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Cover welcome

Anna van der Westhuijzen, wife of Pieter, at the front door of their historic house on Rozenburg near Malmesbury, one of the oldest farms in the Swartland. The story of the farm is the story of generations of families overcoming hardship to hold on to their land – but often with a helping hand for others – page 36. Photo: Annalize Mouton

Number 31 : August 2008


From then to now

Annalize’s cover story on the farm Rozenburg again required a mind-boggling amount of research: the problem is, one cannot construct an entire story while there are links missing. Luckily the internet now offers access to a number of archival sources; in other cases she could call on willing supporters to consult original documents.

On the one hand it is simply a story of a farm; on the other it again provides some insight on how early society evolved at the Cape, and where our roots are. With people from various European countries and freed slaves from the other side of the world meeting on African soil, it is clear that the early seeds of the “European” part of our current Rainbow Nation were already sown at an early stage. The role played by an itinerant Jew of long ago is also touching.

It is stories such as these that make our history come alive, with real people facing the real challenges of their times.

I once defined the contents of Village Life as articles about “humankind in its historical and natural environment”. It may sound a bit lofty, but that is what it is, whether through serious research or a light-hearted photograph. Enjoy!



3: At the office

Letters and other important matters


4: Let the games begin!

In the spirit of the Olympic Games, we publish our first sports piece: on pétanque, the game played in every French village, and now also in SA. Read as PDF


6: The face of South Africa

A view from inside the seaside cave at Arniston/Waenhuiskrans, the village with two official names. Photograph by Liesel Kershoff. View PDF


8: Untangling giants

Dr Peter Best reports on what is being done to help whales caught in fishing and other gear


12: Tintypes – the poor man’s photographs

Pictures on metal plate were once common, writes Carol Hardijzer


16: Plumbago – the lazy gardener’s friend

Gardening for Wildlife, our regular feature by Charles & Julia Botha


22: The Diary of Iris Vaughan

A move-on from Adelaide to Fort Beaufort. The penultimate extract from this diary, started when Iris was 8 years old, which documents growing up in the Eastern Cape a century ago – often with (unintended) humour


28: Nieuwoudtville – bulb centre of the world

The Bokkeveld Plateau has more flowering species than Namaqualand, writes J L du Plessis, whose photographs give some idea of the dazzling displays of spring flowers


36: Rozenburg – an historic Swartland farm

Annalize Mouton traces the history of this early farm outside Malmesbury, one of the oldest farms in the Swartland


42: The last outpost… at the foot of the Sani Pass

Darryl Earl David visits the twin towns of Himeville and Underberg in southern KZN. After years of feuding, the two communities now live in peace


48: Nightjars call at dusk

Veteran photographer Nico Myburgh introduces another two bird species– not from books, but from personal observation over many hours. Read full text


52: Those sweet comforts

Puddings for special occasions from our Country Table


54 Camera work

A photograph should be made when it is taken, and after the introduction of 35 mm film (with the Leica in 1925) a black border around the print used to show that the image had not been cropped


56: Ear piece

Anna is caught in a hole. Our baby Great Dane has added 20 kg in two months, and can now hardly get her head through the cat flap in the door... View as PDF


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Whale being untangled from fishing gear, False Bay, South Africa. © Garth Stead

Volunteers risk their lives to help whales entangled in fishing and other gear. Photo: Garth Stead

Yellow butterfly on plumbago flower. © Steve Woodhall

Our indigenous Plumbago is a wonderful addition to any garden, attracting all kinds of of wildlife. Photo: Steve Woodhall

The old British officers' quarters and the Martello tower in Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape. Photo: Maré Mouton

The old officers' quarters and the Martello tower in Fort Beaufort, which Iris Vaughan described in her diary. Photo: Maré Mouton

A scene in the Nieuwoudtville Flower Reserve, South Africa. © J L du Plessis

A scene in the Nieuwoudtville Flower reserve. Photo: J L du Plessis

Murals in Rozenburg, an historic farm near Malmesbury, South Africa. Photo: Annalize Mouton

Some of the enigmatic murals in Rozenburg, an historic farm near Malmesbury. Photo: Annalize Mouton

Autumn colours on Kenmo Lake near Himeville in southern KwaZula-Natal. © Stephen Pryke

Autumn colours on Kenmo Lake near Himeville in southern KZN. Photo: Stephen Pryke

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