Village Life masthead
Magazine archive

Download full-size PDF of front page (254 Kb)

Cover musician

Oom Manie Groenewald (72), the frontman for the Baardskeerdersbos Orkes, always sang and played his guitar wherever he went in his life. Today he and the band are a lively link to the old songs and musical traditions of the past – page 4. Photo: Annalize Mouton

Number 37 : Summer 2009


What a year!

Yes, we have survived another year! In spite of difficult economic times, Village Life has actually expanded, with more outlets added nationally and with a steady growth in subscriber numbers.

Our Spring issue did exceptionally well, selling out within a week at many outlets. The visitors’ guide to the Cape Overberg and surrounds which was distributed with our last issue probably contributed to the sales: this guide has been extremely well received, with most people calling it “stunning”. The next issue is planned for June 2010, and indications are that it will be much bigger than the first one.

It’s been a tough year, with a fair amount of hard work and stress. During our upcoming break, Annalize is returning to her singing, with three concerts already scheduled for December, some with the Hawston Crooners. For better or for worse, I shall be thumping away in the background on my wooden drum.

We are grateful for the support we continue to receive, from readers, subscribers, printer, advertisers and especially our regular contributors. We trust that you all will be blessed with good health, and that the year ahead will be a good one!



2: At the office

Letters and other important matters


The owl on the balcony

Another of the characters featured in Village Life has made it into print! Just over a year ago, we published Tracy Eccles’s account of the Spotted Eagle Owl nesting in a pot plant on their balcony in Johannesburg. Tracy and her husband continued recording everything they saw – how the parents reared the chicks, the chicks growing up and learning to fly, etc. They kept a daily diary and took over 2 500 photographs.

Through much nagging from interested people, they finally agreed to write a book. The book is called Pot Plant Owl and was launched on 28 October 2009. It is in coffee-table format with over 100 photographs.

Pot Plant Owl has been endorsed by BirdLife South Africa and the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Proceeds of the sales of the book will go to these organisations, as well as FreeMe Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and EcoSolutions.

For photos, sample pages and sample text, readers may visit the website


4: They keep the old songs alive

The Baardskeerdersbos Orkes is one of the few traditional “Boere-orkeste” (country bands) in South Africa still proudly upholding the cultural musical heritage of the Overberg, in fact of all of South Africa. They have no formal training, but can play hours on end from memory, even songs that have never been written down. By Annalize Mouton


8: The face of South Africa

St Michael’s Church amongst the daisies – by Stephen Pryke. View as PDF


10: The astonishing diversity of Ericas

With over 800 species, Erica is the largest genus in the Cape Flora and comes in all shapes and sizes, writes Thys de Villiers


18: Stormsvlei – bypassed by the highway

After the new N2 highway bypassed it by a few hundred metres, the once-vibrant hamlet was eventually overtaken in size and importance by neighbouring Riviersonderend – by Annalize Mouton


24: The Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve

Stephen Pryke writes about his favourite place to get away from it all


30: Optical toys of yore

Amusement from before the days of cinema and TV. It started with the Magic Lantern and progressed to various devices which simulated movement in a scene – by Carol Hardijzer


34: Age-in-action

This group of pensioners in Mpumalanga refuses to sit still and do nothing – by Thandi Mkhatshwa


36: The golden age of the Drakenstein wagon industry

When demand for wagons and carriages reached its peak, Paarl and surrounds were home to the giants of the industry – by Maggie Follett


38: They were proudly South African

Local conditions required new types of wagons and carts, writes Maré Mouton. One of the innovations was that the local ox-wagons could be dismantled, the parts carried over an obstacle, and then reassembled to continue the journey


42: Chickens be warned!

Veteran birding photographer Nico Myburgh looks at the Black Sparrowhawk, which has a strong preference for chickens and pigeons. Read full article


46: A plum of a pudding

Annalize puts some tasty dishes for the festive season on our Country Table


48: Camera work

Textures and shapes interplay in this photograph of a weathered barn door at Calitzdorp – by Maré Mouton


49: Tail piece

Missy wants a treat for Christmas, or is she pondering the year ahead? View as PDF

Previous | Next issue


Erica shannonea, one of the most striking species in the genus. Photo: Annalize Mouton

The Stormsvlei Hotel, built in c.1920, was for many decades a popular stopover and watering hole

A zebra in the Umgeni Valley Nature reserve. Photo: Stephen Pryke

Members of the Bushbuckridge Pensioners Association doing some exercises. Photo: Thandi Mkhatshwa

The catalogue for the largest of the wagon manufacturers in Paarl. In 1906 the firm employed 200 people

The South African ox-wagon was commonly called a “kakebeenwa” (jaw-bone wagon) because of the upward-slanting shape of the side boards. Local wagons had more wheel spokes than their European counterparts, and the wheels were dish-shaped for extra strength

Baked plums from Annalize's Country Table. Photo: Maré Mouton

© Copyright 2003–2019 Village Life