On Heritage Day we spend the day in the veld looking for something different than the usual. Decided to put on our camera strap and walking boots and get going.
After six months of living in the North West Province of South Africa, we thought that it is time to learn more about the heritage plants in the Kameel area.
We need to get a guide to learn us more.
Our area is very dry with red sand and the summer temperature rises to 45 degrees Celsius. This year the summer rainfall was less than 100 millimeter. The grasslands are very dry and the wildflowers are far and in between. There are no big fields of flowers but when you find one it is almost an ecstatic experience.
It was a special experience to just wander and experience beauty.
If you can identify any of our plants we will appreciate it.
Die dorp Stella het wonderlike kinderdae herinneringe vir my. In besonder Brandstraat. Dit was die straat waarin Oupa Jimmy en Ouma Sannie se huis was. Nommer 10. Vandag lyk Brandstraat heel anders as wat my kinderdae se onthou dit voorgestel het.
Oupa en Ouma se huis was wit geverf en het so ‘n wye voorstoep waarop Oupa Jimmy graag gesit het en die wêreld bespiet het. Oupa het so ‘n skaaphak kierie gehad waarmee hy jou sommer so nader gehak het. Dit is die straat wat gelei het na die ou klipsaal. Die straat het sommer net daar by die klipsaal gestop. Vandag sou ons praat van ‘n cul-de-sac, maar daardie dae was dit ‘n vreemde woord. Die saal was die middelpunt van die dorp. Dit is nou naas die kerk. Daar was konserte en vergaderings gehou en natuurlik ook het die Vroue Landbou Vereniging hul vergaderings gehou. Ouma Sannie was ‘n raakvatter tussen die vroue van die VLV.
Brandstraat se huise het elkeen sy eie styl gehad. Almal was wit geverf. Almal naby die straat. Sommer so naby genoeg dat jy met die uit loop slag in die straat was. Daar was die Celliers huis op die punt naaste aan die klipsaal. Die huis het ‘n stoepie tussen die twee kamers wat soos vleuels op die stoep uit geloop het. gehad. Dan was daar die huis met die geboogde sinkplate oor die stoep. So ‘n regte Karoo-styl stoep. Die stoep waarop die oompie sy pyp gesit en rook het. Die hoekhuis lyk vandag nog baie dieselfde. ‘n Lekker stoep met die lae muurtjie.
Die water in Stella is brak want die soutpan lê naby die dorp. Vir baie jare is hier sout ontgin. Ongeag die brak water was daar heel party windpompe in die dorp, want almal het groentetuine gemaak. Ouma Sannie het ‘n Lemon Verbena by die agterdeur gehad. Dit was ‘n fees om die blare tussen ons hande te vryf en dan die reuk vir die hele dag saam te dra. ‘n Lekker vrugteboord was oupa se pride and joy. Die ingelgde geelperskes met dik vla, was ons kinders se gunsteling.
Oupa en Ouma was altwee kinders van die Willowmore, Patensie en die Gamtoos, soos Oupa het altyd na die Kolonie verwys as sy grootword wêreld gepraat het. Hy en Ouma het mekaar van kindsbeen geken. Hy het die plaas Langverwagt naby Kameel gekoop. Op hul oudag het hulle op Stella afgetree.
Ouma het geduld gehad met ons. Sy het die fynste kant hekel met sulke fyn gare en ‘n blink hekelpen. Dollies was ‘n groot gunsteling. Elkeen het die mooiste glaskrale gehad. Dit het geklingel wanneer sy die koffie ingebring het en dit oor die melkbertjie daarmee toegemaak was. Sy het geduld gehad om my te leer hekel – hotklou en al.
Die kombuis het ‘n houttafel gehad. So wit geskrop naby die koolstoof. In die eetkamer was ‘n bal-en-klou tafel wat ‘n verlengstuk gehad het. Op Sondae was die tafel gedek met ‘n gehekelde tafeldoek en haar beenhef eetgerei. Sy sou op ‘n oggend bel en sommer so terloops sê dat sy my pa se gunsteling skaapboud gaar gemaak het en ons moes oorkom vir ete. Sy kon selfs haar skoonseun onder ‘n wip vang met haar kos wat altyd vol verrassings was. Wanneer dit vetkoekdag was, was dit wonderlik om die vormpies van die vetkoeke in die olie te probeer assosieer met ‘n diertjie. Eendjies en hasies was altyd ‘n reg raai.
