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The only B&B in Vanwyksdorp is in a building that has served as a school and also briefly as a restaurant; now most of it is the private home of Cassie and Sanet Labuschagne, with a mural left over in the lounge from the restaurant days. After supper the younger daughter, Lané, fell asleep on the couch while watching television – page 6. Photo: Maré Mouton

Number 16 : February 2006


Village office

We are being carried on a wave of new subscribers, many of them folks who saw the magazine for the first time while on holiday. We have appointed a Subscriber Services Manager (see alongside), and an experienced Advertising & Promotions Manager will join us in April.

But that doesn’t mean you will see the name Village Life in neon lights on a building. We have a point to make: one doesn’t need to live in a city to count; one can also run an efficient business from a village. Modern technology allows one to avoid the road traffic, but only as long as the technology works – we’ve just had to install a petrol-driven generator to see us through the frequent power failures. And our apologies to subscribers for the late delivery of Village Life No 15 – Capemail was overloaded and kept our consignment for two weeks before sending it out.

A dispersed office is of course not new. Outsourcing jobs from America to India, for instance, is commonplace. Locally we had a pioneer twenty years ago when a certain Mr McGregor established himself as an acknowledged expert on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange while living in... McGregor. We have a similar vision, of producing quality from a village garden.



Elsa Gebhard has been appointed as our Subscriber Services Manager. All enquiries regarding subscriptions and back copies must in future please be directed to her and not to the editorial numbers. She may be contacted at ….



3. Rare flowers discovered in Ratelrivier wetlands

Members of CREW rate the farm as a prime botanical conservation site


6. Vanwyksdorp – A forgotten corner of the Cape

We follow Molly D’Arcy Thompson along a gravel road


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

Buy a travel guide at a reduced price and get a free touring atlas


12. A village vigneron

Herman Perold grows his vines just off the main street in Prince Albert


14. A journey through the Colony 200 years ago

Augusta de Mist's diary from the Batavian period, shortly before the Battle of Blaauwberg, records impressions of the people and customs at the time.


18. The simple charm of Jacobsbaai

A village on the West Coast retains an historical style


20. Graaff-Reinet preserves its heritage

The museums of this "museum town" have items from prehistoric fossils to more recent rifles and dolls


26. Forgotten temples in the Karoo

Stone structures dot the veld in many locations throughout southern Africa. These were not given much thought in modern times, with landowners and archaeologists alike variously assuming that the structures were built as livestock enclosures, houses, game traps or even fortifications in the Boer War. Dr Cyril A Hromník, a Slovak historian from Cape Town, refers to ancient manuscripts as proof that the older stone walls and circles were in fact temples built by the Quena (Otentottu or Hottentots) as part of their Indian cosmological religion. Text & photographs by Maré Mouton. Read full article as PDF.


32. The sweet smell of lavender

This "new-age" crop does extremely well in the Little Karoo


34. Zoetendals Vallei secured for the future

It befell a woman farmer to turn the enterprise around – the final instalment in Annalize Mouton's history of this historic farm near Cape Agulhas.


40. A gem amongst rocks

Nico Myburgh was the first to describe the nest of the Sclater’s Lark, a bird that will breed only in the most barren of environments, come rain or not. Read full text


42. Man and bees have a long history

Dr Geoff Tribe writes about the relationship between humans and bees over the centuries, up to present-day bee-keeping in South Africa


46. New life from charred earth

Nature is reborn after the devastating fire in the Overberg. Photographs by Maarten Groos


48. Lamb dressed as venison

Annalize Mouton prepares "game" out of hunting season


50. A nice "hedgehog" from the sea

The seventh in Louie Lemmer's series on edible seaweeds


52. End piece

Outa Lappies Schoeman is famous for recycling everything and creating art out of discarded tins, bits of glass and fabric. View as PDF

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Donkey cart, Vanwyksdorp, Little Karoo

The busiest vehicle seen in Vanwyksdorp, scurrying back and forth on the dirt roads amongst houses, orchards and vineyards

Herman Perold in his vineyard, Prince Albert

Herman Perold in his vineyard in Prince Albert

Reinet House, Graaff-Reinet. © Maré Mouton

Reinet House, the centre-piece of the Graaff-Reinet museum complex

Indo-Quena stone temple, Farberskraal, Karoo. © Maré Mouton

More than just a pile of stones: This Indo-Quena Temple of the Fire Quarter aligns exactly with the rise of the sun on the Summer Solstice (viewed between the monoliths) and on the Winter Solstice (the line indicated by the monoliths)

Muriel van Breda

Muriel van Breda, who took things in hand to save the family farm for future generations

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