beheer was van die begraafplaas. Piet wys hom toe rond en Jurgens besluit op ‘n graf waarop Piet sê: “ Maar ou Jurg, wat van jou moeder?” Net daar koop Jurgens die graf langsaan, waarop Piet sê: “ En wat van jouself, ou Jurgie?” So word die derde graf verkoop en Piet waag dit nog ‘n keer: “Maar ou Jurgie, jy gaan tog seker eendag trou ook?” En dis hoe ek aan my graf gekom het. Wat ‘n dag vir die Kerk – 4 grafte verkoop op een dag!

‘n Paar dae nadat Cornell weg is, vertel ek ‘n familielid van sy besoek, en die sê toe hy dink ek moes liewer die graf gehou het. Eintlik het ek self ook al so begin dink, en besluit om die graf maar te gaan terugkoop. Teen daardie prys kan ek mos maar twee grafte hê, wat. Ek bel die Kerkkantoor – die nuwe prys is PLUS 400%!

Dus het ek nog altyd net die een graf, en sal vir die res van my lewe daarmee tevrede moet wees.

Facilitation Field-work in Prince Albert

- Sue Wildish and Gavin Reid -

When Helene Smit asked her Facilitation students from the South African College of Applied Psychology if they were interested in doing their supervised field-work in Prince Albert, we jumped at the opportunity. Both of us have lived overseas for most of our lives and we were keen to work in a smaller community where there was the chance of helping to facilitate some positive change.

Our role as facilitators is to help groups become more effective - we set aside our own opinions and work with the group, assisting it to make its own choices and decisions.

We worked with a variety of organizations – Hoërskool Zwartberg school teachers, Grade 11 pupils, St John's Church, Home Hardware, Prince of Africa and the Tourism Association. The facilitation sessions covered a wide range of topics, from team building to skills training, and included about 60 full-time Prince Albert residents as participants.

We were really struck by how proud Prince Alberters are of their town and by the real sense of community and care for each other. We got the feeling that people genuinely want to make Prince Albert the best place possible, and were thrilled to play a part.

We would like to thank the following residents for their generosity in helping make the teacher's team-building a success: Bokkie Botha (The Olive Branch), Chantal Schoeman (Bergwater Winery), Di van der Riet Steyn (Prince of Africa), Essie Esterhuizen (Prince Albert Olives), Gay van Hasselt (Gay's Dairy). And to the inimitable Virna Gouws for helping us pull everything together.

We worked hard, but we loved our time in Prince Albert. If there's ever an opportunity to return and do some more work with the town, we would be delighted. Thank you for making us feel so welcome.

Outa Lappies Retires

- Ailsa Tudhope -

One of the living treasures of the district lives in a little house at the Prince Albert Road Station - Outa Lappies (Jan Schoeman), the Lappiesman.

One of the reasons for his being called Outa Lappies was that he wore clothes stitched together from “lappies” – colourful patchwork decorated with woollen embroidery. For the Millennium, Tannie Louisa Jooste made him a special patchwork and hessian suit upon which she embroidered the year “2000”.

Today Outa dresses in blue overalls, a hessian cape and a colourful hat completing his ensemble. The plain overalls are symbolic of the fact that he has retired. “I can hang up my gloves in peace,” he says.

Born under a bush on a sheep trek during the 1920’s, somewhere between Willowmore and Aberdeen, Outa spent his childhood in the Great Karoo. His father worked on farms and paid heed when his wife informed him they had stayed in a particular place quite long enough and it was time to move on. Outa’s mother came from Griqua and Damara stock “uit Oukiep se wêreld”. He can trace his family on his father’s side back four generations through Stefanus and September Schoeman to Oupa Quezy, who came across the Limpopo and whose ancestors lived in Ghana.

Outa’s karretjie (rickshaw) lies at rest now in his yard at the station. Over the years he hauled it on journeys spanning 16 000km, which took him back to places he remembered from his childhood and then further afield. Although he has recently been invited to attend a van Gogh exhibition in Holland and many of the tourists he has met have invited him to visit them in far flung places, he has hung up his travelling boots and intends spending his last years in his little house with the sunflowers bobbing in the garden.

Outa is as well-known for his art as his clothing. Having left school with “standard two-and-a-quarter” he followed his father’s philosophy that there was no short cut to success. “To achieve riches you have to take the best route, not the easiest – and that means work.” Examples of his art surround him in his yard: ‘lighthouses’ and hands made from old tin cans and broken glass; chairs constructed from reeds, wire, metal and glass; wood embellished with pokerwork; embroidered lappies and hats. All his materials are recycled and time has gone into each creation. “Use your hands and you’ll never be hungry” is a principle he still puts into practice.

