Be­tween you and us and the grapevine

go! Platteland - - EDS’ LETTER -

Some time in the win­ter of 2014 we set off on a long jour­ney from the Cape to Wakker­stroom. This af­ter a cousin from Jo­han­nes­burg urged us over a glass of wine on our back stoep to check it out: some­thing’s cook­ing in this town.

And in­deed, as is the case with any town we’ve writ­ten about, we were blown away, even though the place might seem a lit­tle dreary in the bit­ter cold. We met lovely peo­ple – or­di­nary peo­ple do­ing ex­traor­di­nary things. One of them was Han­nie van Ber­gen, who had been run­ning the shop Mooi suc­cess­fully for a few years al­ready. Han­nie opened the shop for us es­pe­cially – it was on a Mon­day, which, like in so many other dor­pies, is week­end, be­cause on Sun­days you work to serve the in­flux of tourists. Han­nie is not only a busi­ness­woman and ex­pert on the finer things in life, but she also cares about the plat­te­land and its im­prove­ment. And in the end we only left Mooi much later.

EX­ACTLY THREE YEARS ON the name Han­nie van Ber­gen pops up in our email in­box. She tells us she is still in Wakker­stroom, yes, but the cold re­ally got the bet­ter of her, so she bought a lit­tle place in Rooiberg, where in sum­mer it gets too hot, on the other hand. And that’s why she’s be­come a swal­low.

Have we heard about Rooiberg, she wants to know.

It took us a while, but this year we did man­age to find our way to Rooiberg, and at the height of sum­mer. This meant Han­nie wasn’t there, which was a dis­ap­point­ment, of course – but what a pleas­ant sur­prise! Again we met peo­ple who knocked our socks off: in­no­va­tors like Natalie and Deon de Klerk, char­ac­ters like Swan­nie Swanepoel of Koekepan Pub Restau­rant who spins yarn af­ter yarn, but then also peo­ple like Sue En­gel­brecht and Japie Trol­lip, who’ve had to en­dure a few hard knocks in life but never give up nor com­plain. Peo­ple with a sense of hu­mour and a smile on their face, who tell you life is good in this small town where cat­tle roam the streets and the cloud stacks build dra­mat­i­cally.

Thank you, Han­nie – and for your other sug­ges­tions, too. We’ll get to them soon. Oh, and thanks, Cousin!

The moral of the story? Let us know what you’d like to see in the mag­a­zine. We might be the car that drives around, but our read­ers are Plat­te­land’s en­gine.

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