HISTORIC MOMENTS ON TV
An international TV crew recently visited Beaufort West to make a documentary on the life of heart surgeon Professor Chris Barnard for BBC 1. It will be broadcast as part of a Sunday night ‘Songs of Praise’ series. Each week a world famous personality is interviewed on religious preferences and favourite songs of praise. Among the music chosen by Professor Barnard were River of Dreams, Amazing Grace, Jerusalem, Old Rugged Cross and What a Friend we have in Jesus. During dramatisation of the latter hymn, Jan Wright, of Beaufort West, played the role of Professor Barnard’s father, Rev Adam Barnard, who preached at the mission church, now part of the museum, from 1911 to 1948. Mr Wright’s car, a 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster, was used in this sequence which was filmed on the highway to Leeu Gamka. The BBC sub-contracted Sparks Productions in England to make the Barnard episode. A crew of four, accompanied by BBC interviewer Pam Rhodes, was sent to the Karoo. Co-ordination of the project in South Africa was handled by Andre Pieterse of Stellenbosch.
NUWE DATUM VIR JAARVERGADERING
Beaufort-Wes Reklame- en Toerisme Vereniging het die datum van hulle jaarvergadering verander. Dit sal nou op Donderdag. 17 Oktober, om 18h00, in die Sendingkerk van die museum gehou word en ‘n informele skemeronthaal sal daarop volg.
SPORTS CARS IN GREAT BLUE TRAIN CHASE
Is travelling from Johannesburg to Cape Town more fun in an MG or on the Blue Train? To find out, 16 MGs recently raced the Blue Train across the Karoo plains. They stopped in Beaufort West to overnight and swop car talk with local MG fan Stan Purcocks. Drivers found the dash through the Karoo “nothing short of exhilarating.’ When spotted along the route, the MGs were cheered on by 59 enthusiasts from around the world enjoying the luxury and comfort of the Blue Train. Among them were owners of 16 other cars being railed to Cape Town for an MG gathering in the mother city. The ‘race’ is being covered by a TV-crew accompanying the enthusiasts from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth for an international rally of MG clubs. Only then will there be a race result.
Fanie en Hannetjie van Tonder, twee Beaufort Westers wat baie bekend is in die toerisme bedryf, het besluit om die Karoo vir die Vrystaat te verruil. Hulle vertrek op 9 Oktober, na Golden Gate Nasionale Park. Fanie, wie aangestel is as bestuurder toe die kamp by die Nasionale Park geopen is, sê hulle die Karoo sal mis, maar sien uit na die nuwe uitdaging. Hulle plaasvervangers is Danie en Santie Gouws van Golden Gate Nasionale Park. Hulle sien net so veel uit om met die Karoo en sy mense te kom kennis maak.
THE RAIL LINE THAT SAW IT ALL
Way back there was a saying: There’s only one way, and that’s the railway. And just about everyone agreed. During the Anglo Boer War many VIPs passed through Beaufort West station. Among them were Cecil John Rhodes, Lord Alfred Milner and Lord Roberts. Olive Schreiner often rushed messages to them from the farm, Wagenaarskraal, where she stayed with her sister. Emily Hobhouse, the English humanist who did so much to assist women in concentration camps during the Boer War, loved travelling by train through the Karoo. She mentioned these trips in letters, stating: ‘In this dry land one longs for tea. A railway engineer taught me how to make a good pot with water from the boiler of the steam engine. I often do this when the train stops on the seemingly endless plains of the Karoo, a very hot area of dust and thunderstorms. The sand penetrates closed windows and doors of railway carriages, filling my eyes and ears and turning my hair red. It covers everything like a rich, red table cloth.”
NUWE BARNARD ‘BOEK’
Beaufort-Wes museum het ‘n nuwe inligtingstuk oor die uitstallings en veral die Chris Barnard Uitstalling van Toekennings. Die getikte twee-talige boekie is propvol inligting oor die sendingpastorie en -kerk waar Professor Barnard se vader gepreek het en sy moeder die orrel gespeel het. Daar is inligting oor die toekennings wat aan Professor Barnard gemaak is, sowel as oor die gedenksaal ter ere van die ander beroemde Karoo seun, Eric Louw, wie vir jare Lid van die Vclksraad vir Beaufort-Wes was.
MORE CULTURE FOR THE TOURIST VULTURE
Satour recently launched an extensive international campaign aimed at marketing South Africa’s cultural diversity. Marketing thrust is swinging away from the ‘Go Wild in ’96’ theme with emphasis now being on culture. The campaign will be implemented over the next three years in Satour’s 15 overseas offices and in 55 countries. The main theme remains “Explore South Africa”. Mvusi Msimang, executive director of Satour, said: “This campaign comes at a time when cultural tourism has become an international phenomenon in both first and third world countries. Culture is a proven international drawcard.”
