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22 JULY 2020

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Jenny Parsons from Pringle Bay captured this sweet moment during a beautiful sunset along Clarence Drive last week. A baboon mother and her youngsters from a local troop were preening each other and relaxing along the roadside. (Read more about baboon management on P4) PHOTO: Jenny Parsons

Storms bring relief Writer De Waal Steyn


he series of cold fronts and accompanying rainstorms during the past few weeks have seen the level of the De Bos Dam rise by close on 13 percentage points, as well as the breaching of both the Klein River and Kleinmond estuaries. Although it was a bitterly cold day on Wednesday 15 July, the news of the breaching of the Klein River for the first time in five years spread faster than wildfire and soon residents were flocking to Grotto East to see the water rushing into the ocean. The Kleinmond lagoon breached three days later, having also done so in July last year, for the first time in four years. (See photos on P4) According to scientists, the lagoons in the area have been slow to breach because of lower rainfall over the past couple of years as a result of the drought. The good news, however, is that

the last two months have seen above average rainfall in the region. In Hermanus a total of 115 mm was measured in June, compared to the 70-year average of 80 mm. In June 2019 only 55 mm of rain fell in Hermanus. To date, close to 90 mm has been measured for July, against an average of 84 mm, with 64 mm measured in July 2019. The highest winter rainfall measured in June was a whopping 217 mm in 1958, with the lowest recorded figure, a measly 2.5 mm in July 1953. According to long-term weather reports, no rain is expected to fall in the next two weeks and temperatures will hover in the high teens to low twenties until next weekend. And while the breaching of the two estuaries has been widely reported on and photographed by townsfolk, the other, larger mouth of the Bot River estuary, at Meer-en-See, does not open naturally. It needs to be opened by grader from time to time, in accordance with the region’s

mouth and estuary management plan. According to Pierre de Villiers, CapeNature’s Co-ordinator of the Western Cape Estuaries’ Programme, opening a mouth results in large volumes of water rushing out of the estuary. This scours out sand and mud which is washed out to sea, providing an important source of sand and nutrients for the ocean and its species. The interaction between the sea and the freshwater systems which originate in river catchment areas in the mountains has been present since the beginning of time, he points out. “Estuaries form the interphase between freshwater and saltwater. Special species have evolved to survive within these changing ecosystems. Most of them require some connection with the ocean to complete their life cycle. In fact, some estuarine fish species, like Steenbras and Kob, breed at sea and then the young pass back into the estuaries to develop and grow.” The other large estuary in the region at Uilkraals

near Gansbaai was breached artificially last year after the depth of the lagoon exceeded 2 metres. The storms also provided a nasty surprise for residents of Kidbrooke Retirement Village and surrounding areas after storm damage to an underground Eskom cable left them without electricity for a week. According to Eskom, a 650-metre-long cable had to be replaced, leaving residents frustrated and cold. The other dams that form part of the Western Cape Water Supply System also received a boost during the past week, climbing 4.5 percentage points from 72.7 % to 77.2 %. In the corresponding period last year, the average level of dams in the system stood at 63.5 %. The largest of these, the Theewaterskloof Dam now stands at 72.9 % of capacity, compared to 53.4 % in 2019. The Lower Steenbras stands at 78.4 % while the Upper Steenbras is 100% full.


22 July 2020

Holly hits charity for a six Writer Hedda Mittner


olly and Simon Bellingham-Turner, the owners of Sumaridge Estate Wines since 2008, are among Hermanus’s most well-known (and well-loved) swallows. Although still based in the UK, they have made Hermanus their second home and, over the years, they’ve immersed themselves in the local community by supporting various charitable causes ranging from the arts and sports to the Hermanus NSRI. Holly, who was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2011 but had been in remission for a number of years, had to resume chemotherapy and radiation when her cancer returned while

in Hermanus last year. Following three months of gruelling treatment, she returned to the UK in September to undergo a complicated operation that could not be performed here. A series of set-backs following surgery kept her in the ICU of The London Clinic for another four and a half months, before she was finally discharged in January. As soon as she was given medical clearance to fly, albeit in a wheelchair, Holly and Simon winged their way back to Hermanus in late February. Soon after that, South Africa went into lockdown. “The impact of Covid 19 here in Hermanus, and its fallout, was clear to Simon and me, but deciding on how we could help was more difficult. Friends from the UK, many of whom had visited us here, were calling regularly to find out how I was doing, and it was then that we had a ‘lightbulb’ moment. Simon and I felt there would be a groundswell of goodwill from people – if we could only find a way to harness it, and demonstrate to them how they could make a focused and positive difference in Hermanus, a town that always steals a little bit of every visitor’s heart,” says Holly. “With so much suffering around us, I decided that it was time I got off my scrawny little backside and walked the walk instead of just talking the talk. I was starting to recover – not exactly in leaps and bounds, but, with the aid of my awesome family and the ‘champagne’ air of Hermanus, I was making steady progress and was finally able to walk without the aid of a stick.” And so, early in June, Holly came up with the idea of setting herself a challenge – and raising donations at the same time.

ABOVE: Holly (middle) with Talita Engelbrecht of the Hemel-en-Aarde ECD Centre (left) and Natalie Munro of Food4Love (right) after having completed 1 000 cricket runs to raise funds for these two local charities. PHOTO: Hedda Mittner LEFT: Holly leaving hospital in a wheelchair in January, after four and a half months in the ICU of The London Clinic following life-saving surgery. PHOTO: Supplied

“My aim is to complete an unaided walk which I started on 13 June, of 800 cricket runs (10 miles) over the coming month, ending on or before 14 July. Don’t worry – it will not be easy! It will, for me, be a marathon, albeit a meagre one by normal people’s standards,” she wrote in her “begging letter” which was sent to potential donors in the UK. Promising that “every single penny” would make a difference, Holly had chosen two local charities – Food4Love and the Hemel-en-Aarde ECD Centre at Hamilton Russell Vineyards – which she and Simon wanted to help on this occasion.

800 – it would have to be 1 000 runs (about 12 miles)!” And so, like Forest Gump, Holly just carried on walking, even after having reached her goal.

“So walk I did – pretty much every day, other than during the storms! I don’t like to admit it, but some days were not easy for me and I found 370 metres (a loop up and down our street) a struggle. On other days I can managed a kilometre. As I got close to 800 runs, it dawned on me that no batsman would aim for

Monies are still being donated, but Holly believes the final total will be approximately R300 000, which will be divided equally between the Hemel-en-Aarde ECD Centre and Food4Love. The donations page will remain open until the end of July.

“The generosity that we have been shown by family, friends, former colleagues in the Lloyd’s and London insurance market and sports clubs in the UK has been astounding. We are particularly grateful to both the Lloyd’s of London Football Club and the Lloyd’s of London Cricket Club (LCC), both of which donated £1 000,” says Holly.

‘Brewing’ soup for Mandela Day

Between Thursday and Saturday they “brewed” and distributed 27 000 portions of nutritious soup to hungry people in needy communities all over the region, from Kleinmond, Hawston and Caldeon, to Mount Pleasant, Zwelihle, Masakhane, Blompark, Buffeljags and Baardskeerdersbos. The number was symbolic of the 27 years that Mandela had spent in prison, and the initiative was a collaboration between the Brewers Soup Collective, Zelda le Grange, Mandela’s former private secretary, and the

Kolisi Foundation. There was great excitement when Springbok Captain, Siya Kolisi, himself arrived on Friday with his wife Rachel to lend a helping hand with the prepping of the vegetables. Marc de Maudave Bestel, co-owner of The Brewery, said he was extremely grateful to Zelda for liaising with the Kolisi Foundation, and to the dozens of volunteer veggie preppers who assisted his team in producing 3 000 litres of soup on each of the three days – enough to feed 9 000 people a day. “It is the most economical way of producing food on a massive scale,” he said. “It not only makes us feel useful, but it gives us a way to keep our team busy while we are unable to brew beer. “ – Hedda Mittner

PHOTO: Supplied

PHOTO: Hedda Mittner

The Brewery at Hemel-en-Aarde Village was a hive of activity from 16 to 18 July, as volunteers, celebrities and stakeholders came together to honour Madiba’s legacy. While the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday usually requires 67 minutes of effort to make a difference in our communities, this year The Brewery decided to make it a three-day affair.