Ouma het lang hare gehad. Sy het dit in ‘n lang vlegsel aan die eenkant van haar kop gevleg en dan om haar kop gedraai. Na Oupa oorlede is en Ouma by haarself gewoon het, het die dogters op ‘n dag besluit – Ouma se hare moes kort geknip word. Wat ‘n tragedie was dit. Ouma kon nooit met die kort hare vrede maak nie. Ek het baie dae my tas gepak om by ouma te gaan bly maar het maar elke keer weer terug gekom huis toe.
Ouma Sannie het ook die swaar van die lewe geken. Haar een dogtertjie is oorlede en twee van Ouma se seuns is tydens WWII oorlede. Ek het altyd gewonder hoe sy dit oorleef het want daar was altyd ‘n glimlag op haar gesit.
Ouma het nog in die tyd van briewe skryf gelewe. Onlangs het ek hierdie stukkie kosbaarheid van ‘n niggie ontvang. Die brief is gerig aan haar suster, Tant Pollie, wat in Uitenhage gewoon het. Die inhoud is kosbaar!
This farm school opened it’s doors in 1934 in a room in my grand-parents house. My Granny – Hester Fincham was very involved with the day to day issues of the school. My parents and family also attended the farm school.
Growth was evident and soon my grandfather – Victor Fincham built a school. Till today it is fondly remembered as the ‘Wit skool” due to the fact that since I can remember it was painted white.
Mrs Vic (Granny Hester) as she was known in the community was still seeing over the day to day running of the school. During break the learners would go to the post-office to get the mail. En route to the post-office was Mr Mackay’s shop and here you could buy to huge Wilson toffees for one penny.
Fifty-seven years ago, my brother, Julian headed off to school. This was a huge family celebration as he was the eldest grandchild of Mrs Vic
It looked like great fun and he even got to take sandwiches everyday too! He had a smart suitcase, BOOKS, CRAYONS AND PAPERS! After not too much persuasion, I went off to school with him. I must have been the first 4-year-old in “Grade 0!”
Binney and Smith Inc., Records 0624 Box 41 Folder 6 Crayola Crayon box about 1903
Our teacher – I can’t remember if it was Miss Betsie or not, but she let me practice writing with the left hand and when that was tired, with the right hand. My mum would come and pick me up at break time soon after all the sandwiches had been devoured.
The most memorable thing from that first school year was Julian’s speech about what happened at home just prior to his leaving for school. I have never quite understood why children must always write a speech or composition about their holiday or what happened at home on a particular day.
Getting back to the story – like most farm children of the day, Ouboet (Big brother) was quite capable of driving the Ford. Hennie says it was a Ford 100. We would catch Uncle Koos’s bus to school. With Ouboet behind the wheel, we would drive to the farm gate and then get onto the bus.
His speech went as follows, “Miss, this morning on the way to school, the Ford’s clutch slipped and the gears locked which nearly resulted in us being late for the bus.”
The following year, school really began and it was a serious business. I recall Maggie and Elmarie who had the most delicious peach jam sandwiches. The sandwiches were later replaced by the most delicious chocolate cake. Elaine could go home whenever she felt like it. She was also my cousin and I would accompany her home during many a break time. She could run like a streak of lightening. Then there was Marieta and Mariette who could both sing so beautifully. Years later they would even get to sing the Drummer Boy song in the NG Church’s gallery. The clever girls were Heila, Riana and Amanda.
It was during this time of my life that I came to meet a certain school inspector. As he walked between the desks, he stopped at my desk. I think it was quite unusual at the time that a child could cope quite well writing with both their left and right hand. Perhaps he had not yet heard of the word ambidextrous! Who would have heard of such a thing back in 1963!
With the following words, “Miss, you had better decide which hand you are going to use to write with!” I got such a fright, I decided to go with the hand in which the crayon was held at the time – it was my left hand. Fortunately, all left handed people are seen by myself as somewhat special, many of whom happen to be in our family.