OP DIE SPOOR VAN OU WINDPOMPE
In die Groot Karoo is manse nog op die spoor van gister se windpompe. Inligting oor die ou staatmakers word nog ingesamel vir Dr James Walton vir sy boek. Distriksraad sekretaresse Rene van Tonder het op ‘n advertensie afgekom in ‘n stowerige ou Victoria West Nieuwebode van 27 Julie, 1926, en dit is aan Dr Walton gestuur. Dit was deur P L Nielsen geplaas om “Climax Oil Bath Windmills” te bemark. Besondere eienskappe van hierdie “all British units” met verseelde meganismes “om sand uit te hou” is uitgespel. Nielsen was die alleenagent vir Victoria-Wes, Vosburg en Loxton. ‘n Koerant van 1913 vertel van ‘n installasie wat deur die MacAuliffe maatakappy gedoen is vir die vooruitstrewende boere, B T Pienaar en Seuns, van Drie Susters. Johan Hamman van Drie Susters dink dat die spoggerige installasie miskien op Waaifontein gedoen is. Verdere inligting word nog gesoek.
VIDEO TO SELL THE CAPE
The vast landscapes of the Karoo will be a dramatic part of the Western Cape Tourism Board video. WCTB has commissioned Richard van Wyk of Red Pepper Pictures to film a promotional video covering great diversity of the province. It will be used as part of an international marketing drive. The short section on the Karoo an extremely important arid zone, will concentrate on mountains, rock formations and plains, as well as on the many cultural-historical aspects of the old towns.
SHELL GOES WELL IN THE KAROO
Shell is busy building a new Ultra City stop at Leeu Gamka in the Central Karoo. Work on the project is expected to be completed in time to serve the festive season traffic. The company is also currently upgrading all its other Ultra City service stations along the N1 route through the Karoo. These are being completely revamped to include new restaurants, supermarkets and mini bakeries. Much attention is being given to tourist services. All Shell Ultra Cities will soon have modern touch computers to provide up-to-date accommodation information.
INHEEMSE TUINTJIES ‘N WENNER VIR TOERISME
Langs die N1 suid van Beaufort-Wes is sandlelies, sonslaai, blaaralwyn, boesmanskers-, skoenveter-, sjambokbos, en oondbos te sien. Die laaste, is glo ‘n plant wat die pionier boere gebruik het om hulle bakoonde uit te vee en die brood lekker te laat ryk. Daar’s ook klipdagga, tamarisk en vygies – alles in ‘n tuintjie vat deur kinders geplant is. Hierdie inheemse tuin is uitgelê deur St Mathews-skool, wenners van die Streeks omgewingskompetisie en ‘n rekenaarstelsel van Eskom. Leerlinge van die skool en van Bastiaanse skool, wie die senior deel gewen het, sal ook binne-kort die Jeugsimposium te Golden Gate Nasionale Park bywoon. St Mathews se tuintjie is net een van die projekte wat Beaufort-Wes skole aangepak het. Onder die ander was ‘n Karoo rivierbedding wat op ‘n skool-terrein uitgelê is, ‘n inheemse kruie tuintjie, die uitwissing van letjieskaktus, en ‘n ‘n dier- en donkiebeskerming projek.
MAN OF THE MOUNTAINS
An ancient donkey path that once crested the Nuweveld mountains was recently rediscovered by Howard Gird, keen ecologist and former manager of Lemoenfontein Game Lodge. While negotiating an almost invisible mountain path, he found a spot where early artists of the “trekpad” engraved a horse, flags, crossed rifles and a myriad of names, some dating back to 1829, on the rocks. The place appears last to have been visited after World War II, and a barely legible 1945 seems to be the date of the most recent engraving. Bushmen also enjoyed this resting place and engraved an aardvark on one of the huge boulders. The road to this secluded spot is rugged and may well have remained undiscovered had it not been for Howard’s great interest in the ecology of the mountains. On his wanderings through the veld he found secret fountains, secluded ravines, a pond of arum lilies, several eagle’s nests, rare plants and this trove of rock art.
SKAARS OF NIE?
