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The little flat-roofed houses that dot the Karoo landscape and once stood shoulder to shoulder in villages, have been defined as Karoostyle architecture. Helena Marincowitz of Prince Albert recently published a booklet on this style, her latest project in thirty years of research into the heritage of the area – page 38

Number 21 : December 2006


Garden of delight

Our approach to gardening has at times confounded our gardener, Piet Samson. He muttered in disbelief when Annalize stopped him while he was raking fallen poplar leaves together and told him to scatter them again. The other day there was more muttering and a giggle when he was given wild grass seed to sow. “People normally tell me to take these weeds out; here I have to plant them,” he commented.

The wild grasses are for the butterflies, as are many other flowers and shrubs in our garden. Trees (we have planted more than fifty) and shrubs have been selected for the birds, either because they bear berries or because they will offer good nesting sites when they have grown.

Most of what we’ve planted is indigenous, with the goal of creating a natural environment for insects, birds and other creatures. The results have been amazing. When author Jill Reid sent us an article on butterflies, we found that we had already photographed all the species she mentioned, right at home!

The garden is not the kind that will win a prize at the garden club, but it is alive and even Piet takes great pride when somebody tells him how beautiful it is.


New office

Village Life has grown, and so has the need for a full-time office. Ronél Vosloo has stepped into the breach and will now handle subscriptions, marketing and advertising sales from her office in Swellendam. She has known the magazine virtually from the start and is all set to help it grow even further. She will be glad to help you with any queries.



4. Wild horses in contrast

Prof F J van der Merwe looks at the feral horses in the Bot River Vlei and those in the Namib Desert, two totally different environments


8. Early churches at George

Two historic churches are hidden away in George and Pacaltsdorp


10. Orchids are blooming

Orchids aren't just for flower shows. Helene & Godfrey Coetzee marvel at the wealth of orchids on their farm


14. Hans Fransen, tireless historian

Meet the man behind the well-known books on the old buildings of the Cape. He admits to a "somewhat compulsive interest" in preserving our built heritage


17. Special book offer for our readers:

Order Hans Fransen’s new book at a fantastic launch price


18. Butterflies, messengers of the gods

Jill Reid, author of Butterflies in your garden, introduces a few favourites


20. Shipwrecks & fishermen at Paternoster

Peter Hollard traces the changes in this village on the West Coast


24. Limited edition: Village Life 2006

Readers have often asked for it, so this year’s issues have been bound in a book and is available in a limited, numbered edition


25. An oasis in the desert: Elim

We retrace Molly D’Arcy Thompson’s journey to this picturesque mission founded by the Moravian Church on the farm Vogelstruyskraal in 1842. The village still belongs to the Moravians and has a working water mill


32. Hermanus Steyn, the reluctant “president” of Swellendam

Annalize Mouton continues her history of Jan Harmensgat (now Jan Harmsgat) and the farms and families along the foot of the Langeberg between Swellendam and Ashton. It could be argued that Steyn wasn't the first President in South Africa after all


38. Karoostyle

Text and photographs by Maré Mouton

Helena Marincowitz, who has researched and documented the history of Prince Albert for thirty years, recently published a booklet that describes the building style peculiar to the Karoo


44. Crystals: order in the world

Crystals in their various forms have engendered love, and wars. Duncan Miller looks at the often hidden, often beautiful structures that define solids


48. A bird in a very tall tree

The story of how Nico Myburgh took the very first photographs of the Palmnut Vulture from a hide on top of a 25 metre pole. Read full text


52. Country Table

Meat has become expensive, but Annalize Mouton prepares a tasty recipe for a stuffed leg of lamb for the festivities


54. Fresh snack from the sea

Louie Lemmer continues her series on edible seaweeds: Ogo may be eaten fresh and is delicious when added to your salads


56. Table tales

Mr Red Bishop takes his kids out to their first lunch at the feeder. A revealing photograph by Annalize Mouton. View as PDF


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Wild horses in Namib Desert, southern Namibia. © August Sycholt

A moment of high tension in the Namib Desert, as the black stallion ferociously defends his harem against a marauding bachelor male. Photo: August Sycholt

The interior of Saints Peter and Paul in George, the oldest Roman Catholic church in South Africa

The interior of Saints Peter and Paul in George, the oldest Roman Catholic church in South Africa

The Table Mountain Beauty butterfly, drawn by Jill Reid

The Table Mountain Beauty, drawn by author and artist Jill Reid

Dr Hans Fransen, prominent South African cultural historian

Dr Hans Fransen has travelled thousands of kilometres to document the architectural heritage of what used to be the Cape Colony

Fishing boat at Paternoster, West Coast, South Africa

Paternoster, once a quiet fishing village, is now a popular holiday resort. Photo: Clive Basson

Row of historic thatched cottages, Elim Mission Village, South Africa. © Maré Mouton

The main street of Elim, one of the best- preserved historic house clusters in the country. Photo: Maré Mouton

Rhodochrosite crystals. © Maré Mouton

Rhodochrosite crystals in its typical dogtooth trigonal form. Photo: Maré Mouton

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