PHOTO: Elaine Davie

LEFT: Springbok Captain, Siya Kolisi peeling vegetables in The Brewery under a portrait of Nelson Mandela. MIDDLE: Whale Coast Tourism Manager, Frieda Lloyd lends a hand with the decanting of the soup for delivery to schools, churches and community centres throughout the Overberg. RIGHT: Children queuing up at Kleinmond Primary to receive a bowl of nutritious soup.

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22 July 2020

Join the Food 4 Love Movement Writer Hedda Mittner


hile visiting their packing shed last week, where about 20 volunteers were in full swing, unloading, sorting and packing food parcels, it struck me that, at Food4Love, every day is Mandela Day. Started four months ago by Natalie Munro, this ‘I, We, Together’ project soon drew like-minded people together who have dedicated an enormous amount of time and effort to bring food relief to all who need it – in Hermanus and beyond. Concerned about the impact that the lockdown would have on vulnerable households throughout the region, Natalie says she realised on Day 1 that she couldn’t just “sit there and do nothing”. With the support of her family, she set off to the shops and started filling the first trolleys that would become Food4Love. “Food4Love is not an organisation,” she emphasises, “it’s a movement – an action to love, be compassionate and kind. It was born out of the simple concept of feeding those in need, just for love. And I think it keeps growing because love is the best medicine on earth.” Mike and Elaine Bayer of The Beanery, who have for many years initiated and supported several charitable community initiatives, and William Ntebe of the Zwelihle Youth Café, immediately

jumped on board and have been giving their unwavering support ever since. Together they teamed up with Relief.Life, Disaster Management and the Red Cross to ensure that the food items were distributed to those in greatest need. “The response was incredible and we received donations, both in the form of funds and food stuffs, from so many generous individuals, businesses, churches and farmers,” says Natalie. “And volunteers came from everywhere!”

solution. Supplying households with basic food stuffs such as maize, vegetables and fruit would empower them to make their own choices and prepare their own food. We thought it was a safer and more dignified way of assisting people in their own homes, rather than having them stand in line to receive a single meal.”

Still they worried that the food parcels were not reaching all those households that were left without an income and had hungry mouths to feed. “Some people were still falling through the cracks and we wanted to make sure that we were able to answer every call for help,” says Natalie.

Food4Love now comprises a group of compassionate volunteers whom Natalie refers to as “people with huge hearts”, with each bringing their own skills, personalities, enthusiasm and energy into the Food4Love family. “There’s a sense of belonging and warm friendships have been formed,” she says. “Funding is not used for a singular purpose as there are different needs in different areas, so we have assisted in various capacities, including the distribution of toiletries, dog food, sandwiches and food stuffs for local soup kitchens.”

“Although there are several soup kitchens operating at the moment, which are playing a vital role, we realised that they present a short-term

However, the main order of business, every day, six days a week, is preparing the veggie packs that each contain two cups of maize and a mix

LEFT: Some of the members of the Food4Love family include Jaci Less, Natalie Munro, Caroline Gabb, Leandri van Schalkwyk, Madeleine Vermaak, Julius Snell and (RIGHT) William Ntebe. CIRCLE: Madeleine Vermaak. PHOTOS: Hedda Mittner

of vegetables and fruit – to the tune of at least 1 000 packs a day – and which provide enough food for four meals. “So far, we have distributed 240 tons of vegetables and 31 tons of maize straight to the homes of those who need food, regardless of who they are or where they live,” says Natalie. But funding is now needed, more than ever, to ensure that Food4Love can continue to help people who have lost so much during this pandemic. Working closely with Angela Heslop, Food4Love is proud to be endorsed by the Red Cross, which is “impartial and supports work to render services to prevent and alleviate human suffering, in particular the feeding programmes that are responsive to hunger arising from poverty and unemployment during the Covid-19 crisis”. Donations can be made to the following account: SA Red Cross, Standard Bank, Account no. 082261938, Branch code 050 312, Swift Code: SBZAZAJJ, Reference: Covid-19/FOOD4LOVE. Please send proof of payment to


22 July 2020

PHOTO: Overstrand Municipality

PHOTO: Jannie Malherbe

The generous rain over the last few weeks brought with it a boost for the dams in the Western Cape. It also allowed both the Klein River (left) and Kleinmond (right) estuaries to breach. It is the first time in five years that the Klein River broke through to the ocean. The breaching of lagoons is essential for the health of the ocean, estuaries and several animal species that live there. A breaching is often accompanied by a stench as the water carves its way to the sea. This is because of the build-up of sand and mud in the estuary, in which there is little oxygen and where anaerobic processes take place. As the mud starts moving to the ocean the smell is released.

Baboon management must be strict Writer De Waal Steyn

as all ‘authentic’ wild animals should,” she said.


This follows the announcement by the municipality that Human Wildlife Solutions (HWS) has been appointed for the next three years to manage the Baboon Programme in towns in the Overstrand that are faced with human-baboon conflict. This management programme includes the use of virtual fence technology and baboon monitors.

he Hermanus Baboon Action Group (HBAG) has once again called on residents and visitors to behave responsibly in their interactions with baboons. “The Hermanus troops have an abundance of all their natural foraging foods available in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and they play an essential role in the ecosystem of the reserve through mainly seed dispersal,” said HBAG spokesperson Pat Redford. According to her, the preservation of this remarkable, highly adaptable and opportunistic species lies in ensuring they live safely and naturally in the environment where they have existed for hundreds of years.

HWS has two current programmes in the Overstrand – the virtual fence programme in Hermanus and the baboon monitoring programme in Pringle Bay. According to them, the Virtual Fence Programme will expand in Overstrand East to include the Vogelgat/Voëlklip/Hamilton Russell and Onrus troops, and in Overstrand West to include the Kleinmond/Betty's Bay/ Pringle Bay and Hangklip troops.

“Baboons do not deserve to become roadkill or die a slow and painful death after being poisoned, shot, or mauled by dogs. A multipronged approach to preserving the environment in which they live and preserving the species must be met with stricter refuse management, broader awareness and education at all levels. In HBAG we have been consistent in our efforts, against all odds, to carry out much of this voluntarily, for more than a year. We hope we can enable the troops to live safely with reduced human threat and minimal interaction,

“The final monitoring methods for Overstrand West have not yet been finalised and meetings with interested groups will guide the way forward for the management of these troops. Where troops are being managed for the first time in the programme, the HWS specialist team will firstly monitor the troops to understand their movement patterns, sleeping sites and feeding areas, etc., before the specific methodology of troop management will be implemented,” the company said in a press release.

“Baboons have to learn – after many, many years of raiding – that humans no longer offer easy food. This vital change is only possible if every person plays a part in the management process. The virtual fence strives to make baboons wild animals again, restoring their natural balance,” explained HWS project manager Phil Richardson. Since the implementation of the HWS Virtual Fence in mid-February 2020 in Hermanus, there has been a noticeable decrease in the number of occasions that individuals have left the Voëlklip troop to enter town on their own. In addition, the baboons do not travel as far into town as before. “Baboon troops can cause extensive damage and losses in both urban and agricultural areas. Therefore, it is still critical to reduce opportunistic encounters that draw the animals into town, through correct waste management. Easy access to human food changes the animal’s behaviour from being an urban-edge animal, to one that is addicted to unnatural, high-energy foods which they are not adapted to eat and can cause several health problems such as poor dentition, obesity, and diabetes. Close contact with humans can also lead to the transmission of human diseases,” said Richardson. The virtual fence is an innovative tool to

keep troops in their natural habitat, providing a sustainable, environmental solution to human-wildlife conflict. This non-invasive system works by mimicking natural boundaries and deterrents that the troop is not anxious to cross. The virtual fence creates a perception that there are predators in town, which encourages them to stay away from there and in their natural environment. The smells and sounds initiated through the placement of the virtual fence reproduces the natural smells and sounds generated by predators in the wild and this in turn creates an invisible barrier. In the mountains above Hermanus, these sounds and smells are associated by baboons with actual predators, such as leopards. “The presence of real leopards in the area helps reinforce the threat of predators in the troop’s mind, working alongside the virtual fence. Leopards have a vast range and are probably resident in the mountains for a few weeks at a time, only returning months later. In the interim, the virtual fence will keep their presence, and fear of predation, alive,” said Richardson. The dedicated Voëlklip hotline number for reporting baboons is 071 588 6540. The Pringle Bay Baboon Hotline number is 079 431 5956. Visit or follow Facebook @hermanusbaboons or email info@ for further information and tips.

