Entrepreneurship is the future of the valley
A Man for our Time
We interview Eckart Zollner from the IIB - PAGE 6
The Archie Jefthas Story - PAGE 4
A business-to-market hub in print and web media
The Magic of Bubbles By The Editor
One of thousands of festival-goers enjoying the bubbly on offer
The 2008 Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, showcasing an array of celebrated Cap Classique producers as well as some of the finest French Champagne Houses, took place over the weekend of the 6th and 7th December on the lawn at the foot of the Huguenot Monument. Journalism in 40 degree Franschhoek was tough work and required thorough, methodical, attention-to-detail tasting through acclaimed Champagnes such as Ayala, Gosset, Joseph Perrier, Laurent Perrier and Pol Roger; as well as popular Cap Classiques like Bon Courage, Boschendal, Colmant, Constantia Uitsig, Graham Beck, Hazendal, Krone, Môreson, Pierre Jourdan, Pongracz, Simonsig, Steenberg and Villiera. Concerns that the hottest weekend of the summer (so far) would scorch the spirits were dashed sooner than you could say ‘Billecart Salmon’ as locals, tourists and out-oftowners washed down ice-cold cap Classique under the tented canopies and enjoyed musical entertainment from the youthful Franschhoek ensemble, The Cape Dutch Connection. The food stands from Franschhoek’s leading restaurants were enjoyed in equal measure and clearly a huge success in this marvelous advert for the valley. Champagne is a wine region in France that objects to other producers using the word “Champenoise”. As a result, Cape producers had to come up with an alternative name and, in South Africa, this prestigious wine category became known as Cap Classique. The Cap Classique Producers Association (CCPA) was established in 1992 by a group of like-minded producers who make according to the traditional Méthode Cap Classique (MCC). In his speech to open the festival, Cap Classique Producers Association committee member (and Franschhoek’s own) Jean Phillipe Colmant described MCC as “a young product in a young market with a tremendous potential.” He explained that since the early days of the Cap Classique Pioneers, the Association had come a long way and had enjoyed an exponential growth in membership during the last three years. “Whilst the French have been making their Champagne for over two hundred years and are nowadays producing 340 million bottles a year, South Africa produces just four
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Restaurant and wine tasting open daily, throughout the year. T: 021 875 5141 firstname.lastname@example.org www.backsberg.co.za
to five million bottles annually. But whereas they have achieved 99,5 % of their potential, we have maybe realized only 50% to 60% of ours, in terms of both terroirs and know-how. I can assure you that our French friends from Champagne keep a very close eye on what we are doing here…” If anybody can lay claim to having bubbles in their blood it is Graham Beck’s cellar master, Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira. “This festival is unique in the world. Nowhere else have the French bubbly producers aligned themselves in this way. I counted seventeen different French labels here” says Pieter who felt the whole festival was a great success and expects it (like a good wine) to improve over time, and include workshops and demonstrations. “The French are taking the festival more and more seriously. Down the line I believe we will see more French individual winemakers coming here” he says, adding that the Cap Classic producers have been invited to Champagne next year to compare notes. “A crazy alliance is developing!”
from the editor The Month
From the editor
H ere we are in 2009 with the novelty of a local newspaper to read in January. But if I
am to achieve anything in 2009 it will be to convince people that the Month, as a media project, aims to be so much more than that; an interactive website, a platform to discuss ideas and tackle the issues that lie ahead for the valley, and a medium through which to give maximum exposure for the businesses that advertise with us. Each advertiser now receives coverage each and every month in the form of editorials, pictures, an insert in the ‘What’s On/ What’s Happening?’ guide and an opportunity to respond to a question in the new section of the paper - the Month’s Question – where we ask a range of people for their response to a particular question of relevance to the valley. This month’s question about the goose that lays the golden egg refers to the goose as the reason people want to be here in the valley; the way the valley looks. By changing the way the valley looks, by building out of character, we are killing that goose. Turn to page 16 to see what people have to say.
The newspaper is now distributed to Wine Farms (600 copies), Guesthouses (500), restaurants (500), Retail (500), Post Boxes (1200), Housing Estates (1200), Schools, etc (800) and 1200 copies go into the Pick ‘n Pay, the Spar and baskets outside the Salmon Bar, Jager Estates, Masquerade, the BP Garage and the new Franschhoek Wine Tourism and Official Logo shop. If you don’t receive delivered copies then please pick up from one of these outlets and if
you need more don’t hesitate to call me.
I received this very encouraging letter from ‘Geoff in Knysna’ who had picked up a copy from a travelling relative. He says
“I’m truly stunned and amazed (by the Franschhoek Month). The physical presentation and quality is wonderful. I love the incisiveness and direct way the paper communicates. This is shown very clearly in your approach to the non-white community. They live and breathe through the publication and come across as real people, not just recipients of ‘projects’. You show the success of individuals in those communities, which is so vital to the inspiration of others wanting to succeed. This must contribute to more personal knowledge and understanding between each community. This paper talks to you, it doesn’t just present.” Wow! I thanked him but pushed him a bit further, wanting to know where the passion comes from and this was his response: “White South Africans are such whingers. Far worse than the Poms, they just don’t understand what a wonderful country and opportunity they have, all they have to do is get involved and you are doing that. I used to read Finance week and I just blew my top at one edition. All the “captains” of industry were moaning and bitching about how all their problems could be laid at the government’s door, some valid, some not. I emailed the journal giving all these people hell and
reminding them what their worries were in 1992, with the country bankrupt and a “Marxist” ANC coming in at some point and asked what they were doing about the ordinary South African who DIDN’T turn round and kill everyone and take everything away and actually were prepared to forgive! Well, at least they had the grace to publish my email. I can’t stand people who focus on the negative. If you don’t like it, take responsibility and change it.” Thanks for that Geoff! Also this, received from ‘Anonymous’ “If Franschhoek is proclaimed as the food and wine capital of the Cape, then why is the quality and choice at our supermarkets so dismal? If Franschhoek is as loving and supportive to all the residents as portrayed by our local rags, then why are there so many “divides” in our town with so much in-fighting and disregard for people merely trying to make an honest living from the limited resources and passing trade that we are fortunate to have? If Franschhoek is so limiting in business traffic (other than the established tourist related businesses), then why are the commercial rents so high? If Franschhoek is so “gay orientated” then why is there no gay bar, restaurant or night club here yet?
If Franschhoek is so small in numbers, why are there so many estate agents “fighting” to survive? If Franschhoek is so full of “foreigners”, why are there not more “live music concerts” offered at peak season, there must be many great venues? Why are there so many divides or “cliques” in one town when we might all have to pull together as neighbours in times of trouble? Let us make 2009 a year when we all make an attempt to support our own people trying to survive in rather trying times!” Thanks for that, Anonymous but ‘local rags’? What can you mean? In this month’s edition we speak to Archie Jefthas about his Lord’s Acre Community Centre in Groendal, to Eckart Zollner about entrepreneurship, to Rob Armstrong at Haut Espoir, hear from Helen Naude at Franschhoek FM and receive our second report from the self styled ‘Voice of the Voiceless’ Jabu Mpayipeli. I read somewhere that 2008 will long be remembered as a tough, challenging year but as is often the case in SA, we weather these storms and emerge ‘battered yet stronger’. Let’s see. Happy New Year! David
mORE At: WWW.tHEmONtH.CO.ZA/WHAtSON
SATuRDAY SuNsET SuPPERs AT FYNDRAAI REsTAuRANT, SOLms DELTA SATUR- Details: Every Saturday from the 10th January until the 31st January from 5pm ‘till 7.30pm at R120 pp for the show DAYS and a Cape Summer platter. Call Lindy or Theresa on 021 8743937 or email@example.com
JAzz AT LA BRAssERIE FRI- Details: R120 per couple includes a bottle of wine and free jazz from the Cape Dutch Connection, every Friday from DAYS 5.30pm until the end of March.
NORm’s BAR AT COL’CACCHIO Details: Norm’s Bar at Col’Cacchio, open during January from 9pm until 2am, Monday through Saturday, now offers discounts to industry patrons. Don’t miss Monday night poker and Toss-the-Boss Tuesdays.
BuffET LuNCHEONs AT BOsCHENDAL Details: The Restaurant at Boschendal is serving delicious, extensive buffet luncheons, seven days a week during January. Le Pique Nique, the elegant French-style picnic beneath the fragrant pines is also open daily.
EVERY SALMONBAR TURNS ONE YEAR OLD Details: The SalmonBar is one year old! Birthday salmon, seafood and BUBBLES pairings EVERY Wednesday WED. evening in January. Call 021 8764591 for reservations and details.
JANUARY DISCOUNTS AT DU TOITs JANU- Details: Classique Jewellery are offering all bead and pearl necklaces and bracelets at a 20% discount until ARY the end ofDuToit January. Call 021 876 2782 for details. BACK TO SCHOOL wITH PICK ‘N PAY JANU- Details: January is ‘Back to School’ Month at Pick ‘n Pay Franschhoek. See in-store for details of ‘Learn more for ARY less’ school equipment specials or call 021 8762075. EVERY SPIT BRAAI AT THE BIsTRO The Bistro, open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner will be doing a Spit-Braai once a month MONTH Details: from January. Call 021 876 4714 for details. PAGE 2
STERNE WINS OPEN
FRANSCHHOEK LITERARY FESTIVAL NEWS
South African Richard Sterne beat Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin in a one-hole playoff to capture the South African Open title a week after winning the Alfred Dunhill championship. He shot a bogeyfree 6-under-par 66 after beginning the round locked in a tie for 11th place. “This tournament is so prestigious and the names on the trophy are just unbelievable,” Sterne said after becoming the third straight South African to win the event at Paarl’s Pearl Valley estates. “I may need to set a few new goals after this one.”
Afrikaans speakers in the valley will be pleased to hear that André Brink has agreed to join us next year, when he will be in conversation with other writers and discussing his forthcoming autobiography. And there should be some interesting fireworks when Max du Preez (Of Tricksters, Tyrant & Turncoats) takes on rock star Koos Kombuis, author of The Complete Secret Diaries of God which has readers laughing for hours. Also coming, from Australia via Prince Albert, is first-time novelist Eben Venter, author of Horrelpoot , (Trencherman in English translation). Other recent acceptances: • Acclaimed writer Mandla Langa (The Lost Colours of the Chameleon) • Pippa Green, author of the well-received Trevor Manuel biography, Choice Not Fate • Tom Eaton, satirical columnist and author of The De Villiers Code, Texas and The Wading • Rajend Mesthrie from UCT, President of the Linguistic Society and an engaging speaker • Novelist Justin Cartwright, whose new book will be out in April • Petina Gappah, an exciting new Zimbabwean writer
BACKSBERG JAZZ SEASON Some highly enjoyable evenings of Jazz this year has inspired Backsberg Wine Estate to create an entire Jazz Season for 2009. They will be hosting six local Western Cape Jazz bands on the last Friday of each month during the season, which runs from January to June, and will culminate in a special, larger band and event. The sounds of Jazz, resonating through the beautiful Backsberg grounds, are sure to be a wonderful accompaniment to an evening of fine wine and food. Tickets include entertainment and delicious food platters; Backsberg wines will be available for purchase as well. Tickets go for R125 per person from 18:30 onwards on the last Friday of the month. The season will kick off with the Muirhead Quartet on 30 January 2009. The band is formed around lead guitarist Bruce Muirhead – a welloiled jazz muso, film music composer and teacher. He’s done various international gigs and more recently performed at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. The band enhances his undiluted jazz style. Contact Lee Ann on (021) 875 5141 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask about seasonal discounts.
the commitment of most of her citizens to a bright future and the determination & affection of the kids of The Kusasa Project. I was met at the airport at 6:15am by Doug Gurr and 2 stars of TKP – Linamandla and Sbuthe, perhaps the nicest kids I’ve ever known. Doug, of course, was tucking into a bacon roll by the time I rolled through customs and we then cruised back to “the Hoek” in style in Sold1 (or was it Sold2?), a far cry from Doug’s ever unreliable Landy.
ell, this LFL is written from the land of warm beer and awful office Christmas parties (Do I HAVE to go?!), but it is mostly about my recent flying visit to my 2nd home: the Franschhoek Valley. As some of your readers know, I popped down for a few days to do a bit of fundraising for The Kusasa Project (thanks Nick!!) to the sounds of popping corks at the Cap Classique & Champagne festival held over the weekend of Dec 6th-7th. What I thought would be a relaxing four days sipping bubbly & quaffing some nice La Petite Ferme Sauvignon Blanc turned into a whirlwind of meetings, greetings, eatings (nice new joint, Kalfi) shaking down the fancy sunglass crowd from Cape Town and doing my best to avoid running into that purveyor of pizzas, the master of the Double C – “The David” Foster. I ended the trip completely exhausted but wholly exhilarated; boosted by the beauty of the Valley,
During the weekend I introduced Hugo a.k.a. The Cheese King of Franschhoek Blaisse, to the wonders of mountain biking as he ate the dust of Matt “Man on a Mission” Gordon and the rest of the Sunday club on an early detox ride deep into the gorges of our beautiful mountains. We even met Barry Philips, who wisely rose early to avoid the building heat, and was returning from his ride as we knuckleheads were just on the way out – sweating like sumo wrestlers in a sauna. Two common themes ran through my visit: 1) readers seemed to enjoy the Letter from London and 2) there was great concern over my lack of colour. After a morning assembly at the New Dalubuhle school, during which I was reduced to tears by the passion of the choir, I was greeted by hugs and worried looks – “Mr. Dave….you’re REALLY white!” Melvin King, normally the very picture of diplomacy and someone from whom I take advice regularly, advised me: “Dave. I think you need some sun.” Paul (Pablo) Hawthorne, 2007 Franschhoek’s Nicest Guy award winner, and one of the whitest people I know, quipped “Wow! I guess it’s been pretty cloudy up there.” Even
Adrian the Rasta car guard, who gave up a promising career in rugby to keep order on the streets of Franschhoek, refused my R5 donation to his party fund and dipped into his pocket to put a R50 note into my palm with the words: “Meneer. Go get a suntan at the salon down the road.” The David will be pleased to know that Adrian reads my column religiously. Point taken from all of you.
sage roll in hand). As Luc insightfully pointed out, “Mom, you were right. We didn’t come back for the weather.” Kathleen, as always, has kept us all together, making our transition to a new house, new town, new school and new job far easier than it could have been. She will be starting teaching Pilates in January. We continue to straddle three continents and hold a piece of each in our hearts.
