Saturday, February 28, 2009


3 January 1926 – 24 January 2009

On Monday, 2 February, Alf Gundersen's family and friends gathered at St John’s Church to celebrate his life. Habiba brought a haiku and Ralph Vaughan William’s Ascent of the Lark, Sam and Yvonne in Los Angeles sent a tribute, Georgia brought her eulogy, Jo and granddaughter Sarah, a candle, which symbolised the life Alf shared with his family. The flickering flame, soaring music, and white flowers spoke volumes and the poetry, tribute and eulogy made this a deeply moving occasion, a fine tribute to an exceptional man.

This is his daughter Georgia Saunders’ eulogy:

'In the sentimental rendition of the words, Alf Gundersen was neither a nice man nor a good man. Indeed Alf despised sentimentality. He was a wise man who never preached his wisdom. He was also a man who possessed true wit, which was not only funny, but insightful.

To my sister Josephine, and my brother Sam and me, and to his most-loved Habiba, Alf was a generous man - in praise, which is the first test of generosity, and materially. We were granted our every wish, while he was often unable to afford his golf membership.

He was not the best-friend variety of father. He was in fact difficult to talk to. He was rather a presence to be heard and observed. And how wonderful it was to witness the process on paper or canvas unfolding before our eyes! And then there were those apt cards that he made for each of us, which never failed to touch our hearts. I often think back to when I was a child, seeing him sit alone, listening to The Goon Show or Hancock’s Half Hour, slapping his knee with delight and laughing quietly. “Great stuff!” he would tell himself.
Alf was a modern man, who always appreciated and praised talent in others. Jazz was part of this appreciation, and we would have to listen to all the greats, played very loud! In variance to this, the breadths of his Constable skies, belie this modernity. Nevertheless he remained a man, as much in love with the past’s craftsmanship and elegance, as with the present’s gusto.

Alf was a shy and private man who avoided confrontation, who considered any open display as being unseemly. An only and lonely child who remained that way; who drew for the occupation of it, long after he had mastered the exercises that forced him, in the thinking of the time, to switch from his left to his right hand.

He was a true artist in that he was able to be selfish. The household revolved around him. We would strive to deflect his deep melancholy that permeated the house when he was unable to find the time to work. Many times over we would be told: “Leave Dad alone. He needs to work.”

Alf Gundersen was not my birth father, but he was, most assuredly, my father. He gave me his name and imparted to me, I hope, some of his insight. Not a day goes by that I don’t find myself thinking in or quoting his words.

He and my mother met and married when I was small. Habiba had a Siamese cat which she would walk on a leash along the Hillbrow sidewalks. One day there was a knock at the door and there he stood. He removed his cap - he always wore a cap in those days - and said to my mother: “I’ve come to see the cat”.

During these early days Alf produced trenchant oils of fast-disappearing old Johannesburg landmarks, which were executed not out of any social consciousness but for the pleasure of their architectural loveliness. (All three of his one-man shows on this subject were sold-out.)

Alf was a prolific artist who had no understanding for artists who sat waiting for inspiration. Work, for him, realised inspiration. As for the indulgence of meaning in art he had no such vanity. He was an art for art’s sake adherent. It was rather for the purity of a seamless technique and a threadbare delicacy that he strove; where the subject and the choice of it, are the chief protagonists. His bent was to paint the unworded frailty of both the object and its surroundings, beautifully.

On one of my infrequent visits, after he and my mother moved to Prince Albert, I accompanied him on a morning walk. He pointed out the hard edge of the Karoo horizon against the pale sky. “Ah,” he said in his wistful way of speaking, “if I could only paint that.” “But you do Dad,” I said. And of course he did. There was nothing in Alf’s work that was fudged or ill-defined. Nothing that was unresolved or overworked; nothing overblown or distasteful. His paintings of the Karoo transcend the sameness, to an exalted locus where bleakness and the feeling that it imparts, becomes transport.

It is sad that a man of rare talent is gone, but his work will most assuredly live on. Apart from the feeling of separateness that his paintings convey, which is for some unsettling, Alf’s style appeals to most of us. His paintings will always give to the viewer as much a sense of place, as of their own selves. And if they look long enough they will perhaps intercept the bitter-sweet irony of the man who painted them.'

Alf and Habiba Gundersen moved to Prince Albert in 1992. Gundersen trained at the Natal Technical College from 1942-1945. He enjoyed a career in advertising until 1982, when he retired to paint full-time. From his first solo show at the Gainsborough Gallery in 1962 to 2005 at the Prince Albert Gallery, the exceptional quality of his paintings was widely recognised. His paintings are held in private and corporate collections abroad and across South Africa.

Additional contributions by Ailsa Tudhope and Mary Anne Botha.

My Christian Perspective

- André Jaquet -

If you are reading this, there is a good chance that thanks to your parents, you received a good education and now through your own hard work and savings you can maintain a certain standard of living. Others face a daily battle just to survive.

Do I sense some voices grumbling “So what do you want me to do about that”? It’s not my fault”. You can do plenty. Open your eyes and ears, your mind and heart and look for opportunities to lend a helping hand to worthy, well-run organisations that are doing all they can but need more ideas, helpers and funds.

Sharing is a two-way street and if some of us try to impose our ideas of what should be done while others wallow unmotivated and aimlessly in self-pity, nothing will change for the better. What practical things can we do about this sorry state of affairs?

Tax the rich more? Oh no, Trevor has already done that! There is a much easier and less painful way that in fact brings you much joy and satisfaction. I suspect that all it would take is an effort to get to know and care about the people that are around us every day. I would be very surprised if you didn’t feel that you have gained more from that contact than you have given.

And why stop there? Why don’t we try to get to know about folks who worship in another Church, Mosque, Synagogue or Temple?

Sterreprag oor Prince Albert

- Hans Daehne -

Die openingsverrassing van die Internasionale Jaar van Astronomie 2009, naamlik die gedeel-telike sonsverduistering op die 26ste Januarie, het vir groot opgewon-denheid gesorg by die leerders van Hoërskool Zwartberg asook vir die heel kleintjies by Wildekanisland. Vir die meeste kinders was dit die eerste keer dat hulle die Son (ons naaste ster) en die Maan so naby mekaar gesien het. Kommentare van die kinders soos : "Dit lyk soos `n groot piesang" , "Watter een is die Maan ?", "Die helder een!" het tot vermaaklike oomblikke gelei. Dit was vir ons heerlik om die gebeurtenis met kinders en volwassenes te deel en Prince Alberters was gelukkiger as sterre-entoesiaste in Gauteng of die Tuinroete waar dit dié oggend bewolk was.

Nou hoop ons net vir goeie weer tydens die gedeeltelike maansverduistering aan die einde van die jaar as afsluiting van die Internasionale Jaar van Sterrekunde. Tussenin sal daar egter nog baie op-windende gebeurtenisse wees, soos die Stigting van die Sterrevriendekring van Prince Albert/Star Friends op die 21st Maart ,'n dag na die dag-en-nag-ewening, om 18h00 in die Swartberg Hotel. Belangstellendes kan ons nader vir besonderhede by 072-732-2950.

