Johannesburg has never seen anything like it. And at the centre of all the fuss was the Great Karoo’s Outa Lappies with his unique art forms and philosophies. The crowds loved him. His colourful patchwork outfits, embroidered mottos, wicker lamps and “karretjies” were highlights at the opening night of the Africa Exhibition at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. The exhibition runs until March. The work of this proud, dignified man with his razor-sharp mind, twinkling eyes and keen sense of humour, caught the eye of gallery director, Dr Elsa Miles, when she travelled through the Karoo. Not only did his artistic ability impress her, she also found his homespun philosophies and seemingly endless traditional tales filled with magic. In collaboration with Funda students from Soweto and art students from the Johannesburg College of Education he created a semi-circular wall at the gallery. “It’s quite special and it’s drawing crowds” said Dr Miles. “It is the first time we have attempted anything like this. Everyone is elated at the success. The magic of the opening night with candles, glowing in the wicker lighthouses around the well-worn rickshaw, surrounded by a trail of ‘karretjies’ of ever-decreasing size, is indescribable. The scene caused a hush throughout the Foundation Room of the Phillips Hall.” Lappies’s ancient rickshaw is famous throughout the Great Karoo. It has covered thousands of kilometers, drawn all the way by this entertaining eccentric who thinks he is between 70 and 80 years old. Artist, poet, philosopher, animal lover and ecologist, he holds court on the plains of the Great Karoo and those who pause to listen always feel enriched. “Mitzie van der Merwe’s interview with him on the radio programme Monitor allowed him to share this enchantment with a wider audience.” said Dr Miles. International tourists love him and are enchanted by the “Wall of Culture” he has built on the old farm Botterkraal.


Beaufort-Wes het in die eerste week van November behoorlik feesgevier en omtrent almal was daar. Dit was ‘n driedubbele geleentheid; die 75ste verjaarsdagpartytjie vir Professor Chris Barnard, wie in die sendingpastorie gebore is, ‘n dooplegtigheid vir sy vyf maand oue dogter, Lara, en ‘n Hartfees om die 30ste herdenking van die wêreld se eerste hartoorplanting to vier. Dit was ‘n spog geleentheid wat daartoe gelei het dat die Huisgenoot R20 000 namens Chris Barnard aan die museum geskenk het. Die museum was verheug. Plaaslike Tourisme Buro voorsitter Hillary Steven-Jennings voel die Hartfees het so ‘n pragtige atmosfeer in die dorp geskep dat sy en haar komitee klaar ‘n opvolg geleentheid beplan. Dit sal op 4, 5, 6, en 7 November, 1998, gehou word. Daar sal gebou word op die suksesse, soos die koorkompetisie en die vuurwerkvertoning en daar sal ‘n dans en potjiekos kompetisie wees.


Special proposals regarding tour guide training have been made in the Department of Labour’s Draft Bill on Skills Development. Among these are funding through a levy system, as well as a centralised controlling body. The suggestions are currently being discussed with all major role players. “It has long been felt that tourism training facets need to be centralised and standardised,” says Don Briscoe, editor of Update, official newsletter of the South African tour guide industry.


Meiringspoort, die gewilde slagaar deur die Swartberge tussen die Groot- en Klein Karoo. kan dalk in ‘n tolpad omskep word. Dit is een van die moontlikhede wat oorweeg word om herstel koste te help dra na verlede jaar se vloedskade, skryf Irene Ansems in Die Burger. Na raming sal die koste om hierdie roete ten voile te herstel sowat R35-miljoen wees. Die pad is tans gangbaar en geteer, maar daar is nog heelwat afrondings- en finale beveiligingswerk, veral op brue, wat gedoen moet word.


Museums in the South Cape and Karoo recently came under scrutiny at workshops and discussion sessions in Beaufort West and Prince Albert. Talks centred around functions, inclusivity, and positioning within the tourism industry, with particular emphasis on the South African tourism industry’s stated three-year commitment to the promotion of the country’s cultural heritage. Dr A Nieman, head of Cape Museum Services, emphasised the importance of support from local authorities as well all communities. If this was not forthcoming, platteland museums were doomed, he said The lack of a museum culture within the domestic market meant that some museums were poorly supported, which was placing them under threat. Changes of approach and direction to make museums more tourist friendly were discussed. Closer co-operation with Cape Nature Conservation on the promotion of Gamkaskloof was also discussed.


“Bale dankie aan alle lesers van Rose’s Round-up wat R30 vir posgeld vir 1998 aan die Sentrale Karoo Distrikraad gestuur het. Ons is verheug om te vemeem hoe gewild hierdie nuusbrief in die toerisme bedryf is,” sê hoofuitvoerende beampte John van der Merwe. “Heelwat lesers het briefies van aanmoediging saam met hulle posgeld gestuur. So het ons te hore gekom van mense wat Round-up self dupliseer en verder versprei, en van mense wat dit selfs oorsee faks na belangstellendes in die buiteland. Ons is aan hulle ‘n groot dankie verskuldig.”


