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The first known photograph of an owner of the farm Baviaansfontein near Gansbaai: Wessel Johannes Groenewald III and his wife Catharina (“Kitty”, née Swart) on their wedding day in 1869. The farm was never suitable for serious farming, but various parts of it today form an extended conserva-tion area – page 28

Number 32 : October 2008


Fifth anniversary

Yes, it is a full five years since the first issue of Village Life appeared, as an A3-sized newspaper for the village of Stanford. From there it grew to cover the Overberg, was changed to magazine format, and went over the mountains to eventually spread its coverage to all of South Africa. We now estimate our total readership at more than 50 000.

Publishing a magazine while one is not part of a larger media group is by no means easy; for two people to do it from a small country village may seem silly. However, Annalize and I have stubbornly refused to compromise on the quality of the contents or the production, and this has won the magazine some enviable compliments. Many of our readers say Village Life is the best magazine in the country (thank you!), and we last week received the same comment from someone in the media industry who sees every title published: “Village Life beats them all.”

We thank everyone who has contributed thus far. Especially heartening is our ever-growing list of subscribers, which can be seen as a vote of confidence in the magazine and its future. So, here is to the next five years: there are still many stories to be told, and many pictures to share!



2: At the office

Letters and other important matters


4: The face of South Africa

Spring snow covers Impendle at the foot of Giant’s Castle in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands – by Stephen Pryke. View PDF


6: Porcupine picnics!

Adin Greaves decided to feed his nocturnal visitors, rather than try to keep them out of his garden


10: Wellington’s piano factory: where the music stopped

Dietmann’s was once one of the largest manufacturers of pianos in the world, writes Maggie Follett


16: Tinderwood, the cat’s whiskers for luring wildlife

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


22: The Diary of Iris Vaughan

The Vaughan family moves from Fort Beaufort back to Adelaide, and Iris finds that she no longer has time to write... the conclusion to her diary


28: Baviaansfontein: Where nature prevailed

Annalize Mouton traces the chequered history of one of the oldest farms in the Strandveld, initially granted to Hendrik Cloete of Constantia fame. Amongst later owners were the Groenewalds, who owned it for 37 years, and world-famous author Stuart Cloete


36: A D Bensusan, pioneer of SA photo history

Carol Hardijzer writes about the man and the museum in Johannesburg that bears his name


40: Meerhoff’s Kasteel – en route to the fabled Monomotapa

Geoff Tribe delves into the history of this hillock in Namaqualand, and the legend of a golden city in Africa


46: Heidelberg – where time moved slowly

Jane Mulder visits this town on the old Cape wagon route between Swellendam and Mossel Bay, where many old buildings have been preserved


48: Benign hunters of the dry land

Veteran bird photographer Nico Myburgh introduces the Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk, and tells the story of how this raptor one day tricked some Spike-heeled Lark chicks to leave their hiding place. Read full text


54: Pancakes for all tastes

Recipes from our Country Table


56: Eye piece

A story from Johannesburg of a potted city owl. View as PDF


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Porcupines eating a pumpkin, Swellendam, South Africa. © Adin Greaves

A family of porcupines enjoying a nocturnal snack on the lawn. Photo: Adin Greaves

The Dietmann piano factory in Wellington exported pianos all over the world. Photo courtesy of Wellington Museum

A male Mocker Swallowtail (Papilio dardanus) on Clerodendrum glabrum flowers. © Steve Woodhall

A male Mocker Swallowtail (Papilio dardanus) on Clerodendrum glabrum flowers. These flowers are among the most potent magnets for butterflies. Photo: Steve Woodhall

A part of the old military hospital in Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape. © Maré Mouton

The part of the old military hospital in Fort Beaufort which served as the Vaughan residency. Photo: Maré Mouton

The hill known as Meerhoff's Kasteel near Nuwerus, Namaqualand. © Geoff Tribe

Meerhoff's Kasteel near Nuwerus, a stopover for early travellers to the Copper Mountains. Photo: Geoff Tribe

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