18 April 2018
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Styling! Veruscka Frans, 9, is one of the lucky local Adopt A Swimmer children who enjoyed not one but two sessions with John McCarthy of Ocean Child fame in Plett waters recently. Find out more on page 12.
Why wait decades for Lookout Reserve? p2
Khoi-san chiefs clash in George p4
Let the differently-abled rule! p6
Photo: Grace Harrison
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NEWS & VIEWS
18 April 2018
Mister Mayor and Bitou Council, what’s blocking the Lookout Nature Reserve resolution? Basil van Rooyen
LOOKOUT ROCKS: The green space and rocks sticking out into the sea - between Lookout Deck and The Wedge Beach, and in front of The Plettenberg Hotel indicate the area of the proposed nature reserve that has been in the pipeline since 1999
OST people in Plett know the area around Lookout Rocks - a beautiful though neglected and heavily trampled stretch of fynbos, forest, wetland and rock, roughly between Lookout Deck and The Wedge Beach, and in front of The Plettenberg Hotel. The latter area is notorious these days for crime and vagrants sleeping in the bush, since local authorities simply ignore the area. Fewer people know that much effort and money has been spent by residents over the past 20 years to have the area declared as nature reserve and get it properly managed. The only thing standing in the way has been bureaucratic indifference on the side of Bitou Municipality. What would be the benefits of declaring this a nature reserve? • This beautiful spot can be transformed into a major asset
for tourism in Plett. • Criminal activity in the area can be controlled. • A large amount of money tied up in trust funds can be released to be used for the improvement of Bitou’s disadvantaged schools. • A key area of natural beauty can be preserved for future generations, by erecting boardwalks, stopping erosion and pollution, putting up signs, etc. So, what’s the story? In 1998, a private developer tried to buy the two portions of land in the area directly from the Department of Public Works in Cape Town without consulting the local authority or public, with a view to creating a private development on the site. Affected landowners, the public, and the municipality rallied together to turn the situation around to protect this popular recreational area, unique natu-
ral asset and tourism attraction from private development. After wide consultation, it was agreed that the land must be protected by declaring it a nature reserve for conservation purposes, providing a natural recreational area and tourist attraction for present and future generations. In exchange, surrounding landowners pledged R1.6-million to a bona fide community trust upon declaration of the nature reserve. Unbelievably, 20 years later that trust money is still gathering interest at a law firm that may not release these sorely-needed funds for the poor people of Bitou until this reserve is declared. Time lines In 1999, the municipality and national Department of Public Works, as well as the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, approved the project in principle.
In 2001, Environment minister Valli Moosa visited the area himself and asked then mayor Euan Wildeman to apply for local authority nature reserve status. Although the mayor responded positively, the process was stalled by discussions about who would supply the money, how the community could in practice benefit, etc. Funds were, by general consent and on the initiative of the mayor and Jeremy Ratcliffe of the Nelson Mandela Fund, eventually earmarked for use by the Bitou 10 Education and Development Fund that has been helping disadvantaged schools in Bitou. Independent environmental agency bluepebble was appointed to draw up an integrated management plan. Their very detailed report including budgets To page 5
NEWS & VIEWS
18 April 2018
Bitou Municipality to end Plett Tourism’s work? Bylaw to propose tourism function goes inside municipality - despite success of external agency petition to “save Plett Tourism” has focused attention on Plett’s tourism agency and the work it does. Plett Tourism chairman Peter Wallington confirmed the agreement with Bitou
Municipality expires effectively at the end of June, and there is no negotiation underway to continue after that date, although Plett Tourism had submitted its budget as it would normally do.
He said the process of determining the future of Plett Tourism has been ongoing since the 12-month agreement for the year July 2017 to June 2018 was signed in August 2017 (five weeks af-
Fishing-trip fall calls for dramatic rescue “The NSRI rescue swimoff Brenton-on-Sea rocks mers were also airlifted to HORTLY after 1pm on Sunday, NSRI Knysna Station 12 volunteers learnt that a teenaged boy had been injured on the rocks at Brenton-on-Sea. Wittedrift High student Theo Gerber, 13, had fallen about 3m onto rocks at Die Blokke while fishing with his sister and two friends. Said NSRI Knysna station commander Jerome Simonis: “Our sea rescue craft Colorpress Rescuer and Jaytee IV were launched and on arrival on the scene, rescue swimmers were deployed into the surf, as the teen’s location was not accessible from the mainland.