A long-time symbol of Great Karoo hospitality, the Swartberg Hotel, has been given a new lease of life. But the establishment has lost none of its old world charm and elegance, in fact it has been enhanced by the addition of extra en-suite bathrooms, upgraded furnishings and many more antiques now grace the interior. Also, the hotel’s famous “haunted” paintings still have pride of place. “The Swartberg just wouldn’t be the same without them. They are a great tourist attraction,” says new owner Blackie Swart. Two are in the main lounge. Painted by I W Browne in the last century, both depict bleak, snow-covered landscapes. Coldly intriguing, one has a set of footprints that stop dead in an expanse of snow. In the other painting the footprints in the snow appear to be those of a weird scarecrow. There is no sign of life in either icy scene, yet it is said that on nights when the light is right legions of wounded soldiers appear and march across the frozen fields leaving trails of blood on the ice. In the dining room two paintings depict similar tranquil scenes of a woman at a brook. The story goes that her lover betrayed her and she murdered him. Again, it has been said that when the light is right his ghost appears and the waters of the brook turn red.


Die Swartberg Hotel het sy eie ‘advokaat’ ontwerp. Hierdie drankie, wat tydens die sjampanje-ontbyt vir die opening van die hotel, bekend gestel is, was ‘n onmiddelike wenner. Dis van ‘n geheime ou resep wat volstruis eiers bevat gemaak en soos een gas opgemerk het “is ‘n heildronk vir engele!”


A journey that could have had its origins in the Swartberg mountain range recently ended in an English country garden, sending butterfly lovers into raptures. Perched there was a Geranium Bronze, more grandly known as the Cacyreus Marshall’, and it had laid eggs on a geranium plant in the charming garden of a delighted English lepidopterist. The event sent such ripples through the United Kingdom that BBC Television’s World News featured it at length. The Geranium Bonze, indigenous to South Africa, is found wherever geraniums and pelargoniums grow. The geranium industry’s roots lie in the Swartberg from where it spread across the world. Some time ago, its attendant butterfly appeared in Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. In these new homes the Geranium Bronze has become something of a pest as it has left its natural enemies behind. Now it has crossed the English Channel for the first time.


Volgens Kaapstad konsultante Kessel Feinstein sal 6% van Suid-Afrika se Bruto Binnelandse Produk in die jaar 2 000 sal van die toerisme bedryf kom en dit sal R42 miljoen beloop. En, sê hulle, tot 45% van die geldbesteding van die toeriste sal in Kaapstad invloei.


The bell has gone for another round of the Dwyka River name game. Post Office researcher Sven Eklund originally claimed Dwyka meant blood. Then geologist Johan Loock challenged this in the last Round-up. But, says Beaufort West railwayman Joe Davis: “Sven Eklund may have made an honest mistake. According to my records, dated 1874, the Blood River is a tributary of the Dwyka. They are only about 10 miles apart and the railway line crosses both. Both run into the Huis River, which runs into the Gouritz, which eventually flows into the sea” Mr Davis quotes from old railway records that say ” the Blood River, 144 3/4 miles from Worcester, is very shallow. Its banks are not more than 3 ft high and it is 600 ft wide. Many years ago there was even a Blood River Hotel there,” Mr Davis says.


Die boek oor die !ewe van James D Logan, skepper van Matjiesfontein en een van die kleurvolste,, karakters van die Karoo sal in Desember op die rakke wees. “Net betyds vir Kersfees,” sê die skrywer, ‘n vorige joemalis, Bob Toms. Sy eerste “ontmoeting” met die dinamiese man was toe hy Matjiesfontein se eeufees gereel het. Daama het hy onmiddelik ingespring met navorsing en nou, vier jaar later is “Logans Way” gepubliseer. Dit word deur Mallard uitgegee en die eerste kopieë was tydens’n geleentheid by die Lord Milner Hotel in Matjiesfontein aan Logan se kleinseun, Majoor John Buist oorhandig. ‘n Bekendstelling sal ook by Macaylie Kunsgalery in Kaapstad plaasvind.


