Rose’s Round-Up February 2001 No 86

TOURISM IS THE KEY

Carefully planned development would create a better quality of life throughout the Karoo, according to Doreen “Thiwe” Hugo, the first mayor of the Central Karoo District Municipality. “Every effort is being made to promote tourism to so capture a larger slice of both the domestic and international market sectors. Tourism will assist us to develop the area, build the infrastructures of our small towns and villages and strengthen the region’s economy. We aim to bring tourism closer to our previously disadvantaged communities so that they may share its benefits and experience a better quality of life. Several projects to make this dream a reality are now in the pipeline”. Mrs Hugo, a resident of Murraysburg, was inaugurated as mayor at a function in Beaufort West on March 2. In her acceptance speech Mrs Hugo vowed to serve the interests of all communities, promote job creation and economic development and build a non-racial culture throughout the region. “President Thabo Mbeki, in his State of the Nation Address, announced that the Central Karoo had been identified as an area for strategic integrated rural development. He plans to visit the region again within short for further discussions. Our President has fulfilled his promise on the Karoo. It is now up to us to prove we are worthy of his trust”. Mrs Hugo called on her fellow councillors to “work together, to support development efforts and so ensure that the Karoo becomes a jewel in the crown of Africa”.

BUITELANDERS OP DIE DAK VAN DIE KAROO

Toeristebeamptes van die Klein en Sentraal Karoo was verbaas deur die getal buitelanders wat hulle op die Swartbergpas ontmoet het tydens ‘n inspeksie van padtekens. “Daar was geen parkering op die kruin van die berg nie omdat so baie toeriste daar stil gehou het om die prag van albei streke te aanskou”, het Piet Ackerman, voorsitter van die Klein Karoo STO”, gesê. Aan die een kant, omsingel deur berge, lê die Klein Karoo soos ‘n kleurvolle laslappieskombers. Op die ander kant lê die asemrowende Groot Karoo, wyd uitgestrek, so vêr soos mens kan sien. Uiteindelik, vêr in die bloute, smelt die hemel en aarde saam. “‘n Paar Hollanders, met wie ek gesprek gevoer het, kon nie glo dat hulle die Nuweveld-berge meer as 200 km weg, so duidelik kon sien nie. Hulle kon ook nie glo dat dit so winderig en koel bo-op die berg was terwyl ‘n hittegolf in die vallei geheers het nie. Die uitsig is so spesiaal dat beter parkeerterreine hier en op heelwat ander plekke geskep moet word sodat besoekers langer kan vertoef”, het Piet gesê.

LIVELY MORNING FOR KAROO

The SABC breakfast TV show Morning Live will be broadcast from the Transkaroo Express on March 16. Programme producer and tourism editor Linky Bierman said: “When the show opens at 06h00, the train will be near Leeu Gamka, and for the two hours we are on the air we will be travelling through the Great Karoo. This is the first time we will broadcast from a train, and it may even be a world first for a breakfast TV show”.

PRIVATE NATURE RESERVE PLANNED

There are plans to develop a private nature reserve on a 1 200ha section of land south of Albert’s Watermill in Prince Albert. The property, which stretches into Oukloof and up to Eerstewater, was recently acquired by Ian Uys of Knysna. Ian and four partners have registered a trust and applied to Cape Nature Conservation to have the area declared a nature reserve. Ian presented plans for the reserve to local residents at a recent meeting in Prince Albert. After an environmental assessment has been done, the trust aims to build a swimming pool, ablution block and lapa. There are also plans to develop a perpetual waterfall and a caravan park. A hiking trail has already been laid out in the “Ein Gedi” valley of the Oukloof area. “A horse trail and 4 x 4 route are also on the cards”, says Ian.