“They were able to reach him on the rocks and begin medical treatment for deep lacerations to both ankles. Government Health EMS and ER24 ambulance services responded, too, and they stood by on the land side.” At the same time, the WC Government Health EMS Metro Control activated their helicopter, which hovered over rocks on the scene. “Bandaged and secured, the teenager was loaded into the helicopter and airlifted to the landing zone on mainland before being transported to hospital by ambulance for sutures to lacerations to his ankles.
the mainland by the rescue helicopter,” said Simonis. • By going to print, Theo’s mother, Elaine Gerber, said that he was in high spirits, if still experiencing a fair amount of pain in his neck, lower back and of course those deeply-cut heels. The tall young eighth man of Wittedrift High’s U14 rugby stars was part of the team who secured a victory over one of the Paarl Boys High sides at Outeniqua in George on Saturday, so here’s wishing Theo a speedy recovery and hoping to see him back in his togs in time for the rest of rugby season.
ADVENTURE ANGLING: After falling onto rocks during an angling excursion, 13-year-old Theo Gerber was reached and treated by NSRI Knysna rescue swimmers before being helicoptered to land and ambulanced to hospital
House arrest no deterrent for child molesters AST Wednesday George dentist Ian Venter was convicted of sexually assaulting a then 12-year-old boy during a sleepover at his Herold’s Bay Home on April 11, 2015. Venter was arrested by the George family violence and sexual offences unit and according to police was accused of going into the guest room of his home,
where the boy was sleeping, and between 8pm and 9:30pm pulled the child’s pants down and touched his private parts. The boy was visiting Venter’s son. This incident followed after the father of three was sentenced in December 2014 to four years under house arrest following his conviction on several charges including sex with a minor boy.
He was also in the meantime arrested during May last year for allegedly contravening the conditions of his 2014 sentence. One of the conditions of his sentence was that he was not allowed to work with children. It is, however, alleged that he was treating children at his dental practice while serving his sentence. This To page 4
ter the previous agreement had expired). Plett Tourism has been told a draft municipal bylaw will be tabled shortly for public comment. The bylaw is apparently intended to regulate the tourism function. Plett Tourism has not seen the draft contents of the proposed bylaw. There has been no discussion between the Municipality and Plett Tourism over what has been accomplished during its five-year tenure, or what its future plans are although a presentation was made by Tourism to Council on March 29. “In our conversations with political and administrative stakeholders, some have stated their desire that the tourism function should be taken in-house or housed in a municipal
entity, and they have said that Plett Tourism would not be part of that entity.” Plett Tourism has seen a draft of an item to be brought to Mayco and Council, and it confirms the in-house route - and suggests Plett Tourism’s services might be retained, in a reduced form, for a contingency period only. Wallington said the Plett Tourism board was grateful for the support being received from many sections of the community, including the organisers of the petition. “There are ongoing conversations with key stakeholder groups who support Plett Tourism’s continued role as an independent destination management and marketing organisation,” he said. The uncertainty which
characterises Plett Tourism’s work, and the tenuous conditions of service which apply to its employees and consultants, will continue for the foreseeable future. “The reduced year-by-year budget has meant a significant cutback in our work, created uncertainty with regard to projects, cut into our membership drive, and made it difficult to secure sponsorships,” said Wallington. “Nevertheless, we believe Plett Tourism has succeeded in making a contribution to the development of Brand Plett, to the industry generally and to tourism development projects in particular. “We don’t regard it as the end of Plett Tourism.” Go to www.pletttourism. c o. z a / m e m b e r s / s t a t s reports-and-followers/ for a summary five-year review.