One criticism I received, in the nicest of ways, was that while my tales of train gloom and the demise of the financial world as we know it are fun and entertaining, the readers wanted to know how the family was. Well, not one to disappoint my critics, I can oblige this request with the following info. Gabriel, Luc & Nico are all at a school which resembles Hogwarts. It even has a moat. Led by a headmaster and teachers in the same lofty league as The King, Marc Barrow et al, it’s a great place to mould the minds & bodies of the three Riordan scoundrels. Gabriel is adjusting to wearing a uniform (those ridiculous British short pants & long socks) and shoes rather than his trusted Springbok jersey, shorts and barefeet. He hasn’t been thrown out yet, which is a relief. Nico made the monumental jump from Grade 2 to Grade 4 and has made us proud by doing an outstanding job making friends and catching up on all his subjects. He wasn’t so keen to wear studs in rugby but realized he could exact immediate retribution on nasty opponents in the ruck so came to appreciate their benefits. Luc has blossomed, being in an all-boys environment and has used his grounding in Afrikaans to attack French and Latin. All three boys are learning the core skills of rugby at Tunbridge Wells RFC each Sunday (and dad is freezing his butt off watching with tea and sau-
Lastly, despite my determined efforts, The David did catch up with me literally as I was jumping in a car to head to the airport. Clearly my run of luck ended in my last minutes in the Valley. I hope to be more fortunate when we all return after Christmas.
Dave (the nice Dave)
Archie Jefthas – A man for our time By The Editor
The Month talks to Pastor Archie Jefthas who recently opened the LORD’S ACRE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY CENTRE in Groendal. With the support of his wife, he has been busy with spiritual and moral development work on fifteen farms in Franschhoek and Simondium since 1987.
24-hour trauma counselling for abused women and children. And then he has his day job with Correctional Services at the Groot Drakenstein Correctional Facility providing spiritual and moral development and HIV-Aids awareness where he works with 600 juvenile offenders to co-ordinate awareness projects, educational programs and the development of peer-educators, where he counsels offenders in life choices. We asked him about his life, his job and how the idea of the Community Centre began.
Archie outside the Lord’s Acre His ministry consists of health programs – HIV/AIDS, Marriage Enrichment and Ceremonies, Child Ministry, Word School for farm workers, Women’s Ministry, Men’s Society, Music Ministry and the provision of food and clothes to the needy. The Community Centre boasts a large central hall and aims to provide music, dance and drama training, life skills programmes (such as rehabilitation of newly released prisoners), a day care centre, a soup kitchen, a computer centre, legal aid, a meeting place for seniors citizens, a drug, alcohol and weapon-free meeting place for teenagers, a Boy Scout equivalent (Royal Rangers) and
“My life and my job is spiritual and moral development and I focus my work on moral issues, bringing back Biblical values” he says. Most juvenile offenders come from homes without a father figure in the family, and that’s what lands them in prison – they’ve no guidance. He works with these youngsters (aged from 18 to 25) to rehabilitate them for life after prison. “Most are in for ‘economic’ crimes like theft and housebreaking. The more serious crimes (rape, murder, armed robbery) are usually drug or alcohol related. There’s tremendous peer pressure in their environment, they are moved by what they see and hear around them.” Influenced by adult figures who misuse the youngsters for their own self-enrichment, the kids get caught for thieving, smuggling and selling. Archie believes that by linking up with community corrections and helping offenders reintegrate into society, we can combat crime. Being a Franschhoek local he was embarrassed that so many kids from Franschhoek ended up in prison and originally was planning to build a church. He began his ministry doing outreach work on the farms having “met God” the year his father died, in 1983. In those early years, he says, he was very involved in politics, fighting against the government of that time and he admits he had developed “a hatred for the white people.”
(now le Manoir de Brendel) and, being Pentecostals, liked to sing loudly on Sunday mornings. But when he opened the guest house in 2000 we had to move on so the guests could sleep in” he laughs. De Jongh, however, negotiated the purchase of a piece of land in Groendal where Archie could build his church but he and his congregation (mostly farm workers) struggled to raise enough money. With the church half built, he says, his wife told him “God didn’t tell you to build a building, He told you to build the people.” At that time he went to the Dutch Reformed Church in Franschhoek and did a confession, gave his testimony, and asked for forgiveness for himself and for those that had wronged him.
Prison is nowadays about rehabilitation, not punishment “God broke me down because I needed to be free from judgement. I accused the whites of being racist but I was the same” he says. “It was the first time I cried in front of white people” But the congregation was moved and on that day he met Ron Whytock who had founded FRANCO (Franschhoek Resource and Network Coordinating Organisation) and they started working together. Ron had contacts in Cape Town and the Rotary Club of Newlands were looking for a project to support. After numerous meetings, Archie changed his vision from building a church (“We’d only have used it once a week”) to building a Christian Community centre. Ron worked with John Winship of Rotary Club (Newlands) and got the major funding from Peninsula Beverages (Coca Cola) to complete the building, Trellidor provided the security and the Berg River Dam project donated computers and office equipment.
“We used to meet up on Archie de Jongh’s farm
Archie already has a Scouts program, trauma counselling, outreach social work with children, spiritual enrichment programmes run-
school for 50 children with the raised funds which should be ready by May 2009. Parents will still pay a small fee but social services have
pictures showing how their contributions are making a difference. The foundation also supports the Ikhwezi and Honeybee crèches and
ning at the Centre. His focus for next year is to start an early childhood development area and is confident he’ll get the two wendy houses he needs for this. It will help develop the children for pre-primary, but focus on values and impact morals at an early age. The program to reintegrate ex-offenders is also running. The Centre hosts Correctional Service officials and juvenile offenders to focus on rehabilitation, focusing on skills and job creation. November saw the first adoption of a juvenile offender, a 25 year-old from George who served six years of a nine year sentence for serious assault. Four years ago he committed his life to Christ and with Archie’s support trained as a peer-educator in HIV-Aids, and is studying Business Studies through UNISA. He lives with Archie and his family in Groendal but will move soon to the Community Centre and will be followed by four more ‘adoptees’ who will be supported by the Centre provided, Archie says, “they finish their studies. They must give back and build their lives on Biblical values and morals” Groot Drakenstain is the only juvenile prison in the Western Cape and houses youngsters from all over. Taking on the rehabilitation challenge is “to prove to Correctional Services that if we do more, play a supportive role, it can work, instead of being negative” says Archie.”Prison is nowadays about rehabilitation, not punishment. The old system (of just locking up offenders) didn’t work. Many offenders just came out worse than when they went in.” When they arrive at Groot Drakenstein the offenders are asked in which direction they want to go to learn a skill that will help them get a job when they come out. The facility has workshops, a piggery, even a dairy where the prisoners work. Pastor, Counsellor, Rehabilitator and even employment officer. Archie is all this and more and gives 25 hours a day to the community. He can be reached on 0724636824 or 876 3727
Dutch group raises funds for local school By The Editor
Stichting Groendal is a Dutch organisation devoted to combating poverty in the Franschhoek valley by addressing the needs of the poor. It provides support and raise funds in the Netherlands from schools, churches and hospitals. Jaap Harryvan, the treasurer of Stichting Groendal, was here in Franschhoek in early December and explained to The Month how money is raised and how it will be spent. In 2007 it raised roughly €15,000 but in 2008 a primary school in Holland of approximately 350 kids, celebrated its 90th birthday and was looking for a beneficiary for funds raised and donated €45,000. A Dutch group that matches funds added a further €25,000 and €70,000 was made available through FRANCO (Franschhoek Resource and Network Coordinating Organisation). The Khanyisa crèche was started in 2003 by Rosie Caleni in her own back garden. Without a subsidy from the government, she provided a safe environment for children from 1 – 4 years old to spend the day and organized a daily warm lunch for their pupils for a R60 per month contribution from the parents. Since 2004 Stichting Groendal has supported Rosie’s creche financially, provided a freezer and heater, paid food bills and for educational material and, since 2005, provided a small allowance for the teachers. The plan is now to build the Khanyisa Educare Centre, a new PAGE 4
schhoek region to acquire life and work skills with the aim thereby of ultimate full reintegration back into society. More information about Stichting Groendal can be found at their website: www.sgn-franschhoek.nl Voice of the Voiceless I am the voice of the voiceless Selfless Uplifting the worthless Eradicating inferiority complex Irrespective of colour difference I am protector of the defenceless Battling all forms, norms of violence I am the blanket of the homeless Strength of the hopeless
Jaap and Rosie at the plot where the school will be built committed a support grant for running costs. Rosie will travel to Holland next year for three weeks to meet the founders, the schools and the contributors to present report backs and
gives funds to the Youth Empowerment Action (YEA) group, the street children project run by Minnie Petersen that empowers disadvantaged children and youth throughout the wider Fran-
I am the warning siren Alarming the careless I am the candle in the darkness Burning bright in the uncertain paths To self independence Yes I am the voice of the voiceless -By Jabu Mpayipeli
The Lemon Twist
By Clive Alexander of Franschhoek Group Accommodation
The point of this is that to get anywhere in life you have to be positive. To have a negative attitude is to fail before you even start. I think that one of the reasons our country is in such a mess is that our politicians always find a reason why something can’t be done, rather than having a “let’s go for it” attitude. (Of course when it comes to lining their own pockets, optimism knows no bounds.) The fear of failure is the fear of life itself. What are the three most terrifying words in the English language? “I Love You”? “In my Office”? “Next victim, please” (in the dentists surgery) No!
More ruminations from your resident cynic, Clive Alexander. (Just in case you’re wondering, these ideas and opinions are entirely my own. They in no way reflect the ideas or opinions of the Editor of this fine rag. He is far too nice a character to have ideas or opinions like these. In fact he has suggested that we change the name of this catastrophe to “the Grumpy Old Man Column”.) Further to my rant last time about the bastardisation of the English language, another thing that bugs me is the misuse of certain words by people who should know better. A case in point is “decimated” instead of “devastated”. A news report will read “the town was decimated by the flood”. This means that 10% of the town was damaged, while the reporter means to convey that the town was seriously damaged. The word “decimated” means “reduced by 10%”. The usage comes all the way from the Roman Empire. A Centurion was in charge of 100 men. If they failed in some way, the Centurion’s punishment was to be “decimated”, or have 10% of his men removed from his force, usually by being executed. So to say that the Springboks were decimated by the All Blacks doesn’t make much sense, does it. Further reading on the subject has revealed the fact that the Usage Panel of the Farlex Free Online Dictionary has broadened the usage of the word to include “a large proportion”. But what do they know? I live in a rather schizoid world. On the one hand I am very cynical about he world around me, as you might have gathered, but in my personal life I am the supreme optimist. I can never reject a challenge. Sometimes the more difficult a thing is, the more I want to do it. This can have tragic results. Many years ago three of us, myself, my best friend Gerald (I was still young enough to have a “best friend”) and our pal John, were always doing “stuff”. We decided to go potholing one day down one of the sinkholes that had appeared around Stillfontein, near Johannesburg. When we got there we discovered that the authorities, quite sensibly, had fenced these places off, just to keep irresponsible hot-heads like us away. Of course the juices were still pumping, so it was off to the cliff faces at Hartbeespoort dam. Half way up one of the climbs, Gerald lost his footing. I found him hanging from the rope, half way down the cliff. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, to go and tell his young wife that her man was no more. In my professional life too, I relished a challenge. The more esoteric the research was, the happier I was. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes the results were spectacular, bringing results that were far reaching (modest I am not). More often than not, I bit off more than I could chew. JANUARY 2009
The three most terrifying words in the English language are: “SMELLS ARE PARTICULATE” With every breath that you take, various molecules in the air pass over sensitive areas in your nose. These send signals to your brain saying “Yeah man, roast beef, smells good” or something similar. The signal might say “yeugh….. what is THAT?”
A refinement that has even a confirmed cynic like me gasping with admiration is to fill up the ditch with soil, then concrete, so that the results are only felt some months down the line. They have worked out that the different expansion/contraction ratios of concrete and asphalt are such that just when the rains start next winter, the concrete would have spalled and cracked away, letting the water in to do its thing. Brilliant, I tell you! As a very innovative alternative, just the opposite has been created, in the form of “speed bumps���. These are supposed to slow the irresponsible motorist down, which is a very commendable idea. But these speed bumps have been scientifically designed to be just a tad too high, so that even responsible, law abid-
ing motorists, like you and I (nudge, nudge) are caught with our proverbial pants down. The lack of painted highlights also adds to the fun. I hope you all had a lekker Christmas, without going overboard. Mind you, with the economic scene as it is today, the only South Africans who can afford to go overboard are all the “new” South Africans, or black diamonds, as they are also called. Lately the newspapers are full of reports of extravagance by these creatures, with expensive super-cars being given as Christmas presents and million rand mansions being trashed because nobody bothers to check up on them. Anyway, I wish us all a better 2009 than 2008 has been. That should be easy!
