Between you and us and the grapevine
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.