NEWS & VIEWS
18 April 2018
Race trumps land in stormy Khoi-san debate Words & photos: Bob Hopkin
HE third of six public Western Cape hearings of the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Bill, held in George on Monday, turned into a heated and loud shouting match between opposing racial groups. The weighty, and at 188 pages long, obscure document launched in 2015, became a sideshow as chairman and member of the provincial parliament Masizole Mnqasela struggled to control a 200-strong audience - some dressed in traditional loincloths and armed with fighting sticks - from abusing each other. Several ‘chiefs’ of either
Khoi-san or self-styled ‘Aboriginal’ origin from Eden District took turns in criticising the document as being an imposition from government and irrelevant to them as, they claimed, it should have involved them at the consultative stage before being published. Only chief Elroy Baron from the Mossel Bay Aboriginal Council raised the thorny issue of land restitution. “We cannot be leaders without land and there should be a moratorium on all land sales until our future is decided,” he said. One of the most agitated and vocal opponents of accepting the contents of the bill was chief Jacob Theron. “Who told government
what we want? We were the original occupiers of this land and the white and black persons are incoming (sic) to our country. Stop this nonsense and go and draw something up for us otherwise this bill will be less than toilet paper,” said Theron. Another chief, bishop Gail Lawrence, implied that all Khoi-san people who voted ANC were sell-outs. After some 90 minutes the majority of the Khoi-san present, mostly those wearing traditional clothing, walked out after one, waving his fighting stick and swearing at the chairman, made a particularly spectacular exit. If all six consultative meetings follow this example, it seems unlikely that this bill is likely to become law anytime soon.
OUR LEGACY It’s certainly no easy feat bottling the unique warmth, captivating personality and wit of one remarkable woman, whose vast array of social connections was only matched by her unusual determination. But this almost mythical essence - this Pam magic - is our legacy. It has and always will be our heart. BILL EQUATES BOG ROLL: An enraged Khoi representative threatens the chairing panel
P A M
G O L D I N G 1928 - 2018
I N O U R H E A RT S A N D M E M O R I E S
FIGHTING TALK: Chief Barry Jacobs addresses the panel in full traditional regalia
House arrest no deterrent for child molesters From page 3 case is set to continue in the Thembalethu Regional Court on Friday. Plett resident and antichild abuse activist Joanne Barrett, who has been attending court in all three matters, said this is a prime example of why stricter sentences were needed in cases involving sex crimes. “Venter was given a slap on the wrist for his first offence and now another
child’s life is affected. He should not have been given house arrest, but rather jail time. This would never have happened if he had been behind bars,” Barrett said. During the most recent conviction the victim testified and the court found him to be a credible witness despite his age, unlike Venter. “We at Women and Men Against Child Abuse are strongly relying on the court to hand down a lengthy jail
sentence to Venter. We say no more house arrest as he has re-offended during his time under house arrest. “We are appealing to the justice system to combine his current sentence with the new sentence that will take place in June. He must be sent straight to jail,” Barrett said. Venter is set to be sentenced in the George Magistrate’s Court on June 6. - Yolandé Stander
NEWS & VIEWS
18 April 2018
Eden shares ambitious plans for going green Correspondent BOB HOPKIN reports on the district’s third ‘initiative conference’
MAKING THE POINT: Dr Hildegarde Fast emphasising that change of electricity supply is inevitable - Photo: Bob Hopkin
DEN mayor Memory Booysen seems determined to leapfrog national programmes by using his District powers to bulldoze material changes to business, education, and the environment in the southern Cape. Following the Skills Development and Investment conferences of the recent past, this movement continued last week with the first local Green Energy Summit
held at Fancourt in George. Over two days some 35 presenters treated about 150 participants to detailed, if somewhat acronym-heavy and corporate speak-ridden, explanations of the need for energy in the Southern Cape to become more self-sufficient and environmentally friendly. Setting the scene, and providing the most fundamental basis for the need for
change was provincial energy security ‘game changer’ Dr Hildegarde Fast who, together with associate Jack Radmore from Green Cape, made the point that Eskom is no longer fit for purpose in being the primary and monopolistic provider of electricity to the country, in addition to being some R300-billion in debt. “Although load shedding seems to be in the past, the fact remains that Eskom is providing primarily coalfired steam turbine electricity from aged plants through an obsolete transmission system,” said Fast. According to several presenters, the need for change has gone beyond the green issue to a point where the old system of centralised generation must be replaced by individual areas responding to their electrical needs by local resources. CSIR engineer Dr Clinton Carter-Brown pointed out that the succession of Eskom tariff increases, re-
