The Stanford Spectator Issue 15

Page 1


Meet Kat Goss and find out more about her spine-tingling book, Dysphoria (PAGE 3)

THE FROGS ARE OUT & ABOUT Stanfordian initiates study on frog communities

(PAGE 15)


Let’s get our children and grandchildren growing this Spring, in every sense of the word (PAGE 16)


people, news & what sets us apart

Above: Stanford stalwart, Annalize Mouton, passed away on 28 July. She will be sorely missed by the whole of Stanford Village and beyond.



Is it just me or did winter just drag its cold heels this year?! C’mon spring, get here already! We’re over winter and we’re ready to jump into spring – boots and all!

Just as the beginning of spring marks the rejuvenation of nature, it also marks the one-year anniversary of our publication. We made it, wow! This certainly is a momentous occasion for us as it highlights and commemorates a year of articles, stories, memories and tributes for our beautiful Village and beyond. What started out as an onlineonly initiative has grown into something quite extraordinary such that I sometimes have to pinch myself to believe it’s real.

Another fabulous issue (if I do say so myself) of the Stanford Spectator awaits you. Despite the cold weather, August was a busy month and as it was Women’s Month, this issue is dedicated to all our lovely ladies. Read about Stanford’s newest author, Kat Goss, whose book, Dysphoria, will be out soon (pg 3). Women’s Month was full of festivities,

too (pg 7), and then there’s a feature on Dr Odette Curtis-Scott who founded the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust (ORCT) back in 2012, and whose passion for conservation has made such a difference to the Renosterveld (pg 19).

Sadly, we’ve lost some good people recently, too. We said goodbye to much loved Annalize Mouton (front cover and pg 5) who passed away on 28 July, then came the news that Dr Lee-Anne McKinnell who played a crucial role in the establishment of the National Space Agency passed away on 19 August (pg 21), and Carte Blanche won’t be the same without Derek Watts who left us on 22 August. May their souls rest in eternal peace.

Happy reading and take care!




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2 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023
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Above: On Saturday, 12 August, children from the Creative Skills Factory walked around Stanford Village selling cupcakes to raise money for their drama fund. Image supplied.
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the better, she says. Further to this is Kat’s curiosity about the dark side of the human psyche, and this interest stretches as far back as she can remember.

Asked what category of book Dysphoria is, Kat replied: “It’s a casual, paranormal, and a gothic fiction book. It’s a bit spooky and out there,” she says with a grin. Dysphoria is the first book in her own name which leaves Kat feeling somewhat vulnerable, and perhaps even a little exposed. It’s these feelings of discomfort and unease that Kat thrives on because she believes it challenges her to push boundaries and thoughts otherwise left untouched.

The book took a year for Kat to write, and that was in between writing for some of her clients. Kat’s characters were pieced together from various aspects of different people she knows, some of them even from as close to home as Stanford. Her book explores the cycles of life and how, irrespective of how hard one tries, we often find ourselves repeating the same old cycles over and over again.

If you’re into vampires, ghosts and all things paranormal, you’re going to want to read ‘Dysphoria’ by first-time author and Stanford resident, Kathleen Goss, or Kat as she’s known. Be warned though: this mysterious and rather dark novel will leave you with more questions than answers.

A keen reader from a young age, putting pen to paper was a natural next step for Kat. Once she’d been introduced to ghost writing, she dabbled in the idea of becoming one herself and now boasts 23 books written on behalf of clients. When asked what inspired Kat to write her own book, she replied, “I was growing tired of writing other people’s stories, and I needed a change.”

Kat has had a longstanding interest in the paranormal, and once even worked for a paranormal investigations company while living in Cape Town. When writing, Kat draws her inspiration from her fascination for all things dark and macabre – the darker,

“If I’m successful, Dysphoria will provoke thoughts and encourage interesting conversations,” says Kat. There’s one scene in the book where her main character, Lilith, is set in her ways and has been through the same cycles time and time again. She is pushed well out of her comfort zone and finds herself up against some challenging situations. “Making decisions doesn’t come easy for Lilith, and reaching that decisionmaking point is riveting for me as I don’t know what I would choose, had I been in her shoes,” says Kat.

Asked what her writing process is, Kat said she works according to a very strict routine. “Otherwise, I just wouldn’t get any writing done,” she states. “I set myself goals in terms of the number of words I need to write for each day, and I do my best to stick to that.”

Kat has found that a great way of overcoming writer’s block is to take a step back from writing for a while and to focus on reading other books of a similar genre. “This will help get the juices going again,” she says with a laugh.

“My advice to new and aspiring writers is to never give up. Writing can be a difficult

and sometimes frustrating process, but if you stay focused, stay true to your vision, and keep believing in yourself, you can achieve great things,” says Kat.

When she’s not reading or writing, Kat likes nothing more than sourcing new ideas for her writing by exploring cemeteries, visiting abandoned buildings and small, spooky towns in search of inspiration. Stanford and some of the surrounding towns are ideal for that.

Kat’s sinister characters from Dysphoria aren’t about to go away quietly any time soon. She already has the next two books outlined. However, she feels that after a year of working with the same ghoulish characters, a short break is in order. But first things first, Kat is looking forward to the upcoming release of the printed version of her book. She simply cannot wait for readers to get their first taste of the Burned Blood Series.

Darkness reigns supreme in this book and reading it will give you the chills.

3 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023 TRENDING
Above: Kat Goss, Stanford’s newest author with the front cover of her first book, Dysphoria. Photo: Melissa Mc Alpine.




