Striated Skies No. 52 – Nothing to be scared of

52. Nothing to be scared of

The Banghoek (meaning “scary corner”) valley is located over the Hellshoogte pass and an area in which I will own an estate one day. The picture for this striated sky was taken on the Oldenburg wine estate (in the Banghoek Valley) looking up at the Drakenstein Mountain Range. Banghoek Valley, got its name due to the dense forest, leopards, steep ravines and other dangers encountered by settlers.

Hellshoogte is the oldest pass in South Africa. The original Pass was built in 1692, in order to make ones way to Franschoek (where the Huguenots settled after arriving in 1688).  It was the main road to Franschhoek and for many years was regarded as a dangerous route, especially in the dark. The origins of the name is likely from the steep gullies (“hells”) on the ridge. In 1854 the road was greatly improved and used until being replaced by the new/current road in 1972.

A left turn off the R310 onto Zevenrivieren road will put the Mountains in front of you, the road winds and becomes gravel. The road is well sign posted and finding Oldenburg estate is a cinch. On arrival you are greeted by the spectacular new Cellar Door. The building was designed by architect Simon Beerstecher, and the interior design is by Kelly Hoppen.

Oldenburg is owned and run by Adrian and Vanessa Vanderspuy. Adrian was born on the neighbouring farm but his family left South Africa in the 1960’s. He would return to visit Oldenburg yearly for Christmas. Dorothy Vanrenen, Adrians grandmother, lived at Oldenburg with Helmet Holmann. In fact it is Helmet who named the farm Oldenburg in memory of his German roots in the city of Oldenburg. Visit the Oldenburg Vineyards Website for more history.

It was in 2002 that Adrian decided to pursue the possibility of bringing Oldenburg Vineyards back to life given that the farm had fallen into a parlous state. The vineyards were replanted from 2004-2006 and the maiden vintages of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were produced in 2007. In 2010 the first whites were produced, the reds were launched (all were included in the SA Top 100 wines)  and in 2011 the cellar door opened.   In 2014 Philip Costandius joined as General Manager and Winemaker, later that year The Homestead was opened.

Visit the Oldenburg Vineyards Website to find out more about this amazing place and the people who make it happen or go one step better and visit them in person, you will not regret it. The views are amazing, the wine terrific and the atmosphere spectacular.  As I said at the beginning, one day I will own a property in this valley.

oldenburg logoI have to end off this blog by saying Thanks to all the peole who have followed me and my 52 Striated Skies Project. My next big step is going to be figuring out how I can exhibit this in 2016. Here is to an awesome 2016!!!

Striated Skies

Striated Skies No. 47 – True Colours

Striated Skies

Taken on the corner of Chiapinni St and Helliger Ln, this striated sky depicts the sun shining in on the colourful homes of the Bo Kaap. Bo Kaap is situated on the slopes of Signal Hill in Cape Town between Buitengracht St, Strand St and Carisbrook Street. The area is home to the largest collection of pre-1850 architecture in South Africa as well as the oldest Mosques. Previously known as the Malay quarter, the area was where free slaves settled in the 18th Century. Most slaves were from South East Asia and the name Malay is not necessarily correct but is what history gives us.

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 8.01.01 AMBo Kaap

I sat for many hours reading up on the internet and watching videos about the Bo Kaap to decide what I should write about and what to name this piece. All the information reminded me how in society we are so often polarised, black or white. Bo Kaap was once a microcosm of different cultures but Apartheid took that away with the group areas act making the Bo Kaap a “Cape Malay” area.

One topic that is hot right now is the gentrification of the Bo Kaap. Given its close proximity to the city, makes the Bo Kaap a great place for outsiders to buy up homes that are in disrepair and to restore them. Many people see this as a great opportunity as house prices increase and the area develops. The down side of this is that original dwellers can no longer afford to live in the area and are “forced” to sell their homes thus resulting in a loss of the cultural heritage of the area.

The question we have to ask is: are the Bo Kaap’s true colours not in the culture of the residents as opposed to the brightly coloured buildings. What attracts tourists to the area? I believe that we need to make sure that the areas cultural heritage is kept in tact and that while the upliftment and development of the area is required it should not come at the expense of local’s heritage and history.

The beauty of the Architecture in the Bo Kaap is one aspect of the area, I would suggest a visit to see the amazing beauty but look at learning a little about the people of the area, this is some advice that I need to take up myself.

 

Some of the Sources of my information:

In 2012 Helen Gibb released a series of documentaries on YouTube which give a personal account of history and the current state of Bo Kaap (unfortunately part 5 of the series is muted to apparent copyright infringement).

Siteseer.tv encourage tourists to visit the Bo Kaap as well as many other Cape Town destinations.