22 July 2020


Untangling the gridlock on the long-suffering Hermanus Bypass Writer Elaine Davie


ention the bypass to the average Joe or Jane on the streets of Hermanus and you’re likely to see their eyes glaze over. Their response might well be something like: “For goodness sake (or stronger words to that effect), what is wrong with these people? I thought it had all gone away.” Well, it seems it hasn’t; it’s back to haunt us. So this is an attempt at Bypass 101 or Bypass for Dummies aimed at engaging Jane and Joe in the Struggle for Freedom from the Bypass.

In a nutshell, what we have here is a titanic wrestling match between the Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP – sjoe!) and the environmentally aware residents of Hermanus, or, in broader strokes, authoritarianism versus democracy, with Overstrand Municipality (OM) apparently flip-flopping between the two, like a fish out of water. During a webinar organised by Whale Coast Conservation (WCC) last week, which was attended by over 90 people, the convoluted facts were laid bare – yet again – and updated, by two of the top Eco-Warriors, Pat Miller and Rob Fryer. And what a saga it has been, starting 12 years ago, in 2008. It seems the DEA&DP has become inexplicably obsessed with diverting drive-through traffic to the outskirts of Hermanus on the R43, instead of through the heart of the town. Because Hermanus is firmly wedged between the mountains and the sea, this was never going to be an easy exercise. Whatever options they suggested (now whittled down to two), something would have to give. And unsurprisingly, that turned out to be the beautiful and biodiverse green lung of Hermanus, Fernkloof Nature Reserve, which was meant to remain the legal preserve of the citizens of Hermanus in perpetuity. Well, you can see why uphill is all they could expect to get. You would have thought Overstrand Municipal-

ity, in the interests of its citizenry, would simply have stamped its foot at the province with a firm No. Unfortunately, it, too, was stuck between a rock and a hard place, because pressure was being placed on it by the business community of the town’s CBD to pedestrianise some of its inner streets to attract more tourists. Cleverly, the province played into the municipality’s dilemma by suggesting that the bypass would remove some of the traffic from the CBD, thereby making this development less problematic. But wait! What has the province and especially its Environmental Affairs Department got to do with the internal reconfiguration of the town’s streets? Absolutely nothing, as the Eco-Warriors point out. Furthermore, in its recently released Final Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, it admits that its other argument that the travelling time for motorists wishing to bypass Hermanus would be significantly shortened, has fallen firmly on its head. It turns out that the time saved will be no more than – wait for it – two minutes! In any case, its prediction that in the years to come, the volume of traffic wishing to bypass the town would be likely to escalate beyond human imagination, also defies comprehension. (Excuse me? To or from where will it be headed? Stanford, Gansbaai, or for the really intrepid adventurers, Napier or Bredasdorp?)

in the Onrus River catchment area… for five years.” It omits to mention that the piece of Fernkloof it wants amounts to approximately the size of five rugby fields, with considerable collateral damage likely on either side of the road, or that it happens to include some of the most biodiverse fauna and flora in the reserve, according to the environmentalists. It also apparently ignores the fact that approximately 75% of the Onrus catchment area is in the hands of private owners and clearance of the balance is already the responsibility of the municipality. Notwithstanding all these caveats and challenges, the DEA&DP is determined to forge ahead with one of its two proposals and to do so immediately. If it delays, it maintains, the window of opportunity will be irrevocably closed, to be forever regretted in the face of future traffic congestion. Given the total disruption to life as we knew it by the Coronavirus, it’s a brave government indeed which purports to predict the future with any confidence. Finally, the Executive Mayor, Ald Dudley Coetzee entered the fray with a media statement on 6 July which stated in part: “The completed EIA for the suggested Hermanus Bypass Road has been published for public comment. This follows after the original EIA was referred back to the Environmental Consultants to rework certain sections of the document.

Nevertheless, the province has clearly got the bit between its teeth and is determined not to take seriously the 19 380 signatures from the people of Hermanus submitted in two separate petitions, or their 155 written comments, of which only 5 supported the bypass. Neither is it prepared to give credence to the suggestion by the environmentalists that the so-called Relief Road simply be upgraded (Royal Street from the first circle at the western end of the CBD up to and around the circle at Checkers and down to the first circle on the eastern (Woolworths) side of the CBD).

“I wish to once again stress that the view of the Overstrand Council remains unchanged. Namely, that the traffic congestion on the R43 leading into and out of Hermanus, from both the Hawston side as well as the Stanford side, must first be addressed before consideration is given to a possible road being built to allow through traffic to bypass the town.” He went on to add: “Only once this work is also completed should consideration be given to the possible need for a bypass road, and the most suitable route that such a road should follow.”

Instead, it has resorted to bargaining: “If you give us a piece of Fernkloof, we’ll clear the aliens

The Eco-warriors for their part, repeatedly emphasised during the webinar that they were all

for supporting development in Hermanus and agreed that traffic control may well be one such challenge, but under no circumstances should Fernkloof be sacrificed. So the question remains, who trumps whom in this bypass gridlock? Who will finally get things moving again? This Joe, this Jane, is where you come in. If we have learnt anything at all from COVID-19, it is how urgently our planet needs protection, even this small portion in the Overstrand. If you are tired of being pushed around by faceless bureaucrats, with no personal stake in this community, if you never want to hear the word ‘bypass’ again, then, as Pat Miller says, “It’s time to shout, to shout louder and to keep on shouting.” This, says the province, is Hermanus’s last chance to comment on or offer objections to their plan. The Eco-watch team of WCC will be preparing a comprehensive document with just this in mind by 31 July. Now, they state, is when as many individuals and civil society organisations as possible should urgently join their voices to the clamour for common sense to prevail, once and for all. For further information, contact Anina Lee at A recording of the full webinar is available on WCC’s Facebook and YouTube platforms.

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22 July 2020


When the going gets tough … the tough get going. The next edition of The Village NEWS will be available on 29 July 2020. The NEWS can be found at over 300 distribution points in the Overberg.

De Waal Steyn PUBLISHING EDITOR E: T: 083 700 3319


First attributed to Joseph P. Kennedy, the father of US President, John F. Kennedy, this famous expression came to life in the movie, The Jewel of the Nile in the song of the same name by musician Billy Ocean. A clarion call to meet challenges head-on and to work even harder when the situation becomes difficult, this inspirational quote has helped many of us to calm down and focus on what we need to do, even if it sometimes feels as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

While the lockdown has wreaked havoc on our local economy and our communities, dedicated volunteers and donors have been working behind the scenes, and with very little fanfare, to ensure that thousands of residents across all communities are being fed every day. Since Day 1 of the lockdown, these selfless and generous individuals have rightly understood that hunger is an even greater threat than Covid-19.

Over the past few months, it has become evident that many residents

Businesses have quickly reinvented themselves, switching from selling

Raphael da Silva ONLINE EDITOR

Elaine Davie SUB-EDITOR & JOURNALIST E: T: 084 343 7500


Charé van der Walt MARKETING REPRESENTATIVE E: T: 082 430 1974

Nickey Jackson

one product to another. Some have adjusted their strategies or offer new services. Others have partnered to save on office or retail space. Restaurants, one of the worst-affected sectors, have innovated with new menu offerings. Schools have forged new paths with Digi-learning. After a brief pause, the installation of fibre cables has been resumed, which will help to ease the pressure on a WiFi network that is completely overburdened as people work remotely from home and families hibernate.

new innovative businesses have opened their doors! Each week, whether in print, online or on-air on Caledon FM, The Village NEWS tells the stories of these brave and resilient men and women. We will continue to tell their stories, not only because they are interesting and focus on ‘the good news’, but also because they speak volumes about the character and strength of our community. What is abundantly clear is that in the Overberg, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

And yes, even in the midst of the greatest economic and health crisis to face the world in nearly 100 years,

This is the Good NEWS - Ed

Audacious Audio and Quirks in the Kitchen

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and businesses across the Overberg are meeting the challenges of COVID-19 head-on by stepping up a gear and working flat-out.