5 Sip & Paint @ Misty Mountains Estate (11.30am for 12pm)

A guided painting session by Anita Dumas

R350pp – incl. art materials, wine, and meal & dessert

Book: 083 650 7142 (José)

10 Farm Harvest-Inspired Lunch (12.30pm)

The Eatery at Rivergate Guest Farm - R380pp

Book: 064 785 7454 |

21 – 25 Earthen Zen, Flowers in Spring

Five Day Silent Meditation

Guided by Buddhist Monk, Nangaku

Inyoni Lodge, Wolvengat


23 Art on a String (9am – 12pm)

100 drawings by local artists on sale at R100 each

Stanford Kitchen

Details: 083 303 4330 (Marian Binder)

28 Stanford Conservation Think & Drink

Birkenhead Brewery

R125pp for the meal plus R50 donation to SCA

Book: 083 418 8973 (Leigh King)

29 Sunset Market (6pm- 8pm))

Stanford Village Green

Details: 082 667 0619 (Philippa Murray)

30 10km Hermanus Whale Festival Fun Run (7am – 9pm)

The Old Harbour, Hermanus

Lots of fun to be had and prizes to be won

R200pp | Details:

SPECIAL DAYS IN SEPTEMBER 1: Spring Day 6: Secretary’s Day 10: Grandparents’ Day 16: International Coastal Cleanup Day 23: September Equinox 24: Heritage Day 24: World Rivers Day 25: Public Holiday 27: World Tourism Day



Annalize Mouton was by far the finest doyenne of unprecedented talent that ever resided in our beautiful village of Stanford. Her considerable talents were showcased in various ways throughout her life. But perhaps, most of all, Annalize will be remembered as a stalwart Stanfordian – passionate about our Village as her superb photographs and dialogue show in her very beautiful book, Portrait of a Village, which she co-produced with her husband, Maré Mouton, in 2008.

The couple were the founders of a monthly magazine called Village Life. Starting out as a community newspaper in Stanford, the magazine quickly expanded to the surrounding towns. It subsequently became a very respected and useful glossy magazine with the subject matter to be People, Nature, History and Arts. George Hofmeyr, former Director of the National Monuments Council stated, “Village Life seems to find a good balance between high academic standards on the one hand and stimulating reading matter on the other.” With her larger-than-life personality, Annalize fitted into Stanford Village with all the ease and comfort of the ‘Tannie’ she became to everyone.

It was when Annalize was doing the groundwork for Portrait of a Village, taking photographs and gathering information on the subjects that she wanted in her book, that I first encountered her. She rang the doorbell at my house in Sillery Street, which I had just finished building. With camera in hand and a jaunty air she asked if she could take some photographs of the house and some of me, too. Annalize was enthralled and so enthusiastic that it never occurred to me to say no. So, I invited her in, and it went on from there.

Spotting a guitar in my studio, Annalize asked me to play it and photographed me doing so. We talked about music, and she told me she was a keen opera singer. An opera-lover myself, I was impressed. After taking lots of photo shots of the house, Annalize went to leave but not before singing a few spine-tingling verses from that great

voice of hers, which reverberated throughout the high-ceilinged house as if it were made for her.

Portrait of a Village of course, was beautifully produced both in dialogue and photography and was well lauded. It will always remain part of the History of Stanford. Annalize would have been justified in being very proud of such a great achievement.

In 2019, Annalize, together with her good friend Greta Muller, who assisted her on this big project, wrote a book called A Bend In The Road, which was about the almost forgotten settlement of Tesselaarsdal. Previously, Tesselaarsdal was not a town or a village but classified as a Human Settlement and has a history going back almost two hundred years. With the influx of outsiders moving in, new challenges were facing the once tranquil village. Annalize captured, in text and in photographs, the very essence of this once-forgotten hamlet with passion and flair.

Annalize’s Egret and The Owl Book Café appeared out of the blue and captivated everyone. A coffee shop on the corner of Morton and Daneel Street, Egret and The Owl Book Café quickly became the IN place to be. With its pretty courtyard surrounded by flowers in planters, it was truly enchanting. Annalize, together with a few local staff, produced breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea on most days of the week. The lunches that came out of the bustling kitchen were good, really good, as was everything else. Her passion for cooking and producing good local food shone through with everything she produced. I loved going to Egret and The Owl Book Café, as did many other locals and visitors alike.

It was here that Annalize re-ignited the choir which she started in the Village a few years previously – a choir made up of local people. I would often be at The Old Mill in Caledon Street visiting the Jones’s when, sitting on the stoep overlooking their lovely garden, you could hear in the distance the choir singing from Annalize’s house across the vlei. It was hauntingly lovely. The newly formed choir would now meet at Egret and The Owl Book Café in the courtyard after closing time and resume their singing practice.

5 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023 IN MEMORIAM


A move was afoot as a For Sale sign appeared on the Coffee Corner Morton Street property. Annalize was offered a place to relocate to a property on the corner of Queen Victoria and Church Street, opposite The Dutch Reformed Church. This was a much larger building with a lovely courtyard, a quaint garden and plenty of parking. The move was done at short notice, but with the help of kind friends and customers, Egret and The Owl Book Café moved overnight into its new premises.