Dan is daar nog die komeet Lulin wat besig is om blote-oog-sigbaarheid te bereik en aan die einde van Februarie/begin Maart naby Regulus in Leo te sien sal wees. `n Ander rede hoekom dit nou belangrik word om die herfskonstellasie van die Leeu te kan identifiseer, is omdat dit die planeet Saturnus huisves naby die stertgedeelte van die leeu. Saturnus beweeg in die rigting van Regulus tot Junie en dan weer terug met groter spoed in die rigting van Virgo. Op 8 Maart is Saturnus in opposisie tot die Son (d.w.s. “VolSaturnus”) en naaste aan die Aarde (nl.1256 of 8.39 AE ) vir hierdie jaar. Sy weerkaatste lig bereik ons na 70 minute reistyd nadat die sonlig 78 minute lank op pad was na Saturnus. Die ringe is nou van die kant af te sien soos dit laas in 1995 was en dit is die rede hoekom Saturnus nie so helder (mag. 0.5) is as wanneer sy ringe oop is (mag. - 0.5) nie.

Venus, die helder “aandster” sal tot stilstand kom op die 5de Maart en daarna weer afbeweeg Son toe om weer die “oggendster” te word.

Jupiter (mag. -2.0) is nog `n oggend-voorwerp, maar word al helderder totdat hy in Junie weer `n mooi voorwerp vir besigtiging die hele nag lank word.

Volmaan is op die 11de Maart en Nuwe Maan op die 26ste.

Na die Herfs Dag-Nag-Ewening op die 20ste Maart word die nagte nou langer as die dae - jippie vir sterrekyk !

NASA sal vir ons in die Internasionale Jaar van Astronomie ook met `n paar boeiende ruimtereise op die punte van ons stoele hou. In Mei word die Hubble-ruimteteleskoop (HST) wat in 91 minute om die Aarde wentel deur die pendeltuig Atlantis 570 km bo die aarde gevang om sy laaste en omvattende diens te ontvang. Voorsien van nuwe batterye, lense, giroskope ens. sal die HST dan nog vir `n lang tyd heelwat interessante inligting na die aarde kan terugstuur sodat ons uiteindelik die ruimte om ons beter kan verstaan. Die ruimteteleskoop CoRoT, wat ontwerp is om eksoplanete op te spoor, het juis onlangs `n planeet ontdek wat die naaste met die Aarde vergelyk kan word deurdat dit minder as twee maal die Aarde se grootte is.

Eers in 2013 sal die nuwe ruimte-teleskoop James Webb (JWST), met `n spieëldeursnee van 6.5 m op `n stasionêre punt 1.5 vanaf die Aarde geplaas word. Dit is meer as 3x so ver as wat die Maan van die Aarde is.

Hou die sterre in u oë !

Brett the Vet - Hit and Myth

The opposite of anthropomorphism must surely be the attribution of animal or god characteristics to humans. Ideas in arrears frequently steered towards hyperbole, applied in jest at best, or delivered with recklessly negative connotations, reinforce the delusion that animals are somehow inferior. Certain terminology becomes part of cultural consciousness, remaining fixed and unchallenged. Imposing false perceptions can misconstrue intentions. Emphasizing the otherness of animals severs our connection with nature thereby reducing vital contact with the living planet.

Bearing the brunt of a negative stunt, buried in archives distortions of good lives. Everybody knows that pigs are not dirty or fat: they like to wallow in mud exchanging chitchat. Mind tricks while mud sticks like a bad reputation. Snakes in the grass cruising home turf are friendly enough given a wide berth. Reactions of bitches and cows espouse feminist vows, exercising their rights with fairness and fights. Free will is unknown to the bird in a cage and lions on stage suppressing their rage. Creating the mule defiantly stubborn, no bun in the oven; do us a favour - forced manual labour. The point of no return, watching bridges burn, never looking back, we give a little slack. Ass will compromise by telling white lies elevating status, full of pomp and flatus; denigrating creatures that are really our teachers. All playing games of hide and seek, never revealing tongue in cheek. We mask our hidden fears like crocodiles in tears.

Shining qualities in animals raise delusions of grandeur to comical levels when used to rid the demons of human deficiency. The fanciful wish to swim like a fish; breathe under water, like lamb to the slaughter. While lovers envy ardent virility citing habits of rabbits, the slow satisfaction of tortoises in action opens wide the divide between humility and pride. Mr. Fox ever wry at being so sly loses his brains on computer games, but excels outwitting hares clocking sins for his dares. A symbol so strong the ox goes along; par for the course his elegant restraint of force. To be reckoned with arenas of laughing hyenas, an outrageous sense of humour’s worth starting a rumour. A mouse is only quiet because our world is a riot; with its relative size there is no surprise. Elephants at night parading their might are known to set pace with delicacy and grace. A clown is no fool and some geese are as wise taking owls by surprise. The most faithful friend is no match for Patch or Rover. The party is over. Smell the roses on waking; life isn’t worth faking. Individual merit is what we inherit, while collective banality leads to insanity.

Clichéd characteristics observed in animals highlight for us relative similarities, feelings and ways of being that also limit our understanding. Traits and states of mind observed in mankind are laid bare in the lair of bestial laisser-faire. Accusations of anthropomorphism are often invoked when people are choked by misguided notions passed as emotions. By avoiding projection we can openly experience animal emotions imagining with empathy. Broadening our concepts of communication opens the channels to fully appreciate the marvel of animals.

No more rubbish bins on Swartberg Pass

- Linda Jaquet -

Readers will recall in our January 2009 edition the valiant efforts of Prince Albert resident, Alf Joubert, and his team to empty the overflowing rubbish bins and clean up the Swartberg Pass (“Cleaning the Swartberg”).

In a few days, there will no longer be rubbish bins along the Pass on the Prince Albert side of the Swartberg. CapeNature has requested the Central Karoo District Municipality to remove the bins as they believe that this will stop littering on the Pass and encourage visitors to take their refuse away with them.

CapeNature’s Tony Marshall says that this has worked well on the Oudtshoorn side of the Pass where bins have already been removed. Asked about the popular picnic spot at Eerstewater, Marshall indicated that the organisation would have to consider leaving bins at the site.

Pressing News from Bergwater

- Chantal Hounsom-Schoeman -

By the time you read this, we should be well under way with the harvesting of our grapes. The exciting news is that for the first time this year, the complete process of wine making is taking place at the Bergwater cellar.

In previous years, the grapes were sent to Barrydale Co-Op/Winery, where wine-maker, Mariska, would spend months, tending to her wine.

Over the last couple of months you may have witnessed many a stainless steel tank (in a range of sizes) trundling through the town. Teams of rigging crew have been busy installing these and various other fascinating pieces of cellar equipment since November 2008 - working long, arduous hours to have it all operating on time for this year’s harvest.