In distant days before creeping sameness, crystallised violets and acacia branches festooned with bright baubles and tinsel made a Karoo Christmas very special. In “Return to Camdeboo,” Eve Palmer writes: “Sugared violets were a speciality of Cranmere, a farm south-west of Beaufort West in the Graaff Reinet district. They were painstakingly made, packed in air-tight containers and kept for the Festive Season. They were quite magical and as much a part of the festivities as the crisp, red, juicy apples called Christmas. They were only one of the 20 different apple varieties grown on Cranmere.” Early writers state that despite the heat most Karoo families of yesteryear enjoyed traditional English Christmas fare. This meant that from early December homes were filled with mouthwatering aromas. The menus included rosemary roast lamb, well-marinated venison, spicey spring chicken, fruit cake, mince pies and brandy pudding. Hospital patients were not forgotten. The ladies of the Red Cross made up special parcels and organised carol singing. At Nelspoort Sanatorium, benefactor John Garlick, the local farmers’ association and the Good Cheer Club provided Christmas treats. After World War II, when a new wing was built to treat soldiers returning from the Far East, Mr Ronald Jackson, of Bakensrug, says he remembers his mother, a member of the Good Cheer Club, paying great attention to ensuring Christmas was a cheerful time at the sanatorium.


In the years of conflict at the turn of the century British troops fighting in the Anglo-Boer War could look forward only to gifts to cheer up Christmas on the blazing veld. The festive spirit of home with yule logs. turkey, fruit cake and brandy were worlds away from the sweltering plains of the Great Karoo. But parcels from home did include tins of chocolate “with compliments of the Queen.- In his diary, Bt-Major The Hon. A V F V Russell, of the Grenadier Guards, wrote of being miserable so far from home. “This heat it is very unlike Christmas.” He had crossed the Karoo and with a friend recuperating from dysentery attended church in Cape Town. But even that was not to his liking. “The cathedral is said to be a high church, but the sermon was commonplace.” Dinner was so dreary he left early. By December 31, he felt depressed as he had severe toothache, and greeted the new year with a painfully swollen face. By the next Christmas Russell was in Petrusville. “It was not cheery. Right after the commanding officer delivered a sermon and address in the Dutch Reformed Church, borrowed for the occasion, we were ordered to withdraw. The whole day was spent commandeering Cape carts and organising transport in extreme heat.” By December 31, they were on the move and simply marched “out of one year and into the next,” only stopping at 01h30. “So ended a very eventful 1900, and the second festive season that’s gone unmarked!”


Boer soldate was nie gepla deur die hitte nie. Kersfees was gekenmerk met vrolikheid en gelukwense skryf Fransjohan Pretorius in sy boek “Op Kommando”. Hy vertel dat na godsdiensbyeenkomst daar Boeresport spele en perdewedrenne gehou was. Wat van die tradisionele Kersmaal? Rondom 1899 het vroue-besoekers, dameskomitees en familielede laers besoek en vir versnapperinge gesorg, maar teen Kersfees 1900 en 1901 was die geleenthede daarmee heen – die guerilla oorlog was aan die gang. Vir verreweg die meeste burgers het hul kersmaal net uit pap bestaan. Die wat vleis gekry het, was gelukkig. Daar was wel ‘n paar kommandos wat uit die buit van ‘n Britse konvooi of trein, ‘n skaflike feesmaal kon voorsit. Teen 1901, die derde Kersfees op die veld, was omstandighede betreurenswaardig. Perde was in slegte toestand en daar was min kos. Die kommandos het noustrop getrek tussen blokhuise en bewegende Britse ruiterkolonnes. Feesviering was baie ver van hulle gedagtes.


An Anglo-Boer War Christmas in a commando camp could be more than somewhat spartan. A young man of German descent who served with the Boers during the Anglo-Boer War, Roland William Schikkerling, writes of having only porridge with neither sugar nor salt. In his book “Commando Courageous” young Roland says they also had no eating utensils. He and his companions gathered round a blue enamel saucepan and ate with their hands, using pieces of bark or wood to handle the hot porridge. “We had one cup, however, and could drink in Indian file,” By Christmas, 1900, they had “run out of all dainties, coffee, tea, sugar and tinned provisions. Matches, soap, clothing and horse shoes, which had once seemed quite indispensable, were finished.” By December, 1901, most men had only one set of clothes. “Thread and patches were so scarce that rather than a tear in your trousers, you’d prefer a gash in your leg as this would heal of its own accord.” An invitation to Christmas dinner filled him with excitement, but continuous rain soaked his only clothes. He struggled to dry them over a failing fire, saddled up and proceeded to the feast. “With my now shrunken standards, it beggared description. We even had plum pudding.” Days later he was still regailing friends with details and “they hearkened as to their father’s testament!” Boers emphasised the religious character of the season, but there were light-hearted moments. On Christmas Day, 1899, Boers fired two dud shells engraved with “Compliments of the Season” into besieged Ladysmith. Each contained a Christmas pudding!


Writing in the South African News during the Anglo-Boer War, a British newspaper correspondent reported: “On Christmas Day we were giving wounded men cigars to spread good cheer. One poor fellow shook his head and said: ‘My mouth’s like De Aar Junction – there are three ways out.’ He had been shot in the face. The bullet had entered his eye, travelled downwards and came out of his chin. He did not feel much like celebrating the season.”