With a huge kitchen in which to move about more freely, and a big wooden table in the centre, you would find Annalize sitting with friends and customers drinking coffee and eating her much revered carrot cake. It created a wonderful atmosphere. Outside were tables and chairs in the courtyard and in the garden – whilst inside, the several rooms were festooned with the many, many books and a quiet ambience for people to browse and select books to purchase.

The new property’s other assets provided an art teaching studio, a group meeting place, venue for birthday parties and art shows to mention a few. Egret and The Owl Book Café had it all. Annalize seemed to blossom at that large kitchen table where she reigned supreme with a smile to enchant everyone.

But it was not meant to be. Beloved Annalize Mouton, superb photographer, beautiful singer, excellent writer, great cook, wife, mother, and a good friend to many, sadly passed away on 28 July 2023. She will be sadly missed by the whole of Stanford Village and beyond. Rest in peace, our dear friend.

6 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023
Previous page: Annalize in her happy place at the Egret and The Owl Café; and she always had a way with animals and people. Images supplied. Above: Two of the photos taken by Annalize that form part of her book, Portrait of a Village. Images supplied.



Since 2003, Women’s Day has been a special occasion at Grootbos as it was the day chosen for the opening of the Green Futures training college. This year, the Grootbos Foundation focused on celebrating the girls and women who selflessly continue to lead and support the communities of Gansbaai, Stanford, Elim and Hermanus. The 20th Anniversary of Grootbos Foundation was another cause for celebration on Women’s Day. Grootbos Foundation looks forward to many more years of serving local communities through education, sports development, enterprise development, research and conservation of the fynbos biome.


Overstrand Mayor, Dr Annelie Rabie, hosted a ‘Inspirational Women’s Day’ event in Hermanus on Saturday, 19 August 2023. The event was a tribute to a group of selfless ladies from the Overstrand area, each of whom play an integral role in helping others within their individual communities. In her address, Mayor Rabie said: “Today we want to salute you for reaching out and supporting one another as mothers, sisters, grandmothers, friends, homemakers or working women. All of you have inspired people in some or other way.” Ladies who were invited from Stanford included Bea Whittaker, Jenny October, Lana Coates, Anchelle Damon, and Cathrine Nyquist. Well done and thank you, ladies!


An entertaining musical tribute was organised and hosted on Women’s Day by Bea Whittaker on behalf of the Conservation Association to raise funds for the St Thomas Church in Stanford. Bevan Sylvester presented the tribute, while singers and musicians Louna Stofberg, Bea Whittaker, Corniël Calitz and Joshua van Niekerk entertained the audience with renditions of songs like Rose of England, War Medley, Loch Lomond, Danny Boy, Waltzing Mathilda and Land of Hope and Glory, amongst many others. An English tea fit for royalty was served in the Church Hall afterwards.

Agroup of ladies were treated to a therapeutic wellness morning at Riversong Studio in Stanhaven on Women’s Day. The aim of the occasion was to offer interested participants an opportunity to take some time out for themselves, whilst experiencing and learning different relaxation techniques that encourage a state of calm and equilibrium. There were three sessions; the first one was a gentle introduction to yoga and breathwork by Olivia. In the second session, Viv spoke about TRE® (tension and trauma release), an easy to learn and selfempowering technique which allows individuals to release stored tension, emotions and memories. The morning concluded with an introduction to chanting and a deeply relaxing yoga nidra meditation by Aleks. Viv started a wellness therapists group a couple of months ago and plans on hosting similar events in the near future.

Above: Some of the women who have benefitted from the mentoring, training and funding offered through the Grootbos Foundation Enterprise Development Programme. From left to right: Ncediswa Patosi, Khuthala Dlova, Keisha Leonard and Nozipho Mvandaba. Images supplied. Above: Mayor Rabie, Bea Whittaker, Anchelle Damon, Jenny October, Melinda Wessels, Dianne Galant and Jo-ann Lewis. In front is Lana Coates and Maria Hofman. Photo supplied. Above: From left to right: Joshua van Niekerk, Louna Stofberg, Bea Whittaker, Corniél Calitz and Bevan Sylvester. Photo: Melissa Mc Alpine


We’re already well into the 2nd month of the Rotary year so a good time to introduce our team. Some very familiar and well-known in Stanford, others new to both Stanford and Rotary.

• Lana Coates – President & Treasurer Projects co-ordinated by Lana include Early Childhood Development, Mother & Child Support, Winter Warmth, Hampers of Love as well as Toy Run co-ordinator. For her above-and-beyond service to Rotary and the Stanford community she was presented with a Paul Harris award –the highest accolade within Rotary.

• Sandy Pillans – Secretary Sandy transferred to Stanford from Sea Point Rotary Club several years ago and is our official scribe. As a long-time Rotarian she brings a fair amount of experience to the Club and is always on hand to assist where necessary.

• Malcolm Bury – Founder Member and Past-President Projects under Malcolm’s watchful eye are Sports Development and Soup Kitchens, where he is hands-on with maintaining the gas cookers installed at the soup kitchens. As a Founder member he has a long history with Rotary, having been presented with a Paul Harris award for his above-and-beyond service to Rotary and the Stanford community several years ago.

• Ansie Reitsma – Founder Member and Past-President

Ansie has a passion for making sure people have food and has headed up the Soup Kitchen’s project for close to 18 years. Ansie also has a long history with Rotary, having been presented with a Paul Harris award for her above-andbeyond service to Rotary and the Stanford community several years ago.