Quite a hive of industry has been taking place behind stone walls: steel walkways being erected, pumps and cooling devices being coupled and tested, to name a few. The most thrilling and nail biting moment for us all was when each tank had to be hoisted upright and carefully manoeuvred in to its exact demarcated position.

Come and join us one day at the cellar during this year’s harvest (continuing until end of March) to watch (through glass doors) the intriguing goings-on.

Incidentally, most of the equipment was ready for operation on Day One of the harvest in February, albeit in the afternoon, causing a backlog of grapes to be sorted and processed. Thirty-four tons of Sauvignon Blanc grapes were picked that day.

The de-stalking and pressing machines started up at 15h00 and by 22h30, 10litres of delicious grape juice had been pumped into the first tank. The pressing continued until 01h00 the next morning!

Museumnuus: Waar kom die Name Vandaan?

In ‘n gang van die museum hang ‘n foto van Prince Albert se drie-en-dertig Piete. Geneem in 1947, die fotograaf is ‘n onderwyser, ene Johnnie Louw. Daar staan hulle almal op die trappe voor die kerk. Jong Piete en ou Piete; maar hoe op aarde onderskei ‘n mens tussen so ‘n klomp mense met dieselfde naam in ‘n klein gemeenskap? Byname natuurlik! Piet Orrel, Piet Maagseer, Piet Sekels, om ‘n paar te noem. Die byname spreek vanself en verwys na beroepe, gewoontes, geite en giere.

Ook in die dorp is daar menige sulke name. Daar is die BO-DORP en die ONDER-DORP. Volgens my inligting strek die BO-DORP vanaf die Alberts meule tot by Luttigstraat en die gedeelte noord van Luttigstraat is dan natuurlik die ONDER-DORP.

Wat van die naam PERE-DRAAI? Dit is die naam van die draai in Christina de Witstraat by die Weltevredepad- begraafplaas. Vroeër jare was daar ‘n boordjie peerbome. Vandag is daar net enkele van die ou bome oor.

FORD SE DRAAI? Die mooi Victoriaanse huis, genaamd Abend Rühe op die hoek langs De Bergkant Lodge is in ongeveer 1904 gebou deur die magistraat J Ford, en so is ook hy in die geskiedenis verewig.

Verder noord in Kerkstraat af is AKKEDISBULT. Hier is die inligting wat ek gekry het ‘n bietjie teenstrydig.

Eric Stockenström is in Prince Albert gebore en het later sy doktorsgraad in geskiedenis aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch behaal. Later was hy ‘n lektor by sy Alma Mater. Hy skryf: Eeufees van die Gemeente Prins Albert 1842 – 1945 in boekvorm.

In ‘n verdere artikel wat gepubliseer is in Africana Aantekeninge en Nuus - Maart 1954, skryf hy oor die gewels van Prince Albert. “The one building in Group D is situated in a side street (Meiringstraat) on the so-called AKKEDISBULT and was built by my maternal grandfather, Carel Lotz. I was born in that unassuming old house and grew up there...”. Uit ander inligting blyk dit dat AKKEDISBULT gestrek het tot by Skapies-einde (ou slagpale) en dan ook verder suid. Dus ‘n hele gebied in die dorp.

Wes van die dorp, aan die voet van die koppies langs Klipstraat, was die ROOIKAMP. Ons Kleurlinggemeenskap het vroeër daar gewoon. Die naam het skynbaar ontstaan omdat die Engelse gedurende die Boere-oorlog hulle tentkamp in daardie omgewing gemaak het.

Terug na Kerkstraat, min of meer waar Kerkstraat Adderleystraat word, kry ons SONSKYN. Wat ‘n mooi naam! Frans Bothma se ouers het op SONSKYN geboer; destyds was dit ‘n veel groter stuk grond as vandag. Ongelukkig weet Frans nie hoe die naam sy ontstaan gekry het nie.

Uiteindelik kom ons aan die noordelike punt van die onder-dorp en kry ons KOELHOOGTE. Helena Marincowitz skryf: “Algemeen word aanvaar dat KOELHOOGTE sy naam te danke het aan die talle bloekombome waar perderuiters, perdekarre en dalk ook later motors op pad vanaf die Noorde, kom uitspan en diere koudlei het. Daar is seker ook saam koffie gedrink en nuus uitgeruil!”

Daar word ook vertel dat Koelhoogte ‘n gebied was in die onder-dorp wat Suid van Stockenstromstraat lê. Ander be-weer die naam is KOEËLHOOGTE en het ontstaan na een of ander skiet-voorval!

Wie weet? Kom vertel asseblief vir ons hier by die museum julle stories oor diè NAME.

Lydia Barella

‘n Troue om die nuwe jaar te begroet

- Anneke van Eck -

Op 31 Desember 2008 is Samie Luttig, oftewel Boeta, en Bianca Marais op ‘n sprokiesdag en in egte Karoo-styl in die huwelik bevestig. Bianca het soos ‘n feëprinses gelyk in haar wit rok en die bruidspaar is gekarwei in die eerste motor wat desjare in Prince Albert se strate gery het - kompleet met registrasienommer CCA 1!

Gaste is bederf op die skousaal se stoep wat sprokiesmooi versier is met pragtige blomme en honderde liggies. Daar is spesiaal ‘n dansbaan op die grasperk gebou sodat almal die nuwe jaar kon inskoffel. En is daar nie behoorlik geskoffel nie – al die seer voete het die volgende oggend getuig daarvan!

Ons wens die splinternuwe Luttig-egpaar alle voorspoed toe met hul lewe saam daar op Drie Riviere. Mag julle ‘n lang en gelukkige huwelik hê gevul met voorspoed wat verdubbel en teëspoed wat halveer. Baie geluk!

Helané en Kobus Meintjes – Onvergeetlik

-Jeanette de Lange-

G’n tradisionele prosedure nie. Hierdie twee jongmense het besluit - ons gaan ons huweliksdag geniet - en hulle het woord gehou.

Van die oomblik dat ds Ben Marais begin praat het, … ‘n boodskap spesiaal gekies vir dié paartjie …. die seёn – waar Helané en Kobus omring was met familie – tot die sagte kitaarnote van Koos du Plessis se “Aandgebed” – ‘n seremonie wat ons lank sal bybly.

Die onthaal, op Abrahamskraal, was anders, glasklokkies as plekaanwysers, draadharte as versierings, en ‘n stylvolle ”high tea” saam met die troukoek bedien, het die gaste verwelkom by die vrolike onthaal.

Die paartjie was stralend gelukkig, vandat Helané Kobus glimlaggend tegemoet gestap het totdat hulle die laaste gaste onder die sekelmaan op Abrahamskraal afgesien het.

Kobus en Helané, júlle dag was sielsmooi!

BADISA expands its social services

- Linda Jaquet -

In the weeks ahead BADISA Prince Albert is to increase its services to the communities in the Prince Albert Municipal area. It is opening its fifth soup kitchen for needy youngsters in Prince Albert which will provide daily lunches to over 100 learners at Hoërskool Zwartberg.

