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Cover portrait

Elna Leonard (née Hoffman) is a descendant of the Hoffmans of Speelmansrivier near Caledon, where the siblings in the 1840s vowed not to marry and have children. An underground crypt was built for the family, but then some of the children chose to carry on with more normal lives – page 22. Photo: Annalize Mouton

Number 33 : December 2008


A new beginning

In the past weeks we have had to take a hard look at the future of Village Life. In the shadow of a doom-and-gloom economy and a load of debt, we seriously considered closing the magazine. This would have involved refunding subscriptions and paying off our printer over time.

However, when word started spreading that Village Life might be no more, we received tremendous moral support, sometimes from totally unexpected quarters. Individuals from all over the country were sad and shocked: “This should not happen! Village Life is the best magazine there is,” was a common response.

While evaluating our options, a former publisher of upmarket magazines in the United Kingdom became involved, and he said he was “dumbfounded” at the quality that we have maintained.

All that feedback gave us a new confidence in our product and its future and, with some help from outside experts, we believe Village Life will thrive. To further improve the quality of the magazine, it will from next year be published quarterly (subscribers will still receive the number of issues for which they have paid).

We look forward to telling many more good stories. May 2009 be a bright year!



2: At the office

Letters and other important matters


3: Portraits of three villages

Annalize Mouton’s project to document the people of Stanford, our home town, during its 150th anniversary year, has now attracted the attention of two villages in Europe where similar projects had been undertaken – each village had published a book with photographs of its people. An exhibition titled “Portraits of Three Villages” will open in Bellville on 28 January, with photographs from Fermignano in Italy (which was 2 200 years old in the year 2000), Stanford in South Africa (150 in 2007) and Lüchow in Germany (850 in 2008).

The exhibition came about through a rather extraordinary chain of events: Claas Spitz and Alexandra Sprockhoff from Lüchow were on holiday in South Africa and saw the Stanford book at Groenfontein guest house outside Calitzdorp in the Little Karoo. They promptly changed their itinerary and drove to Stanford, where they met Annalize on 25 October. Claas and Alexandra told the story of the Lüchow project, and how they in turn had been inspired by the book produced in Fermignano.

Annalize at that stage had already accepted an invitation from the Arts Association of Bellville to exhibit photographs in January, so she suggested that the three villages all show some of their photographs. Claas immediately telephoned Dirk Roggan in Germany, who had initiated the Lüchow project. He in turn phoned Gustavo DeLuca in Italy, the photographer of the Fermignano book, and everybody agreed to a combined exhibition. Dirk and Gustavo are also planning to attend the Bellville opening, where well-known cultural historian Dr Hans Fransen will be the guest speaker.

From Bellville, the exhibition will later in the year travel to Fermignano and then to Lüchow. Another exhibition of Annalize’s photos will open at the South African embassy in Amsterdam on 10 January.


4: The face of South Africa

The marching band leads the congregation to church at the Enon mission station in the Eastern Cape – by Ryno Ferreira. View PDF


6: All the time in the world

A shepherd’s son had a knack for fixing things, and more recently he teamed up with a young assistant with the same talents. They meticulously repair and adjust timepieces, but it all happens in Bredasdorp time. Story by Mignonne Farquharson


10: Communications with our distant cousins, chacma baboons

Bryan Davies and Kate Jagoe-Davies recount how their close relationship with a baboon troop in Pringle Bay developed


16: Schotia – ‘Weeping’ with nectar for all

In Gardening for Wildlife, Charles & Julia Botha introduce the Boer-bean


22: How the Hoffmans survived

Annalize Mouton traces the history of the Hoffman family, and how a pact amongst siblings almost meant the end of one branch of the family


28: From Bobsfontein to Ballyhoek

Prof Elwyn Jenkins looks at how author and poet Rudyard Kipling used South African place names in his writings


32: ’Maritzburg – a city, or a series of villages?

Stephen Pryke, who lives in Hilton, one of the ‘villages’ of Pietermaritzburg, ponders the history and character of the town


38: Frank Wightman’s Golden Harbour

He built a boat himself and sailed it across the Atlantic Ocean, but Frank Wightman only found peace at Kraal Bay on the Langebaan Lagoon


42: What raptor is that?

With holiday driving awaiting, veteran bird photographer Nico Myburgh identifies some of the birds of prey often seen perched near roads. Read article


46: Fruit cakes for Christmas

Mouth-watering recipes from our Country Table

Erratum: Third column, 13th line should read: "Mix 450 g butter [not sugar] well with 450 g castor sugar..."


48: End piece

Missy in a basket for Christmas. View as PDF

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Kate Jagoe-Davies (in wheelchair) with members of the Pringle Bay baboon troop, Western Cape

Kate Jagoe-Davies on the balcony with members of the Pringle Bay baboon troop

Bright red flowers of the Weeping Boer-bean (Schotia brachypetala). © Charles Botha

Besides their beauty, the flowers of the Weeping Boer-bean (Schotia brachypetala) are also a magnet for garden wildlife. Photo: Charles Botha

The homestead at Blaauwklippen, Stelenbosch, South Africa. © Annalize Mouton

The homestead at Blaauwklippen, once the property of the patriarch of the Hoffman family in South Africa. Photo: Annalize Mouton

Victorian double-storey building, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. © Steven Pryke

Several businesses in Pietermaritzburg are located in impressive Victorian or Edwardian buildings. Photo: Stephen Pryke

Kraal Bay on the Langebaan Lagoon, West Coast, South Africa. © Peet Steyn

Kraal Bay on the Langebaan Lagoon, where Frank Wightman dropped anchor for the last ime. Photo: Peet Steyn

Jackal Buzzard. © Nico Myburgh

A Jackal Buzzard, one of the raptors that may be seen on perches near country roads. Photo: Nico Myburgh

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