• Stephen Stocks – Executive Secretary and Past-President

Even though Stephen now resides in the


UK he remains a full member of Stanford and has the role of Executive Secretary. Prior to his move to the UK Stephen was presented with a Paul Harris award for his exemplary service to Rotary and in particular Stanford.

• Annie Ranger – Past-President Projects under the watchful eye of Annie are Schools and School Clothes. Annie has just completed a two-year stint as President where her leadership skills were greatly appreciated.

• Chrissie Curnow – New-ish Member

Chrissie was inducted as a member close to a year ago and has joined forces with Ansie in managing the Soup Kitchen’s project.

• Truda Wepener – Newer Member

Truda was inducted earlier this year and is finding her feet within the Club. She has a passion for Mental Health and Community Upliftment and is currently investigating projects in these fields.

• Sybille Essmann – Newest Member

Sybille was inducted in July and even though she is new to Stanford she is no stranger to Rotary. Sybille transferred to Stanford from Rosebank in Johannesburg and brings with her a wealth of Rotary knowledge and experience. Sybille was presented with a Paul Harris award for her excellent service during the Covid pandemic.

• Margy Wakefield – Swallow Member

As a swallow member Margy doesn’t have any fixed projects but is very hands-on when in Stanford.

Rotary welcomes new members; it’s a way of expanding our talent base as well as having extra willing hands. New members bring new ideas, new perspectives and help us stay fresh.

The Rotary motto “Service Above Self” is an acknowledgement that it’s better to “get stuck in” and get a sense of achievement rather than just letting things stay the same.

Olivia (7) and Aurora (5) Nel were among the many who popped in to visit the new Stanford Animal Welfare Society’s (SAWS) shop in Queen Victoria Street on its opening day on 4 August. They were delighted with the look and feel, the bargains, and of course the doggy in the window.

For years, the inexhaustible SAWS team members had been visualising an address that beamed ‘walk right in.’ They couldn’t have asked for more with their new premises.

Please support SAWS by visiting their new shop or by donating to them so that it can continue being a success, for the sake of the many struggling cats and dogs out there.

8 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023 COMMUNITY


There may come a time when one has little choice but to consider hiring a caregiver to take care of an elderly loved one at home. When this time comes, it’s important that you hire a caregiver who is professionally trained, especially if your elderly loved one is taking medication. Experienced caregivers can provide clear instructions and support to ensure your elderly loved ones are taking their medication correctly.

Some elderly people take multiple medications to manage various health conditions. Caregivers who understand the interactions between these medications can help ensure there is no risk of an accidental overdose or underdose.

Hiring a caregiver who is not knowledgeable about medication interactions could have very serious consequences. A caregiver should never discontinue or change medication without first checking with the family or a healthcare professional.

Managing medications appropriately can contribute to the elderly individual's overall quality of life by preventing unnecessary discomfort or complications. Make sure you have a comprehensive list of all medications, including over the counter and herbal supplements, and that you regularly review this list with a healthcare professional.

If you have a caregiver taking care of your elderly loved one, and you pick up on any noticeable changes such as sudden confusion or disorientation, issues with balance, excessive drowsiness, breathing difficulties, skin rashes or seizures, contact the person's primary healthcare provider or a poison control centre immediately for guidance.

In a situation where an elderly loved one is no longer able to care for themselves as well as they once could, it falls to the next of kin to ensure the person is provided with the correct care. After all, our elderly loved ones deserve to be treated with care, respect, dignity and compassion.

9 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023 ELDERLY CARE
Image source: Freepik

STARS ARE BORN “reunited”

It was with great joy on Friday 18 August that Adam Crowther and Aron Gcotyelwa were reunited after some 14 years. It was at a 40th Birthday party at my home in Sillery Street, Stanford all those years ago when Adam and Aron met and found they shared a dance talent, which they proceeded to demonstrate to the delight of all there. Having not met again since that party, the two men were thrilled to see each other and talked and laughed throughout the evening. Considering that Adam was just six years old at their first and only brief encounter, it was amazing how these two remembered the occasion perfectly.

Adam now a 6ft 2in 20-year-old and Aron (42) were asked by Adam’s mother if they could try to remember and do those same dance moves. Without hesitation the two were down on their haunches and danced exactly as they had all those years ago, and it was equally as mesmerising now as it was then.

Aron Gcotyelwa is now a senior manager of Corporate Projects for the Overstrand Municipality and is happily married with two children and living in Stanford. Adam Crowther is now with The Philharmonic Society of Selangor in Malaysia where he performed ‘Song of the King’ in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

and ‘Kansas City’ in the musical Oklahoma. When not singing, Adam studies Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Programming and Laboratory work (phew!) - I’m exhausted just writing it. It will of course be interesting to see which path in life this young man will take, and I for one will be keen to see if my own

predictions about his future will come true.

Two remarkable young men meeting again after such a long time with lots to talk about amid much fun, great camaraderie and laughter. And yes, they did give another excellent dance performance.

See STARS ARE BORN in the June 2023 issue of Stanford Spectator.

Above: Then and now: The front cover of Stanford River Talk Issue 44 dated March 2009 showing Aron Gcotyelwa getting down with a young Adam Crowther; and getting down once more at their reunion on 18 August 2023. Images supplied.

Chocolate Malva Pudding

We’re keeping things local and lekker with this classic South African dessert – malva pudding with a decadent chocolate. Everyone’s favourite saucy malva pudding gets a makeover with chocolate and braaied marshmallows!

