Newsletter March 2015

From The Information Centre

Weather events in Rhodes are very dramatic. As are the changing of the seasons. Summer suddenly ended, and the village and district are now resplendent in their beautiful Autumn colours. To the joy of the farmers, good late season rains have fallen to increase the soil moisture and carry the veld and pastures through the Winter. This must be a timely warning to unpack the hot water bottles, electric blankets, clean out the fireplace and get ready for the sudden change from Autumn to Winter.

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The Wild Trout Fly Fishing Festival

Rhodes is the iconic trout fishing destination in the country, and hosts the annual Epson Wild Trout Fly Fishing Festival. The annual festival from the 19th to 21st March 2015 was, by all accounts, greatly enjoyed by all of the participants, most of whom have been participating for many years as well as a smattering of new faces adding lustre to the event.


Upper Gateshead Trout Waters

Fickle weather conditions limited the fishing mainly to the Bok- and Sterkspruits where 315 and 78 trout were taken respectively. The Kraai River clocked in with a handsome 44 fish, 5 of which were Smallmouth yellowfish, all over the 350mm mark. Of the catch returns received, a total of 450 fish were caught averaging 8 per angler. Had all of the participants completed their returns, this ought to have translated into 555 fish. Either way, a fairly poor show when festival records dating back to 2001 show an average of 938 fish caught per festival but a reflection on weather conditions over the past two winters where very little snow resulted in minimal spawning. In addition, severe summer floods may have also flushed the system leaving, we hope, superior survivors!


The three days of fishing were bracketed by four evenings of great meals, fishy-talk and associated consumption of beverages ranging from alcohol free beer to hard-core shooters for the over-enthusiastic. All of this culminated in the annual auction of a variety of sponsored items ranging from hand-knitted blankets produced during the Rhodes Stoepsitfees to fishing tackle to accommodation vouchers and even an Epson photographic printer. The most unusual item was a fly-box full of flies together with a certificate of authenticity – the result of another quirky auction item sold at the 2014 festival, Dave Walker’s beard! Collusion between Mile Divett, the beard-buyer and Jan Korrubel, the fly- tyer, paved the way for a combined total contribution of R3000 to the WTA coffers!

At the final dinner, the chairman, Dave Walker thanked all of those present for their support, the guides directed by Tony Kietzman and the sponsors, in particular Epson for the branded fleece jerseys, guidebook printing and an Epson Photographic printer. Walker one of the many other sponsors who kindly provided auction items, Mukheibir Sentra who donated goods for the goodie bags and most important of all, the riparian owners in the district without whose waters, there would not be a Wild Trout Association or an annual festival.

The joint effort to provide a shop window on our area should not be under-estimated as a fruitful means of marketing Rhodes and the Eastern Cape Highlands.

The proof in the pudding is the large number of fly fishers, first introduced to the area by the festivals, who return at other times of the year to enjoy the fishing, the company of the fine residents of the district and the magnificent scenery.

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The booking list for 2016 is currently open and anyone interested in participating in the Epson Wild Trout Festival should send an e-mail to .The sooner the better, as there is a ceiling of 40 rods for the event.

After School Activities In Rhodes

With no play stations, video games and other indoor attractions, school children in Rhodes find many outdoor activities to keep them busy after school. One of the real fun pursuits is field mouse hunting. Groups of children gather together in a piece of veld, well known for its rodent population. Armed with light sticks with sharp points or nails embedded in the end they meet to plan the hunt. This can take the place of a drive or a stealthy stalk. There are no dogs to point or flush the mice. As soon as the first mouse is spotted, pandemonium breaks loose, with each participant trying to be the first to bag the prey. This goes on all afternoon until they are called in for dinner in the evening. As soon as the first mouse is spotted, pandemonium breaks loose, with each participant trying to be the first to bag the prey. This goes on all afternoon until they are called in for dinner in the evening.


Rhodes Christian School On Camp

It is not only the children from major centres that are privileged to attend leadership camps as part of their school curriculum. Every year all the staff and learners from the Rhodes Christian School head off on a well organised school camp. This year the visit was to Ugie with the main emphasis being on the PG Bison operation. Here the group were exposed to the lifecycle of a forest tree from the propagation of seedlings to the manufacture of furniture and other products. This involved field trips, visit to the processing plant and the production factory. It is not all work and no play, and recreational activities include swimming in the dams, braaing, camping and hiking.

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The Most Recent Rhodes Information Centre Participant – Sharlene Sankey

Sharlene-SankeySharlene is like most other residents of Rhodes, passionately keen on the village and the community. Last year she spent from March – August abroad on a caring mission. She has returned with her usual energy and commitment and is currently waiting for a teaching post in Zakhele. Following the devastating removal of the Willows down the Bell River, her passion has been the establishment of Wood Lots in and around the village. Tony Kietsman has harvested 172 tree seedlings and these are currently being cared for by Sean de Wet on the commonage next to the river. Sharlene is looking to work with the Senqu Municipality and other bodies to formalise and expand this initiative.