“A generous grant from the Western Cape Department of Social Development and the continuing support of townsfolk and organisations like the Thursday Group has made this possible,” Dave Rennie, who serves on BADISA’s management committee, told the Friend.

He pointed out that BADISA already operates four soup kitchens in Prince Albert and Leeu-Gamka twice a week throughout the summer and winter months and one each in Klaarstroom and Prince Albert Road. “In time, BADISA intends to increase the number of days on which the soup kitchens run. The beneficiaries will be expanded to include the elderly and those in dire need,” he said.

Children who benefit from the soup kitchens will in future be registered in a sensitive manner so that BADISA can build up its database and so increase its social services to the community.

In keeping with the Department of Social Development’s plans to implement skills development and job creation plans more vigorously in our province, BADISA, in conjunction with other NGOs, plans to use its data on the parents of the children, who attend the soup kitchens, to facilitate this process.

Prince Albert Kieliebeentjies toer in Duitsland

- Bodo Toelstede -

Ja, dit is inderdaad so! Op 30 Junie 2009 vertrek one eie Kieliebeentjies vanaf George om hulle stemme deur Duitsland te laat hoor. Hulle eerste ervaring van Duitse gasvryheid sal in Koblenz op 3 Julie by die "Altstadtfest" plaasvind. Daarna reis hulle per trein langs die Rheinrivier na Hemslingen, waar hulle 'n groot fees saam met die Hemslinger Blaasorkes sal begin.

Die Kieliebeentjies is in 2001 deur Bodo Toelstede in die lewe geroep en het al by die KKNK en elke jaar by die Prince Albert Oktoberfest musiek gemaak. Hulle het ook al na George, Paarl, Piketberg, Kaapstad en Johannesburg getoer.

Die Duitse toer word deur die Hemslinger Blaasorkes, vriende van die Kieliebeentjies, inkomste van optredes en hopelik ook deur die Kaapse Departement van Kultuursake gefinan-sier.

Die Kieliebeentjies se eerste optrede sal in Hemslingen op Sondag, 5 Julie, tydens ‘n groot saamtrek van verskillende blaas-orkeste geskied. Die Prince Alberters sal saam met die Hemslinger Blaasorkes, die lied "Rooi is die Rosies" sing, wat hulle ook vir Kobus Snyman, Hoërskool Zwartberg se voormalige skoolhoof, by sy afskeidspartytjie gesing het.

Tydens die optrede by die 7de Duitse Oktoberfest in Prince Albert se Landbouskousaal, het die lede van die Hemslinger Blaasorkes gehoor hoe plaaslike musikante gewilde Afrikaanse liedjies sing. Hulle was só opgewonde dat hulle die Prince Albert Kieliebeentjies na Duitsland genooi het sodat hulle landgenote ook die vrolike musiek kan geniet. Optredes in verskeie ander dorpe word ook beplan voor hulle terugkoms op13 Julie.

Ons wens die Prince Albert Kielie-beentjies 'n voorspoedige reis en alles van die beste toe. Indien daar belangstelling is om saam met die Kieliebeentjies te toer, kan Bodo behulpsaam wees by (023) 5411 330 .

The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency meets the Prince Albert Movie Club

- Kallie Erasmus -

The magic of movies is alive and well in Prince Albert with fortnightly meetings of the town’s Movie Club.

Wednesday, 11 February saw a special, standing-room-only, sell-out meeting at which the Prince Albert Movie Club hosted the first public showing of the “The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency”. Made for, and until now only ever previously shown on BBC TV, the production design of the film, which was shot entirely on location in Botswana, was by the town’s own Johnny Breedt of Lah-Di-Dah. Johnny also designed, amongst many others, the Academy Award-nominated “Hotel Rwanda” and local hit “Paljas” and kindly not only made the showing possible, but also introduced the film.

The meeting drew a record audience and R820.00 was raised for the Two Sisters Orphanage in Mpumalanga, a charity supported by Johnny and Yvette Breedt.

Judging by the response, Mma Precious Ramotswe, the unlikely heroine of the Alexander McCall Smith novels on which the film and subsequent TV Series is based, is as popular in the Karoo as she has become around the world.

The Movie Club is open to everybody and meets every fortnight in the Kevin Hough Gallery (posters are placed on the notice boards at Café Albert, the Tourism Bureau and Lah-Di-Dah). Membership fees (R5 per meeting) are either used to buy equipment or donated to a worthy cause – over the past 3 years more than R4 000.00 has been donated to the Fransie Pienaar Museum.

Letters / Briewe

Villa Kruger’s Owner Explains

I was a little surprised that you should publish a letter from Lutz and Veronika Diegel (January 2009) when neither they nor you asked me for an explanation.

Villa Kruger, Paul Kruger’s last home, within which he died in Clarens, Montreux has undergone various metamorphoses in the hands of different Afrikaner owners: beautifully restored, a museum, later an upmarket guest house. I was in Montreux for the jazz festival about 10 years ago and went for walk, stumbling upon the house. What extraordinary synchronicity it was. I had been battling for months whether I should return to South Africa, with which I have always had a stormy relationship, or not. It was all too surreal. The builders, speaking Afrikaans. The manager and his wife invited me for dinner, the first boerekos I had had in almost three decades.

Was he, the manager, I thought a reincarnation of Kruger, I wondered? Though his kids were learning French, he wasn’t able to master the language. His eyes were so sorrowful. He was desperately unhappy. Montreux is exquisitely beautiful. Across the footpath, the lake, framed by massive glaciers.

But of course it isn’t Africa, with its veld, the overwhelming sun, its rawness.

Villa Kruger, previously called Aloe Cottage, is the name of my house. The sign comes from that very villa in Clarens.

It is far more than a souvenir; it is a continuation of a campaign I spearheaded in France, to return the remains of Sarah Baartman, the so-called ‘Hottentot Venus’ back to South Africa.
It is the theme of my project, Toorkuns. It is about exile and the concomitant (untranslatable) heimwee.

It is about Kruger and his men - their wives and children in concentration camps - who were shipped off to St Helena, Ceylon, Argentina. It is about others who were banished, later. Breytenbach and Makeba, to mention two of many.

It is an autobiography.

Hennie Boshoff

Well done, Alf Joubert

I would like to commend Alf Joubert and his group ofcollectorspickingthe litterthe Pass during December (see “Cleaning the Swartberg”, January 2009).They are a fine example to us all.

Romy Mathews

Is Our Mountain Drying Out?