What’s blocking Lookout resolution? From page 2 was duly published in 2010. Survey work relating to the area was also completed in 2010. The municipality advertised the proposed establishment of the reserve for comment in November 2011 and no objections were received. On March 27, 2013, the council resolved to dedicate the rental income from Lookout Deck restaurant (which leases its property from the council) for management of the local nature reserve. Between 2012 and 2014, Bitou prepared a draft Memorandum of Agreement between the municipality, the Department of Public Works and CapeNature, to be discussed at a meeting between these bodies towards end-2014. The meeting was cancelled
at the last moment and never took place. Over the last four years no-one in the municipality has made any effort to follow up the matter. Over the past year, meetings have been called by Plettenberg Bay Crime Prevention Association, which is deeply concerned about the fact that the Lookout area serves as hiding place for criminals. The Association tries to keep the area safe for tourists at their members’ own cost. Botanical enthusiasts and others have been eradicating invasive alien species on a sporadic basis, but without proper management and funding it is hard going. Numerous people have brought the issue to the attention of people in the municipality and on the council, and councillor Dave Swart has repeatedly tried
to get the matter placed on the agenda of council’s monthly meetings. Conclusion All that stops the creation of a nature reserve that will be of great benefit to Plett’s residents and tourists alike, and the release of substantial funds for use in Bitou’s disadvantaged schools, is a council resolution and the signature of a Memorandum of Agreement with two government bodies. Mr Mayor, can it really be so difficult to sort out this matter, after all these years? I believe all that is needed is political will. • Basil van Rooyen is cochair of the Plett Environmental Forum. Information here is based on legal and council documents, the bluepebble report, and discussions with individuals involved.
cently averaging 18% per annum, was now resulting in a phenomenon called Utility Death Spiral, where individual private or corporate customers make their own power arrangements resulting in a withdrawal of revenue from both Eskom and municipal grid distributors. In addition, thanks to our continued use of coal fired stations, SA is the “dirtiest” generator in the world
on both a per capita and per GDP basis - worse than both China and the USA. Transport evolution specialist Hiten Parmar from Nelson Mandela University made a case for the increasing use of electric vehicles (EVs) which, according to him, are becoming rapidly more viable for use in South Africa in spite of our dispersed main cities and long distances between centres.
“EVs are coming down in price, their batteries are holding charges for a longer range and often have a life guarantee of up to eight years. When they are no longer optimal for mobility use they can be used and, if necessary, divided, into second-life batteries for use with solar panels or in deprived rural areas,” he said. Municipal manager Monde Stratu said after the conference, Eden would create a District Energy Master Plan, consolidating all actions and projects to be included in this initiative.
NEWS & VIEWS
18 April 2018
Being ‘differently-abled’ - it could happen to you in a second… Rita Hardaker van Rensburg
VERY one of us knows someone who has been in an accident, taken a bad fall, broken a bone and thus relies on crutches, or ended up in a wheelchair - all such unfortunate incidents happening most unexpectedly. A campaign has now been launched in Plett to create awareness and provide guidance on how to interact with differently-abled people, with a special focus on informing our younger residents, since children with disabilities often suffer the most. Shunned by their schoolmates and mostly incapable of taking part in activities, these kids are often treated as if they simply don’t exist. A drawing competition is soon to be launched and rolled out in three phases, inviting different age groups to take part over a given period. This part of the campaign is aimed at making them mindful of those “others” from a young age. In the offing during Phase 1 for the best drawings by kids from Grade R to Grade 3 will be a first prize of R500, second prize of R250, and third prize of R100. The drawings must depict one or all of the following: • An old lady in a wheelchair wearing a funny hat.
• A one-armed boy playing soccer. • A blind man with his dog. • A little girl on crutches. We hope to ultimately introduce an addition to all local schools’ art curriculum in order to create an acute awareness of the differentlyabled. This will also help prepare kids faced with the situation of someone in their own family needing assistance, knowing not to shun those in need when they could be helpful and caring. Once all of Plett’s schools have been introduced to this concept, dates for the winning draws will be publicised. Meetings are currently underway with various sectors of the community, Plett Tourism (outstanding in its assistance with the call for establishments to contact me so that they could be inspected for disable facilities), ShowMe Plett, the Bitou 10 Foundation, Bitou Municipality’s planning department, and other authorities. People from all walks of life are getting involved in our collective bid to make Plett the most differently-abled friendly holiday and sports mecca in South Africa. Also in the pipeline is a three-day SADGA golf event, as well as wheelchair and cycling races down Main Street.