Less than 1 hour | Serves 6 - 8


1 cup (200g) white sugar

Pinch salt

2 eggs

2 Tbsp (30ml) butter, melted

1 Tbsp (15ml) vinegar

1 tsp (5ml) bicarbonate of soda

¾ cup (180ml) milk

⅔ cup (100g) cake flour

3 Tbsp (45ml) cocoa powder

1 tsp (5ml) baking powder


2 cups (500ml) cream

¼ cup (50g) sugar

2 slabs (100g each) dark or milk chocolate


12-16 marshmallows, charred, for serving

6-8 chocolate-covered digestive biscuits, for serving


1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Whisk sugar, salt and eggs using an electric beater until pale and fluffy.

3. Add butter and vinegar and mix well.

4. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in milk and

add to wet mixture.

5. Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder into a separate bowl.

6. Fold dry mixture through wet mixture.

7. Pour into a 25cm square ovenproof dish.

8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

9. Heat 1 cup (250ml) cream with sugar until hot but not boiling.

10.Chop 1 slab chocolate into chunks, place in a bowl and pour over hot cream, stirring until melted.

11.Remove pudding from oven and pour over chocolate sauce so that the pudding absorbs it.

12.Heat remaining cream until hot but not boiling.

13.Chop remaining chocolate into chunks and add to cream, stirring to melt evenly.

14.Set aside to firm up (or place in the fridge for a few minutes).

15.Spread cooled chocolate over pudding just before serving.

16.Top with marshmallows and biscuits to create a s’mores effect.

17.Eat and enjoy!


12 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023
13 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023


Like the veins of a body, rivers distribute water and nutrients to areas all around the earth.

A river is a large, natural stream of flowing water. Rivers are found on every continent and on nearly every kind of land. Fresh, clean water is essential for humans and nature to survive. Our rivers are precious sources of fresh drinking water for people across the world. They play a very important part in the water cycle, acting as drainage channels for surface water. The “Rights of Rivers” campaign, which promotes river recognition as a national treasure, is the theme of the 2023 International Day of Action for Rivers. The first ‘World Rivers Day’ was celebratedin 2005.

Why are rivers so important?

Rivers provide food, shelter, and breeding grounds for a variety of species, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. They supply water to communities, agriculture, and industries along their course. Rivers play a role in regulating water flow, helping to control floods by absorbing and distributing excess water during heavy rainfall. They also attract tourists for their natural beauty and the various activities they support. Rivers contribute to the replenishment of groundwater reserves by seeping into the ground and reviving aquifers.

Did you know?

• The Orange, Vaal and Limpopo are the three main rivers in South Africa.

• The start of a river is called the source and the end of a river is called a mouth.

• The Amazon and Nile have almost identical lengths of over 6,500 km!

• Like an ocean, rivers have currents and can be very dangerous.

Take a walk along your closest river and see what you can spot!

Tick the ones you can find:

A duck

Animal tracks

A turtle Dragonflies

Frogs or toads


A weaver’s nest

A crab

Where do fish go to take a nap? In a riverbed.

What do they call a squeaky river? A creek.

Where do fish go when they need money? To a riverbank.

This page is sponsored by Letsolo Water and Environmental Services

24 September

14 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023 LETSOLO KIDS


Back in 2017, Naas Terblanche visited me in my office in Stellenbosch. A retired agriculturalist (with an MSc in animal nutrition) turned winemaker, Naas had spent the first 16 years of his retirement on his farm Vaalvlei close to Stanford. There he developed a passion for the frogs that he had found. He had come to see me because he wanted to conduct a scientific study on the different communities of frogs in the area, using the skills of sampling and identification that he had developed.

We put together a study that tested the influence of invasive fish on various habitat types in the region. Spread across two watersheds in the Overstrand, Naas used satellite data to select 200 different freshwater sites and categorise them into different waterbody types. From these we selected 50 that represented a balanced number of each category type.

Naas spent the next two winters visiting each of these 50 sites in turn, identifying the

amphibian communities in each one. It was hard work as he had to visit each site once during each year, to see, capture or hear every species present.

The data showed that invasive fish were important in determining the composition of amphibian communities. Toads (Raucous toads and Western Leopard toads) that have toxic eggs and larvae are particularly tolerant of invasive fish, while the most intolerant was the plantanna, X. laevis, perhaps because they spend most of their time in the water.

Secondly, the data demonstrated interesting trends in freshwater habitat types. First, we confirmed that different habitat types contain different amphibian assemblages in the fynbos, with those most valuable being from temporary aquatic habitats. Permanent habitats, such as garden ponds and dams, are not particularly useful for local amphibians, but more for widespread common species. This means that if you want to create a freshwater habitat for conservation purposes in the

fynbos, you need to make sure that it is temporary, drying out in the summer months and filling in the winter.

The findings of the study were recently published. The paper can be read in full: Terblanche, N., Measey, J. (2023) The conservation value of freshwater habitats for frog communities of lowland fynbos. PeerJ 11: e15516 peerj.15516

*Dr John Measey is a Professor at the Centre for Invasion Biology based in the Institute for Biodiversity at Yunnan University and at the Department of Botany and Zoology at Stellenbosch University. His research centres on biological invasions and other ecological investigations incorporate a wide range of techniques to address hypotheses in evolution, conservation and population biology.

15 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023 ENVIRONMENT
Clockwise from far left: The Cape sand frog (Tomnoterna delalandii); The Cape river frog (Amieta fiscigula); the raucous toad (Sclerophris capense) and Stanfordian Naas Terblanche.