By Murray Stewart

ear and out the other’ implies, folks could literally see right through you. (Latin: opticalis penitratus infinitum).

The Power of Sound Like our other senses, sound plays an important role in our daily lives. Sometimes noises are a warning, like the doorbell or screeching tyres. Sometimes they’re eerie and downright spine-chilling. Other times, they’re a source of enjoyment, like the chirping of birds, a trickling waterfall, the purring of a kitten or the stillness of a sleeping baby.

Anyway, notes or frequencies are measured in Hertz, and we can hear roughly from 20Hz at the bottom, to 20 000Hz up top. Above that, it’s dog-whistle territory.

All that, sadly, is just the sugar-coating on our regular consumption of ear-candy. Deep down inside lurks a fearsome ogre itching to inflict disturbing damage, but we’ll get to that later. Over the years, a shrill soprano or two have been able to shatter glass, although I doubt there’s a future in it these days. And if you stand too long with your mouth open in front of a loudspeaker at a Thrash Metal concert, there’s enough power to blast both eardrums clean out of your head. As the expression ‘in one

The loudness of a frequency is measured in decibels, and around 100dB is burglar alarm loud. So, by cranking up the decibels, and finding the right frequency, the fat lady could sing the molecules in a champagne glass into such a state of agitation that it shatters. This can ruin any wedding toast. Then there’s the destruction of the walls surrounding Jericho. Sopranos were replaced by a brass ensemble and a lot of blokes yelling, which rattled the molecules in the foundations enough to weaken the structure, and the walls did a Humpty-Dumpty. Now, below our hearing threshold, below the rumble of thunder, an equally destructive weapon loiters

in the wings of the sonic stage. Pulsating, inaudible frequencies, when pumped up in volume, can cause serious discomfort if prolonged.

To guys, for example, a piece of crumpet sounds enticing, but what lady wants to be likened to a dollop of stodgy doe?

It has been used for crowd control, and the loudspeakers emitting these inaudible waves induce nausea, disorientation and headaches. People just want to get the hell out of range.

Some think it’s just a storm in a teacup, taken with a pinch of salt. But let’s not upset the apple-cart guys, and since the fat’s already in the fire, we must remember which side of our bread is buttered – and no crying over spilt milk!

It’s called LRAD – long range audio deterrent. The audio ‘beam’ can be aimed at either a group or specific individuals, as was suspected in Cuba last year, when American diplomats all became suspiciously ill and dis- functional, and although physically unharmed, had to return home to convalesce. Food 4 Thought Idioms and quirky expressions are commonplace in all languages, and often revolve around animals (sly as a fox), or nature (farting against thunder), and of course food (go bananas). But the proof of the pudding’s in the kitchen, so we’ve whipped up some culinary clichés in everyday banter.

Anyway, cool as a cucumber you buy a blender – the greatest thing since sliced bread – but after one day it’s toast. In a pickle, and with egg on your face, you realise you’ve bought a lemon. Now, butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth, but soft-soaping the salesman (who you thought was low-hanging fruit), was like nailing jelly to the wall and you had to eat humble pie, which really cheesed you off. Anyway, sour grapes or not, and with fingers in many more the pies, I’ve gotta go – there’s a bun in the oven.


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22 July 2020





WORLD: 14 764 303 SOUTH AFRICA: 364 328 WESTERN CAPE: 84 340 (23.15% of cases in SA) OVERBERG: 2 264

• FISHERHAVEN: 10 (4) • GANSBAAI: 189 (68) - 2 deaths • HAWSTON: 81 (46) - 1 death • HERMANUS: 111 (37) - 3 deaths • KLEINMOND: 66 (49)

• MT PLEASANT: 105 (45) - 1 death • ONRUS: 45 (15) - 2 deaths • SANDBAAI: 19 (6) • STANFORD: 51 (24) - 1 death • VERMONT: 7 (4) • ZWELIHLE: 463 (162) - 5 deaths

TOTAL: 1152 (452) - 15 deaths

LAST WEEK'S TOTAL CASES: WORLD: 13 134 673 SOUTH AFRICA: 276 242 (10th in the world) WESTERN CAPE: 78 548 OVERBERG: 2 062 OVERSTRAND: 1 071

(13 JULY)

My VILLAGE online auctions offer a hand-up Writer Raphael da Silva


he Village NEWS is launching My VILLAGE Online Auctions this week, an innovative way of putting desperately-needed cash into the hands of Overberg residents and businesses, while also supporting the fight against hunger, the single-biggest consequence of the economic pillage from COVID-19. In a unique model focused on building up communities, My VILLAGE Online Auctions, in partnership with Bidsworth & Co, offers residents and businesses the option of putting up collectable items or experiences (known as ‘lots’ in the auction trade) either for sale to earn an income, or as a donation. 100% of the selling price of a donated lot will go towards food relief, while 5% of the selling price of non-donated lots will be given to local food relief organisations. The first auction will take place from 10:00 on Saturday, 1 August. The Auction Catalogue went live on 21 July for interested buyers to register and start placing their bids. There are already nearly 200 lots that interested buyers can view. For the first My VILLAGE Online Auction, the focus is on:

• • •

Collectables - ranging from vintage brica-brac, militaria, collectable books, model trains and Africana, to retro classic design, and everything imaginable in-between; Art - classic and modern fine art at secondary market value, along with selected new artworks offered directly by established artists at studio prices; Wine - regional wine lots donated by local winegrowers, along with ‘investment’ wines

• •

from the area, including collectable vintages and outsize presentation bottle releases; Antique and classic furniture; Experiences - a wide range of local culinary, wine tasting, travel and adventure experiences, many of which have been donated, for immediate or later redemption.

Bidsworth & Co (the Co stands for community) is the brainchild of Hermanus resident, Andrew Paterson, a wildlife conservationist and wilderness trail guide who previously spent most of his career in off-shore finance. While most people were buckling down and just trying to make it through lockdown, Andrew’s mind was formulating a new business opportunity.

The first artist to donate a piece was Hermanus photographer, author and illustrator Duncan Butchart who has created a new poster-print of the Overberg, especially for the first auction, to add to his retro vintage-styled African Journey Collection. Duncan was due to exhibit his collection of over 40 travel poster-prints that depict Africa’s most iconic travel destinations, including Hermanus and Cape Town, at Africa’s first ComicCon in May, but the event was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“Rural communities are in desperate need of extra personal income and, with donor fatigue setting in, charities need new ways of raising funds to meet the ever-increasing pressures they are feeling. An online auction is a very simple way to help both residents, businesses and charities by selling or donating surplus collectable and specialist items on auction to interested bidders,” says Andrew.

“Without cash reserves of my own to contribute, I’m grateful that my poster art might be able to help those struggling at this time,” says Duncan.

“Buyers with money to spend are always interested in the bargains to be won on auction. In addition, the lockdown rules on social distancing fit perfectly with the proven concept of online auctions,” adds Andrew.

Chef Shane Sauvage has donated the first experience – a personalised four-course meal for four people at his restaurant, La Pentola. It was Shane’s idea to include the establishment of a food bank in the successful proposal to have the Hermanus Overstrand designated a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. “We were all set to host the first Harvest Table in May to raise funds to set up the food bank. But the event, of course, could not take place. Having an online auction is a great way to get focus on the Overberg from the rest of South Africa and the world,” says Chef Shane. Well-known Overberg wildlife photographer, Dave de Beer, and underwater photographer, Gemma Dry, both based in Hermanus, have also donated.