I remember Mr Basson – he had his classes in the old white school building. We sat according to our classes. The standard 3’s in front, then 4’s and then the 5’s. As the standards progressed each year, we would also move further back too. The thing I remember the most about Mr Basson were his essays. He taught me to write about mountains. He would write key words on the black board and we would have to create a story around them. I always wondered if he were missing the mountains of the Cape Boland as he would spend so much time teaching us about these majestic blue giants. I must say that from where I sit right now, living at the foot of the Platberg, I could even wax lyrical about the colors of this beautiful mountain.
Later on, Andrew would arrive at school with his bandy legs. Like Elaine, he would run so fast you would just spot him disappearing into the distance!
And so, the years marched on. Many of our, “clutches,” would slip and our, “gears,” would jam but at the same time we learned of the Majesty of God’s Grace and Mercy.
May God’s blessings always fall on the Kameel Primary School like a soft and gentle rain.
The R74 is the primary route to the Northern uKhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage site
The road runs alongside the spectacular Sterkfontein Dam and down the equally spectacular Olivierhoek pass on to the mountains.
For many years this section of the R74 that runs along the dam has fallen into
terrible disrepair but in December 2015 the newly built road was once again opened.
We took the road and like to share our experience.
First stop is the Sterkfontein Dam
The dam is located just outside Harrismith and is part of the Tugela-Vaal Water Project, and located on the Nuwejaarspruit, a tributary of the Wilge River in the upper catchment area of the Vaal River. The dam receives its water via the Tugela-Vaal Project which is a pumped-storage scheme involving the net transfer of up to 630 million m3 of water from KwaZulu-Natal.
The Sterkfontein Dam was commissioned in 1977 and a full supply capacity of
2 616 900 megalitres. It has a surface area of no more than 70 km2. The circumsphere is aproxamitely 102 km. The dam wall contains 17 million m3 of material making it the largest dam wall in South Africa with regard to volume, while the reservoir formed by the dam is the third largest in the country.
The next stop is at the vulture restaurant used to be a place where fresh and poison free carcasses were put out to feed the vultures and it contribute to the survival of the birds especially during periods of food scarcity and when young birds fledge.
Our next stop is at Kerkenberg. The site is so named because the Voortrekker’s priest, Erasmus Smit, deemed the cluster of rocks at its base was worthy of a church. The heritage markers that can be visited are the Retief Klip, a stone engraved by the leader’s daughter Deborah on his birthday to commemorate the Boer’s successful land negotiations, and Retief Pass, the old wagon trail used by Piet Retief to descend into KwaZulu-Natal.
Next up is the Kaalvoet vrou. You can read all about the history of this monument on our blog spot. Kaalvoetvrou
A visit in this area will not be complete if you do not take the dirt road to Leon and Elsa. They share a passion for the beauty of the past and have established a farm museum.
We returned to the R74 and pass the Driekloof dam
We continue and reach the summit point of 1758 m above sea level of Oliviershoek Pass and is close to the most southerly arm of the Sterkfontein Dam.
The descent is gentle and enters a wide S-bed which straightens out at the 2 km point.
it is often used as an alternative route to Van Reenen’s Pass but for us it is a scenic alternative to the Northern Drakensberg. Interestingly, and to add a little history to the mix, it was along this area in October 1837, that Piet Retief and his trek party climbed the Drakensberg.
Thanks you for joining us on this wonderful scenic drive
As our natural resources become increasingly depleted, there is more awareness about the need to preserve and protect the environment. To go this route we have implement progressive eco-friendly practices. Our efforts to run a sustainable establishment may inspire you to make your own home more environmentally-friendly!
De Oude Huize Yard sits on a 3000m2 stand in the beautiful town of Harrismith in Eastern Free State. We have scenic views over Platberg mountain. Platberg is one of the most famous landmarks in the Eastern Free State and is 9 kilometer long and 2,394 meter high.
We believe in protecting the earth and aims toward making travel and living sustainable. The establishment was originally built in 1860 with mud bricks. When the establishment was remodeled and restored, we reused and recycled as many materials as possible.
We managed to get the original building plans and the alterations were made using the old footprints of the stables and regenerated building materials. The cut sandstone was collected and re-used. We have sourced old building materials like doors, windows and ceilings.
