Number 34 : Autumn 2009
From all over
When I was little, before even starting school, my father was the fireman on the steam train that ran from Franschhoek to Paarl six days per week (and twice per day during the fruit harvest). In the afternoon the little locomotive had to be turned around on a turntable, so that it again faced towards Paarl in the morning. My elder brother and I would often wait for the puffing engine to arrive and “help” my father and the driver to push the turntable.
From Franschhoek we moved to Worcester, where father became a shedman, looking after the steam locomotives that served the line to Riversdale. Our house was near the main railway line, and I grew up with the sound of trains clattering by, day and night.
Being a “railways child”, I have been saddened in recent years to see rails lying rusted wherever we drove in the country. Luckily there are enthusiasts who want to preserve something of our steam rail heritage, and in this issue we publish our first piece on the topic.
Other articles come from all over the country, from Acornhoek in Mpumalanga, to the Drakensberg and Great Brak River on the Garden Route. Enjoy!
2: At the office
Letters and other important matters
4: Saving our soles
Thandi Mkhatshwa, graduate of a local journalism training programme, tells the story of the village cobbler of Acornhoek in Mapumalanga
6: The face of South Africa
Despite official neglect of the country’s historic steam trains, enthusiasts are working to keep this legacy alive. Photograph by Aidan McCarthy of a narow-gauge class NGG16 steam locomotive at Sandstone Estate in the Eastern Free State. View PDF
8: Tolkien’s early years in Bloemfontein
The famous author was born in the Free State, and his early years may have influenced works such as The Hobbit, writes Prof Elwyn Jenkins
12: Cotyledon – much prettier than pigs’ ears
In Gardening for Wildlife, Charles & Julia Botha introduce our best known succulent
18: The last of the ‘Children of the Mist’
The last Bushman of the Drakensberg who took part in a cattle raid is now gone, writes Stephen Pryke. Fortunately he could still represent his people in 2005 at the official ending of the 150-year-old 'war' started by the British
24: The story of Groot Vaders Bosch and the Moodies
What was first a source of scarce wood between Swellendam and Heidelberg at the foot of the Langeberg, later became the spiritual home of the Moodies of Melsetter, writes Annalize Mouton
30: Great Brak River 150
This village on the Garden Route, halfway between Mossel Bay and George, owes its growth to the arrival of the industrious Charles Searle in 1859
32: Jagersfontein: once a sparkling jewel
This town in the southern Free State is the oldest diamond mining town in the world, and the hole the diamond miners dug here is deeper and bigger than the one at Kimberley, writes Julienne du Toit. Photographs by Chris Marais
38: Creatures inside the hive
For honeybees life isn't simply a matter of buzzing around flowers and then going back to the hive to make honey – they have to put up with a number of predators and other invaders, writes Dr Geoff Tribe
44: They walk on water
Well, not quite, but from a distance this is the impression one would get of the Lillytrotter, or African Jacana. This bird has some strange habits, as witnessed by Nico Myburgh. Read full article
46: The delights of custard
Recipes from our Country Table. Annalize tries to find out how it happened that the "Jewish tart" (Jodetert) became a South African stalwart, while it is not made by Jews anymore
48: Tail piece
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