- Reinwald Dedekind and Judy Maguire -

Whether you approach the Swartberg Pass from the Prince Albert side or from Oudtshoorn, coming across the tall pine forests on the Pass was always a welcome sight, with the stately ‘heritage green’ pines standing in stark contrast to the olives and greys of the surrounding fynbos. They offered the only decent shade and shelter from the wind to be had, except for a few shaded cutbacks in kloofs on the south side, where it is not possible to leave the road and enjoy. The forests of the Swartberg Pass, or plantations rather, were picnic venues of note, with carpets of deep soft pine needles, fragrant with pine resin and suffused with that unique swishing sound of the wind through the needles. The views from all three plantations were superb. Our particular favourite was the forest just after the turn-off to Gamkaskloof, close to the beginning of the Otto du Plessis Road to Gamkaskloof, where a particularly large pine specimen had half blown over, exposing its thick gnarled roots which made a comfortable bench.

Visitors to the town, and even some locals, are still asking why the forests had to be axed, even though they have been a thing of the past for well over a year now. This is their story.

When settlers arrived at the Cape from Europe, there were substantial indigenous Afromontane forests such as the ‘Kirstenbosch’ forest and others, mainly on the eastern side of Table Mountain, but also in the aptly named Hout Bay on the Atlantic side. Afromontane forest is very widespread in Africa, occurring in mountainous areas as far north as Ethiopia, in deep sheltered kloofs where they are protected from fire. There are many species in common.

Timber was needed for the many building projects embarked upon by the Dutch East India Company: for the first fort, for defensive palisades and stock kraals, for houses and shelters, to repair the wooden ships of the day, for wagon making, bridge-building and the like. Firewood was a daily necessity for domestic use and wood was needed in vast quantities for passing ships, to fire the lime kilns and later brick kilns, and to extract oil from seals and later whales at Dassen Island and Saldanha Bay. This huge demand seriously depleted the indigenous forests closest to the Cape within 70 years. From 1725 onwards, the forests of Riviersonderend, the Grootvadersbosch near Swellendam, the Outeniqua forests and even further afield at George and Plettenberg Bay were being exploited for their timber. Contracts were awarded to licensed woodcutters and no exploitation of the forests by private individuals was allowed. But still the insatiable demand for wood continued to grow.

The discovery of diamonds and then gold created a huge demand from the mining industry. Wood was needed for mine props and a host of other mining related activities. It became clear to the National Forestry Department of the day that South Africa needed an afforestation programme: indigenous trees are notoriously slow growing and for this reason, a variety of fast-growing imported or alien species were tried. In this area of the southern Cape and on the Swartberg in particular, pine species were imported (in the form of seed) from several countries which, like the Cape, have a Mediterranean-type of climate. Conifers were imported from California, Mexico, Italy, Corsica, Portugal, southern France, and even from northern India which does not have a Mediterranean climate. The Swartberg was chosen for suitability tests to ascertain which of the species would do best in the nutrient deficient, sandy and very acid soils of the quartzitic mountain ranges. The forests of the Swartberg were in fact experimental forest patches.

In the late twenties and early thirties, young pine trees were propagated in nurseries for later planting on the Swartberg. This was done in four plots at different altitudes: the south forest at a lower altitude, about a third of the way up the mountain, the main forest opposite Die Ou Tol, just below Die Top, the Scholtzkloof catchment forest at the start of the Otto Du Plessis road, and the last, close to Klippiesvlei, where there was a forestry outpost, formerly manned by the Wicomb family. Even cork oaks (to supply the burgeoning local wine industry) were tried, two specimens of which remain, their thick corky barks protecting them from the depredations of fire.

At that time, fires were controlled and firebreaks were constructed and maintained and different portions of the mountain were burned on a systematic basis. Firebreaks around each catchment enabled control so that it was unlikely that more than a few catchments would burn in any one uncontrolled fire. In the late 1980s this management passed from the Forestry Department to the then Cape Nature Conservation Department which abandoned controlled burning and started an open system whereby the mountain burns ‘naturally’ – i.e. by lightning-induced fire. In time, much damage was done to the trees, not only by devastating fires but by strong winds uprooting some and breaking side branches. Mature pine trees do not easily re-generate. However, their wind-blown seed was blown out into the surrounding fynbos and in time, an incipient ‘alien invader’ problem developed. An invader is any species which can establish more than 100 metres away from the parent clump.

Even prior to the declaration of the Swartberg as a World Heritage Site (it is one of the eight elements of the “Cape Floral Kingdom” World Heritage Site), CapeNature had decided to eradicate all the existing pine trees. Eradication of alien invasive species is seen as a necessary part of management, because ongoing invasion clearance is time-consuming and expensive. The trees were doomed. The issue was brought to a head when the remaining three forests succumbed to devastating fires around Easter-time, 2007. The trees had to be felled before the wood deteriorated any further and became unsaleable. The forests were axed within a few weeks. The Klippiesvlei forest had burnt down and been felled several years prior to this.

Even had the experiment proved successful and had forests been established, fire would have been an ongoing problem. The recent fires on the mountain attest to the frequency with which they can be started by dry electric storms – lightning strikes, in other words. Today many fires are started by humans rather than lightning. Fire is an essential ingredient of fynbos ecology. Fynbos needs a good burn every 10 to 14 years or so, otherwise a thick canopy of dry and dead material accumulates under bushes and shrubs. However, overburning can also do permanent damage by not giving certain species a chance to grow to maturity and set seed, before another fire burns them off. In this way, seed bank depletion can occur. Proteas usually survive because ants pick up their seeds and carry them underground into their nests where they germinate after having been smoke-stimulated.

The branches of fynbos plants contain a lot of tannin making them highly combustible, enabling the slightest spark to set them alight. After a fire, the ‘siergrasse’ or restios are usually the first to appear, after the geophytes such as the Watsonias, whose underground bulb makes them fire-resistant. The seeds buried by the ants take some time to germinate, and protea trees take many years to reach a good size. Older residents recall the Protea Forest at the turnoff to the Otto Du Plessis road, and for many kilometres along it, with “trees big enough to climb in, as a child”. The Protea Forest, like the pine forests, is alas no more, and so are the heavy snow falls of yesteryear which used to keep the pass closed for several days or even a fortnight at a stretch.

Is our mountain drying out?

Additional information supplied by Hannes Scriba, the Wilderness.

Swartberg Fire Good for Vegetation

- Linda Jaquet -

On Friday, 6 February, lightning started a fire on the west (Oudtshoorn) side of the Swartberg Pass, which spread to the Otto du Plessis or Gamkaskloof Road and burned for several days. The glow of the flames was visible in the night sky from Prince Albert, while the town’s residents were conscious of the pungent smell of burning veld. Farmers in the Scholtzkloof described the valley as choked with smoke.

According to Tony Marshall, manager of the Swartberg Nature Reserve, the fire had done the vegetation, largely fynbos, which had been the right age for burning, a lot of good. He told the Friend that variable winds had meant that the fire had been hard to control. “At times, it was pretty rough out there,” Marshall said.

Local Chamber of Commerce Established

- Linda Jaquet -

On 19 March, the formation of Prince Albert’s first ever Chamber of Commerce will be formally confirmed. The Chamber was inaugurated at a meeting of residents of different backgrounds and interests on 12 February, which gave the go-ahead to the Chamber’s interim management committee to recruit members and officially establish the organisation.