Is die kirriemoerplantjies wat op Geelbekbrug gevind is skaars of nie. Mense in Prins Albert en Die Hel, sê dit groei wel in hulle veld. Maar daar is heelwat spesies, sê plantkundige Dr Sue Dean. Die plante wat in Laingsburg-gebied gevind is is Anacampseros ustulata, ‘n vetplant “met dikvingertjies”. Die wortels is glo gebruik on bier te gis. Dr Dean s die plantjies het skadu nodig en kan net onder ander plante groei. Hulle stoor water en stysel in die blare. Die plantjies verdwyn maklik as hulle bedreig word en in droeë dele van Laingsburg het hulle al amper uitgesterf.
At the Western Cape Tourism Board AGM it was reported that virtually all new tourism legislation was in place, at last. The board has now been disbanded. The Executive Committee will attend to outstanding matters until the new Council is elected and takes over, which is expected to be in October. All ongoing development and promotional campaigns will be handled by the two standing committees, which have already been elected. The minister’s office has reported that 85 tourism bureaux have already been accredited in the province.
HIT ONE, MISS ONE
At Beaufort West the ancient custom of goats grazing on the commonage has become a tourist attraction. The goatherd who strolls with his flock as they placidly graze is the subject of many photographs and videos, especially when they amble in single file along the wall of Springfontein Dam. City people find this the essence of rural tranquility. Yet there was once pandemonium on this commonage. A routine inspection almost ended in tragedy on March 10, 1891. The incident was reported in the Beaufort West Courier. Two councillors, W R Thompson and T W Madison were checking grazing licences when an ox took an instant dislike to Thompson’s dog. It charged, missed the dog and hit Madison. Its horn ripped his shirt and severely grazed his stomach. He screamed in agony and stepped backwards in fright. This caused a nearby horse to panic and kick out. A hoof smashed into one of Madison’s thighs, causing an ugly wound. The impact broke his key ring and propelled him headlong to the ground. Fortunately, his leg was not broken, but he lay writhing in agony. Thompson ran for help. The cause of it all wagged a tail and nuzzled Maddison, demanding to be petted. The newspaper added: “Maddison has had the most fearful run of bad luck lately, this is the sixth accident to his legs!”
OEROUE STEEN GEVIND
Net suid van Laingsburg is ‘n yslike rots, omtent 3m in deurenee, wat deskuniiges meen die grootste swerfsteen van die Dwyka-gesteentes is. Dit is onlangs deur geoloog Devine Wickens gevind terwyl hy navorsing in die gebied gedoen het. Hy het van die steen gelees in ou skrywe oor die Karoo. “Mnr Wickens het vir ons vertel dat die swerfsteen omtrent 290-miljoen jaar gelede deur gletsers na hierdie gedeelte van die Karoo gebring is,´sê Dries Swanepoel, ‘n boer van Geelbeksbrug die plaas waar die geologiese staproete uitgelê is. “Toeriste vind die rotsformasies van ons kontrei besonder interessant en ons hoop om fondse in te win om ‘n unieke staproete oor vyf of ses plase uit te lê sodat interessanthede soos hierdie yslike rots gesien kan word.”
HIGHWAYMAN OF THE SWARTBERG
These days armed robbers are synonymous with cities, but in the deep platteland in days gone by highwaymen once roamed the plains and mountains. Stories and legends still survive, as in September, 1891, when Hendrik Justinius De Wet van Breda, resident magistrate of Prince Albert, warned of a highwayman operating on roads near the Swartberg. He put a price on the suspected villain’s head and published his description. The suspect, described a wearing a blue bandanna over his face, was thought to be a European male, 5ft 6in in height and between 25 and 30 years old. His “veldschoens” were worn and the right one had a small hole in the sole, said Van Breda. “This terror of travellers is thought to have a black beard and moustache,” he said. For a time all strange men were treated with suspicion. The highwayman was never caught.
GROOT MAKIETIE VIR BEAUFORT-WES
Beaufort-Wes Rotarierklub beplan ‘n karnaval en die hele gemeenskap gaan betrek word. Dit begin op 31 Oktober met ‘n uitvoering van Suid-Afrika se “Drie Tenore” in die Royal Hotel, en dan volg ‘n volle program tot 2 November. Dit sluit in kore, sangers, danse en dansers, ‘n vlooimark en biertuin, plus ‘n formele dans en ‘n sokkie. “Meintjies straat gain gesluit word en ‘n feestelike atmosfeer sal daar geskep word. Dit sal ‘n naweek vol pret wees,” sê organiseerder Tonie Scholtz.
BIG DAY FOR BIRDERS
Birding Big Day, the 24-hour event which tests the skills of birders throughout the country. is scheduled for November 30. “Now is the time to plan and we have superb sites in the Karoo. All enthusiasts are welcome to join us.” says Japie Claassen of William Quinton Club.