Recent Property Sales in Franschhoek The following table shows details of the last three months sales of property in Franschhoek drawn from Deeds Office records. August is the last month we have shown because, typically there is a three month delay in registration. Clearly, there may be other transactions on delayed registration that are still to be logged by the Deeds Office. As indeed has been the case this month where there have been several registrations of transactions from earlier in the year.
Scientists have discovered that all volatile substances give off actual particles of the substance, to hang in the air just waiting to be smelled by YOU. So every time you smell something, an actual particle of that matter in sucked into your nose to lie there and do its thing. What a horrible idea.
Never again will I visit a public toilet at the V&A Waterfront. The Japanese have taken this piece of knowledge to heart. Haven’t you seen those pictures of people walking around some of their cities wearing surgical masks? I once took a break from telecommunications and went to work for Rio Tinto in Namibia (then still called South West Africa) doing geophysics. I was driving through the bush near Otjiwarongo when I came upon a carcass of a kudu. It must have been dead for a couple of days. In that heat, you can imagine the smell. It was absolutely nauseating. If I had known about this particulate thing then, I would have got the hell out of there with a great speed. So remember this piece of advice the next time you pass that open cess-pit.
Year-on-year sales of residential property in Franschhoek (excluding sectional titles) have fallen by approximately 10%; R406million in the year to August this year against R445million last year. The number of transactions has fallen by more than 25% from 135 last year to 98 currently. This has been offset partially by the increase in the average price of property sold which has now reached slightly more than R4million, up some 25% year on year. For more information contact Paul Eccles at Engel & Voelkers on 021 876 4485 or e-mail email@example.com
It must be obvious to any residents of Franschhoek that the Municipal pot-hole makers are very busy practicing their craft again. The whopping great holes in Dirkie Uys Street are cunningly designed to do the maximum damage to your car’s undercarriage and tyres. During the extensive rain over the last couple of months the holes filled up with water, making for even greater sport. You could not judge the depth of the hole, so you either drove through at what my ball and chain describes as “naught miles per hour” or you risked breaking everything. You do realise, don’t you, that these guys must complete a diploma course in pot-hole making before they are allowed to take pick or shovel in hand. They have special inspectors going around evaluating the results of any pot-hole session. Special recognition is given to any “donga” doing maximum damage. A very cunning ploy is to fill up the hole with soft sand. The unsuspecting motorist thinks that the patch is safe to ride over, only to have the sand give way underfoot, or should I say “undertyre”, with hilarious results.
The Future is Entrepreneurship Fire Alert By The Editor
The Month speaks to Eckart Zollner, a village local and member of the Institute for Independent Business; a not-for-profit research, training and accreditation organisation that provides information and assistance to meet the needs of independent businesses.
• How old are my customers? • Are my customers men or women? • Where do my customers live? • How much money does my customer earn per month? • Where else does my customer spend his or her money? and many other questions. The more questions the entrepreneur is able to formulate and answer, the better the chance of success in the entrepreneur’s new business. It is most important that the answers to the questions are as accurate as possible and are tested amongst a group of people. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of THINKING they have the right answer to the question whereas in fact the real answer is hidden or masked. The Month: How must they go about this?
Eckart Zollner Franschhoek is growing quickly. We asked him how life is sustainable for everyone in an area dominated by wine farms, small retail shops and restaurants? EZ: Unless you are directly involved in any of these industries, you will need to create your own niche business to support the valley lifestyle. Many of us commute and seek work elsewhere but this is time consuming and expensive. There are many opportunities brought about by the growth in the valley but the only way to tap into this opportunity and to create a basis of economic sustainability for oneself, is through successful entrepreneurship. The Month: What is entrepreneurship? EZ: Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a new business or starting an organisation that takes responsibility for a new business. In the first instance a single individual will carry the responsibility for the business whereas in the second instance a number of people will jointly share in the responsibility of the business. The Month: What are the pre-requisites for the entrepreneur and for the new business? EZ: A new business requires a very clear objective as to the product or the service that it supplies. It requires customers that place a value on the product or service and that will pay for such a product or service. The value that makes a customer part with his money can also be a combination of product AND service, i.e. supplying a product such as fruit at a specific location and at a specific time most convenient to the customer. The Month: What else? EZ: The business needs to understand and be able to solve a particular problem which their prospective customers are faced with. The entrepreneur has to understand the exact nature of the problem and why the prospective customers would part with their money in order to allow him to solve that particular problem. To understand the customer and to identify a valid problem that the customer may have means that the entrepreneur must firstly identify the customer or range of customers. This process is also often referred to as market segmentation. The entrepreneur needs to ask himself questions such as:
EZ: Answers are tested by asking friends, colleagues, family and even strangers from within the target market. This process is also referred to as market research and forms a vital part of any entrepreneur’s future chance of success. The market research thus serves to identify the key criteria of the target customer and confirm the validity of the problem which the entrepreneur has identified and intends to solve. Often entrepreneurs fall into the trap of asking the wrong question: “Would you like to OWN a cellphone?” can invoke a different answer to: “Would you like to USE a cellphone?” Whilst the answer to both questions appears to deal with the use of cellphones, the answer to each of these questions does place a different value on ownership and usage. An entrepreneur has to be extremely careful to identify and define the customer problem accurately and correctly, before he or she does market segmentation and market research. The Month: What are the risks in the new business?
An entrepreneur should be possessed by a form of “calculated recklessness” EZ: There can be many risks that face new business which could fill an entire newspaper on its own. What is important is to understand the various categories of risk and to clearly identify and be specific about which risks are under the control of the entrepreneur and which risks are outside the control of the entrepreneur. An entrepreneur can only plan to do something about the risks that are under his direct and immediate control. The high crime rate in South Africa is outside the immediate control of the entrepreneur, but theft from his Spaza shop can mostly be controlled by the entrepreneur. Risk categories that the entrepreneur must analyse and understand in broad terms are listed as product risk, service risk, market risks, competitor risk and financial risk. It is important for the entrepreneur to be able to describe the specific risks that he faces in each of these categories and what he will do to protect against these risks.
be possessed by a form of “calculated recklessness”. Only those who persist will become successful, but at the same time an entrepreneur needs to have a dynamic personality, has to have the ability to constantly read and analyse a situation and change his strategy according to the circumstances and events that he observes and that unfold around him. Successful entrepreneurs often surround themselves with numerous friends or colleagues with varying and wide ranging expertise that will give advice and support on critical decisions. The personality of a successful entrepreneur is often described as a “Jack of all trades but master of none”, i.e. a generalist rather than a specialist.
I thought it very important for “The Franschhoek Month” to publish information about the annual ban on making open fires that has been gazetted. Too many people are unaware of the fact that it is illegal to make fires in the open at this time of the year and there are also many folks like us who have lost a lot because of this negligence. I have forwarded a copy of the local Fire Protection Agency newsletter. Our local FPA was set up after the big fires in 2005 with the help of Johan Bouwer from L’ Ormarins. Regards, Richard Atkinson
The Month: Where does it lead? EZ: There is no end to the entrepreneurial process- entrepreneurship in business must never be allowed to come to an end. Successful entrepreneurship leads to a successful business growing from a small to a medium sized and ultimately a large business. But the end of entrepreneurial activity in any business is equivalent to the death knell of that company. Business constantly needs to reinvent itself, standing still and abandoning entrepreneurship means that others will overtake or replace the business and ultimately the business cannot sustain itself and is forced to close its doors. Almost ninety percent of all successful entrepreneurial businesses do not sustain themselves after their first major entrepreneurial success. Once a business shows success and routine structures and processes take hold within the business, it will develop a need for corporate governance. However, one of the most difficult tasks in business is for entrepreneurship and corporate governance to co-exist successfully side by side. The Month: Is this the solution? EZ: South Africa still has one of the highest failure rates of small businesses in the world. Next to a sound quality education system, entrepreneurship is the only other answer to combat rising unemployment and poverty levels within a community. The challenge for our future generations lies in providing the fundamentals to making future entrepreneurs successful in business. As always, the devil lies in the detail, and the detail will set apart the successful entrepreneur from the mediocre or unsuccessful start up business. The Month: Thank you Eckart, for your valuable comments. Eckart Zollner is an Accredited Associate of the Institute for Independent Business and can be reached on 082 990 3460 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Month: What are the requirements and personal characteristics of the entrepreneur? EZ: An entrepreneur needs to have lots of energy, passion, drive and motivation to make something happen. An entrepreneur should www.themonth.co.za
Fire Awareness “Over 90% of fires are caused by human negligence.” About 90 % of our “unwanted” fires are caused by people and their activities. This is why ‘fire awareness raising’ programmes need to target people and communities. Working on Fire run fire awareness programmes in schools making use of firefighters to talk to students. Firewise is an extensive educational programme that produces posters which can be used as a teaching aid in the classroom. The colorful posters use illustrations and text to convey lessons about fuel safety, the impact of fire, the causes of veld fires, what to do and what not to do, fire danger rating as well as school fire safety rules. They have also made available a schools fire awareness programme and a learning programme aimed at primary schools. There is also a fun board game for use at home or in the classroom. A booklet written by environmental lawyer David Waddilove details, in an easy to understand way, how the law deals with wild fires, what landowners’ legal duties regarding veld fire prevention are, the requirement for firebreaks, what is the danger rating system and the fire protection association requirements and duties.
Damsel in Distress Whilst travelling out of Franschhoek recently, one of those people-eater 4x4s drove up behind me, flashing its brights. I understand the universal traffic language, but was soon to turn into Groendal and quite like upholding the law (and standing my ground!) and so I did not pull over. When I turned, the beast followed and proceeded to follow me for another three turns – right into the parking lot of Franschhoek FM where I was due to speak on air. I was a bit concerned! The Beast stopped and three rather burly men pealed from its bowels. The first ran up to my car, smiling broadly and waving. I apparently had a very flat tyre and they had followed me in order to tell me and offer a hand. I was already running late for my interview, but that did not faze them! Jack Luies and his mates from Brits took it all into their own hands and changed my tyre while I chatted with Helen on air. What a refreshing experience! Three knights in shining armour coming to the aid of a damsel in distress. Thank you! -Tracey Garner JANUARY 2009
Credit crunch contracting? By Chris von Ulmenstein of Whale Cottage, Franschhoek After a dismal winter, and a poor start to the summer, largely due to the very wet winter, the late start to spring and the global credit crunch, it would appear that the remaining summer months ahead look far more positive for the tourism industry. Whilst bookings for Franschhoek lag those for Cape Town, those in Cape Town for February are looking extremely positive, with guest houses on the Atlantic seaboard already up to 80 % booked. The reasons for this include the very cold and early winter the UK is experiencing, the 2% drop in the rate of VAT in the UK, the interest rate cuts in the UK, the weaker Rand, the need for a holiday after the tough times the British have experienced this year, and the weak pound/Euro exchange rates, which makes travelling to Europe very expensive for Britons. February is also wedding month, and as The Month reported last month, very big business for Franschhoek. British tourists visiting South Africa between January and Easter tend to be older, and therefore less affected by the credit crunch. The domestic market too is buoyant, with the R1,60 cut in the price of petrol and the 0,5 percentage point cut in the interest rate being a welcome Christmas present in December. The positive effect of these relief measures was immediately visible, and has boosted not only day visitorship to Franschhoek, but also overnight stays. The “Magic of Bubbles” Champagne Festival and the S A Golf Open at Pearl Valley were a welcome drawcard to Franschhoek last month, in a time which is usually quieter before the festive season rush.
La Cotte plans passed By The Editor
After more than a seven year wait and numerous alterations to the proposal, the go-ahead for the development of a residential housing estate, restaurant and guest-house on La Cotte farm in Franschhoek has finally been granted by Province. The site for the proposed development on 30 hectares is at the north-eastern end of De Wet Street, Franschhoek. It is currently used for agricultural purposes and contains a number of historical buildings. The intention is to re-establish La Cotte as an agricultural unit with vineyards, restore the historical complex
ter Jean Gardiol, a Huguenot, was granted the farm La Cotte in 1694. It appears on a set of stamps and a commemorative envelope issued by the South African Post Office in 2007. “I have been developing in Franschhoek for twenty-one years. This will be the Versailles of Franschhoek. It will make a magnificent wedding venue.” says Robert. The development will restore the existing mill and outbuildings to their former glory and the beautification of the surrounding parkland
One of the original homesteads at La Cotte and convert it into a five star guest-house and 80 seater restaurant. In addition, what was previously an application for 27 residential erven is now just 11 and these will be developed on the elevated part of the site, above the existing werf, with views over the valley. The developer, Robert Maingard says “It’s an historic place in a run-down condition. We want to rebuild it in a way that fits with the cultural heritage of the area.” The old watermill on the site is said to date from 1721 af-
and under-vine areas will make walking to and from town with views all around an attractive proposition indeed. Plots will probably go on the market in the New Year and building restrictions will ensure an alignment to the existing historic style. The approval comes with a commitment from the developers to give R1m to a trust for the upliftment and improvement of Groendal community when the plots are sold.
Jurassic Meteorology By Lick o’ the Cat
ply a job title invented by the makers of the program to make the expert more credible? This was not the first time that I have noticed this. There have been Jurassic Meteorologists and experts in Dinosaur Kinematics too. Do you wake up one morning and get the feeling that the field of Jurassic Meteorology is in your future? This is the thing that is going to carry you through life, put food on your table, clothes on your back, and pay for your children’s education? It is not my intention to question the existence of these professions and I am sure that they are all remarkable men and women. What is amazing is that these professions exist.