All around the world, established auction houses have been forced to move online. What distinguishes Bidsworth & Co is its focus on communities helping each other, and its seller’s and buyer’s premiums (the amount that is added to the final selling price to cover the costs of the auction), which are roughly 50% less than those charged by other auction houses. “This is a unique business model specifically tailored to enable a wide range of communities and special interest groups such as regions, towns, schools, clubs, charities, associations, or art communities to hold their own auctions with the expertise and professionalism of a company such as Bidsworth & Co,” says Andrew. Around 6 000 high net-worth collectors, mostly

Local Hermanus artist, Duncan Buchart, has especially created and donated a vintage-style signature Overberg poster-print to celebrate the first My VILLAGE Online Auction. The A1-sized, numbered and signed poster-print will only ever be produced 10 times although it will be available to purchase in smaller formats through his website This first poster will be numbered 1/10.

in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, will also be informed about the auction while The Village NEWS will leverage its global reach to raise awareness, particularly among overseas readers who are passionate about the Overberg. Visit in order to participate in the first auction as a buyer or seller. If you would like to put up or donate a lot for sale, go to or WhatsApp 076 215 0725 and a member of the Bidsworth team will contact you. If you are interested in hosting a My VILLAGE Online Auction for your organisation, please contact Raphael da Silva on 074 125 5854 / 062 837 3122 or for further information.


22 July 2020


By LB Vorster


Property transfers – the reckoning of time frames

t is essential for parties to a Deed of Sale in respect of immovable property to have absolute clarity as to the exact date of expiry of any period of time stipulated therein.

Limits are normally placed on the time periods within which: • an Offer to Purchase has to be accepted by the seller in order for it to become a binding and enforceable Deed of Sale; • a deposit has to be paid by the purchaser; • the requirements of FICA have to be complied with by both parties, without which it is virtually impossible to prepare the transfer documents; • a company or close corporation has to be registered that will be taking transfer of the property purchased (in the event that a signatory is acting as a trustee or agent on behalf of such an entity still to be registered); • a purchaser has to register as a VAT-vendor (for example, in order to ensure that the transaction is considered by SARS as one to which a zero VAT rate will apply); • a mortgage loan has to be procured by the purchaser in order to comply with the suspensive condition, failing which the Deed of Sale will merely lapse and become null and void;

• • • •

guarantees have to be furnished by the financial institution that has granted a mortgage bond to the purchaser or, alternatively, the time within which payment of the purchase price by the purchaser has to be effected; a purchaser’s property has to be sold and/or transferred (if the Deed of Sale is subject to such a suspensive condition); the transfer documents have to be signed (by both parties) and the transfer costs paid (by the purchaser); registration of transfer has to be affected by the transferring attorney; any breach of the agreement has to be remedied to prevent the aggrieved party from cancelling the Deed of Sale.

In the event that a Deed of Sale provides for “continued marketing” of a property (in anticipation of a purchaser applying for a mortgage loan or trying to sell his/her other property in terms of the suspensive conditions contained in the Deed of Sale) proper directions should be provided in such a Deed of Sale as to the effective application of the so-called “72-hour clause”, which in practice is normally treated as a 3-day clause. If that is the case, then rather refer to the time allowed as 3 days (instead of

72 hours) and provide an explanation as to how exactly the 3-day period is to be calculated. Experience has shown that trying to determine or prove the exact starting time of the 72-hour period is very difficult. The above list does not purport to be exhaustive, but it should be quite clear that the feasibility of a Deed of Sale depends entirely on due performance by either of the contracting parties within specified periods of time. A Deed of Sale that does not clearly stipulate the periods of time within which certain actions should take place is extremely difficult and often impossible to enforce, which will, of course, contribute to unnecessary time being wasted and costs being incurred in order to approach a court to provide the relief that the Deed of Sale was supposed to provide, or at least properly regulate, in the first place. In the absence of clearly defined time limits in a Deed of Sale, the party who wishes to enforce compliance by the defaulting party will have to allow a “reasonable time” for such action(s). What is “reasonable” according to the seller might not be reasonable to the purchaser, and

vice versa. Ultimately the parties may have no option but to approach the court for a ruling as to what would be reasonable in the circumstances. Therefore, when preparing an Offer to Purchase (which upon acceptance by the seller will constitute a Deed of Sale), it would be wise to stipulate specific dates on which certain conditions should be complied with and suspensive conditions be fulfilled, instead of referring to a number of days, weeks or months. Alternatively, the Deed of Sale should at least stipulate the manner in which any period of time contained therein has to be calculated.


22 July 2020

A special place of love and safety Writer & Photographer Elaine Davie


o baby should feel rejected; it could leave a lifelong scar.” Marie Matthee and her husband, Johan feel so strongly about this that they have created a small Place of Safety for abandoned babies on the Rooisand road near Kleinmond. Since 2015, when House Madalitsho (‘Blessing to the People’) was opened, 38 babies have passed through their caring hands. Marie and Johan are missionaries with Zehandi Missions and this is not the first time they have felt called to intervene in the lives of ‘throw-away’ children. They previously started a similar, but larger centre (it can accommodate up to 40 children) on Lake Malawi. Although it is operated day-to-day by the mission station’s women’s ministry, Marie and Johan, as its supervisors, still take turns to commute between Kleinmond and Malawi. On top of this, they have three of their own teenagers who are being home-schooled by Marie. So when they returned to South Africa to access specialist treatment for one of their boys, they decided to take on no more than six babies at a time at the new Place of Safety they planned to start. They felt they owed it to their own children not to spread themselves too thin. With no money in their pockets, but bags full of faith, they were offered the use of three ruined labourers’ cottages and a small parcel of land on the farm De Draay next to Arabella – on condition that they restored the buildings themselves, at their own cost. “There were no roofs or floors, quite sizeable trees were growing inside the walls, which were the only structures left standing. There was no bathroom, only a long-drop outside

in the bushes, no plumbing and no electricity.” It took three years of their own hard labour, with the enthusiastic assistance of retired volunteers from Keinmond, to make two of the small houses sufficiently habitable for them to move in and begin to accept babies – and still longer to make the overgrown smallholding productive. Now they have two sheep, a small flock of goats, which they milk, chickens to provide them with eggs and an organically-grown vegetable garden from which they supply some of the local restaurants. And then, at the heart of it all, there are the babies. At the moment, due to the lockdown, they have only three. “I usually have a domestic worker to help me,” explains Marie, “but I cannot take the chance of allowing her to return yet, while the virus still poses so much of a threat. Thank goodness for Tannie Hanlie, a local godsend, who offered to come in each day to help. She is great at keeping one or both babies occupied while I’m busy with the third. “There has been a spike in baby abandonments during the pandemic, and we receive calls from morning to night from the adoption agencies to ask whether we can’t take more. Unfortunately, it’s just not practical for us right now.” One of the little ones she has at the moment, for example, had clearly just been born when she was found abandoned in bushes

pany it,” she smiles.

ABOVE: One of the babies has woken up and needs Marie's attention. As with all babies, holding and hugging them is important for their sense of security. LEFT: Tannie Hanlie and one of the babies keep each other company in the playroom of the Baby House. somewhere in the Cape. Marie was called upon to collect her urgently from a Cape Town hospital the next day. Now one month old, it would be hard to find a bonnier baby. Marie and Johan don’t keep the babies beyond the age of 18 months. If they have not been adopted by then, they are placed in foster care. Johan points out that they are completely removed from this process. The courts issue protection orders for the babies to be placed in their care and the adoption agencies handle the adoption. “When the babies are with us, our main role is to surround them with as much unconditional love as we have to give and make them feel secure and safe. They become very much a part of the family. They sit in their rocking chairs on the table when we are having coffee first thing in the morning and in the evening when we watch TV, they are there, too. We take them for walks in their strollers on

the farm and introduce them to the animals as they get older.” Marie says Johan and their children are all involved, changing the babies’ nappies, mixing formula, burping them after a bottle and rocking them to sleep. “My two boys are going to make some lucky girls wonderful husbands,” she laughs. They receive no subsidy or government grant for any of the babies they care for. Everything, from food, diapers and other consumables, to clothes and toys, inoculations for the babies or visits to doctors or therapists, where necessary, are covered by Marie and Johan. They cannot sufficiently express their gratitude to the people of this community for their support, including Gareth Lawrence, the new owner of the farm, who has given them the security of a ten-year tenure. Marie also mentions the local quilting group for example, which comes to visit about once a month, bringing odds and ends the babies may need. “And no baby leaves here without a hand-made quilt to accom-