PRESIDENT KRUGER HELP BEAUFORT-WES KERK

In 1889 het eerwaarde Paulus Teske van die Beaufort-Wes sendingkerk ‘n toer na die goudvelde van die ou Transvaal onderneem met die doel om fondse in te samel om kerkskuld te delg. Sy rit was so suksesvol, dat met sy terugkeer was sy gemeente se skuld heeltemaal uitgewis. President Paul Kruger was onder dié wat bydraes gemaak het. Op daardie stadium van sy lewe was die moedige leraar ernstig siek as gevolg van ooreising. Hy het vir die ou president vertel dat hy vir amper 20 jaar al besig was om fondse in te samel. Sy gemeente se eerste kerk het in ‘n vloed in 1869 heeltemal weggespoel, kort na dit klaar gebou was. Al wat oorgebly het was skuld van £400. Nietemin is werk onmiddelik begin met die bou van ‘n nuwe kerk. Teske self het die preekstoel gemaak. Teske se ywer het Kruger se hart geraak. Vandag is die kerk deel van die Beaufort-Wes museum.

RELAX WITH BRUSH AND PAINT

“Painting blends well with the relaxing atmosphere of the Karoo”, says artist Christine Thomas. She and Mary Anne Botha, both of whom have fine arts degrees, are now planning a series of Karoo art workshops for the third year in a row. The first is an intensive three-day workshop, including studio and outdoor sessions, tutored by Professor Greg Kerr. It takes place from May 8 to 11 and costs R600 per person. Professor Kerr is an internationally known artist, who until last year headed the Department of Fine Arts at Stellenbosch University. He is now starting an art school in Port Elizabeth and hopes to conduct regular classes in the Karoo. Christine and Mary Anne will tutor two Art Weekends in Prince Albert from June 15 to 17 and July 20 to 22. These will cost R300 per person. Then a water colour workshop, tutored by Richard Rennie, who has exhibited in South Africa and abroad, will be held from August 14 to 17, at the cost of R600 per person. “These workshops have become very popular. The main reasons are the richness of colour in autumn and the softer light of winter. Early booking has become essential, particularly for water colour sessions”, says Christine.

KOM JAG SAAM

Beaufort-Wes Middedorpskole bied weereens vanjaar ‘n jagnaweek aan vanaf 7 tot 10 Junie. Dié gewilde geleentheid sluit in ‘n onspannende reis per trein vanaf Kaapstad tot in Beaufort-Wes. “Op die trein sal daar gesellig gekuier word in ‘n ruim en goed toegeruste sitkamerwa waar jagstories tot laataand vertel sal word”, sê Frikkie Smit, een van die organiseerders. Die pakket sluit in jag van kudu, gemsbok, eland, hartebees, blesbok en springbok, sowel as gholf. Koste is R2 200 per persoon.

WHICH WAY WITH THE RAILWAY?

In 1875, there were those who thought a railway line across the vast plains of the Karoo would be “a waste of time”. According to a report in the Cape Times of April 1, 1875, “Members of Parliament have divergent opinions about the prospective new railway line. Some feel that the main route should be through Robertson and George because those districts are far wealthier than the Karoo. Those opposed to the Karoo line believe that the Colony will be bankrupt before the line is completed and that it will have to end permanently at Beaufort West. Those in favour of the Karoo route argue that Beaufort West and the Ghoup are prosperous wool producing areas and that there is a possibility of manganese, coal, silver and lead being exploited there in the future. At this stage, they say, wheat and wine of Robertson and George are not even suitable for export”.

A COSIER KIND OF KITCHENER

Hard-bitten General Herbert Horatio Kitchener, the man who decided in 1901 to build blockhouses across the African plains in an effort to stop the Anglo-Boer War, actually has a knitting stitch named after him. Many soldiers considered him a hard and difficult man and some even referred to him as the “squint-eyed misogynist of Khartoum”. The stitch, it seems, shares the characteristics of the man. “Knitters agree the stitch is typical of Lord Kitchener”, says Nancy Shroyer of Nancy’s Knit Knacks at knitten@mindspring.com. “It is very difficult to make and more difficult to explain. The Kitchener stitch seems to date back to the war when everyone was knitting for the forces. It takes no less than ten steps to explain. But once you master it, you’ll find you can’t do without it when you have a sock to finish or a grafting job to do. It’s so popular we sell it on laminated cards which slip onto a keyring”.

