Once a month I am afforded the privilege of writing what I like about what I like (or sometimes don’t like) in our little gem of a local newspaper, Stanford River Talk.
What I had planned to write about this month was my most recent roadtrip, one which was meant to take Lucille and I to Montagu and beyond, to places I had never seen. Instead, I got as far as a retreat in McGregor and stayed. There was a reason for this, as there is for everything. I was taken on a journey of the spirit and soul. And left feeling replenished and uplifted. I had been taken to a place within me which I was required to look at.
But I can’t write anymore about this. Because my experience of two even more recent journeys have occupied my mind. And heart. And soul.
They were certainly not planned. And they happened within four days of each other.
On the Tuesday, I found myself driving to Bredasdorp, To stand at the very spot where a 17-year-old girl had had her body taken from her. In every terrible way imaginable. You will know the story of Anene. It is a story which South Africans must never forget. Because if we are to even begin to scratch the despicable surface of reversing the pandemic of rape and abuse of women in our country then Anene Booysen, and the countless and unnamed others like her, must never be forgotten. Bredasdorp was another trip I had to make. And it still haunts me.
Four days later I stood on a beautiful farm just outside our village and, with you and you and you and you, paid tribute to a little life lost. There is little comparison to be made with what I had experienced a few days before except, once again, I was taken on a painful and extraordinary journey.
Pardon me if your Afrikaans is not up to deciphering the above headline (mine isn’t) but there’s something about to happen in my home village that brings out the klein bietjieboereseun (little bit of farmer boy) in me.
Stand back Hatmense, I’m about to announce South Africa’s Barn Dance of the Year! Jami and Peter Kastner of Stanford Hills Estate make one of the country’s most stunning pinotages which goes under the name of Jackson’s Pinotage.
They also make a hell of a barn dance. This moerse opskop (one hell of a knees-up) is happening in the flower shed at their Weltevreden Farm on Saturday night. But you can pick up the details on the poster which is pinned up on almost every tree around town…
Yes, you're liking the look of this already, aren't you? Feet twitching?
Don’t fight it. Just relax into this whole phenomenal vibe, babies. You’ll want those feet warmed up so that you can hit the sawdust bouncing and ready to slide into some serious langarm or however it is you deploy to cut up the floor at a barn dance.
There are some tickets left but only because the Kastner’s flower shed was previously used to house 43 tractors, a Boeing, a few wheelbarrows and a medium sized aircraft-carrier. So there’s room for you if you’re late to clock on to this one.
Now, what the poster omits to tell you is that the legendary Baardskeerderbos Orkes will be strumming up a vibe second to none on the night. You do know what this means, don’t you? OK. This means that those exceedingly trendy boots that you’ve been mincing around in this winter will have the soles worn off them just in time for spring.
Die Baardskeerdersbos Orkes will ensure that you'll be too sore to hit the gym for a week Pic: Annalize Mouton
Because we’re not talking polite jiggery-pokery with more poke than jig at a Cape Town nightclub here, brothers and sisters. This barn dance speaks only the language of off-the-charts opskoppery not witnessed since that last really embarrassing dancefloor episode of yours at cousin Bernoldus’s birthday bash.
Yes. That’s the level we’re pitched at. Every move attempted, no prisoners taken. And, if the 120 ront spitbraai option is a tad too steep for your recession-ravaged piggybank, then I can reveal that R60 will get you in at the door with boerie rolls on offer at a tenner each. So, you’ve got no excuse, have you?
Mooi, man. Sien julle daar!
* Those contact details again… to book (essential for the R120 spitbraai option), call Jami on 082-897 2390 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Oh, and there’s no need for you to be picked up dronk-op-straat or dronk-op-plaas or dronk-op-jou-rug… a shuttle will operate from and to Stanford at R10 a ride. Visit Stanford Hills Estate to get the lay of the land.
Here’s the second of my weekly interviews with the very interesting people of our paradisical village of Stanford. You might need to be told that Stanford is a small village, the third-best preserved Victorian village in the Western Cape, 23km beyond Hermanus on the R43 heading up the east coat from Cape Town. Blissful is the word that comes to mind.
Peter and Jami Kastner own Stanford Hills Estate on Weltevrede Farm, just outside Stanford, and here are the very popular couple’s replies to the “Big Five” questions I put to them this week.
One lovely family: Jami Kastner with Alexander, one, and Peter with Jack, three. They have every reason to look happy, living as they do in the sumptuously appointed and super-chilled Stanford. Pic: Ed ‘O Riley
FH:Jami, this question’s for you… Where were you born, schooled, shaped as a human being and when and how did you first discover Stanford? And how – and at what point – did you discover your husband Peter?