Once adoptive parents have been identified, Marie starts the process of preparing the baby for its new environment, showing it pictures of its new family, their house, car, garden, pets, and telling it how excited they are to be getting their new baby. At the same time, she creates a book for all the babies, with pictures and stories about everything they experienced while living with them. She also prepares a book for the parents, describing every small detail about their baby – not just the clinic visits and inoculations, but also what food she liked, what toys he played with, what stories or songs she enjoyed listening to, what makes him happy or sad. “We want the babies to know that they have a past and that they were loved from the start; their life didn’t begin when they moved to their new forever home. And the parents must feel that they know the baby intimately even before he or she comes to live with them,” says Marie. “Of course it’s hard for us to see them go. After I’ve been up countless times in the night to feed or rock them to sleep, given them hugs and kisses, seen them take their first steps, or heard the first words they speak; it may be a short-term investment but, emotionally, it’s huge. We remember each one of them, though, and carry them in our hearts. It gives us such joy when we receive positive feedback from the new parents, some of them from as far away as Europe. And most of all, when they report that the children have remembered snatches of the time they spent with us. That’s really special.” To offer assistance or for further information, Marie can be contacted on or 079 740 7989.


22 July 2020

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22 July 2020


Lift and shape your sagging jawline side effects or adverse reactions. Even though some inflammation or skin redness is common during the treatment, it is unlikely to last for more than 2 – 3 hours.

By Lindi Prinsloo Refine Anti-Ageing & Laser Clinic


here are plenty of things to celebrate about getting older, but for most of us, the sagging and slackening of our skin over time is an unwelcome surprise. A jawline that’s losing definition can show your age like nothing else.

HIFU, which was primarily developed as a treatment for tumours, is now recognised as one of the best skin-care solutions available on the market. It not only rejuvenates the skin but also tightens sagging skin and leaves you looking more radiant and youthful. In short, it is the perfect solution to premature ageing. (It is important to note that HIFU is an ideal option for patients with mild to moderate skin sagging and that face lift surgery would still be the best option for cases where skin sagging is more severe.)

Let’s be honest, it’s not like we need another body part to fret about, but once you’ve noticed the accumulation of soft flesh around the outer edges of your mouth, slowly spilling down your neck, there’s no coming back from the sense of impending doom. There are many causes of skin sagging. Culprit number one is skin laxity, which can be a result of genetics, inflammatory skin conditions such as acne or rosacea that cause your skin to age faster, or damage caused by smoking or sun exposure. If your skin is lax, the deeper anatomical structures of your face simply won’t be held in place. The second offender is one that gets us all eventually: gravity. As we age, our facial fat pads migrate downwards, causing heaviness and loss of definition in the lower third of the face. This leads to the dreaded jowls. So what is the latest buzz in high-tech tightening treatments? HIFU (High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound) is the new cosmetic treatment specially designed as an alternative to face-lift surgery. Though not much time has passed since the emergence of HIFU, it has gained immense popularity across the globe. This is without a doubt due to the fact that besides being a non-invasive and painless pro-

BEFORE cedure, HIFU is an affordable option compared to the hefty fee of face-lift surgery. HIFU is leading the way in this new wave of beauty technology for lifted cheekbones, jawline definition and smoother, tighter skin (you may have admired the results on Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian – both of whom are reported to be fans). It utilises ultrasound to heat up the inner layer of the skin, penetrating deep into the SMAS (the muscle that surgeons tighten when doing face-lift surgery). When thermal energy strikes the affected tissue and heats it up, collagen production is increased. This stimulation of the growth of new collagen over time strengthens and tones the skin from within to make it look smoother and brighter on the outside. Unlike other skin-ageing treatments, HIFU is a fairly safe treatment

AFTER since it only targets the affected skin area without causing any harm to the surrounding tissues. Just like a surgical face lift, HIFU targets the dermis and SMAS – the difference being that the former does not leave any scars or unwanted marks on the skin. HIFU therapy for lifting of the face can also be used to tighten any sagging skin in areas such as the neck, jawline, eyelids and cheeks. As it is a non-surgical treatment, the procedure will be almost painless. While some patients may experience slight discomfort, this is no cause for worry since, once the procedure is over, there will no longer be any residual pain and discomfort. This treatment has been approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in the US and you can rest assured that there will be no remaining

If you notice wrinkles and other skin-ageing symptoms or are stressed out due to premature skin sagging, do consult a professional to get your skin back to normal with the help of HIFU treatment. At Refine, we still believe that combination therapies are the way to go! Using Dermal Fillers to replace volume in the cheeks can optimise the results that you will get with the all-new HIFU treatment. For many of our patients, we start their treatment with HIFU and once the skin is taut, the filler takes their treatment even further. The result: A winning combo! Along with the reopening of our clinic comes the good news that the all-new HIFU is now available at Refine! We bought our new “baby” just before lockdown and used this time to attend Zoom training sessions and webinars. Speak to one of our professionals today for your free consultation. As a launch special, Refine is offering a 20% discount on your first treatment until the end of August.

22 July 2020


Farewell to Gansbaai Academia Principal Writer & Photographer Hardus Botha


xtender Alas Vestri - Spread your wings is the motto of Gansbaai Academia, where the beloved Tommy Wilson has served as school principal for ten years. He has seen many wonders and achievements accomplished under his watch but has decided that it is time to bow out. "I have always said that Gansbaai Academia is a journey to me, but my journey has now come to an end," says Tommy from his wheelchair in his office. "Gansbaai Academia was and will always remain a beacon of hope in Gansbaai." Tommy has achieved his dream by creating the platform to success for the school over the past decade. His last school day will be 31 July. "I am confident that the school will be in great hands when my vastly competent deputy principals, Carien Fortuin and Wilton Phillips take over." He says he hasn’t made any permanent plans for the future and will probably remain in Franskraal until the end of the year. “I do not want to be lost to education. I would like to apply my knowledge, skills, and experience to schools in the future, especially in the field of managing schools." Tommy’s love of the law prompted him a few years ago to enrol for a LLB degree with UNISA and he has already reached the half-way mark. "After my retirement, I would also like to dedicate some time to my studies again." During July 2013, the Gansbaai community

was shocked when Tommy suffered a minor heart attack. Luckily for him (and for us), he made a full recovery. In September last year, tragedy struck again when Tommy and his wife, Julia, also a beloved teacher at Gansbaai Academia, were involved in a serious car accident on the R43 between Villiersdorp and Worcester. The school’s teachers, learners and parents were horrified by the news that Julia had been killed on impact and that Tommy was hospitalised in critical condition. Shortly after the accident, he suffered a stroke that caused paralysis in his left leg and arm. In spite of all these setbacks, and the heartache of losing his wife, Tommy has retained his sense of humour. He recalls that another consequence of the accident was the loss of his moustache, which had to be shaven off in hospital. "It was only the second time in 60 years that I was without a moustache," he says jokingly. Julia's sister, Caroline, and her husband, Fanie

Jansen took care of Tommy during his recovery at his home in Franskraal. He resumed his post as principal at the beginning of the 2020 school year, albeit in a wheelchair. "Since lockdown started, I’ve had to make use of a home carer and received the excellent care of the highly skilled Samantha Booi," he says. Gansbaai Academia was officially opened by Helen Zille, former Premier of the Western Cape, on 22 February 2010. On 1 July 2010, Tommy took over from the acting principal, Wessel Havenga, as the school’s first permanent principal.

attorney, I started my LLB before him, therefore he followed in my footsteps, and not the other way around!" quips Tommy. Needless to say, Tommy was met with many challenges during his tenure as Head of Gansbaai Academia, a newly formed, multicultural school with many of its students coming from an economically disadvantaged community. Despite these challenges, the school flourished under his expert leadership, prompting Prof Jonathan Jansen, former Vice-chancellor and Rector of the University of the Orange Free State, who visited the school in 2015, to remark: "This is what a school in South Africa should look like!" Now the time has come for Tommy to say his last thank yous and goodbyes. "Firstly, I would like to thank the unsurpassable personnel and students at Gansbaai Academia and, secondly, the unique community and businesses that carried me (sometimes literally) during the past ten years," Tommy says with a tear in the eye.

