Thursday, February 14, 2013

#17 Report Back February 2013

1. Feedback on Heuningvlei – pics from Mike Scott

2. Mapping news – tantalising covers?

3. Fire: the aftermath

4.  Book Review : ‘Diep Spore’ by Petrus Hanekom


1. Feedback on Heuningvlei – pics from Mike Scott

Pieter Malan of ‘Rapport’ asked for pics of the old Heuningvlei Forest Station. Within hours these two had arrived from Mike Scott – can anyone give me a precise location for the riethuis?

Any other pics, especially ones that might show the old rooidak house from the front, would be most welcome.

2. Mapping news – tantalising covers?

I thought it was time to tantalise my readers with possible covers for the two-map set; the packaging and presentation will remain a secret until publication date [now firming up at last – more next month]. The Northern Section pic is from the brilliant photo library of Graham Bellairs; if anyone has a better shot for the Southern Section that shows both the Maltese Cross and Sneeuberg I’d love to use it.

3. Fires: the aftermath

The official news is that the Maltese Cross/Sneeuberg area is closed until further notice; the whole of block ‘A’ [Rocklands/Pakhuis and the northern areas] is closed pending a full assessment of the fire-damage, but it is probable that Rocklands will be open by July.
The current allegations of fraud and corruption in the Cederberg Municipality have nothing to do with the fires!

4.  Book Review : ‘Diep Spore’ by Petrus Hanekom

Algeria is my tuiste. Agter die groen seder is rus. Rustigheid in die veldkamp by Sneeuberg. Die uitkyk van bo-op Wolfberg is lieflik en wyd. Hoog in die berge is daar rus. Die lafenis van die Sederberge. Koel water. Kom drink.
These words of Petrus Hanekom introduce his delightful and informative personal history of his seventy years in the Cederberg. Rudolf Andrag breezed in the other day with a copy for me – ‘Read this!’ Rudolf said before fleeing back to the mountains, and I certainly owe Rudolf for several evenings of absolute reading pleasure. 

‘Diep Spore’ is Petrus Hanekom’s own story, but it is also the story of the people whom he worked with, of the changes that he saw, of the things they did together. For those of us [myself included] who have tended to regard the Cederberg as our personal playground, Hanekom’s story introduces a new dimension, one that we have perhaps not thought about enough. Hanekom and his family and fellow workers are the Cederberg’s people; we are merely visitors. We outsiders are all, perhaps, the real ‘hoi polloi’ that some of my correspondents feared so much!
The book is all in Afrikaans, as it should be, and if you can’t read Afrikaans you should find a willing translator, because, like ‘Witwater se Mense’ that I mentioned our ‘Special Report’ of June 9 2012 , Hanekom’s ‘Diep Spore’ is essential reading for every Cederberg fan.
There is an introduction by the late Ernst Smit, who helped Petrus Hanekom produce an earlier version of the book. The Foreword deals with Hanekom’s childhood, followed by a chapter on the Forestry Department days, and the extraordinary and varied tasks that he and his fellow workers were called upon to complete, from fire-fighting to path building to clear-felling plantations using axes and hand-saws – even carrying huge ‘blokke’ [logs] down the mountain by manual labour. He describes as ‘one of the most difficult jobs’ the carrying of 18-foot telephone poles up to the old fire-lookouts at Middelberg and Sneeukop. Two men were assigned to a pole, and they had to carry three poles a day up from Algeria ...