“This is an exciting development that could profoundly affect our town. I am fully behind it,” Eric Ahrens of Pam Golding Properties told the Friend.

The same meeting had earlier approved the voluntary dissolution of the successful Prince Albert Women in Action and the transfer of the organisation’s projects and funds to the proposed Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber’s constitution has been drafted and a website address registered. Its management and membership structures and proposed objectives and the services it could offer members were discussed at the February meeting. The interim management committee intends in due course to affiliate the Chamber with the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut and the South African Chamber of Business, amongst others.

The new body sees itself as a broad-based, apolitical and non-discriminatory group to develop and promote business enterprise in Prince Albert.

In being an effective voice of the town’s business community, the Chamber envisages having several roles, including lobbying, creating a skills database, identifying marketing opportunities for members and training and employment prospects for the town. It hopes to source interesting and appropriate guest speakers and identify funding for members locally and nationally, as well as keep members informed of Municipal meetings and decisions and local data that could assist in business decisions.

Proposed membership fees start at R200.00 per annum depending on the number of people in the permanent employ of an individual or enterprise.

All individuals and existing businesses and organisations would be most welcome to attend the meeting at 13h00 at the Swartberg Hotel on 19 March.

Enquiries about membership of the Chamber should be addressed to:
Jo Long at or on 0824007374 or
Sally Arnold at or on 0827105909.

Prince Albert’s Experts to Speak at First Karoo Development Conference

- Linda Jaquet -

Prince Albert’s Sue Milton and Judy Maguire are two of the eminent speakers at the first Karoo Development Conference and Trade Fair to be held at Graaff-Reinet from 25 to 27 March. They will join other experts in their field in looking at all aspects of the Karoo as a region, its sustainable deve-lopmental potential in terms of tourism, agriculture, business opportunities, both current and new, and broadening the region’s economic base.

The Conference’s theme is “Open Spaces, Dynamic Places”, which reflects the commitment of the Centre for Deve-lopment Support at the University of the Free State’s belief in the huge reservoir of natural resources, creativity and innovation in the vast arid area. They also believe that the event will provide a platform for networking among Karoo entrepreneurs.

The Conference is the result of two years’ research by various universities, led by the Centre for Development Support and its main sponsor is the Open Society Foundation. It will be opened by Deputy Minister Sue van der Merwe, who is the “political champion” of the Central Karoo District.

Increasingly there is discussion in international circles about the economic potential of deserts and arid areas. In South Africa, the Karoo, Kalahari and Namaqualand count as our local “deserts”. According to Professor Doreen Atkinson of the Centre for Development Studies, these days the word “desert” no longer denotes a place without development, but rather an area with its own assets and particular economic potential. People are now starting to realise that deserts have their own key resources, found in four main categories: Desert tourism, Desert agriculture, industry and mining.

Desert tourism is becoming increasingly popular as city folk seek an escape from crime, grime and the rat race. They look for an environment where they can rediscover solitude, space and soul. Atkinson and her colleagues believe that the Karoo has huge tourism potential because of its picturesque villages, unique architecture, breath-taking natural landscapes and the growing game industry. In the last ten years, guest accommodation has grown, as have many new tourist activities such as 4X4 routes, astrotourism, game drives, fossils and Khoisan art.

The CDS describes Desert agriculture as being based on a range of new niche markets for products in arid areas. These include “biblical fruits”, such as olives, pomegranates and figs, as well as prickly pears and agave, and also a new generation of indigenous products, such as hoodia and buchu, with medicinal qualities.

New industries can also be established in desert areas, the CDS says. The economic potential of solar and wind energy still has to be developed in the Karoo. At the same time the Karoo boasts the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere (at Sutherland) and a new telescope is being constructed between Carnarvon and Williston. The CDS points out that it is precisely the solitude and isolation of the Karoo which makes such industries viable.
The uranium potential of the Karoo has long been known, and the move to non-fossil fuel energy makes uranium mining in the Beaufort West area a distinct possibility.

Atkinson notes that the economic potential of the Karoo is shown in its growth rate. In the Central Karoo District, the growth rate was 4.2% per annum between 1995 and 2004, which made it one of the fastest growth rates in the Western Cape.

Atkinson and her colleagues at the CDS believe strongly that the Karoo will never come into its own if its residents and leaders do not come together and create their own collaborative networks. Furthermore, they need to lobby national government to provide adequate funding for regional development, and lobby provincial governments to begin to co-ordinate their economic and infrastructural plans.

They see the Karoo Development Conference as the first step. Its accompanying Karoo Trade Fair will help entrepreneurs of the Karoo showcase their products and build new networks with their fellow Karoo citizens.

The conference website is:
Interested participants can contact Ms Anita Harmse on 072 992 5099.

Big-hearted Bikers

Prince Albert and Beaufort West bikers celebrated 14 February in a generous way: they donated tinned food and fresh fruit to Huis Kweekvallei and the Bejaardesorg Sentrum. Motorbikes, and their riders, of every vintage and size joined in the fun, goodwill action, which was the joint initiative of the Prince Albert Police and the Landbouskou organising committee.

Prince Albert Garden Club Rewards Local Gardeners

- Linda Jaquet -

The highlight on the Garden Club’s calendar is its annual garden competition, which was held later than usual last year.

In November, a team of judges spent two days looking at gardens and giving marks for a range of criteria, which included an emphasis on food gardens, water-wise gardening, recycling and pavement gardens. The prize ceremony was held on 11 February at the Bejaardesorgsentrum.

For the first time, the competition included the category, “Highly Commended”, to recognise the efforts of new gardeners and inspire others to take gardening more seriously. The winner was Mrs F Visagie, with Howard Tippendale and Maria Pienaar in second and third place, respectively.

The other categories were based on neighbourhood demarcations. In Bergsig, the winning garden was that of Clara Afrika, followed by Anna Umbraal’s and Hendrik Skaarnek’s gardens.

This year judges felt that one garden in Rondomskrik deserved a prize, which was awarded to Mrs N Hendriks.

The remaining prize-winners were Isabel and Sara Kammies, Maggie Jafta, J J Pienaar, Amy Wanie, Arie Pieterse and Lena Ontong. For the second year in a row, Maggie Jafta won the accolade for the best garden overall.

The Garden Club wishes to thank the individuals and organisations that donated so generously towards the prizes:

  • Marlene Knowles,
  • the Prince Albert Municipality,
  • Prince Albert Tourism Office,
  • Prince of Africa,
  • The Lazy Lizard,
  • Swartberg Arms,
  • Merino Butchery,
  • Home Hardware,
  • National Garage,
  • Prins-Kem,
  • Lewis Stores,
  • Lah-Di-Dah,
  • Karoo Slaghuis.

‘n Nuwe Bus, ‘n Nuwe Era

- Sammy Delport -

Prince Albert Primêr het op Vrydag, 23 Januarie, op luisterryke wyse hulle nuwe skoolbus in ontvangs geneem. Die opgewondenheid onder opvoeders, ouers en veral die leerders het geen perke geken nie. Dit was voorwaar ‘n dag waar ‘n langverwagte droom waar geword het.