“Now my art is my hobby,” he says, “I don’t want to lie down and wait for death – I must keep busy, but I need time to be quiet, to rest in the afternoons. When I look at my art now I think, how many heartbeats did it take to make?”

“My story is something of the past,” says Outa. “I do not fit in with modern things. I am in the second last chapter of my life, the next adventure is after I die.”

“Waar ek begin het, gaan ek einde.” Outa spends his days recalling the past: “1929 feels like yesterday,” and chatting to his neighbours, particularly the children whom he teaches to do a job, not ask for a handout. He asks that people respect his retirement and while he is happy to see visitors, he prefers them to telephone first. His telephone number is available at the Prince Albert Tourism Association Office. His art can be bought from the Prince Albert Gallery and Bodo Toelstede 023 5411 330.

Take it gently, Outa, surrounded by children, cats and birds, resting in the shade under the sunflowers. May your retirement be the peaceful time you desire.

Modern Music and Messiah

- Ailsa Tudhope -

There is always something on the go at St John’s. During March Dutch opera singer Bernadette ter Heyne of Stichting Bergwater Musiek, returned once again to teach singing classes.

This time she was accompanied by Zenja McCray of The McCray International Studio of Vocal Arts in the Hague. Bernadette headed for Prince Albert Primêr and Zenja for Hoërskool Zwartberg and after ten days training the youngsters performed at a concert at St John’s on the 14th of March.

The little church was packed to capacity with more than twenty performers and all their friends and families. Many Bo-dorp residents, remembering previous performances, had turned out too. This evening was a little different from other Stichting Bergwater concerts in that the children had been working on songs they knew, rather than learning an operatic or light musical piece.

The enthusiasm of both performers and audience was clear. The performers had dressed for the occasion and they sang their songs with aplomb, many expressing their sentiments with appropriate gestures. It is quite amazing how much can be learnt in just ten days. Riotous applause, whistling and stamping followed each rendition. The old church must have wondered what was happening.

The judges had a hard job identifying the youngsters who should receive the prizes which were awarded by Bernadette and Zenja. To end the evening Zenja’s “Angels from heaven” sang a blessing to thank Bernadette and Zenja for their encouragement and hard work. The Prince Albert community is richly blessed in Bernadette’s continued support for our children. Our thanks go out to her and Zenja for showing them that there is a wider world filled with opportunities for those willing to work hard and discover it.

Bernadette's visit delighted Hoërskool Zwartberg in another sense too, she handed over an envelope packed with Euros to purchase a sound system for the school.

This will give the children opportunities to practice using microphones and will be a tremendous boon for the Kultuuraand, Sports Days and other occasions when a sound system is absolutely essential. Thank you Bernadette and Stichting Bergwater Musiek.

St John’s echoed to other voices on Good Friday when a handful of people met to listen to Handel’s Messiah.

The church was bare, the altar stripped, just as Our Lord was stripped to be nailed to the cross, the crosses draped with dark cloth, no flowers, no candles, as we remembered the gloomy hours between his crucifixion and the brightness of Easter morn.

Yet the simplicity of the space was filled with the most glorious sound. Not live music, but the excellent acoustics made sure that we appreciated every nuance of the CD performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, under the baton of Georg Solti.

Having the libretto to follow enhanced the experience and I was reduced to tears when we all stood for the Hallelujah Chorus, which brought back memories of a performance at Kirstenbosch when Yehudi Menuhin turned to conduct the audience at that point in the score.

Thank you Renee, for suggesting we experience Messiah at Easter, it was a joy that we shall definitely repeat

Municipality Facilitates Angora Goat Project

-Linda Jaquet-

April 1st, 2008, was a memorable day for four, new Prince Albert Angora goat farmers. And not because an April Fool’s Day joke was played on them.

On the contrary, with the arrival of 180 Angora goats – 174 ewes and 6 rams – from Aberdeen, it marked their first day of a project, during which they will be “students” learning on the job, all that they need to know about working with Angora goats.
The project (sponsored by Mohair South Africa) is an initiative of the Mohair industry through the Prince Albert Municipality. Treintjiesrivier, the farm on the outskirts of town, was bought by the Department of Land Affairs for the Municipality about two years ago with the purpose of developing and empowering emerging small farmers.

Jan Lottering, Piet Loff, Andrew Mopiley and Adriaan Moos, all have some experience of farming and were carefully selected to be part of the project. Gielie Grobbelaar, former Chair of Mohair SA and the International Mohair Association, is responsible for the co-ordination and supervision of the project. He, through SA Mohair International Ltd (SAMIL), have initiated and conducted similar projects in the Eastern Cape.

