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Lochart Ainslie, pictured here in the traditional tartan of the Royal Stewart clan to which the Ainslie family belongs, at the entrance to the Old Mill clubhouse in Bedford. This village in the Eastern Cape is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a garden festival and more – page 8. Photo: Stephan Coetzer

Number 26 : October 2007



This issue of Village Life is full of birthday celebrations. The villages of Bedford in the Eastern Cape and Stanford in the southwestern Overberg both celebrate 150 years, and in Limpopo Province the old gold-mining settlement of Haenertsburg turned 120 this year.

It is also our publication’s fourth anniversary this month, although the current magazine bears little resemblance to the village newspaper of eight pages A3 that appeared in October 2003. As our distribution and coverage spread across the country, we met some amazing people in the most out-of-the-way places, from artists and architects to archaeologists, dancers and opera singers to film makers, farmers and flower sellers. Along with the “ordinary” locals who had never left their roots, these people all shared a conviction that life in a village is often more meaningful and rewarding than in a city.

The focus of this magazine will always be to bring our readers closer to nature, to other “ordinary” people and to our history. For this we are fortunate in having excellent contributors on a wide range of subjects. Rest assured: there are many, many more stories left to tell, photographs to share and people to meet!



2: At the office

Letters from readers and other important matters


4: Lost Erica rediscovered

The amazing story of how Erica recurvata, a plant that had not been seen for 200 years, was recently found again by botanist Ross Turner


6: The face of South Africa

Picture gallery: Family members gather in a modest home for a wake for their matriarch – one of the photos from Portrait of a Village by Annalize Mouton. View as PDF


8: Bedford 150

Text by Anita Coetzer. Photos by Stephan Coetzer.

This village in the Eastern Cape was founded 150 years ago by Thomas Pringle and his Scottish Settlers


12: Gardening for wildlife

Our series by well-known authors Charles and Julia Botha features Halleria lucida (the Tree Fuchsia)


18: Haenertsburg – village with a heart of gold

By Lindsey Sanderson

This Limpopo village started as a gold-mining camp 120 years ago


24: The Diary of Iris Vaughan

The second excerpt from this delightful diary takes us to Maraisburg (now Hofmeyr) in the Eastern Cape


31: Stanford 150: A village is born

Annalize Mouton concludes her history of the founding of the village on the Kleine River by Philippus de Bruyn after Sir Robert Stanford had lost all his properties.


38: Bontebok National Park

Dr J L du Plessis shares some of his many stunning images of this reserve near Swellendam, where South Adrica's rarest antelope is protected


44: The ebb and flow of the Sakrivier

The story of a river that disappears into the Karoo sand, giving life and causing destruction, by Steve Moseley


48: The Tulbagh Drostdy

Dr George Hofmeyr traces the history of this unusual Cape Dutch building


52: Volcanoes on our doorstep

South Africa has many remnants of volcanoes, and more may still erupt – by Dr Duncan Miller


58: The Call of Africa

Nico Myburgh shares his first-hand stories about the African Fish-eagle. Read full text


60: Pasta with sauce, the Italian way

We cook, eat and share some more recipes from our Country Table


64: Tail piece

A tired meerkat takes a nap – by Brent Naudé-Moseley. View as PDF


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Halleria lucida. © Charles Botha

The flowers and fruit of Halleria lucida attract a wide variety of birds, moths and other insects, and it is a lovely tree or shrub to have in a garden. Photo: Charles Botha

Zebras with Zeederburg coach

Zebras were used on the Zeederburg coaches on the run between Pietersburg and Leydsdorp via Haenertsburg

Post office, Hofmeyr (formerly Maraisburg), Eastern Cape. © Maré Mouton

The post office in Hofmeyr (formerly Maraisburg). Iris vaughan did not like the school in this town. Photo: Maré Mouton

Painting (1911) by Thomas Stockoe of the mill at Stanford, South Africa

The mill on the Kleine Riviers Valley farm built by Robert Stanford, as painted in 1911 by Thomas Stockoe

Bontebok suckling, Bontebok National Park, Swellendam. © J L du Plessis

A Bontebok suckling her young in the Bontebok National Park near Swellendam. Photo: Dr J L du Plessis

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