As proven by the story of Tanner Wilschut and friends who recently enjoyed their first experience of the ocean (turn to page 4 of the April 11 edition at www.cxpress. co.za), we could all benefit in many unexpected ways when brightening the lives of our differently-abled folk. When traversing town, help us to make Plett more differently-abled friendly by reporting obstacles. Our awareness campaign is sure to make a positive impact, allowing us to show more consideration and kindness. My next article will give pointers on improving your establishment so that you, too, can accommodate a differently-abled child or grown-up. Remember: for every challenged person, two helpers need accommodation, too. • Rita Hardaker has been championing the differentlyabled cause with seemingly indefatigable energy for the past few months. The history of her motivation and drive could fill an entire newspaper, but with finite space in our print publication, CXPRESS will endeavour to keep readers abreast of additional info posted on www.cxpress.co.za and our Facebook page. Email ritav @global.co.za to find out more and to get involved.
NEWS & VIEWS
18 April 2018
Pam Golding: a South African property icon remembered National property icon Pam Golding (née Stroebel), who died on April 3, was the sister of legendary Plett resident Barry Stroebel, 93 - TIMOTHY TWIDLE reports
MAGNETIC PERSONALITY: ‘Aunt’ Pam is described by Chris Stroebel as someone who always had a twinkle in her eye and a ready smile; she made everyone feel special and important - see the Pam Golding Properties tribute on p4
ARRY Stroebel’s son, Chris, and his spouse, Pippa, are proprietors of The Lookout Deck and Equinox - two of the town’s most popular eateries. Barry, Chris, and Pippa shared some of their fondest memories of Pam Golding with CXPRESS last Sunday. Barry recalls: “My father, Henry, was a teacher
at Grey College in Port Elizabeth, and sometime after he and my mother, Leila, married they moved to Mthatha [then called ‘Umtata’] in the Eastern Cape, where my father taught Afrikaans at Umtata High School. “Pam was born there and myself, Pam, and our sibling Denyse underwent our primary education in Umtata, in an army drill
hall that doubled as a classroom! We had a wonderful childhood in Umtata with lots of camping holidays on the Wild Coast.” After primary schooling in Umtata, Pam went on to Collegiate Girls High School in Port Elizabeth. “She was very good at all sports,” says Barry, “but she was also very musical and loved dancing.” In 1953, Pam married Cecil Golding, a scion of one of Cape Town’s best families, who had served with distinction in the South African Air Force during World War II. She worked for a spell with the South African financial conglomerate Syfrets, prior to branching out on her own. What was to eventually become Pam Golding Properties - a byword for quality in South African real estate - began in 1976 in the garage of the cottage that Pam and Cecil occupied at that time in Kent Road, in Cape Town’s Newlands suburb. The rest is history; a business school case study of unbridled success. Chris remembers his aunt well: “She had a magnetic personality - she always had a twinkle in her
eye and a ready smile. She made everyone feel special and important. “In her company one had her undivided attention, and she never forgot a face or a name. She was able to network with people of whatever background with consummate skill. “Pam had a personality that was ideally suited to the business of property. If she read in the newspaper that someone intended to move to another part of the country, she would telephone that person and enthuse: ‘I have the very property that you need!’ She just had that ability.” Among her many, many friends Pam Golding counted Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, and archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu - who officiated at the memorial service that was held in her honour at Saint George’s Cathedral in Cape Town on April 10, which Chris attended. In unison, Barry, Chris, and Pippa agree that Pam was truly a special person. She was unique and her legacy will be the brilliant interpersonal skills, the flair and the warmth of her personality, all of which she infused into her business.
SUPER SIBLINGS: Pam Golding (née Stroebel) and ‘boetie’ Barry Stroebel not so long ago… - Photo: Supplied
18 April 2018
The farmers’ apples HREE farmers chat. The first one boasts: “I’ve grown such a big apple that when I put it on a chair, its legs broke.” The second one says: “I have grown an even bigger apple! When I put it
on a table, it broke.” The third one says: “I grew an extremely big apple. I put it in a carriage...” The two farmers interrupt: “Did it break?” “No, a worm got out of it and ate the horse!”
When you ask your mom if she can buy you a selfie stick, and she says: “Boy, you got selfie sticks at home!”
