The Stanford Country Fair

“The Greatest Small Event in South Africa”: Country Fair in Stanford, Western Cape. Don’t expect tens of thousands but one thousand is good enough; Stanford is just a small village you know. And this is just a snapshot impression. Great fun though!

This weeks weather forecast

This week I shine in Stanford!

Unknown heroes

There are millions of unpriviliged people in South Africa who still suffer from the injustice done to them by a minority of (religious) fanatics who feel themselves superior above people with a different skincolour and (multi-)cultural background. And they are still there and pulling hidden strings where possible. It’s an illusion to change the world overnight and that’s not what this story is about.

This little story is about those heroes the world has never heard about; South Africans who stood for their right but without the ‘privilige’ of the right media contacts or the resources to go in exile or an invitation from the ‘university’ at the Djerzinsky Square in Moscow…. Not that they ever wanted to. But they are known within their own community where they are honoured and prayed for in silence for generations to come.

Stanford has its own ‘forgotten’ heroes (one in special) and thanks to Annalize Mouton who wrote and published the book “Portrait of a Village” we know about Mathilde May and others but first a little background:

 Before the forced removals of he ‘coloured’ to the ‘location’ outside the village people of different walks of life were living peacefully together. “There was no segregation and according to both White and Coloured it was a harmonimous coexistence”, writes Mouton. The first eviction was in 1957 when coloured people were removed from their houses directly bordering the village and the second between 1972 and 1974 when ‘coloureds’ were removed from the village itself.

“Before these removals people of all races and colour respected one another and lived together harmoniously; now there was distrust, anger and sometimes bitter resentment ……… Friendship and love accross colourlines became acts of indecency, prosecutable by law……” and “Stanford would never be the same.”

The book quotes Matt Dreyer (coloured with German blood): “To think that after generations one gets evicted from your own house and land like a criminal. Forever gone were the freedom, the peace, the unity, the love in which we had dwelt together with our White neighbours” ……. “Except for the White man who came to or house with his shotgun when he heard we had to move and shouted ‘There go the Hotnots’ then shot our dog on the spot, the pre-apartheid years were wonderful.”

Between 1972 and 1974 30 families had to move from their properties in the village where they lived for generations but one resisted. That was Mathilde May who together with her husband Charlie build their home in the 1930’s with 18000 self made bricks. She refused to move. Not a town clerk, nor the police, bailiff or whatever authority succeeded in her removal. Everytime an official came to her to hand-over a letter she went for a prayer in her bedroom “Lord deliver me from the hands of my enemies”. At the end her prayers, and a little support from a wealthy woman, helped. She stayed in her own house untill she passed away some 10 years later.

Mouton’s book provides a good insight on a human scale of what ‘Apartheid’ did with people from different backgrounds in a small community. Heartbreaking stories of families who were forced to start a new life in a hostile environment and somehow managed to reconciliate and be succesfull in the present.

Greetings from Rits and Roets in Stanford, South Africa

A Love Affair

Our garden is one very intensive love-affair…:
Everything we always wanted to know about SEX …. between plants but never dared to ask……..

Above sea level

Our garden is approximately (depending on tides, etc.) 30 meters above sea level but since succulent plants are original underwater plants that evolved in time to a complete opposite environment we wanted to link our garden with the sea. When divers and fishermen visit our garden they always make associations with underwater plants. Hence the idea to make a connection between the two.

We choose, also for aestethical reasons, small acre with peyote (Lophophora williamsii). During our numerous beach walks in this area we collected sand, shells, little stones, etc. The shells on the picture are from the beaches in Hermanus (Grotto), Pearly Beach and Franskraal (every individual beach has its own shell characteristics), sand and stones are a mixture of all kinds of beaches and the pumice is a story of its own. That you can find on a beach nearby Cape Aghulas where there is still a continuous inflow of this lava-stone originating from a vulcano outburst in Indonesia about 100 years ago.

It’s just the idea that is fascinating; that’s all.

Ducky swimabout

Dutch Pea Soup in South Africa

Pea Soup is an original Dutch stomach filling Winter food.

There are different ways of making it but basic ingredients are split peas, onions and/or leech,  carrots, sweet potatoes, selery, turnips, leg of pork (schenkel. Eventually add herbs and spices to add additional hints of personalised flavour.

Vegetarians: skip the leg of pork and also the smoked sausages (see below).

For 10 liter soup (you can put portions in the freezer) bring 2 kilogram of split peas to the boil and let it simmer for approx. 30 minutes. Keep stirring every now and than. Than let it cool of. In the meantime boil the leg of pork for about one hour until it’s well done. Remove the bones and mix the fine cut meat and the water to the pea soup. Bring this mix to the boil again and while stirring add slowly the ingredients; herbs and spices in the final stage. As soon as the spit peas are fully dissolved the soup is ready. Some chefs add smoked sausages (in South Africa named ‘Russians’) but although South Africa produces excellent honest (merely ‘free range’) meat countrymen still have to find out how to make smoked sausages. Until so far and known to us there is only one butcher in Swellendam (Van Eeden) whose ‘Russians’ approach the pure quality of a real smoked sausage. BTW the amount of each ingredient can be adjusted to own personal insight. With a bit of experimenting everyone can make his/her own personal Dutch Pea Soup; you don’t have to be a ‘Hollander’ for that….; Double Dutch like us here in Stanford, South Africa, will also do.


Flowers from Stanford

Stanford is in the heart of the Fynbos flora. Virtually all species (>90%) can be found in the local ‘veld’. Here are some of the flowers Yvonne pictured today. Nature is one big garden.

Prickly with flowers

Life in Stanford prickles the senses and lets you flower …..(LOL)…..