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This portrait of winemaker Pieter Joubert by Montagu artist Peter Moór stands on an easel in the town’s Museum. Moór came to Montagu, so the story goes, after Joubert told him that Montagu had the nicest wine and girls. We followed in the footsteps of Molly D’Arcy Thompson and visited this town of muscadel, fruit, artists, hot springs and well-preserved old buildings – page 22

Number 20 : October 2006


it's three candles

This issue marks the third anniversary of Village Life. What was supposed to be a little village newspaper, is now set to become a national magazine: with this issue our distribution is being expanded beyond the Western Cape Province to include the Eastern Cape, and thereafter gradually to the rest of the country. (If your local retailer does not stock Village Life, ask the manager about it – this may help convince the buyers at head office that they should put the magazine on their list!)

What has been most gratifying, is the number of people who have subscribed – by the end of the year we shall have well over a thousand subscribers. Something which we believe is unusual in publishing, is that many new readers also buy all the back issues. People phone and write from all over the country and chat away like old friends, wishing us good luck and good fortune for the future.

There are clearly many people who like the type of articles that we publish, and appreciate that we do not mix advertising into our stories. Rest assured – we have no fear that we shall run out of stories to tell or pictures to share, even now that our village has grown somewhat bigger!



2. The sweet smell of oil

A community project on the farm Groothoek near Pacaltsdorp in the southern Cape exports pelargonium oil for the perfume industry


6. The first spring after fire

Maarten Groos photographed some of the exquisite fynbos flowers that appeared in all their colour after the devastating fire in the Overberg early in 2006


8. Dassen Island: From VOC pantry to nature reserve

Peter Hollard traces the history of this barren island off the West Coast


12. A village school celebrates 170 years

What was started as The School of Industry in the then tiny hamlet of Wynberg near Cape Town, now has a new life as the Centre for Conservation Education.

Text by Sigi Howes


17. Special book offer for our readers:

Order Hans Fransen’s new book, Old Towns and Villages of the Cape, at a fantastic launch price.


18. The stone houses of the Karoo

Article by Steve Moseley and Brent Naudé-Moseley

When the first itinerant farmers reached the Central Karoo c1800, there was no wood to build houses with and they had to make do with only stone. Steve Moseley looks at the corbelled houses built by some of the early settlers


22. Montagu beyond the Cogmans Kloof

We follow in the footsteps of Molly D'Arcy Thompson and revisit the village of muscadel, hot springs, artists and well-preserved old houses


28. Wagon wheels, schools and art at Great Brak River

Text by Johan Murray

Artist Spies Venter has turned an early school and boat-building shed into an art centre


32. Ivory and early farms along the Langeberg

Annalize Mouton traces the history of the first farms and families between Swellendam and Ashton, and finds that many had earlier roots in Stellenbosch. Hunting the plentiful elephants for ivory was a profitable undertaking for some of the early farmers, notably the Bothas of Jan Harmensgat (now known as Jan Harmsgat)


38. Don’t kill that snake!

Snakes all have a part to play in Nature and will always prefer to escape rather than attack a person. Chris Barnes shares his knowledge of these mostly harmless reptiles


42. A Hoopoe in your garden

Stories and great pictures from the long and varied experiences of nature expert Nico Myburgh. Read full article


44. Country Table

Potatoes and local fowl fit for a king


46. Versatile ‘ragged leaves’

Louie Lemmer continues her series on edible seaweeds


48. Travel tales

This little rooster from Carnarvon just loves a long ride. He has been to Cape Town and was recently seen in Stanford on his way to Uilenkraalsmond. View as PDF

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Orange-coloured Moraea lurida flower. © Maarten Groos, Farm 215

An orange variant of Moraea lurida, one of half a dozen colours photographed by Maarten Groos on Farm 215 near Gansbaai

White pelicans, Dassen Island, South Africa

Dassen Island is one of only two locations in South Africa where White Pelicans breed. Photo: Clive Basson

Glebe Cottage, Wynberg, Cape Town

Glebe Cottage, where the School of Industry was opened by Lady D'Urban in 1836. It is the oldest surviving building in Wynberg

Corbelled houses at Stuurmansfontein in the Karoo. © Brent Naudé-Moseley

Corbelled houses at Stuurmansfontein in the Karoo. Photo: Brent Naudé-Moseley

Vineyard and historic thatched house against mountain backdrop, Montagu, Western Cape. © Maré Mouton

A typical scene in the village of Montagu: A vineyard and historic thatched house on Long Street against the ever-present mountain backdrop. Photo: Maré Mouton

Chris Barnes holding a "boomslang" (tree snake)

Chris Barnes of Baardskeerdersbos with a boomslang that lives on his porch

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