The other day I was watching a moderately interesting programme on the Discovery channel. The content of the programme escapes me now because I was distracted by something in the programme. There was an interview with a chap who was described as a forensic anthropologist. As usual, the man in question spoke intelligently and passionately on the subject matter at hand. The thing that went through my mind, however, is how anyone decides to become a forensic anthropologist or is this simJANUARY 2009
When I left school, I knew that I loved listening to and collecting music and being in the African bush. There was no way that I could be a savannah musicologist or a musical savannaist. The majority of school leavers in those days made vocational decisions based on the financial rewards and security they could reap from their vocation. One was almost discouraged from indulging your passion. You could indulge your passion once you were financially secure. Guidance teachers had a very limited arsenal too. On top of that, the spectre of conscription loomed over you if you were a boy. Bad decisions were made to defer becoming cannon fodder in a war we did not understand.
Travelling overseas to find yourself was also not really an option because we were the lepers of the world politically. It was possible, but not really the norm. My decision to study for a degree in business was because I had done well in economics and accounting in my final school year. Not because of an overwhelming passion for the laws of supply and demand or compound interest. This decision was doomed to end in failure. The educational system at the time did not equip us adequately to make this incredibly important decision. I spent a year wasting my parent’s hard-earned money. Of course, this realisation only dawned on me once I had my own children. At the time, I thought I was a student of life. My parents thought they were affording me the opportunity to make the world my oyster. We were both wrong. Of all the students at the university, maybe one third knew what they were going to end up doing. Most were waiting for some sort of vocational epiphany. Rather get a degree behind your name before you venture into the real world. Always have something to fall back on. Men with degrees and qualifications were generally given jobs that did not involve being shot at when they did their military service. These are the factors you considered when making the most important decision in your life. Women had even less choices than men. Those that ventured into traditionally male pursuits
had to be seventy thousand times better than their male counterparts to be considered for the same position. It was a different time. One was not encouraged to indulge ones passion. Ultimately, I suppose many people picked vocations that they could tolerate to make money, hoping to find some kind of satisfaction along the way. How can you do something properly if there is no passion? You are dooming yourself to a life of mediocrity and this ultimately erodes your self –respect. Astonishing amounts of people of my generation absolutely hate their jobs. There is also not a single Jurassic Meteorologist among them either. That is so sad. Now children have an astonishing array of possibilities to pick from. Almost too many choices, to the point where I have to wonder if they are not as lost as I was when I left school simply because there are so many possibilities. The difference is that children are taught life skills at school and as a result are far better equipped to make this allimportant decision than we ever were. I really hope they are also being taught that there is no shame in changing your mind. Have the courage to pursue your passion, rather than bow to the dictates of a miserable society. I went to sea. Not many bushes there, but I still hear the music.
The Wilfred Moses Column - On Labour Issues a temporary or permanent nature. 2. If it is of a temporary nature, investigate the extent of the incapacity or injury. If it is going to be long-term, investigate all possibilities short of dismissal. In other words, dismissal should be the very last resort. When considering alternatives, look specifically at the following factors: 2.1 The nature of the job (type of work) 2.2 The period of absence 2.3 The seriousness of the illness or injury 2.4 The possibility of securing a temporary substitute for the injured or sick employee Wilfred Moses DISMISSAL DUE TO INCAPACITY (RETRENCHMENT) Quite a number of employees have experienced dismissal after been injured on duty or after a period of ill health. In most of those cases employees were simply told by their employers that their services were no longer required and that they can stay home. This is done without having followed procedures in terms of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995, or paying any form of compensation. Clearly this is unfair dismissal as schedule 8 of the LRA stipulates the grounds for dismissal due to incapacity as well as the procedure to follow in such cases. In schedule 8 of the Code of Good Practice on Dismissal, item 10 covers the issue of dismissal due to incapacity as a result of ill health or injury as well as the substantive and procedural fairness in such cases. When the situation arises, the employer follows the following steps: 1. Identify whether the injury or ill health is of
2.5 The possibility of “light” or alternative duties 3. Once the employer has conducted its investigation, an opportunity must be given to the employee to respond to the findings of the investigation. The employee is entitled to be assisted by a trade union representative or fellow employee to state his case. Always keep in mind that the degree or level of incapacity is relevant to the fairness of dismissal. Many employers see dismissal as a quick manner to resolve their labour problems, but at the end it could cost them for not applying fair remedies/solutions to situations of dispute. Should employers, for example, have problems with alcohol/drug abuse, perhaps the appropriate remedy/action would be rehabilitation or counselling instead of just dismissal. In the case of X v Elvey International (Pty) Ltd (1995) 16 ILJ 1210 (IC), it is illustrated that mental illness or stress may also result in an employee’s incapacity for a period of time. In this case the court found that the incapacity was of a temporary nature. The medical evidence indicated
that if the employee took the medication correctly, he was able to do his work. The employer had also failed to counsel the employee before the dismissal and the dismissal was found to be unfair. Now the Act expects even more sensitivity to employees who get injured or ill due to workrelated circumstances. Therefore the employer must really try to walk the extra mile with employees in those circumstances. In Carr v Fisons Pharmaceuticals (1995) 16 ILJ 179 (IC), an employee had been injured at work and subsequently dismissed. The court found that although the dismissal had been substantively fair (because the employee was no longer competent to do the work), consultation with the employee was, nevertheless, essential in cases of dismissal for incapacity. The duty to accommodate the employee was greater where the disablement was work-related. -Where dismissal is inevitable or fair, the following facts must be considered: -The capability of the employee to do or not to do his/her work;
-If the employee is not capable, the extent that the employee is able to do his/her work; -The extent that the employee’s work circumstances might be adapted to accommodate the disability or, if that is not possible, the extent to which the duties might be adapted; -The nature and size of the business; and finally -The possibility of suitable alternative employment. In conclusion, the crux of the matter is that injuries or ill health should not be abused as a strategy to dismiss employees. ‘Till next Month. Wilfred For any queries or consultation, please contact Wilfred at 083 3175 335 or email at wilmo@ webmail.co.za
Build It and they will come By Brett Garner
The Build It group is the fastest growing hardware business in South Africa. As part of the SPAR group they have shown that they have a solid foundation and a certain future despite the current pressures on the building trade.
TM: Is the fact that you are doing so well the reason that the group has chosen you to have the car on display? (I’m referring to the car parked outside the entrance to the shop which is one of the prizes in a nation-wide Build It competition.) Maryse: Not really – every region in the Build it group is assigned a grand prize – in this case it was a bakkie. Each store will draw for the consolation prises, as we did live on Franschhoek FM, as well as the grand prize. The winner of this latter draw will go forward to the head office in Durban, where they will draw for a winner of one of the 6 grand prizes (one for each region). The bakkie we had on display, we organised ourselves. Jonathan: I called the local car dealer and said I wanted a car out front. It’s a great prize and having it for a weekend wasn’t good enough. TM: Jonathan that kind of approach is what your shop has a reputation for: you’ve generally got everything and if not – you’ll get it! Do you have plans to expand even more?
Jonathan and radio-winner, Deon I asked Jonathan and Maryse Peach about their move from their previous location earlier this year. Jonathan: Aah, it’s been great. We’re in a lovely area. The kids walk or cycle to school and their friends are close by so it really is perfect. It has a real village atmosphere but we’re in a bigger town with all the conveniences – so it’s been a good move for us. Truth is the kids have been going to school in Paarl, so all their friends are there and we spent a lot of time there even before we moved. TM: I meant the move of your shop – to The Franschhoek Centre. Jonathan: Oh. No, it’s been very good. Very good. We’ve got more space, lots of parking, a dedicated delivery area and things are booming. Even though there’s less building in general in the area, we’ve benefited from the move. We passed our annual projections in our third month here! PAGE 8
Maryse: We’d love to. We can certainly do with more space and have asked for it – but we’re dependant on the centre allowing us to fill it. We’ve got some great plans for the year ahead and making the shop bigger is part of the process. I had planned to ask Jonathan and Maryse about the dynamic of running a business together as a married couple, but the answer has been made without any need for words. From the moment I walked into the shop the positive vibe was palpable and sitting with the two of them it was obvious why. As I stand up to leave I ask Jonathan about ‘a white plastic hook for the blind in the bedroom.’ As the words leave my mouth I realise that he won’t have a cooking clue what it is I’m talking about. Without hesitation he heads down an aisle and picks a small packet, “This it?” I’m so impressed – I take two. Build It is in The Franschhoek Centre and is open from 8AM to 5PM Monday to Friday and until 1PM on a Saturday. Call them on 021 876 4410, fax on 021 876 4015 or email email@example.com
ID Campain at Groendal High
By Jabu Mpayipeli
People turned out in large numbers for the long awaited opportunity to register for free Identity Documents on Wednesday, 10th December which turned out to be a disaster and a disappointment as some of the people went back home unregistered. People came from places like Sagmill, Bosbou (La Motte) and the surrounding farms like Morelig and the Groendal area, Mooiwater and Langrug. The Department of Home Affairs arrived an hour later than expected, which was a blow to some of the workers who had sacrificed their lunch break and trod back to their job unattended. No explanation was given as to why the officials came late. Inside the hall where people had already occupied seats, the officials complained about the shortage of working tables; there were only a few learner desks which some were used to place equipment. Outside and on the inside of the hall there were no volunteers organised to help and guide the people where to go from point A to point B, which resulted in chaos inside the hall as people became uncontrollable, young and old were pushing each other as each raced to register first while others were complaining. The people complained that they were not correctly informed about what was required for them to register - some claimed documents that could have served as reference were burnt in shack fires. Soon thereafter the Groendal Community Hall caretaker known as ‘Peter’ arrived accompanied by the Community Development Worker from Groendal. They brought extra tables for the officials, ‘Peter’ tried to call the people to order while explaining that he was not involved in the campaign, he was only told to bring tables to the hall. Councillor Morgan was asked by the Month what he had to say about the crisis and the complaints of the people and he replied “The
people need to understand that although we can help them by getting their documents from their schools, for example, I cannot represent them. I am here today merely to assist the officials from the Department of Home Affairs in Stellenbosch” As most of the people were leaving disappointed because they could not register, the situation started to calm down and because of the additional tables that arrived and the self-elected community members who took a stand to ensure the smooth running of the registration process, things went well. There were mixed emotions at the end of the day. The young people were excited as some would soon be receiving ID’s for the first time and for the ones from Langrug it meant an open door for employment and voting for their respective political organisations. However, for the people who were unable to register disappointment was etched in their faces.
People became uncontrollable, young and old were pushing each other as each raced to register Some of the community members made the point that “the Home Affairs Department postponed this campaign twice in November at the last minute with no valid reason, so maybe that’s the reason no preparations were made – we were not sure the officials would turn up today.” When the Month asked one of the officials from Home Affairs what they had to say about what happened, “The day was boring, every time we come to Franschhoek we always experience problems and incompetence, that’s all I have to say” The campaign finished earlier than expected and when officials noticed no new people coming inside the hall they were quick to start packing their stuff without waiting. At just past five pm their tables were clear. People coming from work, therefore, missed the opportunity to register for the long awaited campaign, although 160 did manage to register on the day. Councillor Morgan writes: “We appealed on many occasions to the people to prepare themselves properly for this opportunity. Many people came to our offices and we helped them contact their schools in the Eastern Cape to receive their documentation. I think there is a misunderstanding about our authority here: we can only assist the people and we have done so. I have asked the Department to come back in January and hopefully we can be better prepared then.“
food & wine
food & wine
Thurston’s Signature Prawns Recipe by Thurston Viljoen, the chef at Klein Oliphants Hoek
Yes we can!
Barack Obama toasts success with Graham Beck Brut It’s not every day that your wine is chosen by one of the world’s most famous men to celebrate history in the making. Graham Beck Wines has achieved this honour not once, but twice!
2 ripe avocados ½ an onion (finely-chopped) 2 cloves of garlic 3 blanched tomatoes (diced) 2 chillies (chopped) 150g coriander (freshly-chopped) 2 lemons (juiced)
For the guacamole; put cleaned and deseeded avocados into a mixing bowl then puree. Add chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes, chillies, coriander and lemon juice. Set aside.
PRAWNS: 4 large prawns pinch of rock salt pinch of freshly-cracked pepper
RIACHA: 250g plain yogurt 100g crushed walnuts 1 tsp. paprika pinch of rock salt pinch of freshly-cracked pepper
For the Riacha; combine walnuts, yogurt, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix together well and set aside. For the prawns; in a bowl, toss prawns in salt and pepper. In a non-stick pan heat up some butter and olive oil. Add a small clove of finely chopped garlic and place prawns shell side up and fry until shells turn a light pink and meat has lightly browned. To finish; place a decent amount of the guacamole in the centre of the plate, place prawns on the guacamole and dress with the Riacha. Finish with lemon wedges around the edge of the plate. Bon appétit!