For the first six years of his tenure, he lived with me and my wife Anita in a flat adjoining our house in De Kelders. During this time, a strong and true friendship was formed between us. When Julia joined Tommy from Worcester, the couple moved to Franskraal.

CIRCLE: Tommy Wilson at his desk in the office where he performed “miracles” for ten years as the beloved principal of Gansbaai Academia.

Their son, Woodrow, who shares his father's interests and decided on a career in law, completed his LLB degree and works as an attorney. "Despite my son already being a fully-fledged

BELOW: Tommy and his wife Julia, also a teacher at Gansbaai Academia, in happier days before Julia was tragically killed in a car accident last year.

PHOTO: Johan Pieterse Photography

LEFT: History was made with Gansbaai Academia’s 2012 matric class of 55 students, the fist in the history of Gansbaai. Front middle: Tommy Wilson, proud principal, and next to him the head boy, Edrich Schmidt and head girl, Michelle le Roux.


22 July 2020

Feeding time for our ‘tuxedo’ friends, the penguins in the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS).

Shark Eco-Tourism and Conservation during Covid-19

Left is Merven Visagie and right Xolani Lawo.

Writer & Photographer Hardus Botha


o industry has been harder hit than tourism and hospitality and whilst the industry is pushing to reopen boatbased whale watching tours and shark-cage diving on Level 2, Level 3 was just extended,” says Wilfred Chivell, CEO of Marine Dynamics in Gansbaai. Wilfred is determined to weather the storm as international tourism will likely only resume in 2021. ‘’Unfortunately, we have only a small team of people left who are doing our essential research and conservation work, as well as fundraising, and our marine biologists are doing educational talks and remote intern lessons,” he says. “Some of our marketing people are working all hours to attend relevant tourism webinars and to do live shows, as it is important that we continue to stay relevant and market what we do.” Marine Dynamics is based at the Great White House in Kleinbaai and is already following Covid-19 protocols for the onsite restaurant.

They have also prepared a protocol document that has been shared with their travel partners. “Our clients’ safety has always been our priority, and even more so in this challenging time. Unfortunately, we will not fully recover until our borders are open, so whilst we hope to introduce more South Africans to our incredible marine heritage, we do not expect to operate at pre-Covid-19 numbers for some time still.” Wilfred established the Dyer Island Conservation Trust in 2006 and one of its key projects, the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS), which opened in 2015, has become a top tourist attraction. More importantly, it is a critical rehabilitation facility for seabirds, with a focus on the African penguin. The dedicated team is at this world-class facility every day, making sure the penguins’ needs are taken care of, especially their morning and

afternoon feed. The hospital and rehabilitation areas, as well as the swimming pools, must always be kept clean. Rehabilitated penguin patients are still able to be released on Dyer Island, and the team is on hand to attend to any penguins in trouble. Just this week the team released four penguins back on Dyer Island. “It’s always a happy moment to release a penguin and know that you are contributing to rebuilding their numbers,” says Wilfred. Marine Dynamics Academy international volunteers and interns, who have the opportunity to learn first-hand from the biologists, all had to leave South Africa, and whilst a full complement for June was expected, these bookings have been held over to 2021. However, guide training is allowed on Level 3 of the lockdown and a small group of locals has just completed a four-week Marine and Coastal Guide Training Course. These courses are endorsed by the Field Guides Association of South Africa (FGASA) and this means qualified guides can legally register as such with the government. “Whilst the team was on the water this week, they sighted all three whale species – a southern right mother and calf, a breaching humpback whale, and a Bryde’s whale,” says Wilfred. “Humpback dolphins were seen near the estuary mouth, and there was some Shy albatross not too far from shore.” Daily monitoring of marine species forms part of DICT’s research and the team has published close on 30 scientific articles. ‘’We have become the voice for white sharks, and if we are not on the sea, we essentially have no idea how they are doing,” adds Wilfred. “There is no reason why, with all health protocols observed and fewer people on board, we cannot start operating, but it seems we will have to be patient for now.”


22 July 2020

Getting the Mill Stream flowing again Writer & Photographer Sarah Taylor


tanford is getting a new green space. To be true, it is not new at all and used to be a valuable community recreation area. However, a section of the Mill Stream below the borrow pit, which the Stanford community calls the Willem Appel ‘dam’ (although it was never engineered or registered as one) has been thickly overgrown with alien invasive plants and trees for many years. As a result of the committed and ongoing community, conservation and municipal action, and as part of a broader regeneration plan for the rural village, the clearing of the alien invasive plants (AIPs) began during last week in the 1.2ha block below the ‘dam’ wall and Kiewietz Street. The alien- and reed-clearing project is a result of efforts by members of the Stanford Conservation Trust, supported by Sheraine van Wyk of Whale Coast Conservation (WCC) in conjunction with the Overstrand Municipality. This small grant project was made possible through funding from the Table Mountain Fund, administered by Whale Coast Conservation (WCC). The stream, which is a tributary to the Klein River, has become choked with reeds, elders, Australian Bush

Cherries (Syzygium), syringas, poplars and Brazilia peppers. Battling to survive alongside these thirsty foreign plants are indigenous wild olive trees, some majestically mature in sizes of up to five metres tall. Armed with chainsaws and brush-cutters, Aidan Butler of Aidan’s Nursery and Garden Service, who was contracted by the Stanford Conservation Trust’s maintenance team, with funding from WCC, to clear the block, and his employee Blessings Yohene are indeed a blessing to the area. Both locals to Stanford, Aidan and Blessings will be assisted with the removal of the cleared alien vegetation by the municipality. Bea Whittaker of the Stanford Conservancy says the clean-up is part of a Stanford renewal project to “bring our community together, make the town safer, more pedestrian- and visitor- friendly, and to protect the environment. We’re doing this for the people but also the frogs.” Sheraine is also passionate about the area and her PhD hones in on the process of finding a ‘unified community voice’, scripted in the Mill Stream Concept Document and Plan in the context of the river rehabilitation project. It all started after she facilitated the monitoring of the frog populations, especially the endemic endangered

Western Leopard Toad, and finding their numbers dropping dramatically because of the poor ecological condition of the Mill Stream. Water test results show that the system is heavily impacted by the inflow of pollution from stormwater drains and agricultural and industrial run-off, which enriches the system and causes the algal blooms in the borrow pit and excessive reed growth along three quarters of the stream. “Alien invasive plants suck up huge amounts of water. Excessive water extraction from the Klein River is one of the main reasons why it becomes eutrophic in the drier months, with algae blooms and, at times, dead fish,” says Sheraine. “The Mill Stream is a micro version of the Klein River and it contributes to and compounds the existing problems in the Klein. That is why this small grant project is important. It’s a little step towards improving the condition of the Mill Stream as well as the Klein. With the replanting of a variety of indigenous wetland plants here, in addition to the clearing and landscaping of the grassed area on the southern bank, this area will be an asset for the community to enjoy,” says Sheraine.

LEFT: Aidan Butler and Blessings Yohene clearing alien vegetation along the Mill Stream in Stanford. ABOVE: The area has been thickly overgrown with alien invasive plants and trees for many years. BELOW: Sheraine van Wyk of Whale Coast Conservation (in the middle) oversees the landscaping of the grassed area on the southern bank of the Mill Street, in collaboration with the Stanford Conservation Trust and Overstrand Municipality. PHOTO: Lauren Rainbird


22 July 2020


Allergies have myriad causes By Dr Hilldidge Beer


t’s a refrain veterinarians hear often from pet owners: “My dog won’t stop scratching; it’s driving me nuts”. The most common cause of itching, skin infections, and ear infections in both dogs and cats are fleas, allergies to fleas, and environmental allergies – dust mites, pollen, and grasses. Both flea allergies and environmental allergies are much more common in pets than food allergies but flea, environmental, and food allergies can all have similar symptoms. Allergies cause great discomfort to your pets, often leaving them with bald, bleeding patches and raised bumps or blisters on the skin. Food allergies can result in diarrhoea and vomiting.