We welcome Sharlene as our most recent Rhodes Information Centre participant and look forward to keeping you up to date on all her activities.

Apples And Something Called Grace – Petro

applesOur little village, as we know, is full of apple trees which at the end of Summer are fully laden. It was just after the Stoepsitfees when I was sitting on my little veranda having a cup of well deserved Rooibos tea, when I heard a noise in the distance. It was a group of cheerful kids coming up the road from the Zakhele, baskets in hand and on their way to somewhere… they appeared not to have a care in the world. I thought to myself ”I wish I could live a care free life like them”. As the group came closer, I stopped them just to make a bit of conversation in my broken Xhosa, “ihymbi ppi?” Which means where are you off too? They all kept quiet, smiling almost as if they were keeping a well kept secret. I asked the eldest child in the group what they were up to. On receiving no reply, the rest told me that the girl I was talking to is a mute. My heart just dropped there and then. What a beautiful young girl and despite her disability, it didn’t stop her from smiling and waving to me. I learnt a very valuable lesson that day – We are all beautiful in every single way. Off they went with a smile and a wave to pick some apples, and I just stood there in awe…


Vleis Werk Fees


There is a real sense of community among the NG Kerk members in the Rhodes district. Dominies stipends are minimal to say the least and in order to supplement the salary of the local Dominie, the farming community annually donates livestock to this cause. This year four cows and twenty five sheep were donated. These were slaughtered, the meat worked by the ladies of the church and sold at very reasonable prices. There is a real sense of camaraderie as these ladies go about their work. We can confidently say that this is the best meat in the world, sold at the best prices.

Rhodes Kerk Bazaar

kerk-bazaarWhat is it about coffee/tea, cakes, pannekoek, koeksisters and braaivleis that we love so much? Maybe it’s because of all the chatting and catching-up with some old friends that normally takes place once grazing! A lot of preparations are being made for 2015’s kerkbasaar. Sweet-goodies, meats and many more are being prepared. Please come and support this day on the 4th of April at the Landbou hall. Doors open at 09:00pm.

See You There!!!

Zakhele’s Enterprise Development

zakhele-developmentA group of budding entrepreneurs has started to develop a chicken farm in Zakhele. At present, it is a very rudimentary start up operation in a small cement building next to the old graveyard. Day old chicks are already being raised, and should be on the market within 12 weeks. Enterprises like this need to be supported and encouraged as a way of economically empowering the local community. Watch this space. Rhodes Info will keep you updated on the developments from this small beginning.

Staaltjies Uit Die Ou Dae

Vroeer jare was die Bokspruit vol inwoners. Dit was ook in die jare voor die telefone geouto- matiseer was. Die ou telefone was sulke ou swart fone met n hand slinger. Verskillende gebiede was dan ingedeel onder een lyn. Dit het beteken dat as jy wou bel, moes jy eers optel en hoor of die lyn besig is. Indien die lyn oop was, moes jy die telefoon-slinger n rukkie draai, om die sentrale op die lyn te kry. Wanneer die sentrale dan geantwoord het, het hul gevra “nommer asseblief.” Dan het jy die nommer wat jy gesoek het aan die sentrale gegee en hul het dit geskakel. Dan kon jy praat en wanneer jy klaar was, moes jy die slinger een maal draai om af te lui en sodoende het die volgende person geweet hy kan dan weer bel. Die nadeel van die ou telefoonlyne was dat jou bure kon inluister wanneer jy praat. Dit was BAIE steurend en het n mens verpes.

So het dit uitgewerk dat al die mense in die onder bokspruit op een gemeenskaplike lyn was. My oupa-grootjie was ook een van die lot. Die oupa van my en al sy ou bure was vriende en hul het die gewoonte gehad om elke sondag aand net na die huisgodsdiens oor die draadloos,almal gelyk op n sekere tyd hul telephone se gehoorbuise op te tel. Dan het die lot ou manne nou heerlik oor die foon gekuier, gelag en grappe vertel. Hulle was omtrent so stuk van 4 of 5. Hulle was egter bewus daarvan dat tant Johanna van die buurplaas elke Sondag-aand wanneer hul, hul manne konferensie gehou het, die foon opgetel het en ingeluister het. Op n dag het die klomp ou manne besluit hul gaan tant Johanna n streep trek op hul volgende telefoon-vergadering. Die dag het aangebreek en soos afgespeek se my oupa-grootjie toe oor die oop lyn,ten aanhore van al die broeders die volgende; “Manne het julle gehoor ou Johanna is vanmiddag oorlede?” Daar was toe n ruk stilte en toe uit die bloute, skree tant Johanna oor die foon, “Dit lieg julle!” Ja, sy was toe uitgevang en die ou lot manne het heerlik gelag…

Tennis Court Revamp

tennis-revampThanks to the generosity of Anton Apps, a passionate Rhodes homeowner, the tennis court has a new net and has been spruced up in anticipation of the Easter visitors to the village.


This is what Rhodes is about …

“One Sees Great Things From The Valley; Only Small Things From The Peek” Gilbert K. Chesterton

Until Next Month! Petro