Kangaroo dilemma kangaroo kept getting out of his enclosure at the zoo. Knowing that he could hop high, the zoo officials put up a ten-foot fence. The kangaroo was out the next morning, just sauntering around the zoo. A 20-foot fence was put up. Again the kangaroo
got out. When the fence was almost 40 feet high, a camel in the next enclosure asked the kangaroo: “How high do you think they’ll go?” The kangaroo replied: “Unless somebody locks the gate at night, I think they’ll just keep going.”
Golden words by a wise man • “If you want to change the world, do it when you are a bachelor. After marriage, you can’t even change a TV channel.” • “Listening to your wife is like reading the terms and conditions of a website. You understood nothing, but
still you agreed.” • “Chess is the only game in the world which reflects the status of the husband. The poor King can take only one step at a time… while the mighty Queen can do whatever she likes.”
The mistaken lawyer... young lawyer died and was brought to heaven. Upon arriving, the lawyer started protesting that it’s way too early for him to die for he was only 32 years old, and there must be some mistake. The listening angel agreed that perhaps it
was a mistake and agreed to look into it. After a few minutes, the angel came back and said: “I’m sorry sir, but I am afraid there is no mistake, we calculated your age by how many hours you billed your clients, and you are at least 96 years old.
Good church excuse friend of mine was in front of me coming out of church one day, and the vicar was standing at the door, as always, to shake hands with the worshipers. He grabbed my friend by the hand and pulled him aside. The vicar said to him:
“You need to join the army of the Lord.” My friend replied: “I’m already in the army of the Lord, Father.” So the vicar inquired: “Then how come I only see you at Christmas and at Easter?” My friend whispered: “I’m in the secret service.”
Land expropriation without compensation is nothing new, just ask my ex-wife.
Job interview breakdown • “I was so nervous at a job interview, when he asked me what I wanted to be in five years, I said: ‘Race car driver’.” • “The guy asked me to tell him a little about myself, and I literally forgot
who I was.” • “I got asked about punctuality. I went on about how it was good to speak clearly and politely, and it was nice to use proper grammar in speech and writing.”
18 April 2018 Photos: Khaya Mbesi
People, places & events
MAM’ WINNIE WOULD’VE LOVED YOU: Bitou Municipality held a massive multi-party commemoration for Nomzamo Winnie MadikizelaMandela at Phakamisani Primary School last Thursday. Speakers from various political parties were part of the programme but the key-note address was delivered by Public Service and Administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo, above. She said: “Mam’ Winnie passed on before she could visit Bitou in this part of our country and that is unfortunate, because she would have loved the natural beauty of your area. She would have felt at home seeing the smiles of your local communities. I have been here many times and this is a place I still get excited about visiting. The people here are warm and friendly, and Mam’ Winnie would have loved to experience that,” said the minister. Pictured top right from left, Nofungile Masiko, Nosimo Vena, and Doris Xego were among hundreds of well-dressed residents who attended the service. Struggle icon Winnie Mandela died aged 81 on April 2 following a brief illness. CROSSFIT TEEN CHAMPS: The first annual CrossFit Teens Championships were held on April 13 and 14 at CrossFit Wings in George. Teens who did exceptionally well in the worldwide CrossFit Open were personally invited to compete, and among them counted three Plett youngsters attached to CrossFit Fuel Your Fire. Congrats to Jenna van Zyl, Tegan van der Walt, and Osean Booysen who did Plett proud amid participants from all over SA, including Joburg, Polokwane, Grahamstown, Pretoria and Uppington. The fit trio battled it out for the title of Teen Champion in the 14-15 and 16-17 age divisions. Osean, 15, won his division with a superior performance, while 14-year-olds Jenna and Tegan finished in formidable fourth and fifth places respectively. These guys trained two hours a day up to the competition and coach Tanja Kruger says their mental toughness, ability to think on their feet, and great sportsmanship make them the pride of CrossFit Fuel Your Fire. Pictured her from left are Jenna, Tegan, Tanja and Ocean.
WALKING FEST A WHOPPER! Easter Weekend on the Garden Route was a celebration of trails, nature and walking. The now wellestablished Hi-Tec Garden Route Walking Festival had its highest number of participants to date, with over 1,200 bookings for walks between Mossel Bay and Nature’s Valley over four days. This festival of walking aims to grow on its success by taking lessons from the most recent event into the future to further promote the brilliant walks and trails on offer along the Garden Route, and the excellent guiding and knowledge of local walk leaders. Here’s looking forward to a dynamic and successful festival in 2019. All stakeholders are invited to get involved by making the world aware of the myriad of great Garden Route walks that are available all year round. Read the full story at www.cxpress.co.za and visit www. walkingfestival.co.za for additional information.
