A son of the Great Karoo, Professor Chris Barnard, is to be honoured by the Austrian Government this month. In an international poll, the world heart-transplant pioneer emerged as the most popular of seven international leaders in their fields. He will receive the first My Way award. “Polling was conducted by Internet to gain as wide an international response base as possible,” said Eric Bruckberger, a director of the Tatum Media Group, organisers of the gala function in Vienna at which the award will be presented. The media group, which has negotiated the loan of a large portion of the Barnard exhibit from Beaufort West Museum to mount a display in Vienna from May 20 to June 20, will also donated R30 000 to the museum for the loan of the material. Included is a selection of memorabilia from Professor Barnard’s childhood home and early life as well as the simulation of the original heart-transplant theatre, awards presented to him, paintings, as well as many photographs. Professor Barnard recently visited Beaufort West with Eric Bruckberger and Primo Zogg, an architect representing the Austrian Government, to select items for display. Professor Barnard conducted them on a tour of his boyhood home and the old mission church in which his father preached. “It was sprinkled with many anecdotes of a warm family life,” said Eric.


Prince Albert het ‘n toerisme vriendelikheidsprojek geloots. Die buro soek nou persone wat op ‘n vriendelike en hulpvaardige wyse optree teenoor kuiergaste in die dorp. “Nominasies vir die maandelikse toekenning kan by die Toerismeburo ingedien word,” sê toerismebeampte Trudi Nel. Die dorp se eerste toerisme-persoon van die maand is Burgemeester Dawid Rossouw. Volgens toerismeburo voorsitter Andrew Tudhope is hy eenparig deur dorpenaars gekies “vir die tyd, moeite en energie wat hy met soveel toewyding aanwend om die dorp te bewaar, bekend te stel en te bemark.” Andrew sê: “Hy steun elke toerisme projek wat ons aanpak en woon alle moontlike toerisme verwante vergaderings by.”


A schoolboy’s project on Gamkaskloof in the Karoo has brought him international recognition. Henning Burden, a grade-10 pupil at Paul Roos in Stellenbosch, last year won first place at the Western Cape Expo for his environmental and ecological project on The Hell, as the kloof is commonly known. He was one of two pupils in the Western Cape and 60 country-wide presented with gold medals for their work in a nation-wide competition that drew 30 000 entrants. This year, the SA National Expo organisers adjudged Henning’s project one of the top four. He has now been invited to travel to Hong Kong to enter it in the International Expo from July 22 to August 1. Its standards are extremely high. Henning’s project evolved from a visit to the valley in 1998. Its natural beauty, plants, animals, birds and history so impressed him that he felt he had to share it with others.


Beaufort West’s Central High School head boy of 1930 died shortly after leaving school in December that year. But Max Bayer has not been forgotten. Now, 70 years later, his niece, Dr Freda Freeman, of Cape Town, has appealed to the Central Karoo Tourism Office to help find information on him. “Max died of blood poisoning after being bitten by a horse fly,” she said. “In those days, there were no antibiotics and despite being rushed to hospital, nothing could be done. He is buried in Kimberley.” In 1931, the school decided to honour Max by erecting a remembrance plaque. It was unveiled by his good friend Eric Lusty. Originally placed in a classroom, close to the seat he once occupied, it is now in the main corridor, near the headmaster’s office. At the unveiling ceremony, one of the masters, Mr J J Nel, said Max Bayer had been “more than a top pupil, of exemplary character and conduct. He was a little gentleman. A lad full of promise, his consistent efforts achieved a first-grade pass, made him Dux Student of the year.”


Belangrike besprekings rakende toerisme ontwikkeling het onlangs in Beaufort-Wes plaasgevind. Jurgens Schoeman, ontwikkelingsbestuurder van Wes-Kaap Toerismeraad het lede van die toerismeburo en ander rolspelers in die bedryf op hoogte gebring met WKTB planne vir toerisme in die provinsie. Hy het melding gemaak van die nuwe konsepwet wat eersdaags sal verskyn en wat gemik is om toerisme in die provinsie te versterk. Die beoogde nuwe benaming vir die raad, die korporatiewe benadering tot bemarking, regulasies rakende die akkommodasie-bedryf en akkreditasie van toerismeburos sowel as befondsing en lidmaatskap het alles onder die soeklig gekom. “In die toekoms sal munisipaliteite verantwoordelikheid moet aanvaar vir buros, streekstoerisme organisasies sal verdwyn en klem sal geplaas word op gesamentlike bemarking van streke sowel as toerisme roetes,” het Jurgens gesê. Hy het ook melding gemaak van toerisme kursusse wat WKTR deur die provinsie vir skole borg, en van nuwe bemarkingsmateriaal en webblaaie wat eersdaags sal verskyn.