Flea allergies usually present as redness and scratching of the tail, rump, neck and back area. If your pet is itching, treat for fleas first because even if you can’t see the fleas, they’re probably there. Flea mites are

microscopically small and present all year round so constant protection is needed. Your EberVet Vetshop has a range of flea remedies for dogs and cats, including chews, spot-ons, collars and powders. Ask the Vetshop team for advice on the best flea treatment for your pet as all are not equal. And remember to tell them if your pet is pregnant, lactating or is still a puppy or kitten, as pets in these life stages must be treated differently. Never, ever give your cat the flea remedy meant for your dog; it is toxic to your cat and he or she could die. Several days after flea treatment, reassess your pet. If the scratching continues, see your vet immediately. Never leave an allergy untreated, hoping it will just go away. The more your pet scratches, the more susceptible he/she becomes to secondary bacterial skin infections where bacteria attack the raw, exposed skin. This becomes itchier and more painful and this vicious cycle will

ultimately lead to a severe skin infection commonly known as ‘hot spots’, which can be difficult to treat. Other common allergies • Pets can be allergic to their food. This usually presents as redness and itching around the mouth, face and between the paws. Your vet will work with you in determining whether or not your pet has a food allergy. Patience and perseverance are required. • Weird as it sounds, some dogs are allergic to grass; also pollens, mould spores and dust mites. Although sometimes the symptoms of allergies include allergic rhinitis or bronchitis, in most dogs, inhalant allergy manifests with itchy skin (pruritus). Due to these clinical signs, the condition is also called inhalant allergic dermatitis. The dog may rub its face, lick its feet and scratch under its arms. • Cats with too much or too little of certain hormones are prone to skin problems. Hormonal imbalances rarely cause itching but may point to more serious underlying problems that need to be identified and treated.

Treatment options Veterinary treatment options may include medication like cortisone, antihistamines and antibiotics and, of course, flea control. If food allergy is suspected, your vet may recommend changing our pet’s diet. It’s also important to feed your pet a food that can help regenerate damaged skin; food with high levels of essential fatty acids. Treatment shampoos and oils may also ease the

itch. Ask your EberVet Vetshop for recommendations. Allergies can be frustrating for you and your pet and there is rarely a total cure, but the symptoms can be managed to give your pet a good quality of life.

Veterinarian Dr Hilldidge Beer is CEO of EberVet Petcare Group and EberVet Vetshops


22 July 2020


The iconic bokkom By Dr Anina Lee


y mother grew up on a farm near Kalbaskraal, a small settlement just southwest of Malmesbury. Her family’s favourite coastal holiday town was Velddrif – the home of bokkoms.

If you don’t know a bokkom, the closest description is ‘fish biltong’. It’s called a bokkom with reference to the Dutch name for a Billy goat. It is said that the dried bokkom looks like a goat horn, but I suspect it had more to do with the smell of an old Billy goat. If you are not born to bokkoms the smell can be overpowering. Having pleasant memories of summer holidays at Velddrif, my mother had a thing for bokkoms. Even when my parents moved to Johannesburg, she ordered bokkoms from Velddrif. The bunch of dried fish on a string was duly despatched by train and a railway truck arrived at our gate with the precious delicacy – just like that, a bunch of fish on a string – no modern-day packaging. Incidentally, this was also the way the railway truck delivered a gift of culled springbok from a farm in the Free State, merely gutted and with a label tried to its hoof! But back to the bokkoms. For some reason my mother’s favourite way of eating bokkoms was to briefly heat it on the stove to bring out the flavour and then enjoy it on fresh bread with butter. The problem is of course the heating. It not only brings out the flavour, but also the smell. My father, who did not grow up on the West Coast, was not a bokkom fan. Bokkoms were banned from the house and the heating had to be done on an old slow-combustion stove in the outhouse. But what fish was a bokkom before

it became a bokkom? Back in the 1950s we children were told they were called harders and that you can go out in a rowing boat at night with a light on board and the harders will jump out of the water towards the light and into the boat. I have no idea if this is true or whether they were just trying to escape the nets of the fishermen. Yes, bokkoms are dried, salted harders, or South African mullet (Chelon richardsonii). According to the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, Southern mullet are grey, elongated fish with pointy snouts and silver bodies that are darker on top than on the belly. They can be distinguished from related species by the presence of a yellow spot on their gill covers. Although we usually think of mullet as small fish, they can actually grow quite large – some reaching over 40cm. Southern mullet inhabit the coast of Southern Africa from Walvis Bay in Namibia to Kosi Bay in KwaZulu-Natal, although South Africa's West Coast is where they are most abundant. They are also an occasional fresh or brackish water fish, often travelling far up the Berg and Olifants Rivers. Their preferred habitats are calm, sandy-bottomed environments, such as small bays and estuaries. Huge numbers of mullet enter these sheltered environments in spring each year to spawn. These sheltered environments are also perfect places for the southern mullet to find their favourite prey – tiny photosynthetic plankton called diatoms.

PHOTO: Towerwater

aan de Breede

ing rights at Saldanha Bay, on condition that 20% of their catch was sent back to Cape Town to provision the Company’s ships. Needless to say, being smart businessmen, they sent only the useless small fish to Cape Town after having first salted and dried the mullet to preserve them. Thus were bokkoms born. As time went on, and fishing on the West Coast became more commonplace, bokkoms went from being an undesirable food, fit only for ship supplies, to a sought-after delicacy in other parts of the country. Fishermen began seeking out the small, delicious southern mullet for the sole purpose of making bokkoms, and it was time for the fishery to move away from Saldanha Bay to a new ‘bokkom capital’.

PHOTO: My Easy Cooking PHOTO: Towerwater

aan de Breede

Fishing communities moved north to the mouth of the Berg River and other West Coast estuaries. Today, Velddrif on the Breede River mouth produces as much as 95% of the world's bokkoms, giving it the informal nickname of the ‘Bokkom Republic’. Velddrif is, or at least was, in the ideal location for harder fisheries – close to the Cerebos Salt mine, and with a perfectly sheltered estuary for both fish and bokkoms production along a road dubbed ‘Bokkomlaan’. Today bokkoms are extremely popular and demand exceeds supply. Unfortunately, southern mullet are being over-exploited, and although they remain abundant in places, huge fishing pressures are leading to a decline in numbers.

Because diatoms have very hard protective layers made of silica (which is basically glass), mullets do not rely on a stomach to digest them; instead, they have an organ called a crop, which helps grind up their food. This is very similar to the crop or gizzard found in many seed-eating bird species.

Mullet rely on calm coastal waters and estuaries to protect their young – the same waters that are targeted by traditional trek netters and, increasingly by illegal fishing. It’s easy to see how it could lead to problems if not properly managed. Illegal harder catch may already exceed the legal fishery. This is not just bad news for the ecosystem, it’s bad news for communities like Velddrif that depend on the legal fishery for their income.

The history of bokkoms goes back as far as the 1650s, soon after Jan van Riebeeck arrived at the Cape. The Dutch East India Company gave a small group of Dutch settlers fish-

Bokkoms are South Africa’s answer to anchovies – delicious on pizzas, focaccia, in pesto and as a snack. Velddrif is still the bokkom capital – but for how long?

TOP LEFT: Bokkoms are bunches of dried fish on a string that can be described as ‘fish biltong’. TOP RIGHT: Widely considered a precious delicacy, a favourite way of eating bokkoms is to briefly heat it on the stove to bring out the flavour and then enjoy it on fresh bread with butter. ABOVE: Today bokkoms are extremely popular and demand exceeds supply. BELOW: Bokkoms are dried, salted harders, or South African mullet (Chelon richardsonii). PHOTO: Two Oceans Aquarium

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