Clive van Hasselt, one of South Africa’s most successful Angora breeders, will engage and assist wherever necessary. The student farmers will not be paid for the duration of the project and have made arrangements with their current employers to take time off each month to work at Treintjiesrivier. At the end of the two year period, they will have an option to farm on their own. The original stock and numbers will remain that of the project, while the mohair and the progeny will be for the student farmers’ account.

Interviewed by the Friend on 2 April as they dipped and dosed their new herd of young goats, the farmers’ pride and determination to succeed was evident.

Jan Lottering, who chairs the project, said that giving up part of his salary every month to be part of this project was well worth it. “It’s an opportunity that we’ve all grabbed with both hands,” he said.

Piet Loff added: “We all have the self-belief and resolve to go a long way. Getting on with the work is up to us.” Clive van Hasselt has confidence in the project and the four aspiring Angora goat farmers. “I feel that the opportunity, both in this project and in the Mohair industry, is very worthwhile and rewarding,” he said.

Prince Albert Local Football Association

- Henriette Liebenberg -

Die sokkerspan, Stars FC, van Prince Albert is die tweede agtereen-volgende jaar die Paasnaweek-toernooikampioen. Die voorsitter van die plaaslike sokkervereniging, Goliath Lottering, sê die span mik om in die toekoms in die Vodacom Liga te speel en is beslis besig om sy stempel behoorlik af te druk in die Sentrale Karoo.

Die Paasnaweek-toernooi moes inderhaas na Leeu-Gamka geskuif word nadat die plaaslike owerheid besluit het dat die nuwe gras op die veld nog nie reg is nie.

Die teleurstelling was groot, en volgens Lottering kon drie van die plaaslike spanne nie aan die toernooi deelneem nie. Tien spanne kan egter speel, met Stars FC wat die eerste prys van R2 500 gewen het. Brazil van Leeu-Gamka was tweede, Kaizer Chiefs van De Rust derde en All Stars van Merweville vierde.

Die Prince Albert Local Football Association wil hiermee hul opregte dank aan National Garage van Prince Albert en Shell Ultra City van Leeu Gamka uitspreek vir hul ondersteuning tydens die Paasnaweek-toernooi. Lottering sê hy is seker dat meer besighede in die toekoms sal bydra om die “liefling sport” in die dorp vorentoe te neem.

Die LFA akkommodeer tans veertien spanne in die Liga en glo dat sokker in sy doel slaag om die jongmanne op ‘n positiewe manier besig te hou oor naweke. Agt van hierdie spanne is in Prince Albert. Klubs word tans ook verder aangemoedig om hul Junior spanne in orde te kry sodat die Junior Liga ook kan afskop.

Alle spanne word sterkte toewens met die Domestic League wat afgeskop het en ons hoop die spanne van Prince Albert vaar sommer baie goed. Lottering sê “Al word sokker ook op grondvelde gespeel, sokker sal daar gespeel word in Prince Albert.”

Gymkhana - A First for the Festival

- Charlotte Bothma -

In the misty morning of winter, draft horses adorned in armour prance to the battlefield. Knights astride their powerful backs hoist heavy lances into position. Steam pours from the horse’s nostrils like a dragon ready to burn his enemy. They await their leader’s battle cry.

"Let the games begin," yells the scorekeeper.

According to the book, LEGACY OF THE HORSE of the International Museum of the Horse located in Lexington, Kentucky, tournaments in the Middle Ages became the most popular form of recreation for knights all over Europe. To keep in shape for battle the events included jousting, melee, and fighting on foot. Although heavily armoured knights became obsolete, the sport of games on horseback retained its nobility, valour and grandeur.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the noun gymkhana (pronounced jim—‘ka-na) came into the English language around 1877. Today gymkhana is associated with games on horseback that involve skill and speed which test both horse and rider.

Tentpegging, the noble equestrian sport of Lance and Sword has more recent origins in India. Around 1851 the officers and troops of British mounted regimens stationed in India whose sport was wild-pig sticking with lances, amused themselves by galloping in and amongst the army tents and cutting down the guy ropes with swords or pulling out wooden pegs with their lances. This resulted in the collapse of the tents. The high spirited behaviour caused some dissatisfaction amongst the troops. The senior officers decreed that the pegs be put into the ground away from the tents and lance and sword events thus came into being.

Tentpegging was introduced into South Africa from India at the beginning of the last century by the Dragoons and the Bengal Lancers. It was essentially a mandatory sport and aided the young mounted cavalrymen in the proper handling of lance, sword and revolver, their weapons of war. Tournaments took place for much the same reason that inspired the knights of old in England and Europe to joust in the lists.

