From The Information Centre
February has been a relatively quiet month for visitors to the Hamlet but all those who have made the journey have been very complimentary about and appreciative of the information supplied to them at the Information centre. The highlight of the month was the Stoepsit fees although an untimely cold front dampened the participation somewhat. Yes, we had snow in February. From the article you will see how much the Rhodes locals have to offer.
Petro and Zodwa visited a number of the Rhodes Info participants to build the relationships, get an understanding of what is on offer and how the Info Centre can add value for them. These visits to existing participants and potential participants will continue.
This month we welcome the Rhodes Christian School and Tiffindell as new members. The interest in the Information Centre is growing.
Sean de Wet has spent a lot of time tidying up the picnic spot, the commonage and the kiddies playground. Thank you Sean.
Elizma Den Heyer continues to host a weekly community braai at Rubicon on Saturdays and this month also organised a steak braai on Valentines day. Thank you Elizma.
What is it like to be a Citizen of The Republic of Rhodes?
One can breathe in the calmness of nature’s pure mountain air and exhale to inhale again, to relive that feeling of being ALIVE and FREE one more time. Our village’s trees are full of songs. Songs that only birds can make. The songs of swallows, Red-chested cuckoos and many others.
Sometimes we can hear our great majestic mountains calling when the thunder storms arrive in their glory and majesty, almost as if the mountains are jealous of their dancing, flashes of light and mystery. Our rivers, streams and dams are blessed with fishy-tails (and tales) and fresh water living.
In the months of June to September the veld and our rooftops are covered in a big, white, icy blanket just so that the earth and its fur babies can take a nap after the hard work during the summer time. Blessed are we who live here because closer to heaven you will never get.
Cameron Mac Master visits Rhodes
World authority on Drakensberg Alpine Plants, Cameron Mac Master recently visited Rhodes to see what was in flower in February. Rhodes Info joined him on his trip.
Rhodes Stoepsitfees 2015
The third Rhodes Stoepsitfees, held from 12 to 14 February 2015, was somewhat dampened by a rainy Friday but nonetheless, saw visitors from KZN, North West, Gauteng, the Free State, the Eastern Cape and even folk from as far afield as Germany meandering from stoep to stoep while they enjoyed the variety of offerings presented by the owners. In amongst the wide variety of “stoepe” on offer, Artworks, Clayworks and Woolworks all featured prominently. In addition to the Art Gallery/Print Room and pottery at the Clay Café, the Old Garage made its debut and featured water colours, hand-painted fabrics and handmade wooden trinkets. The trinket-maker, Esteen Steyn, had the proof of the hand- making aspect to show with several fingers bound in bandages as she had had her hand skinned by a planing machine!
Another first for the event was the participation of the “Die Wydeman” Bar at the Rhodes Hotel where a small photographic exhibition, set up by Susan Kölz and Alixe Lowenherz, focussing on local scenes, people and animals. Susan also used her spinning wheel to demonstrate how locally produced wool could be converted into yarn for the purposes of knitting, crocheting or weaving. To be able to be spun, raw wool is “carded” using two hand combs with fine teeth that aligns the fibres. This results in a “rolag”, a sausage-like bundle of the aligned woollen fibres that facilitates the spinning process. For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand_spinning.
The school hostel not only had a fine stoep on Saturday but also occupied most of the main street while producing the barbecued delicacies for which this region is justly famous. Each stoep had their own character and characters of varying degrees of eccentricity or conventionality who make up the fabric of society in Rhodes. The Stoepsitfees is indeed a shop window in that it affords visitors the opportunity to meet the village people and listen to their often fascinating anecdotes about living in a remote rural area. The camaraderie that this engenders is mutual because it affords villagers the opportunity to meet new people in a convivial atmosphere.
This year saw the introduction of the “Toeka Express” – a donkey cart that is available to convey “carters” from Rhodes to the nearby farm Earlstown which features Toeka’s Restaurant, Bernie’s Brewery and the Cheese Factory. Die Dansende Ketel stoep het ook baie mense onthaal en lekker pannekoek wat deur almal geniet was, was die orde van die dag.
All the while, Stoepsitters made good use of the wool kindly sponsored by Saprotex International to knit 20 x 20cm square. The squares will be sewn into blankets and auctioned at the forthcoming Epson Wild Trout Festival.
The proceeds of the auction are used to buy blankets that are donated to needy people in the neighbouring Zakhele Township, just in time to ward off the approaching winter chill. Saprotex are spinners of quality hand knitting yarns whose contribution is much appreciated, especially by the recipients of the blankets.
The Rhodes Stoepsitfees takes place against a backdrop of tranquil mountain beauty in a village which has changed little in the past century. It is a happy, idiosyncratic event without local or international peer and many participants plan return visits.
Some knitting took place on the stoeps
Some people sit and knit – other people just sit!
Other activities in Rhodes over the Stoepsitfees
Small photographic exhibition at the “Die Wydeman” bar at the Rhodes Hotel
Spinning Wheel Action
Chatting and some laughter at the fees
Toeka’s Restaurant and Breads
Bernie’s beers from his brewery
Toeka Express Getting around the Village
Woolworks Showcasing local talent
Irene Walker’s Pottery
Gail’s Art And Print Room
Real art for real people
The Final Stoepsitfees Word
Koeksusters, knitting, chatting and a lot of laughing is what this years Stoepsitfees was really all about. Although it was a rainy 2015 Rhodes Stoepsitfees, it didn’t stop the locals and the tourists making the best of it. Thanks to all who participated and see you next year.
Rhodes Info well represented at the Crocs Rock Race
Four Rhodes Info participants took part in the Crocs Rock Race at Mosheshesford, they were : Deidre Gush (Rhodes Christian School), Carien Vosloo (Birkhall Grass Fed Meat and Branksome Guest Farm) , Caroline Reeders (Lovedale Guest Farm) and Bernadette Reyneke (Toekas). All resplendent in their Rhodes Info T-Shirts.
Rhodes village has some talented youngsters in their midst!
Rhodes village is not just a place filled with tranquillity but also a place where the local kids have dreams, dreams to seek adventure, opportunities and the magic it may bring. Two of the local kids, Elri Naude(15) and Daniel Reeders(15) had the opportunity to fly to Korea for two weeks, for snow ski training. These two talented youngsters made the community of Rhodes so proud and to think it all started on the slopes of the nearby Tiffindell Ski Resort, where they learned to ski from a very young age. We surely believe that with the dreams being pursued, bigger things are yet to come for these two.
Article to look out for
The latest edition of the Complete Fly Fisherman should be on the shelves by now, in it is an article on the rivers around Rhodes. It covers mainly the Sterkspruit River and should add much interest to the area amongst fly fishermen.
Until Next Month!
From Petro and Zodwa