OP DIE SPOOR VAN DIE DE WETS

“My oupa-grootjie was Jacobus Arnoldus de Wet, glo ‘n ouderling van Beaufort-Wes se Moederkerk. My ouma, Anne Elisabeth de Wet, het met die seun van die dorp se Anglikaanse priester getrou. Dit was vir my ‘n goed genoeg rede om meer te wil weet van my moeder se kant van my familie”, skryf mev Ingrid Mousley van Clarens in die Vrystaat. “Tot nou toe het my navorsing heelwat De Wets opgelewer – Lettie, Bertie, Gerald, Jim, Gert, Hennie, HD, BW, JD, J and T, maar wie hulle is en wat van hulle geword het bly nog duister. Ek onthou nog my Ouma, Anne Elisabeth de Wet (1878 – 1963). Sy het twee broers gehad, Jack en Gerald. Sy het met William Theodore Alban Gething, ‘n seun van Guy en Louisa Gething, getrou. Guy was die Anglikaanse priester van Beaufort-Wes en is daar begrawe. Ek sal dit waardeer as enigeen wat inligting oor die De Wets van die Karoo het dit met my sal deel”, sê Ingrid.

GHOSTS SCARE UP ALL-ROUND REACTION

The phantoms of the veld, mentioned in Round-up No. 85, drew wide response. Not only did journalists and radio interviewers in search of interesting material follow up on these spectres, but readers also rounded up a few more and sent in stories for publication. Among the tales that whet the appetites of ghost hunters were anecdotes of the old Seweweekspoort toll keeper, who waves his lantern to warn travellers of danger during bad weather, the Smous of the Swartberg, who often “hitches” a ride with tourists, the “Oog” at Beaufort West, and many other wanderings, wafting, wailing wraiths.

OOSTERSE SIMBOLE DREIG BOER MET DOOD

‘n Papiertjie met Oosterse simbole het eens ‘n groot vris Karooboer by die dood laat omdraai. Die storie, in Sue van Waart se boek Swartberg en sy Mense, is onder Round-up se aandag gebring na ‘n berig oor spookstories in Round-up No 85 verskyn het. Toe oom Jurie Klue van Klaarstroom ‘n ou opstal op sy plaas begin restoureer, het hy meer as ou kaggels en stinkhoutmuurkassies onder die modderpleister, lae verf en kleisement gevind. Hy het ook op ‘n ou verbleikte, geelerige, perkamentrol afgekom. Die datum daarop was 1300, en dit het ‘n lang lys name soos ‘n familie register bevat. Net die naam S Warren en die datum 1784 was leesbaar. ‘n Paar dae daarna het ‘n papiertjie van ‘n deurkosyn af gefladder en reg voor oom Jurie te lande gekom. Hy het dit opgetel, gewonder oor die betekenis van die snaakse simbole, sterretjies en krulletjies daarop, dit in sy sak gesteek en later by sy huis gebêre. Die volgende dag het sy gesondheid begin lol. Daagliks versleg hy tot hy kwalik kon loop met pyne in sy heup en bene. Dokters het van naderende ouderdom, artritis en rumatiek gepraat. Op ‘n dag wys oom Jurie die papiertjie vir ‘n man wat hom vertel dat dit ‘n Oosterse vloek bevat wat tot die dood van die vinder lei. Oom Jurie het die papiertjie onmiddelik verbrand en vinnig herstel.

BEAUFORT WEST BAND AMONG THE BEST

Hotbox, Beaufort West’s disco, jazz and reggae band, is among the top in the Western Cape Province. The band came fourth in the last “Battle of the Bands” competition in Atlantis. Hotbox, named after the hot central area of the Karoo, was started eight years ago when seven jobless men from the town’s under- privileged community got together to “make music”. “We’ve never looked back”, said organiser Novello Mack, now also Speaker of the Central Karoo District Municipality. “Our music seems to bring as much joy to those who hear it as it does to us who play it”.