In 1994 Graham Beck Brut NV was selected as the celebratory drink at the inauguration of South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela. More recently, after declaring his intention to run for president in February this year, Barack Obama took his wife, Michelle, to one of their favourite restaurants in Chicago. The sommelier recommended two glasses of Graham Beck Brut NV – an eminently suitable African fizz for an African American presidential candidate!
ham Beck Cap Classique wines, and this is certainly a momentous occasion,” comments an elated Pieter. From Madiba magic to Obama mania – Graham Beck Brut has been the bubbly to beat! For further information please contact Ann Ferreira at Graham Beck Wines - 021-8741258 or www.grahambeckwines.com
The Obamas were so impressed with this bubbly that they ordered six bottles for the 4th November. The corks were then ceremoniously popped to celebrate the election of the 44th American president before Barack Obama addressed the world at Grant Park. “I am honoured that the Obamas selected our non-vintage Brut to toast their historic win,” says Graham Beck’s cellarmaster, Pieter Ferreira who, coincidently, was in Chicago at the time as part of his three-week marketing tour of the United States. “I always hope people choose to celebrate important milestones with our Gra-
food & wine The Month
food & wine
High Hopes at Haut Espoir By The Month Reporter
Rob Armstrong is a big guy. So much so in fact, that as I lean forward to shake his hand at the Haut Espoir wine farm, I find my left hand reaching for my pocket in search of a sling and a small number of smooth pebbles. But the bare foot giant, dressed in shorts and shirtsleeves soon sets me at ease, as he leads me to a elegantly appointed tasting room that commands a view of the cellar to one side and the Keerweder valley to the other. The room reinforces the sense I had driving in to the farm, that someone with a sense of sophistication and sensitivity to nature has been hard at work. As Rob offers me a cup of murderously strong Espresso, I conclude that farm owner Ann Armstrong and Angie, who cracks the office whip and does the tastings, must get the credit.
the large glass window of the tasting room I can see the bottom part of a man protruding from a stainless steel wine tank. Rob must have noticed my concern. In mid sentence he interrupts himself and says “Nikey our wine maker
to help assist Mother Nature here and there but they always allow her to dictate the pace. Our attention turns to the Wine and Biodiversity Initiative. I naively ask: “Will you explain
Working in harmony with nature, Rob suggests, allows them to produce great wines and has contributed to the popularity of the label in general. I ask him about the 4 star Platter rating and Diners Club Top Ten listing of their 2005 Chardonnay Reserve. “We don’t produce enough wine to enter every competition but we do focus some attention on the ones that will give us the best exposure.” In a nutshell Rob has summed up their approach to everything I see on the farm – do what needs to be done, no more – let the wines do the rest.
So what is Haut Espoir all about? I ask. The name translates as High Hope, and Rob and his team have high hopes indeed. The farm produces a range of red and white wines from 100 tonnes of grapes sourced from the 23Ha farm and a couple of other vineyards. Their vision is to create quality hand-crafted wines using traditional techniques and to do so in relative harmony with indigenous fauna and flora found on the farm. I suggest to Rob that this is a particular challenge. Rob states without hesitation: “Make no mistake, this is a business. First and foremost I have to make sure that we produce wines that people are happy to drink, but to do that without adding unnecessary chemicals and processes that damage the environment – that’s what we aim for.” Through
swapped for bugs, plants and organisms that occur naturally and do the job more subtly and they have set about clearing large tracts of alien vegetation and replanted local fynbos. Haut Espoir has made huge strides in preserving Otholobium. Otholobium was ‘rescued’ from the area flooded by the Berg River Dam and Haut Espoir have put a lot of effort into propagating and planting it wherever possible. “It’s good for the soil and the vines and doesn’t need much water or attention.”
The view over Keerweder is very hands-on. There’s a lot of him in the wines.” A lot indeed – but I find myself hoping that the bottom half will not end up in the tank as well. Rob points out that making wines in harmony with nature isn’t all that difficult but it’s a lengthy process to produce truly organic wines. He’s set a realistic target of five years to get the Haut Espoir label to reflect that. In the mean time, he and Nikey van Zyl are prepared
each of the initiatives briefly?” “It’s one thing really. The Wine and Biodiversity Initiative is a programme to protect and enhance the fynbos and indigenous flora in the Cape Floral Kingdom.” He goes on to explain quite patiently that Haut Espoir would like to be a champion of the cause. To prevent soil compaction they avoid using tractors as far as possible between the vines; chemical sprays are
If you like to get some Otholobium to use as a groundcover, want good advice on wine and biodiversity or simply want to enjoy some excellent wines head for Haut Espoir (if the scenic drive is too much for you – drop in at La Cotte Wines for the latter at least). Call Haut Espoir on 021 876 4000 or visit the tasting room Monday to Friday from 11AM to 5PM or by appointment on the weekends.
A real experience of Franschhoek at Klein Oliphants Hoek By The Cullinary Correspondant
Klein Oliphants Hoek has been under new ownership for just under a year now. The Month’s Cullinary Reporter went along to meet Renata Gaggio and asked her what’s changed at this converted missionary station. “Well firstly there’s a shift away from the old way of working where, if you had a room at the guesthouse, you were first in line for a table at the restaurant” says Renata, “Now it’s first come first served.” The menu, a clear distinction of Italian and South African dishes, is fairly small and has been prepared by chef Thurston Viljoen who trained under Peter Goffe-Wood and has worked in Le Rendevous and Chamonix restaurants, among others.
Klein Oliphants Hoek is exactly WHY Franschhoek is different and, as a result, successful “I prefer the smaller restaurant so I can express myself, do my own thing – I enjoy the freedom offered me by Renata.” Says Thurston, who comes across as a confident young man, prepared to test himself, aware of the responsibility he carries and not afraid to take it on. His signature dish? “Pan-fried Prawns on a bed of guacamole, dressed with Riacha sauce – it’s why I never wanted to be anything other than a chef ” says Thurston and acknowledges the help he has received from Renata. JANUARY 2009
The look and feel of the restaurant, as with the guesthouse, is intimate and cosy with an elegant, warm inside and an informal stoop area. You have the feeling of being at home in a comfortable big house, where you can do exactly what you want and are free to use any part of the guesthouse. “We want our guests to enjoy a degree of familiarity” says Renata who came here from Lake Como in the northern part of Italy four years ago and cut her teeth at the Corner House which she sold earlier this year. “We only have eight rooms so we are providing a personal experience of Franschhoek.” I’d been trying to work out the pitch, the brand, what role it is that Klein Oliphants Hoek has played and will play in Franschhoek and it hits me: this is a return to ‘old’ Franschhoek before all the big hotels hit town. This is what the experience of Franschhoek used to be – small, intimate, quality, fine food and personal service – the best things in life that separate Franschhoek from it destination competitors. Klein Oliphants Hoek is exactly WHY Franschhoek is different and, as a result, successful. Renata has brought a slightly more contemporary feel with the room décor; it’s fresher and has a more European feel, especially the spacious lounge. Guesthouse manager, Dalphine Pillay, brings us a Fresh Fruit Shortbread Tart with Crème Patisserie and Chocolate Drizzle (One of Klein Oliphants Hoek’s specialties) and I’m unsure whether to eat it or take a picture of it.. so, by way of compromise, I do both. It’s part of what they want to offer in the new tea garden along with fifteen or so types of tea from all over the world, which kind of makes sense in the beautiful garden running down from the house to Dirkie Uys, a stones throw from the main street. I question whether there
isn’t a danger in trying to ‘become all things to all men’ but it fits the brand: it’s a quality offering in a comfortable setting and ought to appeal to those that love Franschhoek for that reason.
pini with lemon sauce. There’s no mixing of styles here but rather a distinct choice of either real Italian or local dishes like Bobotie and Lamb shanks. The small number of tried and tested dishes reflects a desire to prepare a limited number perfectly rather than be a ‘jack of all trades’ with a big menu; less is more. No pizza (I’m relieved) and pitched to locals and tourists alike. And what can we expect in the future? Renata is sensibly making plans with the thought of music in the lounge, painting courses and perhaps a cooking school as part of a stay-over package. “We have an ideal venue for small weddings and functions with the lovely garden and pool area.” Franschhoek, the brand, may have become diluted; this brings back what old Franschhoek used to be – innovative people coming here, doing things differently and better, it’s what makes Franschhoek special.
Thurston Viljoen ‘I can express myself’ I study the small, simple menu which is set out with separate South African and Italian dishes; not your supposed Italian dishes like spaghetti bolognaise but real, regional Italian like home made Butternut Ravioli and Chicken Scalop-
As I leave, my memories are not of the cheesecake, the garden, the view or the big lounge fireplace but of just how pleasant the staff are. Right from the off I was addressed by my first name and treated in a relaxed, comfortable yet professional manner. There is clearly a buy-in here of the brand, the aim of what will make Klein Oliphants Hoek succeed, a feeling that I’ve been a guest in their house and that’s exactly what Renata wants. In her words “You can pop round for a cup of tea anytime.” Renata can be contacted on 0846030507 and Klein Oliphants Hoek at firstname.lastname@example.org or 021.8762566
The Waiter Diaries The views expressed in this article are solely those of the anonymous writer and in no way reflect the views of ‘The Month’
Grumpy lot, the kitchen brigade at a ‘top ten’ that offers training and an uncertain future for wannabe chefs. Each more egocentric than the next, all sharing the same sentiment that waiters are not worthy of carrying the plates their culinary creations rest upon. On opening the back door as a favour to my manager and letting in the cocky juveniles on a Saturday morning I notice movement within the dirty laundry basket. Unfolding my corkscrew as a weapon of defence, I tread lightly toward the danger lurking in damask. A redeyed and spotty face greets me with a groan as Matthew the waiter disentangles himself. One glance at the empty mignardises tins strewn about tells me he didn’t make it out the backdoor last night. After informing me he had the munchies, I suggest he let his brains rest for a while, preferably out of Chef ’s sight and I am not setting up the front of house by myself. The phone rings and the butler for a wellknown crisp manufacturer books the best table in the restaurant for dinner. Cannot find the reservations book so I write it on an order pad. The phone rings again and an irate voice demands to speak to Franny, the Nigerian potwash. I pop my head through the swing door and shout for her attention. She comes running out and starts jabbering away in French. I have merely started ironing the underlays on the tables for lunch time when someone knocks on the back door. On opening it, I recognise the driver from a liquor co-op in civilian clothes hugging six bottles of rare Cognac. He offers it to me for R50 a bottle telling me he bought it at staff price. Digging in my apron I quibble and buy all six for R250. Feeling chuffed with my purchase I hide it underneath the service station. The manner in which Chef thunders in tells me one of the ‘commys’ tried sucking up by telling on Matthew. Luckily for Matthew he made his escape when the beer order arrived by offering help to the delivery man who immediately shied his backside away. O hell, I left the iron on its side and I cover up my “little accident” with an overlay. Again, I am interrupted by a knock at the back door. This time I am introduced to Wesley who misses four front teeth and opens a black bag filled with moist newspapers. On closer inspection it turns out to be freshly caught kreef, a bit undersized, but Chef who has eyes in the back of his head inspects a sample murmuring ‘how much?’ Franny, the Nigerian potwash (who just put down the phone) sees the red devil coming for her soul and noisily flees out the locked double front doors bending the shaft as she makes her escape. Chef tells me to bugger off and the phone rings again. It’s the patron-chef who demands to know who has been on the line for the past hour and he wants to warn Chef about undercover police who are doing rounds with crayfish in a PAGE 14
refuse bag to catch hapless restaurant owners. I didn’t wait for him to finish and ran to protect Chef from impending doom. I shout “lookout for karretjies” (code word for cockroaches) and breathlessly gibber about a patron on the line who urgently needs to talk to Chef who puts his money back in his wallet, says he is not interested anymore and slams the backdoor in Wesley’s face. Wesley made the mistake of knocking again and Chef starts shouting abuse and if he doesn’t bugger off right this minute he is calling the police. Suddenly Wesley’s accent changes and after identifying himself he puts down his burden and asks for a legal invoice from our supplier since he knows we have been serving kreef for the past month. After handing him our one and only legal proof of purchase he demands to know the date on it since the top corner of the invoice is amiss. He will be back on Monday, he says, and he wants a copy of the delivery note from our supplier as well. Chef phones the patron-chef and after a temper tantrum he calms his nerves with a cigarette, rolling pappardelle at a rate of knots. I notice Ann, a first year student doing ‘mise en place’ for chocolate mousse. She is still looking into her recipe file as if it will pave the way to Nirvana. I casually walk past and add a zero to the chocolate grammage. Daft kid starts chopping four kilos of imported Belgian chocolate. That’ll teach her for heating the underplates on the grill. The Knifeman lets himself in and brings with him a feeling of serenity and peace. He asks after Daniella, our aspiring actress, and I tell him she’s not in yet. As he opens his duffle bag to reveal stones of different grains the ‘kitchen brigade’ line up to have their tools of the trade sharpened. I take my chance and collect a handful of chocolate truffles from the walk in fridge. Lunch starts and we all push the kreef. High turnover means good tips and we all want to see Chef ’s face when we run out of stock. We do, and the patron-chef contacts his secret supplier. George awaits us with a black bag stuffed with moist newspapers. Money changes hands and the first years are placed in the scullery as the scullery section is cleaned out of our illegal immigrant staff. In comes our seamstress aka ‘blue-eyed boy’ mincing as he greets everyone with a big high pitched ‘Hellooooooo’. He gets the Indian oil magnate and I have to serve the tables in Lover’s Lane tonight. My first table arrives, a haughty-eyed cow who escaped off the cover of Vogue magazine, led in by her date. He came the week before with a red-headed version and two days later a Blond sang and gasped his praises in our lavatory. Since he believes sharing is caring I get Daniella, the well equipped and expiring actress, to serve them. She gladly swaps her table of pensioners for Lover’s Lane. After undoing another button on her blouse she delicately bends over as she places his Pimms and lemonade. Oh, I am so sorry, she exclaims, our cocktail of this evening is a strawberry daiquiri. Just one moment please, while she bats her eye lashes. The ten pensioners all order soup to start and line fish to follow. They are quite a jolly lot apart from one who seems half asleep sipping a scotch. He places his soup spoon in his bowl and starts snoring. Mr Crisp Manufacturer arrives with his family and is extremely upset he cannot get his favourite table. George (his butler) assured him
he had the best seat in the house. Luckily the Maitre D could set him up in Matthew’s section on the only available table. The blue-eyed boy on the floor cannot manage and I open an expensive Kanonkop 1991 at one of his tables. I empty the bottle whilst pouring the first round to encourage the guests to order a second one since half a party always drinks quicker than the rest. I clear the starters from my table after an old biddy complains she cannot wait any longer for her main course. The old man is still fast asleep. Chef throws a tantrum about the haughty eyed cow who wants her springbok well done. The Indian family asks me in passing whether kudu is a fish. I cannot resist the temptation and answer ‘yes’. Matthew appears to have lost his pupils again, but is putting up a brave front looking after his section. We serve the line fish to my pensioners and on clearing the plates Matthew tries to whisper in the old man’s ear. By accident, his cheek brushes against him and he realizes the old man is stone cold. He bolts straight into me and upsets plates of fishy leftovers everywhere. We quickly clear the mess and try to hide the broken crockery. He stammers on about the old man being dead and all I can think about is the already meagre tip prospects becoming non-existent. That is when I get the idea to open the broom closet in the back passage. After moving a few boxes around it appears to have enough room. I explain to the others at the table we have a bed in the office and he will be more comfortable there. ‘How nice’ the old biddy says, and we carry him still slumping on his chair into the back of house.