Die skool moes in die verlede hul sportspanne ten duurste met minibusse na Oudtshoorn of elders na kompetisies vervoer. Die koms van die bus het al daardie probleme opgelos.

Verskeie hooggeplaastes het by die geleentheid toesprake gelewer. Die burgemeester, Raadslid M Benjamin, Dr H Jacobs, voormalige kring-bestuurder van Prince Albert Primêr en mnr L Duimpies, huidige kring-bestuurder, het in hul toesprake die skool gelukgewens met hul besondere prestasie. Pragtige items deur elke fase in die skool is tussen die toesprake gelewer. Danse en gedigte deur leerders opgevoer het hul opgewondenheid gedemonstreer. Dr Jacobs het tot groot vermaak van die skare vertel hoe hy as leerder per skaaplorrie na sport-byeen-komste moes reis. Baie opvoerders en ouers kan identifiseer met daardie “goeie ou tye.”

Na al die toesprake het die bus onder begeleiding van polisievoertuie met loeiende sirenes by die skool aangekom. Almal was baie opgewonde.

Mnr Styen, ons hoof, het die sleutels ontvang by ‘n verteenwoordiger van Nissan, die lint geknip en die deur van ons pragtige bus oopgesluit.

Prince Albert kan met reg trots wees op die hoof, personeel en beheerliggaam wat hierdie groot gebeurtenis moontlik gemaak het.


- David-Leigh Willemse, Graad 9 -

We had a dream ...

Ja, voorwaar is dit ‘n goeie dag
Ons almal is moeg gewag
Vandag kan ons nie ophou lag
Die bus is hier, ons slaan ‘n slag.

Vir jare moes ons altyd sukkel
Vervoer het soms die skool laat trippel
Dis bedel hier en bedel daar,
Ons was te moeg, die skool kry swaar.

Ons het bly glo, geswoeg, gesweet, gewerk
Vis gebraai en ‘n potjie bewerk,
Maar steeds was ons droom nog glad nie beperk,
Ons kan dit dalk gou maak werk.

Uiteindelik is ons droom “bewaar”
Ons bus is hier! Gewag is klaar.
Ons almal gaan die vrugte pluk,
Verlos van bedel en vra se juk!

Nuwe Bestuur vir GPF Verkies

- Linda Jaquet -

Tydens die algemene jaarvergadering van die Gemeenskaps-polisieringsforum op 17 Februarie, is ‘n nuwe uitvoerende komitee deur die forum se lede verkies. Die vergadering moes verlede November plaasgevind het maar is vier keer uitgestel omdat ‘n quorum nooit byeengeroep kon word nie.

Dave Rennie is die GPF se nuwe Voorsitter, met Rachel Roberts as Onder-Voorsitter. Eddie Hattingh gaan as Sekretaris aanbly, Suzaan Neewat gaan die pos van Tesourier vul, Ilze Koorts is die nuwe Program Koordineerder en Richard McKnight sal in beheer van Openbare Betrekkinge wees. Die uitvoerende komitee se addisionele lede is Piet Uys, Ben Goliath, Pastoor Brits en J. van Rooyen.

Rennie het onderneem dat onder sy leierskap die GPF meer inklusief sal wees, dat kommunikasie tussen lede van die bestuur, tussen die bestuur en die gemeenskap en tussen die GPF en die SAPS se stasiebevelvoerder sal verbeter. Rennie het ook belowe dat die forum baie meer effektief sal wees.

Feestyd is om die draai! - It’s (nearly) festival time!

Harvest time draws near once more as we eagerly anticipate fresh and fruity oil and plump black and green fruit from this wonderful gift of nature – the olive tree. It is time to come together, welcome old and new friends to our town and embrace them with our celebrated Prince Albert hospitality.

The Prince Albert Town & Olive Festival takes place on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 May 2009.

Die olyftak is ‘n universele simbool van vrede en goedgesindheid. Ook hier in Prince Albert wil ons seker maak dat almal deel is van die fees. Kom vier ons opwindende dorp en almal se harde werk wat die oestyd ‘n sukses maak.

The olive branch is also the lifeblood of this wonderful tree, given so generously for us mortals to enjoy its rich green gold oil and plump shiny fruit to embellish our culinary creations. Let us celebrate all of this together and fill our streets with good food, festivities and goodwill.

We are expecting some very exciting entertainment this year and are hoping to bring the South African National Circus School to the town for two full shows as well as some fantastic street entertainment, with mime artists, fire eaters, stilt walkers and more.

The Muscle Cars will parade through the town showing off their growly engines and shiny wheels. The Jazz Art Dance Company is set to delight us with a spectacle of light, fantasy and dance involving some of the children of Prince Albert.

Our very own Brian Finch will most surely have something wonderful up his sleeve, and we will give a very warm welcome to Dave Ferguson as he mesmerises us with his harmonica and some Rockabilly Blues.
Kerkstraat sal weer eens vol stalletjies wees. Ons wil graag hê dat al die Prince Alberters hulle wonderlike kooktalent kom tentoonstel. So kom kry ‘n stalletjie en wys ons waartoe julle in staat is! Stalletjies is nog beskikbaar teen slegs R200.00 (sonder elektrisiteit) en R400.00 (met elektrisiteit) vir ons plaaslike inwoners. Hierdie dorp is propvol talent; kom wys ons wat julle kan doen!

There will also be the usual games and activities, arts and crafts, unusual shops and fabulous restaurants. Local storytellers will fascinate with tales of ghosts and tales of yesteryear and you can hear about the fascinating archaeology and botany of the region from our local experts.

There will be many more activities, some theatre, music and much that still needs to be confirmed. We will do our best to keep you updated as we go along. In the meantime, get those aprons on, start cooking, making, composing, writing or thinking. And most importantly, do not miss this opportunity to experience true Prince Albert magic.

Ons verwelkom ook enige idees oor hoe ons die fees nog beter kan maak. Kontak ons gerus by die Toerisme Kantoor.

A full programme of events will be available from mid-April.

More information about Prince Albert, the upcoming festival and accommodation is available from the Prince Albert Tourism Office. Tel 023-5411-366 and

P A Primêr se Atletiek Span Presteer in Oudtshoorn

- M Rockman -

Op Woensdag namiddag, 11 Februarie, het Prince Albert Primêr aan die Sone 1 Atletiekbyeenkoms te Oudtshoorn deelgeneem. Die ander skole wat deelgeneem het was was Dirk Boshoff, Haarlem, P J Badenhorst, Uniondale, Merweville, Hoërskool Zwartberg, St Konrad en De Rust.