THE DAY THE FUTURE CHAIRMAN WAS JAILED

The man who became chairman of the board of the Old Mutual in 1920 was once jailed in Beaufort West. Historical researcher Dr Dawn Gould, of Facts Found, discovered this in a letter to his mother from John X Merriman, last Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. Dated January 3, 1901, it states: “Attorney J G van der Horst was today thrown into prison in Beaufort West for 12 hours”. Dawn says: “This may have had something to do with Van der Horst being a member of the Afrikander Bond. In 1910, he became editor of The Cape, a Cape Town weekly newspaper. He was later appointed managing director of Fletcher and Cartwright, and in 1920 invited to join the board of Old Mutual”.

BOEKE OOR PRINCE ALBERT

Diegene wat graag boeke oor die Karoo versamel sal belangstel in die reeks wat tans by die Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prins Albert verkrygbaar is. Dit sluit in plaaslike skrywer Helena Marincowitz se reeks oor Meiringspoort en die Swartbergpas (R20 elk), Gamkaskloof (R10) en Prins Albert en die Boere-oorlog (Engels R30, Afrikaans R20) en The Old Gables of Prince Albert and in the district (R10). Dan is daar ook Prince Albert: Paleozoic to Present, a Geological Trek to an Ancient Past, deur Albert Theron (R40); en Derek Thomas se Architecture of Prince Albert – Karoo Town at the foot of the Swartberg (R20). “Derek se boek is gewild onder toeriste omdat daar ‘n kaart van die dorp is en dit kan maklik op stap toere gebruik word”, sê museum kurator Jonathan Rolfe.

PRINCE OF THE SWARTBERG SPREADS WINGS

Prince Albert Tourism Bureau is soon to embark on a tightly focussed marketing campaign. The town and its products will be marketed at the annual Klein Karoo Kunstefees from April 7 to 14. This is a platform that Prince Albert has successfully used since the inception of the Kunstefees. Then also, marketers will attend Indaba, South Africa’s huge annual travel trade show in Durban from April 21 to 25. The bureau will be part of the Route 62 Stand and will promote the Swartberg Loop along this route. This loop encourages tourists to explore the passes of the Swartberg Mountains and sightsee in the Great Karoo. This year’s Indaba will focus on emergent tourism products. For the first time in its history the show will “significantly reflect” new tourism ownership, say the organisers.

DIS WEER OLYFFEES TYD

Prins Albert se sesde Olyffees, bekend tot in die buiteland, sal van 27 tot 29 April gehou word. Gedurende die fees sal die hoofstraat vir twee dae gesluit word. ‘n Groot verskeidenheid stalletjies sal in die straat opgerig word en daar gaan groot pret wees in die area rondom die museum. Ko-ordineerder Di van der Riet Steyn sê: “Optogte, parades en danse sal daagliks plaasvind. Daar sal heelwat kompetisies wees, insluitende ‘n olyfspoeg wedstryd. Daar sal ook uitstallings wees van fotos en skilderye. ‘n Staptog, fietswedren, marathon en veiling word ook beplan”.

HANDS ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS

In a spirit of co-operation, Beaufort West and Oudtshoorn have moved closer to promote tourism. Pierre Nel, director of Oudtshoorn Tourist Bureau, was invited to address a gathering of all tourism role players in Beaufort West recently. He stressed the importance of local bureaus in the tourism mix and the necessity for such bureaus to be supported by local business. “All too often, local business does not see itself as part of tourism. But, it is essential that every business, from supermarkets, through to shoe shops, outfitters to estate agents, supports the bureau. Chemists, doctors and even undertakers should join because people get ill and some even die on holiday. As the Western Cape tourism slogan says: ‘Tourism is everyone’s business.’”

RIVER DAMPS DOWN COAL FIND

In 1890, coal was discovered near Klaarstroom in the Karoo. It was found on Almero Oosthuizen’s farm, Vischgat. According to reports it was “of good quality and burned perfectly”. A mine was started, but it was too close to the river. Within short the mine flooded and was abandoned. The dump is still visible.