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A face from Greyton’s past: Aunt Lena Fourie (82) was tiny when her twin and also her father died. After that her mother raised the children on her own. Aunt Lena has been living in the same house in Main Road for fifty years, now with a dog, and a cat who licks her tears from her face when she is sad. – page 38. Photo: Maré Mouton

Number 15 : December 2005


Time for a rest along the way

It is now precisely two years since we became responsible for Village Life and decided to take it beyond the boundaries of our own village. The business plan was simple: "To maintain the highest standards in content and production quality. Growth will be organic and incremental."

With this issue we have grown some more, with the addition of four pages. Our distribution covers the area from Velddrif/Laaiplek and Clanwilliam in the northwest, to beyond Plettenberg Bay in the southeast and Graaf-Reinet in the Karoo. The mailing list is well on its way to 500 subscribers.

We are sometimes surprised by how far Village Life is read. At Stormsvlei we ran into a television production team from Gauteng who were producing an insert as a result of one of our articles. The radio station RSG, also from up North, recently produced a programme on the Overberg after reading Village Life and asked our regular writers Nico Myburgh and Louie Lemmer for contributions.

So we have come some way in the two years. But now it is time for a rest before we tackle the next volume. May all our fellow-travellers have a peaceful holiday season and a healthy, prosperous 2006!



2. A weight over historic cave

Residents of De Kelders near Gansbaai are concerned about the planned erection of seventy-eight double-storey residential units on the old hotel site above the Drupkelder. The geological structure may not be strong enough to withstand the building activity, and it is feared that the whales may be chased away by the lights of such a large building


6. Langebaan Lagoon – wetland without water

Geelbek farm lies at the centre of the West Coast National Park


12. Agulhas Park taking shape

We unveil the plans for the park and the Agulhas Lighthouse Precinct (with two diagrams).


14. A special offer for our readers from Jonathan Ball Publishers:

Save on two great books on the old buildings of the Cape


15. The cultural heart of Montagu

The Montagu Museum celebrates its thirtieth anniversary


20. ‘South Africa is denied its rich cultural history’

Contemporary history textbooks start the recorded history of Southern Africa with the arrival of explorers and settlers from Europe in the seventeenth century, with a few notes on Portuguese explorers a century earlier; in the more remote areas prehistory lasted into the nineteenth century. Not so, says Cape Town historian Dr Cyril A Hromnik, whose vast body of research takes our history back more than 2000 years. Citing pervasive influence from India over the millennia, he also offers compelling explanations for many of the unanswered riddles in the region.

Text by Maré Mouton

Read article as PDF


24. Geophytes – buried treasures of the veld

The amazing riches of flowering bulbs on a single farm.

Text and photogrpahs by Helene and Godfrey Coetzee.


28. Horses and hounds at Zoetendals Vallei

By Annalize Mouton

Michiel van Breda introduced Merino sheep farming at Zoetendals Vallei near Agulhas and thereby saved the economy of the Cape Colony. His son, Michiel Jacob, continued with innovative farming practices and became the foremost breeder of stud horses. He also introduced the use of hounds to control jackal, and helped fulfil his father’s dream of a lighthouse at Cape Agulhas. This is the third part of the family history, largely based on unpublished information from family diaries.


34. The brave little Batis

Nico Myburgh relates birding stories from his personal experience.

Read full text


38. A visit to Greyton

Thirty years ago, author and artist Molly D’Arcy Thompson set off from her home in Newlands in her Austin Minor 1000, with her Irish spaniel Liffey, and drove to the Forgotten Corners of the Cape. We follow in her footsteps to the village of Greyton in the Overberg, today a popular getaway for city people and home to dozens of artists. On some days the village is a hive of activity, with throngs drawn by the many restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries and festivals. On other days the cottages and people of the village withdraw quietly amongst the roses and lush greenery, in the shade of magnificent old trees.


42. The gentle brilliance of T O Honiball

The iconic cartoonist is best loved for his animal characters


46. A festive chicken for Christmas

Chicken with litchies, a delicious dish for the traditional family meal


48. The beauty of a pond

The Village Gardener looks at the creatures and plants around a pond


50. Healthy food from the kelp forest

Louie Lemmer continues her series on edible seaweeds


52. End peace

A blind girl touches hearts with a song. View as PDF


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Gabled, thatched homestead at Geelbek, Langebaan, West Coast National Park

The historic homestead at Geelbek on the Langebaan Lagune is utilized as a restaurant and functions venue

Pieces from the dinner service used by Paul Kruger and Genl Piet Joubert in 1880, on view in Montagu Museum

A (doughnut-shaped) !kwe stone used by the Quena (Hottentots) for religious purposes

The !kwe stones found in Southern Africa are related to Indian religious practices, says researcher Dr Cyril Hromnik

Purple disa, near Stanford, Western Cape. © Geoffrey Coetzee

The rare purple disa is one of dozens of flowering bulbs growing on one farm. Photo: Godfrey Coetzee

The second Michiel van Breda to farm at Zoetendals Vallei, near Agulhas

The second Michiel van Breda to farm at Zoetendals Vallei. The family diaries tell the story of the times

Cartoon by T O Honiball (baboon dressed in tails playing a piano

T O Honiball had great influence as a political cartoonist, but he is best remembered for his animal characters

Chicken and litchi dish by Annalize Mouton

From the Country Table: Annalize dishes up a festive chicken with litchies. Fit for a king, or for the family Christmas dinner

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