Considerable drama surrounded the incident at Juriesfontein which led to the death of John Watson, a young Boer soldier (Round-up No 75). Boer War researcher Taffy Shearing says Watson was a member of that small party of men from the commandos of Wynand Malan and Gideon Scheepers who travelled from the Aberdeen district in July 1901, to the Free State to hold talks with General Christiaan de Wet and President Steyn. Led by Malan, with Henry Hugo, the party had an easy, trouble-free journey, but its mission ended in disappointment. Steyn and De Wet only issued a toothless proclamation declaring Cape Rebels to be Free Staters. Unable to find recruits, the party returned to the Cape. It reached Juriesfontein in October 1901. “This farm lies in a secluded spot and the Pienaars had no clear view of anyone approaching,” says Taffy. “On the day of the incident, young Dauphin Pienaar was out in the veld. The Boer party rode up and asked if the coast was clear It had been when he left home, but unbeknown to him, a British patrol had slipped in. The Boers rode to the farm. As they were about to knock on the front door it burst open and shots rang out. They fled. But young Watson had led his horse around the back for water. He was just taking the saddle off when he heard the shots. As he tried to pull the girth up with his teeth he was shot in the stomach and collapsed.” Watson was carried into the house for treatment, but the British decided not to leave him there. They clearly remembered the young Boer Corney Hoffman escaping after being wounded at another farm. So, Watson was put in a wagon for transport to hospital. He died en route to town. “The Boers blamed Dauphin for Watson’s death, so he joined the District Mounted Troops for protection. When General Wynand Malan captured the DMT at Uitspansfontein in February 1902, Ben de Villiers told Pienaar to act deaf and dumb. He did so, and with other members of the DMT denying he was Pienaar this probably saved his life.” Taffy will be in Beaufort West on June 9 for talks on Boer War events in the area at a VLV meeting and the museum.

KURSUS VIR JAGTERS (Tel Peter Eayrs 083 703-3185)

Die Kaapse Jagters en Wildsbewaringsvereniging bied ‘n spesiale kursus vir senior jagters aan te Robertson op Mei 20 en 21. Die program sluit bio-diversiteit, die wet, probleem diere en fotografie in.


Languishing among the memorabilia of Prince Albert’s Fransie Pienaar Museum is a swordstick, once a part of high drama. Sadly, the name of the Bulgarian who originally owned it has been forgotten, but his story has survived. “One can only imagine that, whoever he was, this man loved the beautifully-crafted weapon. It seems to have been the only possession of value he took when fleeing from Bulgaria, never to return,” says researcher Helena Marincowitz. When the swordstick’s owner refused to join rebel forces in his country, he was captured and imprisoned. He escaped and dashed back to his house to snatch a change of clothing and his swordstick. He then headed for the Greek border. Once safely across, he snatched a rest alongside the road. Robbers attacked him but he beat them off with the swordstick. One of the robbers managed to grab it and pulled the wooden sheath from the rapier. He made off with this in his hand. Badly shaken, the Bulgarian wrapped his rapier in an old newspaper and continued his jourey to Athens. There he joined a Greek freighter bound for the West Coast of Africa. He eventually disembarked in Durban. He roamed South Africa for months, unable to settle. Then, one day, he found himself at Prince Albert Road station. There the adventurer left the train and hopped aboard a donkey cart bound for the Swartberg Hotel. He fell in love with the Karoo and stayed at the hotel until he died. He bequeathed his rapier to hotel owner Benjamin Klein, who became a close friend. In time, Bernard gave it to his friend Jimmy Oosthuizen, a Zeekoeigat farmer. Jimmy crafted a sheath for the blade, fitted a wooden knob to the handgrip and, in 1946, gave it to his son, Eric, who donated it to the museum in 1985.


Boesman en Bessel vorder goed met onderrig om ‘n kapkar te trek tydens ‘n Boereoorlog herdenkingsrit Hulle is die twee spog swart Vlaamse perde wat eregas Herman de Wit, voorsitter van die Sentrale Karoo Distrikraad en van Beaufort-Wes Toerismeburo, na die verrigtinge sal bring tydens die Herdenkingsrit ter ere van die Perde en Ruiters van die Anglo-boereoorlog. Die Kommandorit deur die dorp sal op Junie 6 plaasvind. Reëlings vir die geleentheid vorder goed. David Pickard-Cambridge (Tel No 023-417-1691) en Piet Ellis (Tel No 023-415-2205) nooi plaaslike ruiters wat wil deelneem om hulle so gou moontlik te kontak. “Dit behoort ‘n feestige dag op die dorp te wees,” sê Dawie Uys, voorsitter van die organiseerderskomitee. “Alle skole word uitgenooi om kinders ‘n tydjie af te gee sodat hul iewers langs die roete die perde sal kan sien. Dit behoort ‘n pragtige groot optog van meer as 50 perde te wees.”