Families love the games of gymkhana where the young and young at heart can compete in a sport steeped in history, but modernised to satisfy even the most contemporary rider. It takes talent and skill, not lots of money or elite breeds to enjoy the sport.

Gymkhana will continue because of the friendships it builds, the family ties it creates, and the equestrian skills competitors learn will last a lifetime—and by involving the children the noble sport of gymkhana will shoot it’s historical arrows into the future.

Zwartberg Runners Take On the Two Oceans Marathons

- Terry Barnato -

Seven Zwartberg Runners’ members travelled to Cape Town over the Easter long weekend to participate in the Two Oceans Marathons. The bravest of the group was Tracy Swanepoel, who ran the Ultra Marathon: a gruelling 56km route through Hout Bay, over Chapman's Peak, down towards Fish Hoek, along the coast through Kalk Bay past Muizenburg and then back into Cape Town on Main Road to finish at UCT rugby field! Congratulations Tracy on your Blue Medal, finishing in 4505th place out of around 6000 runners in a time of 6hrs 27mins and 57seconds and representing Prince Albert in what is known as the world's most beautiful marathon!

In the Half Marathon, four Zwartberg Runners joined the 10 000 odd participants - the remaining two, Petrus Bostander and Burnett May having missed their transport and also the start of the race - to run the 21,1km, which also finished at the UCT rugby field, on a route that included the dreaded Southern Cross Drive... a good 3km of steady uphill. The results for these four were:

Brian Modra in 1778th place in a time of 1hr 50mins and 49s
Terry Barnato in 4190th place in a time of 2hrs 08mins and 14s
Juliana van der Westhuizen in 6710th place in a time of 2hrs 24mins and 34s
Marushka Erasmus in 9024th place in a time of 2hrs 47mins and 26s

Altogether it was a good experience and definitely a must for Zwartberg Runners next year. There's nothing like taking your place amongst the running greats of this world! Hopefully too we can get Petrus to the start line next year and cheer him home with a silver medal! Thanks again, runners, for your participation and support and unfailing good spirit!

Willing Hearts Rugbyklub Nuus

- Titus Hendriks -

Prince Albert se Willing Hearts Rugbyklub speel vanjaar in die SWD Presidentsliga nadat die span verlede jaar as die SWD Karoostreek-kampioen gekroon is. Willing Hearts word as een van die top klubs in die SWD beskou, volgens Titus Hendriks, sekretaris van die klub.

Ligawedstryde het vroeg in April begin en sover het die aanvanklike oefeninge baie goed weggeskop. In harde wedstryde teen Plettenbergbaai op 5 April, het Willing Hearts se twee spanne geseevier; die A-span met 12 – 7 en die B-span met 18 – 7. Hendricks, in ‘n onderhoud met die Vriend, het alle toeskouers aangemoedig om in groot getalle die spanne se tuiswedstryde te ondersteun. Willing Hearts speel op 26 April teen Kango United, op 17 Mei teen die All Blacks en op 31 Mei teen Knysna United op hulle tuisveld.

Die klub het twee nuwe spelers - Claude Hendriks en Adrian Lodewyk, wat voorheen vir Bridgton in Oudtshoorn gespeel het. “Hul kennis, vaardighede en ervaring kan baie beteken vir die klub,” sê Titus Hendriks. Hendriks het verder aan die Vriend verduidelik: “Om ons hoë standaard te handhaaf, het ons borge nodig. Uitrustings, balle, waterbottels en verskeie ander toerusting is dringend nodig vir die nuwe seisoen, maar ongelukkig is baie van ons spelers werkloos en kan nie self geldelik help nie.” Hy sê enige skenking sal baie waardeer word.

Hendriks kan gekontak word by:
(023) 5411298 (h) of 023 5411440(w).

Oakdale Landbouskool se toutrekspanne presteer

In Maart het 11 toutrekspanne onder leiding van hul afrigters, Piet Lourens en Riaan Stander, van Hoër Landbouskool Oakdale deelgeneem aan die SA Skole Toutrekkampioenskappe op Kimberley en uitstekend presteer. Die 360 kg- en 600 kg-spanne behaal elk 'n tweede plek en die 480kg-span 'n derde plek. Oakdale se 560kg-span gelei deur hul kaptein, Terblanche le Grange van Prince Albert, het die span van Drostdy gewen en is as SA kampioene gekroon. Met hierdie prestasie dring Oakdale deur na die wêreldkampioenskappe in Swede later vanjaar.