One of the most magical but regular happenings on this planet is to plant a tiny seed, a brown, boring molecule no larger than a grain of sand, and to watch it produce fresh, nutritious food within a relatively short space of time with relatively very little (and sometimes absolutely no) human intervention.

This is a magic trick every child should learn, because in my experience, when you give a child a handful of radish or pea seeds, that’s when the magic really does happen.

When a child starts a garden, they start a life lesson, how to care and nurture, they learn how to provide a meal for themselves and their loved ones. Gardening can be a biology lesson, a maths lesson, and most importantly, a lesson of patience in this fast-paced world.

Recent studies have shown that regular garden soil contains a bacteria called Mycobacterium Vaccae. Grains of this soil, when they come in contact with our skin, release Serotonin in our brain; Serotonin is a chemical that promotes a feeling of wellbeing or happiness. So, essentially, gardening can scientifically alter your mood while at the same time also improve your immune system.

Dirt is not a dirty word, it’s good for us and good for our children. It also begs the question of why shops dip their vegetables in chemicals to clean them, when handing a grubby carrot or potato can actually enhance our health and make our children happier.

One evening many years ago, while preparing dinner for my brood, my youngest son was bored and wanted attention. At the time, I was cutting up a butternut we had picked earlier from our vegetable garden. I asked him to wash the seeds while I attended to cooking the flesh. He rinsed the seeds in a colander, and I then asked him to count the seeds.

“Seventy-three,” he proudly announced. Then a pause as he suddenly realised that each of these seeds could make a new butternut plant. “Mum,” he said, “why are there hungry people in the world if we can make our own food?” We both learnt an important lesson that day.

I still save and plant butternut seeds, and my son, as a young man now, enjoys pottering around in his own tiny garden and loves eating vegetables.

If a garden project is daunting, or you don’t have a garden, a community children’s garden allows for an educational and play space during the Spring and Summer months. Children can also start saving seeds for future garden projects. Pots also work well; a row of pots on a windowsill or on a patio can produce several crops, and who doesn’t remember planting a bean seed on wet blotting paper as a child?!

I recently did an experiment with culinary

academy students who had virtually no outdoor space and few resources. The students planted a potato in an old plastic rubbish bag. They nurtured their growing potatoes, added soil when needed and

watered the bags. One of the students produced three kilograms of potatoes for his family to enjoy.

Let’s get our children and grandchildren growing this Spring, in every sense of the word.

16 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023
Image source: Freepik

The Enneagram is a powerful system of personality mapping, offering profound insight into the complexities of human nature. It reveals nine distinct personality types, each with its unique motivations, fears, and behaviours. This workshop, led by Enneagram Practitioner Karin Wellman, promises to guide you through a journey of self-discovery like no other.

Spring in the Overberg is a time of renewal, reemergence and revitalisation, and there’s no better time to embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth. We cordially invite you to a transformative one-day workshop nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Cheverells Farm. Here, against the backdrop of nature’s beauty, you’ll have the opportunity to delve into the profound wisdom of the Enneagram and learn how to infuse its insights into every facet of your life, empowering you to forge deeper connections with your loved ones, friends, and colleagues.

Stanford-based Karin Wellman brings her wealth of knowledge and experience to this workshop having dedicated her career to helping individuals and businesses unravel the layers of their personalities, enabling them to embrace their authentic selves. With her guidance, you will explore the Enneagram’s rich tapestry, understanding your own type and gaining insights into the types of those around you.

“It’s not about who we are but how we are: It’s about being completely authentic. It’s not putting people in boxes; it’s about breaking down the walls we have constructed for ourselves.” says Karin.

For Karin, the Enneagram has limitless applications, and certainly isn’t restricted to personal growth; it’s a potent tool for businesses too. As an Executive Coach, she herself uses it as a business tool to counsel corporate executives not only in South Africa, but across the globe.

In the workshop, you’ll discover how this ancient wisdom can be harnessed to help you live a more conscious and compassionate life. When it comes to business, understanding the Enneagram can lead to improved communication, reinforced leadership, conflict resolution, and team dynamics, fostering a harmonious and productive workplace.

Karin Wellman shares her perspective on the Enneagram’s significance: “The Enneagram is a mirror that reflects both our strengths and vulnerabilities. It allows us to navigate life with a deeper awareness, fostering growth and harmony in our relationships, both personal and professional.”

Join us this September at Cheverells Farm for a day of exploration, growth, and transformation. Reconnect with your essence and embark on a journey towards living an Enneagram-informed life.

Unlock the secrets of the Enneagram and embrace a life of authenticity, both personally and professionally. We look forward to welcoming you to this enlightening workshop.

JOIN US FOR A ONE-DAY ENNEAGRAM WORKSHOP in the heart of the Elgin Valley



During rehearsals one day one of my vocalists, Tarien Maritz, (aka Rori), suggested that it would be a wonderful idea if we, as a duo, could offer an ‘Evening of Song’ in aid of the local Butterfly Centre - and tempt generous donors.

Well, that kind of offer was certainly compelling for a local musician and a strong supporter of the Butterfly Centre Kids. The kids have been practising ‘My Favourite Things.’ What an opportunity to promote youngsters on stage before an admiring public, especially since Star Search Overberg has announced an intention for young and upcoming performers across six Overberg community centres to enter a talent contest and perhaps be a part of the Stanford Festival on 7 October 2023.