He stammers on about the old man being dead and all I can think about is the already meagre tip prospects becoming non-existent After calming Matthew I phone for an ambulance and Daniella offers me one of her used aprons to replace my soiled one. Mrs. Crisp Manufacturer marches towards the Maitre D enquiring whether their starters will be much longer. She did not know beetroot and ostrich Carpaccio can be that tricky to prepare from scratch. Matthew is silently staring at his tables when I forewarn him about the trouble. He says he was wondering how long their food would be. As it happens he never placed the order in the kitchen after jotting it down. Chef blows his top and the Crisps have to wait a total of two hours for their starters. The paramedics arrive at the back door and it is Daniella who answers. Daniella gracefully and solemnly opens the broom closet for the paramedics. All of a sudden she drops her order pad and bends down exposing a lot of bosom. The stern faced Matt Damon lookalike turns a shade pinker and Daniella drops her pen. She enquires with great concern after the deceased guest now being laid upon a stretcher. She manages a tear drop and the ambulance man
asks for her number. The barman grabs me on the way and I have to open the second bottle of Kanonkop ’91 at the blue-eyed boy’s table. While changing the glasses the guests inform me I must keep the cork since they would like to take the leftovers home. Daniella asks me to take payment from one of her tables and as I swipe the card I notice the amount printed on the receipt is wrong and the guest is not happy. I offer him a drink free of charge. He says only if it is Hennessy XXO. I tell him we have got something better and sneak a brandy snifter from behind the barman’s back who is on a permanent power trip. After pouring a double from my stock underneath the service station the guest says it is the best accidental R200 he spent all evening. Mr Crisp Manufacturer gives Matthew a 20% tip and says that his service was superb. ‘Pity about the kitchen not keeping up the standard.’ Matthew innocently shrugs and gives Mrs.
After a little while the table grows silent as I am jibbering on. Only then do I notice I am trying to cork the bottle with one of Daniella’s tampons. Crisp a pained “if only” glance. Mr. Crisp stuffs another R100 note into Matthew’s hand. Once again blue-eyed boy cannot cope and I am ushered over by the guests to cork the Kanonkop for them. We start chatting while I fumble in the apron Daniella gave me for a cork. After a little while the table grows silent as I am jibbering on. Only then do I notice I am trying to cork the bottle with one of Daniella’s tampons. ‘I would rather have my wine corked than have it absorbed’ the head of the table drily observes. Daniella is looking for her guests and is stressing about having to pay for their meal if they did a runner. Noticing a queue in front of the lavatory I tell her not to worry. My jolly pensioners pay and actually tip 12%! They forget about their deceased companion who has since been carried down the back stairs on a stretcher. While we are setting up the restaurant with the remainder of clean underlays and overlays the blue-eyed boy starts chatting to the patronchef, his usual tactic to get away from doing any work. The staff meals are served and we all discuss the events of the evening. The conversation is led by an irate and tired head chef telling off each and every individual for all the wrongs they have done. I am happy not to be in Matthew’s shoes as Chef ’s spittle travels down the length of the table. Daniella receives a text message and begs me to stand in for her share of the setting up. I foolishly agree to it and she rushes out the back door. The kitchen brigade leaves and my manager asks me to lockup. I discover that thanks to Franny the front doors won’t lock and since I cannot leave the premises unsecured I whisk the underlays off two tables. After placing one over the overfilled dirty laundry basket I settle for the night underneath the other.
Behind the Mike With Helen Naude from Franschhoek FM
much, but cortisone cream is great. I didn’t like the sound of that, but he says the fear of the cortisone component is unfounded. Tracy, the doctor, says those who develop the big bumps after the bites are allergic to the saliva of the mozzies (ugh). She supports the cortisone cream treatment and reassured us that the hives are a localised reaction which will not poison your system.
At Franschhoek FM we were as keen as everyone in the valley to welcome December onto our schedule and start the countdown to the Magic of Bubbles festival. In the studio I got up close and personal with one of the organisers, Geoff, to discuss the big day. He pointed out that the valley people were manning all manner of posts from reception, security, entertainment and catering to the obvious pouring of their own Cap Classique. Well satisfied with the clear involvement of the whole community, we headed for the monument on the appointed day and revelled in the excellence of this home event. I was delighted to invite a very pretty Franschhoek actress to the studio. Anneki Wilken, who’s going to grade 4, is a member of the cast of the South African movie Antjie Somers. Acting in a movie was a new and interesting thing for her to do, although like most actressess she really loves stage work. The scary part was being strangled in one of the scenes, and the best part was dressing up and having professional make-up she said.
In the conservation conversation on the 8th of December, Tony Frost discussed the speech which the CSIR scientist Dr Anthony Turton was not allowed to deliver at the conference in November. It was scary stuff, not because of the controversy, but because of the proof that the water situation in South Africa is very serious. There’s not much of it, it needs to be managed judiciously and greater scarcity could have a destabilising effect on the country, to put it mildly. We received the sad news that our foundersponsor, Dr Frans Koens, had died in Holland. His generous donation made it possible for us to start Franschhoek FM fifteen months ago. Prof John van Zyl came to the studio to pay tribute to this refined gentleman who donated his savings to people he didn’t know, so that they could communicate on radio. We are looking forward to broadcasting in the New Year. We also look forward to meeting the valley people who have something to say on air and especially those who feel they can write and/or read news on radio.
Robertson Rolball Run Riot By Phil Brown
The recently held all-day competition at Franschhoek Bowls Club saw Robertson take first place. Martin van Zyl, the President of Boland Bowls, led his team to victory in the ten team field. Franschhoek’s two teams of local heroes finishing a respectable third and fifth. It was obviously God’s will. The club would like to thank Agrimark, the main sponsor, for their invaluable support and their participation in the prize giving. From a public relations aspect the day was a huge success and it is our intention to make this an annual event. Well it’s about time the Argus Cycle Tour had a bit of competition. Sponsorship from local business was not in short supply as they contributed enough goodies to award every team a prize. Our benefactors: Haut Espoir, Mark Tanner, Elephant and
Barrel, La Veron, La Vie de Luc and MDC Max Datwyler from Paarl. All the club members pulled their weight on the day as events ran as smoothly as a Bruce Fordyce marathon. It is at this point that I must apologise to the masses of bowls fanatics in Franschhoek for not lifting first prize. But then your support on the day was conspicuous by its absence. Letters of remorse and guilt would be gratefully accepted. It has to be said that the team running the club are a sight to behold in the execution of their responsibilities. As are the teams we put on the green. Hey, we were just unlucky, okay? Amos (groundsman extraordinaire), thanks lad, you did a bloody good job. I love this game!
Two more ladies who do us proud honoured us with their presence in the studio. Lizelle Gerber, the white wine maker at Boschendal was very chuffed with her new rosé Cap Classique which she launched at the festival. Susan Erasmus the wine maker at Vrede & Lust, looked very relaxed for an award winning wine maker, and proved to be a fan of good screw caps. No sentimental embracing of cork! In the medical interviews I focused on the things which send us to the pharmacy and doctor’s rooms during the holidays. Our pharmacist,Gerhard, says there’s not much we can do about the big hives which develop after mozzie bites. Antihistamine creams don’t help
question of the month The Month
Real Estate developers respond to consumer demand by creating buildings in which to carry out the functions of day-to-day living, working and the provision of goods and services. There is a danger that the wrong type of development will kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Are we doing that in Franschhoek? We ask eleven members of the Franschhoek community to give us their thoughts.
Peter Rademeyer, Sales and Marketing Director at Boschendal: On the whole I don’t think we are and that’s essentially thanks to the sensitivities of the various trusts and bodies that look after the heritage of the area. The residents who live here, because of its beauty and lifestyle, help ensure the valley is safeguarded. To a degree, the problem is one of taste and, as the saying goes, there’s no accounting for that. For example, most find the grace and style of the protected buildings charming and functional yet there are some newer buildings in the village which must have appealed to the original developer and his architects. What we need are clear and well monitored guidelines within which developers can design and the goose will remain healthy and prosperous. Jean de Beer, Architect of ‘The Ivy’ Development: An interesting question. Real estate developers usually only respond to a perceived need. They them proceed to try and fulfill this need through the provision of a development. Which brings us to the crux of your question. What is the right type of development? There are really no wrong or right types. In Franschhoek, I believe the developments are trying to both preserve the village feel, historically and scale wise, while at the same time meeting the need of the growing population and the ever-growing tourist market. Developments reflect the change that occurs as communities grow and expand it is this fear of change that raises the question as to whether we are doing the right or wrong thing. I believe that change is positive and that eventually this will in itself sustain the goose and not kill it off. Robert Maingard, property developer: We have to be very careful. If you look at the main street of Franschhoek there’s not much more development that can take place, it’s really just a cleaning up operation which has been happening now for twenty years. We must make sure the side streets are not overloaded, if fact for trading, side streets should not be considered at all. In years to come the town should become a walking town where we direct everything to one commercial node at the bottom of town that satisfies the needs of the people, leaving uptown for tourism, galleries, retail and restaurants you can walk to at night. Marlene Alexander, Franschhoek Group Accommodation: I feel that as far as day-to-day provisions of goods and services, Franschhoek has tried to keep the “Country Village” atmosphere, in that we don’t have too many franchises eg: Wimpy, KFC etc. But I do feel that all these estates that are springing up are spoiling the ambiance of Franschhoek. It is getting too big. We are not growing grapes anymore, we are growing concrete houses.
Reuben Riffel from Reuben’s Restaurant: The development so far has only been beneficial for the valley. It would be easy to say that development has a negative effect on our village but that would be completely untrue. We still have to be careful, though, that the valley does not turn into suburbia... hopefully we are close to the end of all the developments. The wrong type of development will definitely be bad for our town, so far, though, it has been ok and in most cases the buildings look beautiful.
Jabu Mpayipeli, intrepid reporter for ‘The Month’: ‘A people without a knowledge of their past is like a tree without roots’ Marcus Garvey said. Franschhoek, a treasure situated between the ancient valleys of the Cape Winelands, defines the history of a people, a heritage which we ought to be proud of. Real Estate developers must respond to consumer demand but must not ignore this heritage and the deep feelings of the people. Franschhoek must not become a concrete jungle for the sake of future generations - it is a must for them to know where they come from which and what shall curve their future.
Malcolm Rutherford, Middagkrans Farm: Within Franschhoek, there are so many non-aligned interest groups that all could be considered “developers”. The wine farmers put tremendous investment into their wineries and tasting rooms to attract a certain type of customer and are certainly “developers’ as you describe them. Another group, the “developers” in Groendal wish to see community upliftment projects and yet other groups, the main street developers - the building owners, the shopkeepers and the restaurateurs all seemingly want more feet through their establishments, but perhaps not the same feet. The issue in Franschhoek seems to be that these interest groups operate on an uncoordinated basis and that there is no real combined strategy for each to find their symbiotic space. One group will eventually predominate, resulting in a demise of the other groups. There are numerous examples of this globally - take Rio de Janeiro for example. Within South Africa, the development in Strand or Amanzimtoti has to be considered a failure for those who imagined a different kind of golden goose, and I trust that they were all there at the outset. It is possible to develop Franschhoek to the benefit of all. Right now however without a coordinated strategy, the answer to your question is overwhelmingly “yes” - we just have to decide whose golden goose you are referring to.
Norm of Norm’s Bar at Col’Cacchio: If the golden goose was the small village you got to, shortly after passing the Pippin Farm Stall I first saw twelve years ago, then the answer is an unequivocal ‘yes’. The foie gras then tasted great and continues to do so even if it is occasionally served on plastic plates. Demand cannot be the determining factor every time or you will end up with electrified, concrete lego estates full of pompous Englishmen for three months a year and deserted otherwise. Matthew Tracey, Tracey’s Diamonds: I don’t think Franschhoek has been damaged but it can be, if we are not sensitive to its quaintness. I do, however, believe that responsible development is key for the future of Franschhoek. Richard Parkfelt, La Chataigne Wines: It is not so much the killing of the goose, but the metamorphosis the goose goes through to the point that eventually some might feel down and want to duck if it does not fit the bill. Franschhoek has transformed and due to positive developments has become even more stunning over the years. And as long as people move here there will be new reference points as to when Franschhoek peaked or will peak. The difficulty lies in directing the developments to be sensitive to the heritage and the history of the place, taking it forward without losing that character. So far, apart from a few glitches, we have not done too badly. Are we killing the goose? Well I think the economic down turn has bought us some time but with time commercial pressure will continue to demand for further development and the two main issues are WHAT TYPES of developments and HOW MUCH? The individual onslaught of Tuscan, Bali and Modern Castles both in the village and in the valley are to my mind irritating and insensitive and need to be contained. But the real danger is the rate of growth of development or the HOW MUCH? If commerce is purely to drive this, then business rights will further encroach on the OLD residential areas and kill sections off. The high cost of land will push for 3, 4, 5 or even 6 story buildings along the main road, and agricultural land to be further rezoned for Lego land projects, town houses and blocks of flats. The biggest red herring we were sold by developers / councillors was the ring fence transition zone which was supposed to prevent urban sprawl, yet by not having defined single residential and agricultural borders, does just that. A classic example of policy driven by vested interests. There is something cathartic about coming to the edge of a higgledy pigledy village, and there is the beginning of a vineyard or a plum orchard. A village where people are not just visiting, but living their lives. It seems timeless – gives you goose bumps. Whilst I fear the village becoming a commercial façade, congested by traffic and overcrowded by pedestrians, and with town house developments encroaching on the vineyards, others will see this as an opportunity. But I suppose for me that may mean the goose is cooked, and for others that it is just part of fattening it up. I hope that we as a community remain vigilant to make sure there are enough and good checks and balances to guide development to prevent this goose from looking like she has flown via Chernobyl.
