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The farm Meerlust on the banks of the Eerste River near present-day Faure was first granted in 1693. Some of its owners counted amongst the most prominent and wealthiest people at the Cape, and the well-preserved buildings reflect this. This ornately decorated staircase photographed by Annalize Mouton is part of the wine cellar complex – page 24

Number 38 : Autumn 2010


Reading options

A worldwide debate is going on about the future of reading: will printed books, magazines and newspapers disappear, to be replaced by reading only on a computer or a hand-held electronic device? Nobody can be sure, but we believe it will be a combination of both printed and electronic media for a long time to come. Many people, including myself and probably most of our readers, love the feel of an actual book or magazine in their hands, coupled with the pleasure of being able to “curl up” anywhere for a read.

On the other hand, we are constantly aware of the fact that trees are chopped down to be turned into paper for our magazine, and distribution costs are also high. We have therefore decided to shrink our retail footprint, and from June Village Life will no longer be available through CNA and Exclusive Books (distribution in the country areas of the Western Cape stays as is). We urge readers who have been buying their copies of Village Life at CNA and Exclusives, to please subscribe – it is the most cost-effective option.

In addition, for those who prefer reading on-screen, the complete Village Life will in future be available on the website Happy reading!

[Later note: the collaboration with MyMag turned into a disaster: we paid to have the magazine uploaded, never received a cent for the online "reads", and eventually the site closed down before we could claim our money back.]



2: At the office

Letters and other important matters


4: Help count butterflies

South Africa’s first butterfly census is planned for the weekend of 24–25 April 2010 – and you can help. For details and to register, visit


6: The face of South Africa

Organized birding in the Eastern Cape is celebrating its 60th anniversary from 1 to 8 May this year. What is now BirdLife Eastern Cape was founded on 21 April 1950 as the Eastern Cape Wild Bird Society, a branch of the then South African Ornithological Society. View PDF


8: One girl’s collection that became a museum

The Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prince Albert reflects the history of the town and the area. The museum would not have come into being if it had not been for a young girl who started collecting old things


14: South Africa’s wealth of succulents

Plants have adapted to arid areas in fascinating ways, and there are more of these specialist species in SA than anywhere else.

Text & photographs by Steve Moseley


20: There’s more to it than just the shoes

For many centuries, the farrier’s craft encompassed an extensive veterinary repertoire, of which shoeing was merely a component. Today expert farriers are still much in demand – and they do more than just hammer in a few nails – by Maggie Follett


24: Meerlust: Steeped in history

Annalize Mouton visits this historic farm on the Eerste River. The farm has had eleven owners in its more than 300 years, and is now in the hands of the eighth generation of the Myburgh family. Its various owners hosted many a traveller in great style, and often played a major role in changes at the Cape


30: Wakkerstroom – the ‘wide-awake’ village

This sleepy village in Mpumalanga is now known for birding, but once was home to some lively characters – by Lesley & Carol Hardijzer


36: Two remarkable men and their books

They refused to be seen as cripples, and both Cecil Shirley and Murrogh Nesbitt lived active, creative lives – by Elwyn Jenkins


42: Pensioners hit the books

They are old and some are rather fragile, but they want to learn to read and write – by Thandi Mkhatshwa


44: Love thy Butcher-bird

Veteran birding photographer Nico Myburgh looks at the

Common Fiscal (previously Fiscal Shrike). Read full article


46: Lamb the Greek way

Annalize shares recipes, and prepares a wonderfully tasty leg of lamb for her Country Table


48: Ear piece

Great Dane Anna is onto her second birthday (and we have survived) View as PDF


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South Africa boasts about 670 species of butterflies, amongst them the Pirate. Photo: Jenny Norman

The Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prince Albert. Photo: Maré Mouton

The rare Halfmens (“half-human” – Pachypodium namaquanum) of the Northern Cape. Photo: Steve Moseley

Farrier David Frost of Wellington getting ready to do a "quick fix" to a horse's hoof. Photo: Dudley Barker

Horse and Roman Catholic church, Wakkerstroom. Photo: Carol Hardijzer

Cecil Shirley at work. He held the brush between the stumps of his arms

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