It just so happens that I was already preparing my vocalist, Rori, to enter the contest with her nominated song and compete and represent the village with her entry. The opportunity to combine the talents of the two entries was unbelievably alluring. I could envisage a Julie Andrews Sound of Music scene with my Butterfly Centre kids and Rori singing ‘My Favourite Things.’

Hence an Evening of Song on 21 July at my home, Castle Herriot, as part of the rehearsal schedule, was planned and executed with the Butterfly Centre kids singing some of their favourite songs including ‘Flower of Scotland’ (can’t imagine why?!), and of course, ‘My Favourite Things’, with the Prima Donna, Rori.

Young Rori set the scene on the night with real up-tempo rock and pop music such as Bed of Roses, Before He Cheats, Think Twice, and Hey Jude - finishing off with a rousing Hallelujah and Amazing Grace. The two dozen or so of fans in the form of parents, friends, music lovers and associates enjoyed the precursor of a stimulating adventure and an introduction for promising young performers into ‘Overberg Has Talent’, not too dissimilar to the popular TV show from across the pond.

Let’s wish them well!

18 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023 MUSIC
Above: One of the Butterfly Centre stars, Marciano. Image supplied.


Renosterveld biodiversity, Haarwegskloof, the unpredictable Black Harrier, Women in Conservation; and the list doesn’t end there.

Dr Odette Curtis-Scott who heads up the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust (ORCT) is more than passionate about this unique ecosystem which is home to many species of fauna and flora. Expansive agriculture has resulted in only small pockets of Renosterveld remaining today, and it is not a habitat easily restored by any process such as reforestation for example.

All that remains is to conserve what little is left. ORCT has made an incredible effort to educate farmers and alert them to the importance of preserving any Renosterveld remaining on their land. The ongoing process has resulted in farmers signing formal agreements to do so and the conditions will stand in perpetuity. Renosterveld occurs on farms in a widespread area roughly between Swellendam and De Hoop Nature Reserve.

In the heart of this lies Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve, part of the largest and most contiguous extant lowland Renosterveld that remains in the Overberg and in fact on Earth. It is home to many species of rare, endemic, and even endangered birds and plants.

Most significant of these is the Black Harrier, southern Africa’s rarest endemic raptor which is listed as endangered. A number of these birds have been fitted with tracking devices and the resulting maps of their movements from here to the West Coast, back to the reserve and suddenly off to the Free State are nothing short of a marvel. Odette’s comical accounts of their observations of these incredible birds prove them to be rather unpredictable.

Pointing out that they are actually day owls gives further insight to their behaviour and anatomy.

Founder and Director of ORCT, Dr Odette Curtis-Scott has a PhD in Botany from UCT. Energetic and enthusiastic, she has a strong interest in birds and managed both the Black Harrier and Black Sparrowhawk projects at UCT. She also discovered three new plants in the Renosterveld, two of which have been named after her.

Support where you can:

• Visit Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve / Research and Visitor Centre

• Buy the book, Field Guide to Renosterveld of the Overberg, co-authored by Dr Curtis-Scott

19 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023 BIRDING
Above: Founder and Director of ORCT, Dr Odette Curtis-Scott. Image supplied. Above: The Black Harrier (Circus maurus). Image

For the of Stanford’s dogs! love

Dogs are known as “man’s best friend” for good reason – they bring joy, companionship, and unconditional love into our lives. And if there’s one thing that just about every Stanfordian has in common, it’s the love they have for their dog/s!

This is your chance to show off your favourite pooch so we can get to know all the wonderful woofies from our ‘hood. Send us some details about your furry friend and don’t forget to include a picture-pawfect photo or two. The doggo featured will be gifted a special doggy treat!

This month we’re introducing two newbies to the Village – Sophie (Jack Russel Terrier, aged 10), and Zack (Maltese Terrier, aged six years). Sophie and Zack live with their humans, Raymond and Lorraine Tee, who moved to Stanford around six months ago.


Sophie is a retired ‘Touch Our Pets’ (TOP) therapy dog. In her time as a working dog, Sophie used to visit old people’s homes and rehab centres, helping both old people and children overcome various traumas. Her specialty, however, was being involved in the court preparation program for children who had been physically or sexually abused. TOP dogs help teach the children about court officials in a good way, they help children heal and bring love without judgement or threat. Since moving to Stanford, Sophie is making new friends and enjoying life.


Zack, on the other hand, is just enjoying life. A real ‘’mommies boy”, he loves digging for moles and going for walks along the Wandelpad. Sadly, Zack had a bad start to life so he’s not quite as loving and social as Sophie is. But he does love it when people comment on how cute he is!

Both dogs are very well behaved and social and love to meet other dogs on the walks, share their treats and just ‘be’.

The picture above is not a real portrayal of Zack – he is most happy when covered in dirt after digging for moles.

20 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023
Sophie (top), and Zack (bottom). Images supplied.



Dr Lee-Anne McKinnell, Managing Director of the South African National Space Agency’s Space Science Programme and Sandbaai resident, passed away on Saturday 19 August 2023 after a short illness. Born in Vereeniging in 1970, Lee-Anne grew up in Witpoortjie, close to Krugersdorp. She was the first female learner to complete a technical matric at the John Orr Engineering School of Specialisation. Her father, an Electrical Engineer, wanted her to follow in his footsteps; however, she developed a passion for physics. True to her nature, she decided to satisfy both and enrolled in a BSc Physics and Electronics course.

