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Cover tracks

The first European travellers who crossed the Hottentots Holland Mountains followed the track used by game and the local Hottentots – the name, Gantouw, means Elands’ Pass. Until Sir Lowry’s Pass was built, thousands of wagons used this track, scoring the rocks with their brake shoes. Recently members of the Bridle Path Association rode along the old Cape wagon route again – page 6. Photo: Annalize Mouton

Number 30 : June 2008


Spread the word

Village Life was not started as a commercial venture; it was simply a village child that grew into bigger shoes. From the start, we wrote about the things that interested us: nature, history, people. The positive feedback from readers indicated that there are many others who care about more than TV-star gossip.

Until the previous issue, the magazine was distributed nationally, albeit to a relatively small number of outlets. Rising distribution costs and a glut of magazines on retail shelves have forced us to review this position, and we decided to focus on subscribers to keep the magazine alive. From this issue the magazine will only be available by subscription and at selected retail outlets in some Western Cape rural towns and villages. We are relying on our readers to spread the word amongst friends: to subscribe and to give subscriptions as gifts (many readers already do).

Hennie Aucamp wrote in a letter some time ago: “Each issue of Village Life is a hymn and a feel-good poem.” We appreciate the compliment, and believe this song should continue to be heard.



2: At the office

Letters and other important matters, including the names of the three subscribers who won books in our lucky draw


4: The face of South Africa

Historic Boplaas in the Koue Bokkeveld, best known as the birthplace of author Boerneef, has been in the van der Merwe family for nine generations – by Maré Mouton. View PDF


6: On the old Cape wagon route

Members of the Bridle Path Association follow in the tracks of early travellers, riding on horseback from Stellenbosch, over the Gantouw and Houw Hoek, to Swellendam


12: All work together at Mapusha Weavers

A women’s cooperative in Limpopo Province produces rugs and other items that is sold as far as America. Text by Linky Matsie, photographs by Briget Ganske


16: Trumpets full of nectar

Charles & Julia Botha introduce the Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis) to your garden


22: The Diary of Iris Vaughan

School in Adelaide, and a visit to Grahamstown


28: Granite: Signature rock of the Cape

Dr Duncan Miller highlights the history of some ancient rocks along the Cape coastal areas. Charles Darwin visited Cape Town in 1836 to view a particular granite formation at Sea Point (not 1856, as stated in the article)


34: SA gets its first book town

Dr Darryl Earl David became fascinated with the book town concept, which originated in Wales and have spread all over the world, and chose Richmond in the Karoo


38: Elandsvlei, oasis in the Ceres Karoo

Researcher Annemarie van Zyl traces the history of this farm that functioned almost as a village, and of the Hough family, who lived there for seven generations


44: How they went farming

Prof Elwyn Jenkins recalls some of the books written about the travails of early farmers in South Africa


48: Seen from a hide

Veteran birding photographer Nico Myburgh recounts what he saw happening around his hide one day in arid Bushmanland. Read full text


52: From polenta to pap

Our Country Table: The ancient Italian staple is actually what we know as maize-meal porridge


54: Camera work

A portrait by Annalize Mouton that would do any Old Dutch Master proud – but done with a digital camera


56: Parting shot

On 17 May, an old muzzle-loading cannon was again fired at Hessequaskloof between Stormsvlei and Swellendam, a reenactment of the call-up system used by the Dutch colonial authorities 200 years ago. View as PDF

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A wall-hanging produced by the women of Mapusha Weavers, Acornhoek, Limpopo Province. © Briget Ganske

A wall-hanging produced by the women of Mapusha Weavers at Acornhoek in Limpopo Province. Photo: Briget Ganske

Southern Double-collared Sunbird on Tecoma capensis. © Annalize Mouton

Sunbirds are amongst the many creatures attracted by Tecoma capensis. Photo: Annalize Mouton

Adelaide Museum, Eastern Cape. © Annalize Mouton

The Adelaide Museum, formerly the DR minister's residence where Iris visited. Photo: Annalize Mouton

Granite hille, western South Africa. © Duncan Miller

Various types of granite occur near the south-western Cape coast, as far north as the Richtersveld. Photo: Duncan Miller

Gabled house, Richmond, Karoo. © Darryl David

Richmond in the Karoo was designated South Africa's first book town. Photo: Darryl David

Historic building at Elandsvlei, between Ceres and Calvinia, Karoo. © André Pretorius

One of the old gabled houses at Elandsvlei now serves as the school building. Photo: André Pretorius (courtesy Cobus Hough)

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