Siegfried Schaffer, Franschhoek Valley Tourism: In trying to answer this question for FWVTA the logical starting point is to look at who the people are that we are trying to attract to Franschhoek and why. FWVTA’s vision defines our target market as “discerning, highyield, independent travellers and wine consumers who want outstanding wine and food, heritage, quintessential shopping, events and nature based experiences”. This definition is based on the recognition that a variety of factors attract visitors to Franschhoek, that the village and valley can only accommodate limited numbers of visitors, and that the local community benefits most from smaller numbers of highspending visitors, than from masses of low-spending visitors. With the above in mind we can now begin to ask ourselves which types of development are in line with our vision and which are not. It is safe to say that any development that undermines any of the factors that bring our desired tourists to Franschhoek is unacceptable. Unacceptable developments could range from developments that are out of scale with their surroundings, that involve the demolition of heritage buildings, detract from scenic vistas, overburden our public infrastructure (sewerage, traffic, parking, etc), cause ‘economic segregation’ in our community or are otherwise not in keeping with the ‘sense of place’ of the valley. Unfortunately it is undeniable that we have in recent years seen the approval of several developments that have significantly dulled the lustre of the golden goose. It is indeed sad (although not unexpected) that developers put their immediate monetary gain ahead of what is in the longer term economic interest of the entire valley. But let us not only blame ego-centric and unscrupulous developers - there is plenty of blame to go around! What about our local authority that appears to have never come across a development it didn’t like? Or what about local residents who simply resign themselves to whatever is approved and bear silent witness to the plucking of the golden goose? Ultimately it is up to all of us to protect the goose. If that is a responsibility that we as a community are not willing to shoulder we might as well resign ourselves to being the custodians of a turkey. JANUARY 2009
Bits and PCs
Kicking off 2009 By Marc Bernard of Total Revolution Fitness
By Guy de WIT
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly If, like me, you can’t do much without your laptop and an internet connection – you’re probably finding the Net a little tame at the moment. So when something really interesting comes along you have to tell someone. ZOHO has consistently impressed me with their (mostly free) services. In a nutshell ZOHO allows practically anyone access to an online suite of applications – including a word processor, spreadsheet and database and business applications like a project planner and a CRM solution. If you need to access documents or files from various locations, need to share files between different users and don’t really want to use Office Live – then ZOHO may just be the thing for you. Go to www.zoho.com and sign up for a free account. If you’re not quite sure why on earth anyone would want to share a list of DVDs or a contact list of visitors to the wine farm with friends or business partners then start with ZOHO’s email application – you’ll get the message soon enough. The worst piece of software to surface in 2007 comes in various guises. It’s known as Antivirus 2009; XP Antivirus or Ultimate Antivirus. It usually makes itself known as a message saying
that your antivirus database is not up to date and that it can be remedied by a simple “Click Here”. That click will suggest that that you have a whole number of infections – even if you are running a legitimate antivirus program. For a small fee the program will then ‘remove’ the infections. The dead give-away is the message that opens every time you open Internet Explorer or go online. In truth Antivirus 2009 is not an anti virus program at all. It’s something called malicious ware (malware) - pretending to help but out to destroy. If your PC does end up being infected by Antivirus 2009 – stop using it immediately. Your machine will need to be given some TLC and a thorough clean-up. Give Guy de WIT a call if you think that your PC may be infected. Prevent infections by running a good antivirus program (AVG and Comodo have good free programs) and RTBS. If you’re thinking of creating your own website to advertise your business or services in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup, have a look at http://www.jimmyr.com/internets_ugliest_ website to see how not to do it. Call Fusion Web Design for something that will get you noticed for all the right reasons. The Winelands IT guy 083 2600 453
results you open the way to real benefits. I have often heard people say, “I’ll lose 5kg then I feel great”, and this becomes the source of obsession, Ego goals are seldom satisfied. The primary benefit of exercise should be an increased sense of well being, all else is secondary.
Having seen the back of 2008, I thought I’d kick start 2009 with a classic theme; how to take you and your body to the next level. So here’s 10 tips to ensure that your New Year resolutions are more than just empty promises:
8. Incorporate breathing techniques into your training schedule For all round well being your training needs to be more than just physical excursion, the mental aspect needs to creep in. The speed of your movement needs to coincide with your rate of breathing; I cannot overstress the importance of the breath, and the correlation between it and mental state. Focusing on the breath ensures awareness of the present moment, leading to increased focus and concentration.
1. Nothing is for nothing In the past this phrase has been a driving force for me. To achieve anything of perceived value, a certain amount of sacrifice and effort is required. Simply put; if you are not prepared to invest a little, whether it be time or energy, there will be no success at the end of the day. 2. Success – It’s a mind game Take action now - there is no time like the present, just focus on every step and the effects will take care of themselves. Stop delaying and just get stuck in. Be strategic about what it is you do and how you go about doing it. I recommend keeping a journal as this gives you a sense of structure. 3. A little goes a long way It’s a general perception that in order to achieve results, hours have to be spent sweating it out in the gym. Don’t underestimate the value of the ‘power half hour’, or a high intensity training session. Bringing down recovery time between exercise also forces the body to adapt. This tactic is also very effective for those of us who have time restraints, which are so common in modern living. 4. Focus on the core Modern exercise science has lead to increased focus and attention placed on the body’s core. The truth is that this is your engine or the glue that binds everything together - you are only as strong as your core. I recommend composite exercises which include Yoga, Pilates and Martial Art elements as they all target this crucial area. 5. Do your homework With the internet we now have access to a truly wide array of information on various topics; as far as physical training and training techniques are concerned there is a vast amount of knowledge and guidance available. The more informed you are, the more effective you will be when it comes to making decisions regarding your own training. 6. Don’t be scared to get a little crazy People often get stuck in the concepts of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, this is especially true in the training environment, and it hampers most people from really expressing themselves. I’m not saying get reckless but the average gymnasium can actually be quite a scary place - packed with mirrors and people there for various reasons feeding off each other’s fears. Don’t be scared to experiment and try different training methods. 7. What you focus your attention on expands Leave the scale alone! Stop being goal orientated, and thinking how long it will take to get there and just enjoy the training experience. Once you stop being obsessed with imaginary
The chart shows how moving from no exercise to some exercise has enormous health benefits 9. You are what you eat This has become somewhat of a cliché, but at the end of the day it is the truth. When you eat well it makes you feel good, increases your energy levels and helps your body recover. Eat more regularly throughout the day, but smaller meals at a time, and this will speed up your metabolism. Try eating fresh fruit until at least lunch time in the summer and drink lots of water. 10. Most important of all, have fun! Training is supposed to be fun; I like to think of it as playtime for the adult because at the end of the day you aren’t a hamster running around the wheel. You are an intelligent human being. There is only so long your brain will allow you to switch off, it too needs to be stimulated. So make sure you consider this when commencing your New Year’s training.
Marc Bernard of Total Revolution Fitness can be contacted on 083 500 8979 or via email at email@example.com
INTERACT wITH us ONLINE at www.themonth.co.za where you can leave your comments, post pictures and videos or just read more about what’s happening in and around Franschhoek. JANUARY 2009
Philately - the forgotten hobby By Clive Alexander
I have been fascinated by the miniature masterpieces of postage stamps since I was ten years old.
vived as the stamps were stuck onto the letter itself. Envelopes only came into fashion years later. Many more letters survive than envelopes.
TV, the Internet and other modern distractions have largely sidelined the interest in this subject of late. I am going to share some of the passion with you over the next couple of months (the Editor willing!), in the hope that I might uncover a kindred soul here and not feel quite so isolated.
Featuring a design of “Hope”, an important symbol to the colony at the time, these stamps were issued in a triangular format to assist the postal workers to distinguish between homeland and overseas mail.
I will try to illustrate the articles with pictures of stamps, many from my own collection. In the early 1800’s in England, post was sent from person to person by hand. You paid the messenger a penny to deliver your letter, with the hope that it got there. In 1837 Rowland Hill, who became the first Postmaster General, proposed the “penny post” using a stamp with the portrait of a profile, by Henry Corbould, of a 15 year old Princess Victoria. This was the famous “Penny Black”, which first saw the light of day in 1840 The trouble with the penny black was that they had to use red ink to cancel it. This ink was hard to see, and easily removed, so that the stamp could be used again. Hill decided to change the colour, so in 1841 the penny red and two penny blue were issued. Even though the black was only used for a year, there were 68 million printed and many sur-
In 1863, a small time pawnbroker named Stanley Gibbons founded his fortune and prosperity when he purchased a kit bag full of these stamps from two sailors who had won them at a bazaar in Cape Town. Selling them for huge profit, these stamps are regarded as the foundation of the world-famous stamp business, Stanley Gibbons. An average to poor copy can be had for about R100 but because the black has such significance, prices of a good black are astronomical. In South Africa, the stamp with the same mystical appeal is the Cape Triangular. In stark contrast to the square and rectangular stamps of the time, The Cape of Good Hope issued the world’s first triangular stamps in 1853.
The other Colonies, republics and settlements of South Africa at the time also had their own stamps. I will concentrate on them at a later date. The next “first” was the Union of South Africa. In 1910, the Union was established. To commemorate the first sitting of the Union Parliament, a special stamp was issued.
The Definitives are in daily use, for posting letters or parcels, they come in the complete range of denominations, to suit standardised mail as well as other postal costs. The theme in use at this time is “Colourful South Africa” with flower designs for standardised mail and fish, birds, butterflies and moths for the individual denominations. Commemoratives are issued from time to time to mark a special event or to honour a special person. There are literally dozens of stamps in honour of Nelson Mandela, for instance.
Stamps today are issued in two distinct formats.
Look Good - Feel Great By Brett Garner
I stopped in at Peacock Blue and was welcomed by Georgia and Patricia. I got straight to the point and blurted out: “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” As their eyes glazed over and Patricia reached for an exam pad to make a list of all my fashion faux pas, I realised I had come to the right place. All around me soft fabrics and pastel colours beckoned invitingly. I felt a wave of metrosexuality wash over me and found myself lifting a pair of pointy shoes to a jacket, saying “Hmm, with some decent jeans this would make a great outfit.” Georgia, Patricia and Gisela were fabulous. They compared colours, cuts and styles and I was soon transformed from hapless fashion scarecrow to hopeful ramp model. Here’s what Patricia had to say: “Brett seems to be a confident guy but has not devoted a lot of time to how he looks. He does, however, like clothes and wants to look his best. I felt that comfort and ease were important to him, so we put him in our best Italian Replay jeans. Their cut and fabric are nothing less than magical and in my experience work wonders on all men. The cute cotton shirt makes a statement but is JANUARY 2009
still casual. People are sure to notice the cool guy wearing it.” Despite my suitably padded ego the slim cut shirt was quite a find. I would not have given it a second thought before my visit but the fit was good and the colour and pattern quite fetching. The jeans were magical indeed. And pricey – but if I was to wear them daily for a year I’d end up spending the equivalent of a cup of coffee each day to give me the kind of life that caffeine can only dream of. As I left Peacock Blue I cancelled my next appointment, went home, changed my shirt and put on a belt. I didn’t get any appreciative comments but I did feel empowered to push out my chest and tails fathers.
After: Ramp Model Shoes – Rockport Black Colrain R 1 425.00; Shirt – Peacock Blue Liberty Print R 899.00; Jeans - Replay Style 922 R 3 000.00; Belt Polo R 325.00
Before: IT Nerd
The Men’s Boutique in the heart of Franschhoek Village has grown - a new shopping ﬂoor and lots more labels. 50 Huguenot Street, Franschhoek www.themonth.co.za
Linen Shirts & Jackets Linen Trousers & Shorts Golfing Shorts & T-shirts Floral Shirts Sandals & Shoes Accessories Polo, Pringle, Replay, Scotch & Soda •
In all sizes...
I was recently challenged to re-look at my wardrobe and my general appearance. It’s not that I’m scruffy or overtly disgusting – it’s just that some people think I should be a little more metrosexual. As at least part of the word appealed to me, I decided to get a little help with my look – or lack thereof.