After obtaining her degree, Lee-Anne pursued her Honours, Masters and PhD in Physics through Rhodes University. She later obtained an MBA from the Business School Netherlands (BSN) in 2015, with distinction. She was accepted as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Graz University of Technology in Austria and fondly remembered the time she spent there. Lee-Anne was appointed as a junior lecturer at Rhodes, but not for long, as she rose through the academic ranks and was appointed Honorary Research Professor at Rhodes University in 2011. She was well known for managing the Ionosonde Network in South Africa.

Lee-Anne was appointed to the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory (HMO) in 2004 as a researcher and was then appointed as the Acting Managing Director in 2010, after which she moved to Hermanus part-time. Her husband, John McKinnell, joined her in Hermanus in 2012 when the HMO was incorporated in the newly established South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and they relocated permanently.

Lee-Anne played a crucial role in the establishment of the Space Agency, as a board member and as an executive, and many of the students she supervised are now full-time researchers at SANSA and around the world. She served as SANSA Space Science Managing Director for 12 years and during this time made a tremendous contribution to the space science, skills development, and science engagement fields.

The Space Weather Project was her crowning achievement, which produced a Space Weather Capability for the country in three years, on time, and on budget. The launch of the 24/7 Space Weather Centre in November of last year was a highlight for her and the SANSA team. Lee-Anne was a space weather advocate and custodian of the unique SANSA Hermanus facility, which she loved and is now a National Key Point, thanks to her continued efforts to protect the site.

Dr McKinnell served on numerous international committees and working groups, including as the Space Weather co-chair for the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), ensuring Africa’s interests are maintained in the field of space science and related technology. She also received a long list of awards for her contribution to the Space Science field.

Lee-Anne loved animals, especially dogs. She owned several dogs during her life, including a border collie named Skye and a dachshund named Pixie. She loved listening to music and took up baking as her lock-down hobby. She was also a skilled seamstress, a hobby she learned from her grandmother and practised often. Her husband, John McKinnell, expressed his gratitude for all the messages that have been pouring in since the announcement.

“I received several messages from prominent scientists who told me they owe their current positions to Lee-Anne. SANSA was Lee-Anne’s life. She gave so much to the organisation, but also received so much in return, particularly from the wonderful Hermanus Space Science team. She will be sorely missed by me and sorely missed by them.” Dr McKinnell is survived by her husband John, her parents Lynn and John Williscroft, and her two brothers Mark and Gerald Williscroft, and their families.

21 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023
Above: Dr Lee-Anne McKinnell’s legacy will continue to live on for many years into the future. Image from Facebook.


Whilst quite a few Black Fridays have sailed by since I worked in retailing, I still maintain an interest in shopping trends. So, when I read that Pick ‘n’ Pay had opened a new generation store in Somerset West I soon made a plan to experience their efforts.

Walking around the new store in the Waterstone Village Mall I was impressed by the attention to detail and the ambitious selection offered. A short while later I was suddenly confronted by an oncoming phalanx of suits, headed by PnP chair, Gareth Ackerman. Presumably there to appraise what they no doubt hoped would be the brand’s future.

After dropping a few treats in my basket, I headed for the check-outs and couldn’t resist asking the assistant who she thought was today’s most important visitor. Her eyes narrowed, expressing a suspicion that this was some kind of clever-dick question. Eventually, as the message of some longforgotten training session percolated through her head, she brightened and with a ‘gotcha’ smile exclaimed ‘You are, sir!’

I wanted to shake this young woman’s hand – as well as the often-unrecognised

member of the company’s training team who had managed to plant that seed. As interactions go volgende, sakkie and a wish to have a nice day further hardly represent the zenith of customer interaction.

Anyone who has been involved with retail customer service training (or customer experience as it is now frequently called) will attest to the task’s difficulty. Usually this is because of the high rate of staff turnover or because of a poor understanding of the relationship between satisfied –read repeat – customers and the associated positive effect on job security. Unfortunately, there is often a disconnection between the achievement of sales targets and a pay slip.

A past CEO of Scandinavian Airlines, Jan Carlzon, wrote in his seminal book on customer experience that every interaction between a customer and a vendor is a ‘moment of truth’. Get it right and you might have a customer forever, get it wrong – well, they’ll just forget you forever. Carlzon goes on to talk of employee empowerment. He opines that if an employee is so constrained by policies and procedures – or worse –mushroom management, they will never be able to deal with a situation that veers away from the norm. A properly trained and

empowered retail team can work wonders. And whatever their role everyone in that team has a part to play. Let me tell you a story.

A clothing manufacturer was hoping to become an approved supplier to a large retailer. Success would bring long-term job security to hundreds of employees, from the executives to the cleaners. One of those cleaners, Sammy, was told that the condition of every part of the factory, including the washrooms, would be inspected and rated. So, Sammy scrubbed and polished, scattering Domestos and Glade with much enthusiasm. Some weeks after the inspection, the CEO gathered all the employees together to share the news that they were now an approved supplier. He thanked everyone for their part in this achievement. That evening Sammy was enjoying a celebratory beer at his local tavern when someone asked what he did. He didn’t say ‘I clean factory washrooms’ –he said, ‘I close deals.’

My friend from the supermarket and Sammy both confirm that it is possible to imbue a sense of belonging, responsibility and empowerment in employees. Because without it there just might not be too many (pay) days further.

22 The Stanford Spectator SEPTEMBER 2023 LAST WORD
Image source: Pick n Pay Facebook


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