Anouk Zijlma writes a great article o the Bo Kaap here

Bo Kaap Mapping 

Cape Chameleon Cover Story

Bo Kaap Museum website 

Cape Town Hoods Bo Kaap Page

Striated Skies No. 46 – Seaside Legacy

46. Seaside Legacy

Muizenberg is a sea-side suburb of Cape Town in False Bay. The “Town” was either named after the Moetjesons (a Khoi group living in the area in the late 18th century) or Willem Muijs, who was in charge of the  Dutch East India Company winter anchorage and cattle post in 1782 when the name first appeared on the map.

Over time Muizenberg gained popularity as a sea side resort, the Southern Train Line increased the number of visitors to the resort and a number of palatial homes were built. Due to the increased traffic the South African Railways decided to build a new Station in 1911 that would embody the importance of Muizenberg.  Architect J.C. Tully designed the Edwardian structure which took near on two years to build. It was opened on 7 June 1913 by the Minister of Railways and Harbours, the Honourable Henry Burton. The station was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation in 1982.

John Collingwood Tully was born in 1855 in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.  He articled as a Premium pupil to Robert J Johnson of Austin Johnson & Hicks, a well-known practitioner of the Gothic Revival style in Newcastle-on-Tyne for five years. Tully moved to South Africa in 1889 and worked as a clerk of works in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein before moving to Cape Town to work on Groote Schuur by Herbert Baker on the first reconstruction for CJ Rhodes (1894-1897). He was married in 1896 and entered into partnership with Spencer Waters in Cape Town in 1897. In 1910 he moved to Pietermaritzburg where is lived until he passed away in 1929, although his death certificate is not available.

Muizenberg was also the destination of the first South African airmail – sent from Kenilworth on 27 December 1911. for more history on Muizenberg and the station visit:

http://gosouthonline.co.za/muizenberg-the-golden-years/

http://www.sahistory.org.za/places/railway-station-muizenberg#sthash.PtA8G8ep.dpuf

http://www.atlanticrail.co.za/stations_history.php

http://www.artefacts.co.za/main/Buildings/bldgframes.php?bldgid=8218

I recommend a trip to Muizenberg, We will be going back next weekend to walk from Muizenberg to Kalk bay. During the summer this area is a buzz with tourists and the main road is always jammed with traffic.

 

 

Striated Skies No. 44 – Butter Heart

44.Butter Heart

Bot River is a small hamlet approximately 100km outside of Cape Town, on the N2, between Grabouw and Caledon. It is home to approximately 4000 people and 14 wineries on the Bot River Wine Route.

Khoi herders called the area home, with the “Couga River” providing pastures that were lush.  Settlers came to the area to Barter for “Botter” (Butter) from the Khoi in the area and this is where the name Bot River comes from.  The hamlet formed in the 18th century as an outpost for the Dutch East India Company and after the battle of Blouberg Daniel de Kock was given ownership of Compagnes Drift the farm which he had rented. In 1912 the first train ran through the hamlet although the hamlet did not grow from its small size.

The picture for this striated sky is taken on the pass towards Villiersdorp. The dirt road winds from the main road of Bot River past farmlands including vineyards, canola and wheat. We had taken a drive out to do some wine tasting and saw this beautiful scene about 1km down the road. After some photography, we stopped at Luddite (5 stars – definitely recommend a trip) and then continued to Goedvertrouw Wine Estate.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 11.53.50 AMThe story of Luddite is one of a couple that love wine and making it in a way that has little intervention. The winery situated a rocky outcrop, on which Niels and Penny planted vines in 2001, is home to ±6Ha of vines.

The story of Goedvertrouw Wine Estate is a story that is both heart warming and sad. The winemaker Elrieda Pillmann continues to live out the dream she shared with her husband to create wine even though she does not drink it.

Bot River is part of the Cape country meander and falls within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. The town itself does not have much going for it but it is definitely worth a visit to have some wine and take in the beauty of the surrounding area.

Striated Skies

Striated Skies No 32 – TaalMonument

Striated Skies

 

The Taal Monument (Afrikaans Language Monument) can be found on the Mountain above Paarl. It gives you a history of the Afrikaans Language and is a monument to the language and its origins. The view from the monument is stunning and you can have an awesome home cooked style breakfast or lunch at the Volksmond Coffee Shop. This is an absolute must go to spot if you are in the area. The views are absolutely stunning and it is worth the R20 entrance fee.

The monument iScreen Shot 2015-08-16 at 11.19.27 AMs 40 years old this year and and developing a new website for the occasion. For more information you can view their Facebook page. All sorts of events take place at the monument, from concerts and full moon picnics to trail running events.

If you take a drive up to the monument then I suggest that once you are done take a drive along the Jan Phillips Bergpad to the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve. The views are stunning. Please note that you do need cash in order to enter the nature reserve so check here or call to confirm the amount.

When you are in the Paarl area on your wine tasting adventures and discovering what the Cape has to offer make sure that you put this on the to do list.