Handyman on call 082 492 4417 / 072 724 6590
18 April 2018
ON THE SOAPBOX
18 April 2018
Letters to the Editor
Email: email@example.com - Fax: 044 533 0852 - PO Box 1449, Plett 6600
Hominin footprint find reminds of journeys of discovery before Brenton was ‘on-Sea’ An article that was published in the March 14 edition of your newspaper, entitled ‘Forty steps closer to tracking our hominin ancestors’, caught my attention [read it on page 4 of that issue at www.cxpress.co.za]. My sister, Margaret Parkes, resides in Knysna and sends the local newspapers to me every week, and thus I was able to read this very interesting story. I grew up in Knysna. As children we spent many happy hours roaming the hills and shoreline of Brenton. There was no road to Brenton in those days and the only access was by rowing boat, yacht or travelling on the Knysna/ George train and alighting at the Brenton siding.
The shelter was a small three-sided roofed structure which stood just beyond the end of the railway bridge. We rarely walked across the bridge - it was quite dangerous. Brenton, between Belvidere and the Western Heads, belonged to Walter and George Duthie who farmed the land. They owned the only two homesteads on Brenton at the time, living there with their families. We were family friends. No Brenton-on-Sea nor Brenton-on-Lake existed in those days. We used to walk across the hills to the sea and picnicked on the beach next to Castle Rock - the rocky outcrop just below the area now called Brenton-on-Sea.
Can anyone identify this unusual vessel?
There were bushbuck, duikers (small buck), ostriches and other animals roaming the Brenton Hills, so it was always fun to explore. I have had an interest in history and archaeology from a young age. Before I went to boarding school, I had a ‘museum’ in which to keep the ‘treasures’ I found. It consisted of two wooden whisky boxes joined together, standing on pine legs and covered with chicken wire. It was lined with straw onto which I put my ‘finds’. One day, probably in the early 1940s, we beached our boat at Featherbed Bay and walked along a rough path, beach and rocks, to the end of the Western Head opposite the beacon and found a cave (there may have been two). We explored the cave and found Khoi artefacts - stones shaped into cutting tools. It was confirmed that that is what they were
and I was thrilled to have them to put into my ‘museum’. We realised the importance of our discovery of Khoi implements and were excited to have found them. We were told when growing up in the town that the name ‘Knysna’ was a Khoi word meaning ‘fern’, and Knoetzie the Khoi word for ‘blackish’. Anne Butler, Somerset West (We were delighted to receive Anne’s letter, preceded and followed by friendly phone calls twixt Plett and Somerset West to discuss the original story on Canadian palaeontological expert Dr Charles Helm’s discovery of ancient footprints in our ‘hood, and hear firsthand tales of the siblings’ excursions of discovery. Anne’s sister Margaret is, of course, Knysna’s foremost historian so it’s clear that a keen interest in matters of antique significance runs deeply in the family. - Eds.)
NSRI lauded for swift assistance to cyclist
Derek Frielinghaus sent this pic and query. “This unusual vessel was spotted from the point off Robberg about 5km out to sea during the first week in April. Does anybody know what it is?” Email haus@mweb. co.za and copy firstname.lastname@example.org if you can shed light on this seafaring subject.
On behalf of Club 100 Garden Route and its members, I would like to thank Brad Thomas and his NSRI Station 14 colleagues André Jerling, Stef le Roux, Nic van den Handel, and Nathan Hart for firstly responding so quickly, and then treating, stabilising, and evacuating club member Ayanda Mayana from the MTO Plantation in Harkerville after he injured himself in an MTB crash.
