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Cover portrait

Bettie van Eeden, born in 1892, was the granddaughter of the first van Eeden to own Nooitgedacht (originally Jan Harmens Schat, now Jan Harmsgat) at the foot of the Langeberg. Over generations the farm was subdivided, with Jan Harmsgat and Mardouw today being the best known. We conclude our history of the farms and families of these early outposts – page 42

Number 22 : February 2007


Into the interior

With this issue of Village Life we crossed two sizeable rivers, the Orange and the Vaal (maybe even the Rubicon, but that we shall know only later):

Along the old wagon route to the north, we crossed the Gariep or Orange River with an article on Philippolis, the oldest town in the Free State. This is our first article on a village outside the Western or Eastern Cape Provinces, although other articles had taken us further afield to the north of KwaZulu-Natal and to Namibia.

We have many subscribers in the northern provinces who receive their copies of the magazine by post, but this issue is the first to be distributed “on the ground” north of the Vaal. We welcome our new readers, and trust you will stay with us for many issues to come. From the April/May issue, Village Life should make its appearance in selected booksellers all over the country. Look out for it, or use our subscription offer – you also stand a chance to win a weekend for two at a luxury game reserve.

There are still many places to visit and stories to tell – we have hardly scratched the surface – and in future they will come from all over our fascinating country.



4. Letters

We finally get around to printing some of the letters from readers: read full text


4. Win a stay at Aquila Safari

Subscribe and stand a chance to win a weekend for two at this luxurious private game reserve


5. Bulbs, glorious bulbs!

The farm Fairfield is a treasure-house of floral diversity, reports Caitlin von Witt


8. SA’s ‘Mr Coke’ still smiles at 100

When South Africa’s “Mr Coca-Cola”, Louis Lange of Worcester, was ninety-five years old, his bank manager offered him a five-year life assurance policy, and he bought it!

Article by Annalize Mouton

Note: Mr Lange passed away in April 2007


12. Another day in paradise: McGregor

We retrace Molly D’Arcy Thompson’s journey of thirty years ago to this well-preserved village near Robertson in the Breede River Valley


18. Wiliam Roe, photographer

Pioneering records of Graaff-Reinet and the diamond fields from the nineteenth century, when negatives were still made on glass plates


22. A stranger in the nest

Rare pictures by Annalize Mouton of a Diderick (formerly Diederik) Cuckoo hatched by Cape Sparrows


24. 72 Roeland Street: Home of our history

Behind the scenes at “The Archives” in Cape Town, where the earliest records from our Colonial past are preserved and made available to researchers


28. Coastal dunes under threat

A portfolio of photographs and personal insights by Mark Wilkes


32. A great little town: Philippolis

Text by Darryl Earl David

Literary tourism saved this village which once lay on the south-north wagon route, but was bypassed by the modern N1 highway


36. Committed to paint

Talented Sandy Esau of Darling has continued to paint, against all odds


38. Nieuweveld farms that tell a story

Dr Judy Maguire visits early settler farms in the Karoo


42. Hospitality and a division at Jan Harmsgat

We conclude our history of the farms at the foot of the Langeberg


48. The only one of its kind

Veteran birder Nico Myburgh shares his experiences of the Secretary Bird. Read full text


52. The spices add the zest

Recipes from our Country Table


54. Another meal from the sea

Number 14 in Louie Lemmer’s popular series on edible seaweeds


* Long-time contributor to Village Life Louie, an artist who lived in Onrus near Hermanus, passed away on 2 February after a long battle with cancer. She completed the manuscript for a book on edible seaweeds that she hoped would find a publisher


56. Tails away!

Black dog Dhubha takes a dive on a hot summer's day. View as PDF


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Moreae melanops, Fairfield near Napier, South Africa

Moreae melanops, one of the rare plants found on the farm Fairfield near Napier. Photo by Caitlin von Witt

Mr Louis Lange, "Mr Coke" of South Africa

Louis Lange, now a 100 years old, never fought with his wife or anybody else, preferring a smile and a quick joke

Cottages, McGregor, Breede River Valley.

A well-preserved row of old houses in McGregor. Photo: Annalize Mouton

Baby Diderick Cuckoo. © Annalize Mouton

A baby Diderick Cuckoo, photographed by Annalize Mouton

Coastal dunes, Betty's Bay, Western Cape. © Mark Wilkes

Mark Wilkes captures the beauty of coastal dunes at Betty's Bay

House in Philippolis, Free State. © Darryl David

Philippolis, the oldest town in the Free State, has reinvented itself. Photo: Darryl David

Threshing floor at Driefontein, Central Karoo. © Judy Maguire

A threshing floor at Driefontein, a Karoo farm with a long history. Photo: Judy Maguire

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