JAMI: I was born in Stellenbosch, but moved to a farm just outside Stanford when I was only a wee sprog. My parents inherited a farm by the name of Witvoetskloof, with not much on it other than fynbos. They were one of the first farms in South Africa to begin exporting this product to the international market. We later moved to Du Toit Street in Stanford itself, in the days when there was not a tar road in sight. At 13, I went to join my two older sisters as boarders at Rhenish Girls High in Stellenbosch. I later studied at Stellenbosch University and then set off to do the traditional young South African two-year stint in London. I then moved back to Hermanus, and became a director of my parents flower export company. In 2001 I met my husband Peter, whilst dancing on a table at his fine establishment, the Zebra Crossing in Hermanus. We were married in 2003, and our desire to start a family prompted a lifestyle change. We discovered that Weltevrede farm was on the market, a farm which I knew well due to my childhood friendship with the Woods’ children. We sold up everything we could, borrowed a bit more, and moved to our dream home here on the farm.
Right. In about 96 hours time, 94,700 crazy people will be frenzying around inside the illuminated calabash that is Johannesburg’s Soccer City as South Africa and Mexico light the wick of the fizz-pop fandango that is to be the 2010 World Cup.
And stretching across every country on our globe, billions will crane their necks to get the best view possible of the opening match. They will see many things on Saturday night… and one view may be this visual treat…
Jo'burg's Soccer City: not an altogether shabby football ground, is it?
No, we quite like it. Not as aesthetically gorgeous as Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, perhaps, but it’ll do. Fine. So the globe is going to get to see a lot of Jo’burg, Durbs and Cape Town. And maybe a bit more of Bloemfontein and Rustenburg than they would bargain for. But what of South Africa’s small towns, verdant-valleyed villages and rusty-hued hamlets, secreted away behind mountains and filed away, collecting dust, in corners of deserts?
Well, what of them? Are there flags flying in their rutted main roads? Are there rainbow-razzmatazz mirror socks being worn by their donkey-carts? Well? I think, if you wandered into the Karoo today, you’d get a big surprise. And I have another surprise for you.
If you drove out of Cape Town on the R43 tomorrow, bounced over Sir Lowry’s Pass and snaked past the whale-watchers’ paradise of Hermanus, you would – after two hours or so – come across a sumptuous Overberg village that goes by the name of Stanford. You would have to look out for it because you could easily miss it. As many poor, unsuspecting travellers do. But if you catch sight of the Sir Robert Stanford wine estate and you started to slow down next to the Syringa Kennels, you would notice the entrance to the town.
Continue for 250 metres or so down Queen Victoria Street, the main drag, and you will stumble upon this…
Stanford Village Green: not quite Soccer City... but it's ours Pic: Hatman
Yes, that’s our green (well, it’ll be greener after the winter rains). A lot of things happen on this village green. Cricket, horse races, sunset markets, biggest pumpkin competitions… but mostly ladies walking their dogs after a satisfactory afternoon tea. And, I have discovered, it’s a great place to lie on one’s back and stargaze after a hefty night down the pub.
Unlike those crammed into Soccer City this weekend, we won’t be seeing any stars on the field. But we’re doing the best we can. Folks, roll up… roll up to the Overstrand Rainbow Five-a-side Soccer Extravaganza. Our village green will be transformed into a mini-football fest with local teams puffing about, trying to settle old scores, market stalls, coaching clinics… and probably one or two ladies pretending not to notice while walking the dog after yet another highly satisfactory cream tea.
Yes, that’s how we roll in quaint, beautiful Stanford, one of the finest preserved Victorian villages in the fairest Cape. But roll we do. The media will be there to document the festivities. Not Sky Sports or the London Guardian or ESPN or the New York Times. But the Stanford River Talk, the Hermanus Times, Whale Talk Magazine, Whale Coast 96.5fm, the Fasttrax Marine film company and the Fijn Bush Telegraph will be reporting on our main World Cup event, so that people tending to their farms in even more isolated parts of our little piece of the world will learn of it.
Here is the authentic heartbeat of our great country, tiny specks on the map which will not see the likes of Messi, Rooney and Kaka in the flesh. But we will have fun anyway. And the proceeds of our fun will go to the Hermanus Trust, a local educational and social NGO, and the benefits will be felt long after the last ball is kicked.
Local businesses taking part are, among others, La Finestra Restaurant, Stanford Hills Estate, Pam Golding (Stanford), Stanford River Talk, Gypseys Restaurant and Birkenhead Brewery. the first match kicks off at 9am on Friday, June 11 with the final being played on Saturday, June 12. A floating trophy will be presented to the winning team.
So to those fortunate enough to watch Steven Pienaar split the Mexican defence with an inch-perfect pass for Katlego Mphela on Saturday, we Stanfordians say: “Give them horns, guys!” And, we solemnly promise, if we spot a new Steven Pienaar in the making on our village green this weekend, we’ll start grooming him for the 2018 World Cup. Ayoba!