There is a chapter about the social life of the various families, the places where they lived, and the seasonal gathering of tea and buchu in the mountains by people from as far away as Eendekuil, under permit from Forestry. It was these expeditions that introduced 9-year old Alex Basson, born and raised on Sorgvliet farm at the Eendekuil end of the Piekenierskloof Pass, to the Cederberg, from Riempie se Gat up the Heks River and over to Duiwelsgat.
Hanekom’s chapter on attempts to save the cedar trees is most interesting; I was intrigued to find that his comments – on why the cedars have become so much more threatened by veld-fires than they were in the old days – matched precisely Olive Nieuwoudt’s comments in her as-yet unpublished memoirs of the Cederberg.
Medicinal and edible plants, ghost stories, accidents, the camp sites, veld-fires, gobsmacked visits to Cape Town, and the people of the Grootkloof valley are all the subjects of Hanekom’s pen.
As a mapmaker I am of course intrigued by the masses of new place names that Hanekom has produced, so we’re off to Algeria soon to pick his brain about ‘Slaweboom’ and ‘Swiet se Graf’, ‘Wysterskloof” and ‘Tom se Gat’ and a hundred other places. His information about paths is both helpful and tantalizing, because some of the footpaths he mentions have totally disappeared, and we can no longer trace them.
Have you visited these?  You should, you know!
One small criticism – Hanekom rightly condemns the mindless demolition in the 1980s of Welbedacht, Heuningvlei, etc, but he wrongly attributes the destruction to ‘KNB’, which can only mean ‘Kaapse Natuurbewaring’. This is very unfair; Hanekom’s memory has let him down here. It was the State Forestry Department who were the great destroyers, long before ‘KNB’ assumed control of the Wilderness.
Welbedacht farm house before demolition
Finally, Hanekom’s description of the effects of apartheid on his life is moving and required reading for all who think that we should simply ‘move on’ and forget that terrible evil. This is an ordinary, conservative, middle-class, hard-working family man, not a radical activist with fanatical eyes; how anyone could have supported an ideology that treated him and his community as it did is beyond my understanding.
‘Diep Spore’ is hard to find – only 100 were printed. If you’re lucky you’ll find one at the Clanwilliam Apteek [R120] but if you would like me to bring you one from Petrus Hanekom himself please email me through and I’ll let you know if and when I have copies.

Inputs already acknowledged [if I have left you out, please let me know!]: 
Rudolf Andrag, Alex Basson, Graham Bellairs, Chris Berens, Willem Beukes, Hendrico Burger, Lizette Burger, Theresa Burton, Eleanore Colyn, Andrea and Moritz Connrad, Louis Conradie, David Donald, Connie & Lizzie du Toit, Laurence Elton, Kerneels Filander, Ferdi Fischer, Carina Hanekom, Petrus Hanekom, Theunis Hanekom, Peter Hart, Ronnie Hazell, Tony Heher, Sam Jack, James Joubert, Jeroen Kant, Gerrit Kartsen, Tony Kings, Isak Koopman, Thys Kruger, Paul la Grange, Patrick Lane, Johann Lanz, John Ross, Justin Lawson, Margie le Roux, Nicky Lombard, Tony Lourens, Sandy MacDonald, Pieter Malan, Quinton Martins, Charles Merry, Eugene Moll, Wim Morris, Greg Moseley, Anneke Nieuwoudt, Cisca Nieuwoudt, Jannie and Katrin Nieuwoudt, Marianna Nieuwoudt, Pip Nieuwoudt, Barry Ockhuis, Joey Ockhuis, Kellie of Grasvlei, Caro & Steve Oldroyd, Paddy O’Leary, Mare Olivier, Linton Pope, Peter Jan Randewijk, Trevor Rennison, Galeo Saintz, Mike Scott, Mariet Smit, Mariaan Smuts, Haffie Strauss, Julyan Symons, Gert Theron, Edmund Thompson, Ingar Valentyn, Anne-Marie van der Merwe, Leonie van der Merwe, George van der Watt, Andricus van der Westhuizen, Hennie van der Westhuizen, Johan van der Westhuizen, Mike van Wieringen, Charité van Rijswijck, Kosie Viljoen, Jill Wagner, Torben Wiborg, Ezan Wilson, Steven Windell and Louise Esterhuizen, Mary Anne Zimri

– Kaartman, Dag van Valentyn en Rosies, Februarie 2013

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad that Diep Spore has made its way into print, thanks in no small part to the valiant efforts of Sally Argent who has championed the book for many years!


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