It is also an extremely eco-friendly and sustainable establishment. Solar power provides the heating of the water and outdoor lighting. All bathrooms here have low-flow toilets and aerated low-flow shower heads. Non-toxic cleaning products are used and we make use of an outdoor clothesline to dry sheets, pillowcases and towels. The linens, towels and robes in guest rooms are eco-friendly and are made of organic cotton. Only non-VOC paint is use for the property. Guests are even provided with reusable glass water bottles during their stay to avoid waste. During winter months we use chopped wood of invasive species for our fire-places. Energy-efficient lighting is used throughout and natural light is utilized instead, when possible.
We harvest water in three tanks. This reduce the daily water usage for the gardens. During water shortages the water is treated with reverse osmosis rather than chemicals for use in the establishment.
All garden and kitchen waste go to our sustainable earthworm farm. The compost and fertilizer are utilized in the organic gardens. Here we grow vegetables without chemicals. We have planted olive, quince, figs, plum and pomegranate trees.
Our guest dine on fresh organic produce from the our own garden at breakfast and dinner. We also serve local ingredients and no processed food.
I’d always been a sunshine lover. Rainy weather made me unmotivated. This time of the year I find myself to love the cold and the beauty of Winter. Saturday was a special day and during the book – #Bergburgers launch we serve Corma Chicken. Corma is a fragrant Indian dish – the king of curries.
Sharing our recipe with you.
12 chicken thighs fresh and organic grown.
Salt and pepper to season the chicken pieces well.
Olive oil and butter to drown your chicken in.
Place the chicken in an oven proof dish
Use the oil and butter to fry one chopped onion, red pepper, yellow pepper and green pepper
Add the fried onion and peppers over the chicken.
Mix 8 crushed Cardamom pods, 25ml Masala, 20ml ground Cumin, 20ml Mustard seeds, 4 garlic cloves coarsely chopped, 2.5cm of fresh ginger – peeled and chopped.
50g almond flakes, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, cayenne pepper to your taste
Place in a blender and blend.
Add to the chicken pieces
Add 250 ml Greek yoghurt to the pan and bake for 40 min in the oven.
Remove from oven and add
50g sultanas, 50g almond flakes, 250g of mushrooms and 150ml cream to the dish.
Bake another 15min.
Dish with fresh baked bread or rice.
Enjoy your corma and let us know how you have used our recipe.
We purchase De Oude Huize Yard and our family moved to Harrismith on 15 December 2000. Our sons did a huge commitment to leave their schools, sport and friends behind and join this new venture into the Free State. Remembering the night that we traveled to Harrismith and the uncontrolled veld-fires were lighting the skies Pedri made a comment —so beautiful but so destructive. Our new lives away from the hustle and bustle of Pretoria and “retirement” in the town will have to make a difference.
Everything’s done on impulse.
We bought the old house to save it from the bulldozer and in the words of Adam Small:
proud ou gabou—pathetic pêllie
stil ou—djy fancy djy staan nog…
djy word gedemolish sê ek vir djou!…
Hoor djy die pêrepote vannie bulldozers?
Ever since we have spend all our time in renovating and collecting history about our house and the town. Even thought everything that we , Pedri and Gerald-Cecil have done did not come easily we still see this as a blessing and we would like to believe that we have made a difference to De Oude Huize Yard and our neighbourhood.
Our neighbours are the best. On our day of arrival they welcomed us with tea, coffee, rusk and a lot of help. Strange people opened their hearts and hands to help us to move into a very dialectic house. They treat us with love and open their heart to all off us.
On opening the front door of our new dwelling we immediately decided to give it a name — De Oude Huize . The state of neglect was cleary visible and we decided to keep to the original era of the house and try to safe a little history in Stuart Street. We had little experience of such a big renovating process and as the kids at school asked Gerald-Cecil— does your parents know what they are doing—he could honestly answer I don’t know, I think they don’t know themselves.
We have read articles on renovating but nothing really helps until you start with the process. We have asked stupid questions and really work our fingers to the bone.
Sitkamer met kaggel
Deurbreek van ‘n deur
The renovation process of the original house was solely done by Hennie, Pedri and Gerald-Cecil. They have sanded floors, scraped down old paint remove rotten novilon, wood and carpets. They have cleaned the yard from invasive kakibos. They have leveled the garden and made new beds. They have opened up the Attic , painted every room and replaced old floorboards.
To put the cherry on cake the new sandstone wing was added on the footprint of the old stables.