Tel: 021 876 4691 PAGE 19
Local entrepreneurs form association The Franschhoek Informal & Small Business Association (FISBA) was established at the Groendal Secondary School, on 13 November 2008, at a general meeting of approximately 60 members, where the executive committee was democratically elected. While there were many reasons for the need to establish such an association, their main priority is to assist with the creation of a vibrant, successful entrepreneurial spirit within (especially) the historically and economically disadvantaged communities of this valley. The EXCO has already started to work very hard behind the scenes, lobbying for and securing partnerships in the education, banking and corporate sectors. They also enjoy the support of many local business-leaders, historians, community organisations, the Department of Local Economic Development and RED Door [Real Economic Development]. They are equipped to assist members in various ways; • Basic & tertiary education - Various educational institutions, SETA’s and mentors have already approached us to identify potential learners, who would benefit from scholarships, bursaries & apprenticeships [ these processes will be announced around mid-January 2009] • Assistance with the setting up of business-
plans • Facilitation of access to finance & government incentives, & government business support • Business skills training & professional guidance e.g. accounting & legal services, mentorship, assistance with feasibility-studies, marketing, etc. • Basic tender information & advice The membership of FISBA has diverse opinions and skills, diverse political sentiments and are followers of various religious denominations. FISBA is a NON-POLITICAL and non-profit association with a common ideal, that; 1. Recognise the seemingly, insurmountable problems within our communities 2. More importantly, recognise the immense talent and potential within our communities [particularly, the younger generation] 3. As an association born out of concern and ‘love for one’s neighbour’, through their initiatives, they will strive to develop a healthy, proud, prosperous and safe community. The Executive Committee Treasurer FISBA
New Chef at Burgundy’s By The Editor
The popular Burgundy’s restaurant in Huguenot Street, Franschhoek has a new chef. Local boy Rudi van Dyk, formerly head chef at Pontac Manor, but who started out as a junior chef at Bijoux restaurant, was born and bred in Paarl and is ecstatic to be back in Franschhoek and at the helm of this popular eatery. He is a recent returnee from a couple of years overseas where he honed his culinary skills in Scotland having graduated as a Culinary Art student from Boland College. Rudi has committed to source the best possible ingredients and will serve unpretentious, valuefor-money portions in their fine dining or alfresco setting in Franschhoek’s main street. The owners of Burgundy’s restaurant Café are delighted to have Rudi on board and believe he will take this popular restaurant to new heights. “It is an honour to be heading a kitchen held in such high esteem”, says Rudi whose creations compliment the new wine list has been successfully and recently launched. Burgundy’s restaurant is open for breakfast,
Rudi van Dyk, new head chef at Burgundy’s Restaurant Café lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Bookings 021.8763547 or www.franschhoek.co.za/burgundys.html
Mind Games What if poverty is man made A part of the political game What if the youths overcrowding jail Are not the ones to be blamed What if it’s a sinful shame To condemn the actions of the poor in God’s name What would you do if there was no gain To attend church every Sunday? Heads up high Stiff necked with pride Ready to kill and die What if it’s a group lie? PAGE 20
Our noble needs and deeds Praying, supporting nation going to war Blessings from God What if we are wrong What about the little kids? End of days prophecies fulfilled Haunting realities Only to the black masses Whose been deceived In this world of questions Why must I believe? -By Jabu Mpayipeli
Petina Gappah – appearing at the Franschhoek Literary Festival in 2009 Petina is a Zimbabwean writer with law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University, and the University of Zimbabwe. Her short fiction and essays have been published in eight countries. She lives with her son Kush in Geneva, where she works as counsel in an international organisation that provides legal aid on international trade law to developing countries. Her short story collection, An Elegy for Easterly, will be published by Faber & Faber in April 2009 in London, and in June 2009 in New York. She is currently completing The Book of Memory, her first novel. Both books will also be published in Finland, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
a cream safari suit and a dark blue Kenneth Kaunda-style cravat (he had lived in Zambia, where I was born). I remember the wild celebrations in the townships, the queues of voters outside my school. Then there are memories associated with being one of the first group of black children in a formerly white school, and being one of the first black families on our road. So I have strong memories of what it meant to be on the verge of change and how the prospect of change affected our attitudes and our expectations.
When did you first start writing? I wrote my first “novel” when I was about 11, it was called Return to Planet Earth! Set in 2020, which was the far distant future to me then, Return to Planet Earth! was the story of a group of convicts who escape from a penal colony on Mars and Return to Planet Earth for revenge and havoc. To my lasting heartbreak, the book and other scribblings were all mistakenly burnt as rubbish.
Have there been any writers who have influenced your writing or who you particularly admire?
My first published work was in the St Dominic’s school magazine when I was about 15, and my first ever “earnings” followed that year in a national essay competition which I won with an essay on the importance of literature and art in education. I won 100 dollars, opened my first bank account at my father’s encouragement, and had my picture in The Herald. I wrote on and off over the years, never finishing anything. In 1998, after completing my PhD in Austria, I moved to London, intending to write the great Zimbabwean novel while working in bars and restaurants. After three jobless months the WTO offered me a job as a legal officer and I moved to Geneva at the beginning of 1999. It was only in 2006 that I wrote my first completed story, Something Nice from London and posted it on the Zoetrope Virtual Studio. The third person to read it liked it, and happily for me, she was the editor of an online journal called Per Contra. She published and paid for it, and I was encouraged enough to write more, including a novel that I lost at 68 000 words when my computer crashed. I have written every day since that first breakthrough, and needless to say, I back up obsessively. How did you find the various narrative voices for these stories, and how much is drawn from your personal experience? Every story in the collection is based on one true thing – something that has happened to me, to someone in my family, to my friends or members of their families, or on something that I have read in the Zimbabwean newspapers, or overheard on public transport in Harare and other places. I cannot separate my personal experiences from the experience of my country. I was lucky enough to witness my country’s transition from one regime to another: from Smith to Muzorewa, from Muzorewa to Mugabe, from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe-Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. I was very young then, but that period made a huge impression on me. I remember in every detail the night my parents went to the Bob Marley independence concert. My mother wore her daring pink trouser suit (daring because then, respectable African women did not wear trousers in public) and my dad wore
remarkable aspect of our present crisis: the stubborn resilience of Zimbabweans, and their humour, and the way everything is still sort of normal, the way in which they “normalise the abnormal” in the words of Masipula Sithole, a political scientist I admire. Ultimately, I realised that if I wanted to look at all aspects of our current crisis (and it is not as simple as the good people of Zimbabwe versus the evil, mad Mugabe) a novel would not be enough, or at least, no novel within my powers would be enough. Short stories helped me to focus on people, and I forgot about the lofty stuff and just wrote about people. A family whose son dies abroad, a Zanu PF widow burying her husband and remembering the past, a couple reflecting on the negotiated settlement that has become their marriage, a coffin-maker of unusual talent, a dealer who will sell anything and more, a woman who has everything that money can buy but nothing that she needs, a young woman who literally reinvents herself for a new life in England.
I don’t know that the writers I will mention here are my influences – they can’t be because they are so different – but I have great admiration for the American writer Edward P. Jones. He writes these impossibly large stories, condensing whole lives into 5 or 6 000 words. I also admire the short fiction of Yiyun Li and Junot Diaz.
Petina Gappah I remember the socialism, the dedication each year to a particular project, the year of the child, the year of the people’s power, the sense that there was this solidarity, that we were all working for the great purpose of nation-building. It was all a lie of course. What Zimbabwe has become over the years is such a different country to what it was in 1980 that the whole thing sometimes seems like a dream. I am interested in exploring how we got to this point from that point. That is my motivation, to understand what happened to us, and how we allowed to it to happen. As for the different voices, they really came about by accident - I kept experimenting and trying different things, trying to match each voice to the story. Is there a particular reason why you decided to write short stories rather than a novel? The collection developed almost organically: after my first successful story, I wrote the next one. Then I wrote two stories for a competition, then I wrote a few more after that. At the same time, I was trying to write a novel. It would be this lofty thing about the death of justice, the death of innocence, the death of this, the death of that, but I had several false starts. The problem is that I wanted to write about it all, the economy and inflation, how the land issue has been twisted for political gain, the corruption and rot at the centre of the ruling party, how the justice, education, health systems have broken down, and above all, how all this has affected individual choices and relationships, how this has affected the way people see each other, and act towards each other. I also wanted to show what is to me the most
My favourite writer from Zimbabwe is Charles Mungoshi, who writes equally well in Shona and English. Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga, being the first novel in English by a black Zimbabwean woman, was a major touchstone for me. I love the novelists Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, J M Coetzee, Joseph Heller and Vladimir Nabokov. I enjoy the essays of George Orwell and Joan Didion. I am addicted to crime fiction, in particular, PD James, Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine, and Dorothy Sayers (Gaudy Night is one of my favourite novels of any genre). I also have great affection for the writers I studied at A-level because I know their work so well, even after all this time. Among them were Chinua Achebe, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, William Golding, and of course Shakespeare, that Desert Island staple. I am also extremely fond of Jane Austen; my lost novel was a Zimbabwean take on Persuasion. I may come back to it one day. I am inspired, of course by many writers from my own continent and generation, and particularly Chimamanda Adichie. Isolation, of individuals and of Zimbabwe, is a big theme in An Elegy for Easterly. How did living outside of Zimbabwe affect the writing and publishing process? I am luckier than many of my friends who are writers in Zimbabwe. Living outside Zim has freed me up, and not just in a political sense. Life is pretty desperate, even for people with money. The constant scrabbling after basic goods can kill the spirit. You would have to be a saint not to be affected by it. I have seen people readjust their dreams to suit their circumstances, people who dreamed big reduced to selling fuel and diamonds, and lawyers selling tomatoes from the boots of their cars – anything to get a fast dollar.
I once listened in to a conversation between three women that went on for 30 minutes. It was about bread: where to find it, who you have to talk to at Bakery X to get more than two loaves, how Bakery Y no longer sells under the counter, how the biggest supermarket at Newlands shopping centre tries to flout price controls by selling directly from the delivery truck. It was all pretty grim, and I felt great pity and great anger too, to think that we have been reduced to this. Being in Europe also means that I am close to the centre of publishing – my agent is in London, as are my publishers. Then there is the availability of books, I don’t believe you can be a good writer without reading, and without creating the space and time to read. So I am lucky indeed. I have the peace of mind, security, and the support necessary to allow me to focus on writing the best that I can. I am a remarkable Man I am the most remarkable man of my time Today for the first time I had the opportunity Of saying it to Franschhoek I shall never stop advertising myself Some of the men were wearing dark glasses And embarrassed expressions And some of the women Had on saris and darker make up Than they will be wearing today But today I am willing to face all the journalists in the world There is no crisis in Franschhoek, South Africa by Thembinkosi Pascal Mtabane
Susan Salt 1948-2008
Susan Salt will be well known to all members of the Franschhoek Wine Valley and Tourism Association, for her efficiency in managing the office in 2006/2007 for CEO Itumeleng Pooe. Her dedication in working late hours every night, her efficiency in the accuracy and detail of her minutes, her cheerful nature, her organisation of the Tourism Bureau move to the old station building, and her ability to connect with each and everyone made her more distinctive than the blue dress and hat she wore every day. Susan Salt passed away after a short illness on 11 December in Johannesburg, at the age of 60. She was born in Gordon’s Bay, and went to school at the Strand Convent and Rhenish High School. She studied at UCT, and her career path led her to the civil engineering industry, where her organisation and administrative capabilities were highly valued. She would never accept defeat in any task that she was given. She was loved by many people, and she did not have any prejudices based on hearsay. She loved animals and the outdoors. She left Franschhoek at the end of 2007, for Johannesburg, to be closer to her family.
the social page
THE SOCIAL PAGE
Clockwise from top-left Hospice Christmas Carols Service held at the NG Kerk Michael Lorenzo-Vera in action at the SA Open at Pearl Valley Golf Estates A visitor to ‘The Magic of Bubbles’, enjoying a glass Lodine Maske turns 21 again for the 19th time at Goederust Sophia Warner (Pebbles Project), Wayne Johnson (Leisurecorp), Andre Morgenthal (Wines of South Africa), giving from left to right Christopher Isaacs (4), Eugene Isaacs (6) and Joslyn Daars (5) the toys donated by the Pebbles Project. PAGE 22
Rock Crisis Appeal The Rock Crisis Pregnancy Centre was established in 2001 when it became evident that Paarl and its surrounding area had a very high abortion rate. There was a definite need to provide a safe and confidential environment for the girls to come to and where they could find out about their options and make informed decisions. The services provided by the centre include free pregnancy tests, information on the alternatives to abortion i.e. parenting and adoption, as well as the support provided in each case. The final decision is still the mother’s and should she want to find out about abortion, is provided with pre-abortion as well as post-abortion information. The two main fundamentals as counsellors are to speak the truth in love and to minister, not manipulate.
Every girl they see, no matter what her decision, is followed up The centre offers support in a number of ways. Those choosing parenting must have a support system at home, but often need help with baby clothing and toiletries. Help is offered over a two year period, where every three months from birth a parcel for the baby is handed out; a total of eight over the period. Parents are encouraged to return any clothing that has become too small, for redistribution. Over the two year period various get-togethers are held where mothers hear motivational speakers and are taught parenting skills. The number of new mothers helped by the cen-
tre has risen to fifty this year and the need to extend their coverage by requesting help with baby clothes, whether second hand or new, and baby toiletries has become urgent. The centre is grateful to everyone who has helped out and has enjoyed tremendous support from the community. Every girl they see, no matter what her decision, is followed up to see how she is getting on. Those choosing adoption are taken to Procare in Wellington and the wonderful social workers there place them in a Mothers Home (if they want that) and do all the legal paperwork. They are able to choose the parents of their child and can be involved in the handing over of the baby to the adoptive parents, not an easy task, and contact with the mother is kept until she is through the emotional upset. 2009 sees the implementation of a School’s Program; a series of seven lessons covering topics like making good choices, relationships, why and how to say no to sex before marriage, baby development and the abortion law, the crisis pregnancy scenario and sexual transmitted infections. Schools have allowed them to do these lessons in the life skills periods. The centre is part of Rock Community Care, which is a registered NPO and if anyone wants to make a cash donation, it is tax deductible. Call Glenda on 082 9200836 or 021 8728716, office hours Tuesday to Friday 9:30 to 3:30, email address is rockaog@mweb. co.za at 27 Berg River Boulevard in Paarl. Tracey Garner has offered to make her offices available for the collection of clothes and supplies to new moms who would then be helped through the Centre.
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