Die kompetisie was van hoë gehalte en die atlete moes hul bes lewer om ‘n plek in die Oudtshoorn Skole span te kan haal. Die volgende leerders het uitgeblink en die Skole span wat in die Oudtshoorn-kampioenskappe Byeenkoms op 21 Februarie plaasgevind het deelgeneem:
C Loots (100m, ver- en hoogspring),
A Cupido (Verspring),
W Paulse (150m en hoogspring),
L Bostander (Verspring en 1200m),
I v d Ross (Massabal),
P Tala (Massabal),
B Magiel (100m, 200m, Ver- en hoogspring),
M Vries (100m, 200m en massabal),
K Koorts (Hoogspring),
J Minnies (Hoogspring),
J van Rooyen (Hoogspring),
C Pieterse (100m en 80m),
M Coetzee (60m en 80m),
A Claassen (80m en 100m),
K Deelman (Hoogspring),
B Wildskut (80m en hoogspring),
N Voetpad (60m en 80m),
T Koot (80m, 100m en hoogspring),
F Claassen (Hoogspring),
C Jansen (Hoogspring),
E v d Horst (Werpskyf),
C Jonkers (1200m),
B Jonas (1200m)
M Jaftha (80m).
C Paulse (80m, 150m, Ver- en hoogspring)

Wildekanisland maak hamburgers dat die opwekker so dreun

- Ellen Joubert -

Wildekanisland Kleuterskool se altyd gewilde Valentyns hamburger aand het weer eens gewys dat die vindingrykheid van ouers van klein kindertjies geen perke ken nie – selfs nie eens wanneer gekonfronteer met ware Vrydag die 13de moleste nie.

Die kiosk by Hoërkool Zwartberg was ‘n miernes van aktiwiteite om seker te maak dat die kleuterskool se lojale ondersteuners teen halfses die aand van Vrydag 13 Februarie hulle heerlike hamburgers, skyfies en koeldrank kon kom ontvang.

Kort voor die uur van rekenskap trek die hemelsluise oop en seën ons met ‘n heerlike, harde en baie welkome reënbui wat ook glad nie te haastig was om uit te reën nie. Die braaispan was heel tevrede om nat te reën en die een beskikbare sambreel oor die hamburger vleisies te hou, maar toe die krag uitskop, was dit potensieel die einde van die ‘chips’ in die ‘hamburger, chips en koeldrank’ trio.

Gelukkig kan dinge in ‘n klein dorp baie vinnig gebeur as dit moet en voor die olie nog kans gehad het om behoorlik koud te word staan ‘n reuse krag-opwekker agter die kiosk en brul en die produksielyn van ouers sit die heerlikste hamburger en chip boksies aanmekaar vir die geduldige tou wagtendes.

Dit was aanmoedigend om te sien dat die ondersteuners hulle ook nie deur reën en af krag laat demp het nie en vrolik genoeg gestem is deur die okkasie om nog die bekommerde Wildekanis-ouers gerus te stel.

Toe die reën ophou, het almal die lieflike middag geniet. Daar was selfs ‘n stoel of twee en ‘n bottel wyn te sien op die gras voor die pawiljoen.

Wildekanisland het nou die Valentyns hamburger aand vir die vierde agtereenvolgende jaar aangebied en dit is besig om ‘n lekker instelling te word. Dit is ‘n belangrike fondsinsameling vir die skool en die skool waardeer die dorp se ondersteuning.

Zwartberg se kleuresport skitter weer

- Anneke van Eck -

Dit was - soos altyd – weer ‘n titaniese stryd tussen Rooi en Goud!

Op 29 en 30 Januarie het Hoërskool Zwartberg hul jaarlikse kleuresport aangebied. Al die ywerige atlete het hul energie aangewend om aan die toeskouers ‘n kleurryke en aanskoulike twee dae van pragtige atletiek te bied.

Die atlete wie uitsonderlik presteer het, is met bekers beloon. Michy Mullins het die Junior Victrix Ludorum verwerf, Oscar Maeyer die Junior Victor Ludorum, Leoni Lodewyk die Senior Victrix Ludorum en Waldon Ewerts die Senior Victor Ludorum. Verder het Rochelle Adolf die beker ontvang vir die Junior Dogter met die beste enkel-prestasie (80 m wedloop) van die dag en Leoni Lodewyk die beker vir die Senior Dogter met die beste enkelprestasie van die dag (verspring). Oscar Maeyer ontvang die beker vir die Junior Seun met die beste enkelprestasie (spiesgooi) van die dag en Jervanne Makampies die beker vir die Senior Seun met die beste enkelprestasie van die dag (verspring).

Aan die einde van die dag het die Gouespan weggeloop met die beker en hulle het die Rooispan met net 680 punte teenoor 664 punte gewen. Voorwaar ‘n naelbyt-stryd!

Ons wil elke ouer en belangstellende hartlik bedank vir hul insette en hulp om van die twee dae so ‘n groot sukses te maak. Sterkte aan al ons atlete vir die res van die atletiek-seisoen!

To Hell and back … in a day

- Ellen Joubert -

Just before 06h00 on Saturday, 31 January, 93 mountain bike cyclists gathered on the athletics field of Hoërskool Zwartberg for a briefing on the dangers of two way cyclist traffic on the last section of the road to The Hell. They then set off, unperturbed by the very real prospects of falling rather than riding into The Hell, to ride the gruelling 120 km to Annatjie Joubert’s restaurant in Gamkaskloof and back in the same day.

Riders had an obligatory 30 minute stop once they reached the half way mark in The Hell. They were given a meal and had time to rest a little bit before tackling Eland’s road out of The Hell again. The cut off time for reaching the halfway mark was 10h30. After this time riders had to turn around wherever they were. Quite a few of the entrants did not make the halfway cut off – evidence of how tough this route is.

The first rider home just after 12h30 was 53 year old Lieb Loots. He was followed by Marcel Deacon. The third rider in was also the first woman – Ishen Stopforth. Ishen is not only one of the country’s top woman mountain bikers, but serious competition for the men as well. Ishen’s husband, Piet, came in fourth, with Danie Otto in hot pursuit down the last few meters in de Beer Street.

Prince Albert riders did the town proud. Hendry Olivier and Jan Nel had good finishing times, while Jan’s daughter, Carolie and Johan Rissik completed the 25km race held the same day.

The day was not as hot as expected at this time of year, but even at a temperature of 35ºC, riders made full use of the water points en route. Many of the cyclists who took part will participate in the ABSA Epic which starts on 22 March in Cape Town. “The To Hell and Back Mountain Bike Race – All the way in one day” was regarded by them as valuable training both in terms of heat and endurance for the Epic, which spans seven days.

Hoërskool Zwartberg made their facilities available to Ecobound, who organised the race and used the opportunity to fundraise with a pasta meal on the Friday evening before the race. They provided breakfast to the riders, ran a kiosk during the event and hosted an enjoyable celebratory meal, during which a slide show of photographs taken throughout the day amused everyone.

The riders enjoyed the race and many felt that it would become a fixed event on their race calendars. Many popular bike races have started small and grown exponentially in a matter of a few years. We hope to welcome twice as many riders back next year for this unique event.