Thomas Frederick Mortlock, who died in 1973 at 96 years, once bravely rode the Karoo plains as a member of Gorringe’s Flying Column. After the Anglo-Boer War ended, he often told friends and family of those exciting times. Frederick then recalled that the unit had once set a British Army record by travelling 100 miles in 24 hours on horseback. Everyone enjoyed his stories, but no one recorded them. Now his grandson, Mike Mortlock, is trying to find out more about this unit which Leo Amery in The Times History of the War in South Africa calls “the oldest of all the columns” and the original Colonial Defence Force. “Colonel C F Gorringe raised the unit in Graaff Reinet for general service and many well-known men of the Karoo served with it,” says researcher Taffy Shearing. “Among them were Abe Bailey, Evert Collett, who rose to the rank of Colonel during World War One, and Douglas Featherstone.” When most troopers of the original unit had served their time, it was broken up, but Gorringe immediately organised a fresh force of Tasmanians, Cape Police and Nesbitt’s Horse. Mike Mortlock would welcome any further details.

AANDAG ALLE DE BEERS (Tel No 023-541-1366)

‘n Landwye uitnodiging word gerig aan alle De Beers. ‘n Familie-reunie word beplan in Prins Albert, tuisdorp van stamvader Zacharias de Beer, vir die naweek van 30 Junie tot 1 Julie. Volle besonderhede is by Prins Albert Toerismeburo verkrygbaar.


Two vintage De Havilland Tiger Moth aircraft recently provided a rare aeronautical treat above Prince Albert. They were part of the Great SABC 2 Aerial Roadshow, which focuses on festivals and national sports events. The aircraft called on Prince Albert, their first rural venue, to promote TV 2 and its programmes. “The idea is to create a higher visibility for our service and to generate support for local charities,” said SABC2 Brand Manager Jackie Motsepe. “Funds for charity are generated by passengers who pay for a 30-minute flip across their town. We create a great deal of excitement by offering free lucky tickets and having well-known TV 2 celebrities join the fun.” The team, which comprised pilots Tim Keaton, Frank Rehrl and Bob Ewing, as well as engineers Frank Strecker and Peter Upfold as well as administrators Patty Photong and Lee Rehrl all enjoyed a few days relaxation in the Karoo at the Swartberg Country Lodge.


‘n Baie geslaagde en insiggewende werkswinkel oor die gebruik van ‘n plaaslike museum vir uitkombaseerde onderwys is op 4 April 2000, by die Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prins Albert gehou. Aanbieders Sigri Howes en Myrtle Edwards, van die Sentrum vir Bewaringsopvoeding in Kaapstad, het die sinvolle beplanning van museumbesoeke vir leerders bespreek. Praktiese voorbeelde van hoe dit toegepas kan word is uitgelig. “Deur goeie voorafbeplanning kan museum-besoeke by heelwat leerareas, leerplanne en temas ingewerk word,” sê Sigri. “Skole behoort as lede van Die Vriende van Museumorganisasies aan te sluit om sodoende in voeling te bly met ontwikkelings op kultuur gebiede.” As ‘n bonus vir die dag het afgevaardigdes ‘n staptoer deur Prins Albert onder leiding van Helena Marincowitz geniet.


There are plans for two art workshops at Prince Albert this year. The first, entitled Karoo Art, is designed to extend experienced landscape artists working in oils or acrylics. It takes place from May 22 to 25, costs R600 and will be conducted by well-known artist Erik Laubscher. The second, entitled Spring Art Week, is designed to cater for all levels of experience and will have a variety of programmes to enable participants to choose one best suited to their individual needs. For this workshop, from August 21 to 24, the course fee is R450. Tutors are Christine Thomas, BA Fine Art (Rhodes), Mary Ann Botha and Ann Kerr, both with BA Hons Fine Art degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand. The workshops are being arranged by local artists Christine Thomas and Elzane Steynberg. “The landscape around Prince Albert offers artists unsurpassed painting opportunities. Lighting effects are dramatic, and the expansive vistas of the Karoo provide inspiration and challenge,” says Christine. Elzane agrees, and adds: “The Swartberg Pass alone, with its magnificent, awe-inspiring rock formations is worthy of hours of study.”


Frogs not only helped put Merweville on the map, they also rekindled many long-ago memories of the village. Among those delighted by this unusual publicity for the town was Elsje van der Linde (nee Deetlefs), a former teacher. She writes from Velddrif: “I was thrilled to see Merweville hitting the headlines (Round-up No 74). I’ll never forget my first glimpse of this isolated village. I arrived there in 1962 to take up my first teaching post. Being a city girl, I had serious reservations about moving into the hinterland, but my fears were groundless. The townspeople made me more than welcome. In those days Kallie le Roux, who is now doing so much for tourism in the town, was one of my pupils. I later bought a cottage from him. My husband, Martiens, who is an artist, and I spent many unforgettable hours wandering in the veld. We studied platannas and skurwepaddas basking on the picturesque stone dam walls through our bird-watching binoculars.” The unusual items found on Nova Vita, mentioned in the same Round-up, also interested Elsje. “As an aspiring botanical artist, I made several trips to this farm. I found a beautful Hermannia filifolia, or bergrosie, here as well as a giant pincushion protea sprawling on a geophyte ledge. I am still trying to identify this superb plant.”