[Read the report on page 3 of the March 28 edition at www.cxpress.co.za.] It is reassuring as a resident and I am sure as a visitor to know that we have such willing, competent and dedicated people to assist during any type of emergency. Thanks are due to the entire volunteer crew of NSRI Station 14. Allan Kuhnert chairman: Club 100 Garden Route, Plett
EFF cover causes ‘fear and confusion’ I hate to criticize but have to say what I want to say. I am extremely disappointed and annoyed with the placing of Malema and the EFF’s “freedom fighters” on the front page of CXPRESS of April 11. It displays and promulgates his revolutionary goals, which causes confusion and fear with people. Words fail me to express my dismay and rejection. The photos and article gave free, prime and explicit coverage to Malema! I wonder what the other political parties will say about this. At the shop where I took a copy of CXPRESS, a lot of people were looking at the front page expressing their mixed opinions. A little girl asked her mother with
fear in her eyes: “What is going to happen?” I have been resident in Plettenberg Bay since 2001 and have always loved to read your paper, but regretfully, it would appear that you are giving preference to political situations and sensations. I am not interested therein and will no longer read your paper. Since Wednesday I have spoken to a substantial number of people regarding the article. They are also very unhappy and expressed their dismay. DJJ Freislich, Plett (Mr Freislich, you make it sound as if CXPRESS is the sole publication to expose the antics of arguably Africa’s most talkedabout politician. Are you also reviled by the fact that a majority of South African TV channels,
radio stations, and vast array of national and regional print and electronic media report on the land-grabbing rile-up currently effected by the EFF leadership? Turning a blind eye to these reports may well leave you stranded in a news desert, blissfully oblivious to the political realities and challenges currently faced by our nation. The CXPRESS editorial staff found it extremely newsworthy that Malema staged a rally in George, which falls within our distribution footprint; also noteworthy is the fact that his party enjoys a huge and growing following, not least because of his ‘free land’ promise. Would you rather be ignorant of this state of affairs? Would it have been less disconcerting if his statements on Van Riebeeck,
racism, Afrikaners and the like were not included? Should CXPRESS, a month or so shy of celebrating our 20th anniversary, start choosing sides in the political circus for fear of offending a certain section of our loyal readership? It’s a jungle out there. But that doesn’t take away from the beauty of stories like Tanner’s first ocean experience (p4), Plett’s pristine beaches (p5), great community projects and young sports stars achieving top honours on a national scale (p6), a local practitioner helping to save a teenager’s sense of hearing (p11), or the fact that the incredibly successful Knysna Motor Show benefits a plethora of deserving local charities. ‘Nough said, already. We are sorry to see you go. - Eds.)
18 April 2018
SPORT & ADVENTURE
These kids don’t risk drowning any more they may well become stars of the surf! series of exciting and uplifting workshops took place in Plett last weekend, when Adopt A Swimmer and Learn to Surf Plett once again teamed up with Ocean Child’s John McCarthy, who taught over 40 kids about being safe and confident under water, and then showed them how to surf. The series of Sasfin-sponsored workshops
saw 24 kids completing the breathing session at the covered pool off Plett Airport Road and a surfing session at Central Beach on Friday April 4, while 22 kids enjoyed these life-altering workshops on the Saturday. Sasfin, who first brought John to Plett for this very purpose in 2016 [see page 1 and 5 of the October 5 edition at www.cxpress. co.za], was once again intricately involved. Says Cathryn Pearman from Sasfin: “We watched these kids go from being scared of the water, to having the time of their lives catching waves on surfboards in the sea.” She adds that some of the happy new waterbabies had never set foot in the ocean before. Eight kids from Adopt A Swimmer, who had previously participated in John’s workshops, were in the class again this year and it was amazing to see how far they had come in terms of overall water confidence. Grace Harrison, who shot the amazing pics here and on the cover, enthuses: “Some of these kids are now so well adapted to the surf and sand that they managed to participate with aplomb at the recently-concluded Nippers Nationals in PE!” Apart from the combined contribution by Adopt A Swimmer, Sasfin and Born in Africa, a shout-out is also due to Clayton Bischoff who has taken many of the kids to higher highs with his Learn to Surf programme. Email Cathryn.Pearman@sasfin.com, call Louise Auersperg from Adopt A Swimmer on 082 452 2248, or find Clayton Bischoff on Facebook for additional information, and visit www.adoptaswimmer.co.za if you would like to contribute towards the prevention of child drownings in Plett and surrounds.
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POOL AND SURF SAVVY: Ocean-wise legend John McCarthy from KwaZulu Natal, above, has an incredible way with kids and boasts a track record of youngsters progressing from fearful on day one to surf-ready the next Photos: Grace Harrison
18 April 2018