The cat who came to church.
You can call this a feel good story, a story of chance perhaps, animal lovers will call it a blessing, but the truth is, it’s a story of a cat who came to church.
On the 5th of February, the Museum Herb department set off early to forage for herbs, specifically Buchu, in a valley, right next to the farm Octavia. After a few hours of scouring the valley, climbing mountains, silently praying that a certain elongated, legless reptile, don’t host a welcome party on the overgrown pathways for us, we called it a morning, as dense underbrush and treacherous cliffs made the search nearly impossible.
Almost lunch time and off we went to the Meulplaas picnic spot to break bread, recharge and discuss the grave problem of where to search for Buchu next.
The first thing noticeable on opening our lunch boxes was a plastic container with water, and a few dog biscuits lying on the ground. As if on cue, a small face peeked from a bush nearby and started meowing, as if to say, I’m joining you. Gobbling down Philllip’s bacon bits that he took from his bread, and sampling the Spar pizza, the little minx must have felt that it’s a meal fit for a king.
As we made ready for departure, the haggard face, and yet strange welcoming energy of the scrawny kitten, was enough to make a grown girl weep. Isn’t there a saying “everything happens for a reason”, or “there’s no such thing as coincidence”, as the museum had a few rodent problems just a few weeks back?.
So off we went, full tummies, a few bags of herbs, absolutely no plan for finding the herb that we are actually searching for, and a cat who came to church with us.
He was dubbed Buchu by Mrs Jeanne Biesenbach that day. So in a way, we did find Buchu. Or rather, Buchu found us.
There is something sacred about having a cat at the Museum. It might have a lot to do with the fact that they believe they should be worshipped. We can only thank the Ancient Egyptians for that.
These days there’s a point of interest for kids as well at the museum, as this cat loves interacting, adores attention, and believes it’s his cat given right to stroll into the manager’s office where he knows he’ll get a snack. It’s only a very important meeting after all.
We invite all cat lovers to pop by the museum and see the amazing transformation Buchu has went through. I’m pretty sure your curiosity won’t kill him.
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27 April was SA National Alpaca Day – dedicated to those furry faces- gorgeous animals that we’re not always lucky enough to meet.
Alpacas produced the golden fleece of the Incas. Once upon a time it was said that alpaca fiber was weighed up in gold, and clothes made from it were only worn by royalty. Nowadays, it is most famous for its cuddly looks and loved by young and old alike. However, there is a great future for alpacas in agriculture as commercial fiber producers, too.
Lucky for Montagu visitors and locals alike you can meet and interact with these friendly alpacas (and a donkey or two) at the new Alpaca Paddocks @ Healing Farm Haven.
Janet Bourhill, the “Alpaca Mama” invites everyone to come and visit and interacts with her friendly alpacas and find out all about them and their amazing fibre/wool. “We process our own alpaca wool and sell products made from their wool” explains Janet.
Contact: Janet Bourhill -TEL: 023 111 0005 -CELL: 083 682 3828, Janetdbourhill@gmail.com
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Deur : Francois de Kock
Sommige van ons onthou nog, of is bewus van, die gevreesde en dodelike siekte "Die Groot Griep van 1918" wat tot duisende streftes landwyd gelei het. Ook Montagu het nie die siekte en sy vernietigende gevolge vrygespring nie.
In baie dorpe was dit die gebruik dat diegene wat aan die siekte gesterf het, uit respek op kerkterreine ter ruste gelê was. Hier terplaatse was die grafte in die suid-oostelike hoek van die kerk gronde, maw die hoek naaste aan die huidige poskantoor.
Gedurende 1961/ 62 het die toenmalige munisipaliteit besluit om Bloemstraat van 'n baie smal systraat tot die huidige bree tweerigtinstraat met middelmannetjie of eiland, te vergroot. 'n Smal strook van die kerkgrond is vir die verbreding van die straat bekom.
Tydens die uitgrawing en grondverskuiwing het Dokter Charlie Muller van in 'Airlies' die huidige gastehuis skuins regoor gewoon het, die werksaamhede gestop het. Met verwysing na die Groot Griep het hy die aandag gevestig op die dodelike siektekieme wat daar begrawe gelê het. Hy het die gebied beveilig deur dit met 'n wit, kalkagtige poeier te bestrooi.
Die beendere is toe verder opgegrawe en in 'n "grafkelder" in die ou kerkhof begrawe. Die middelmannetjie is as 'n gedenktuin aangelê ter herrinering aan diegene wat aan die griep gesterf het, maar ook ter nagedagtenis aan die herbegrawing van die gestorwenes.
Daar was egter geen grafsteen of gedenkplaat by die gedenktuin of enige geskrifte beskikbaar wat na hierdie stukkie geskiedenis verwys nie. Die skrywer van hierdie artikel, Francois de Kock, het onlangs met die munisipaliteit onderhandel om 'n Gedenkplaat by die gedenktuin asook 'Grafkelder' aan te bring aangesien dit vamjaar die 100ste herdenking van die tragiese gebeure is.
Hierdie inligting is in gesprek aan Francois verstrek deur wyle Mnr Cloete, destyds 'n werknemer van die ou Afdelingsraad op Montagu. Francois beywer homs steeds om meer inligting oor raadsbesluite uit die argief in Kaapstad te bekom.
Hoe het Montagu die Groot Griep hanteer? :
- Die ou Sendingkerk (nou Museum) was as Hospitaal ingerig
- Die Ebenhaesersaal (ou NG Kerksaal) is as sopkombuis ingerig
- Begrafnisdienste is in baie gevalle in die opelug gehou by Lovers Walk uit vrees vir die aansteeklikheidsgevaar binne geboue.
Om die omvang en verwoesting van menselewens deur hierdie siekte in perspektief te bring, hiermee uittreksels uit verskeie artikels wat sedert Januarie 2018 in die media verskyn het:
(a) Netwerk24 - Januarie 2018: "Groot Griep van 1918 soos die einde van die mensdom"
(b) BEELD: 27 Januarie 2018: " Griep saai wêreldwyd spoor van dood en vrees - binne weke het 350,000 Suid Afrikaners gesterf"
(c) "Die grootste plaag in die geskiedenis"
(d) Die Pandemie het in Maart 1918 uitgebreek. Dit het die hele wêreld getref en in Wes Samoa is binne 2 maande 20% van sy bevolking uitgewis.
In die VSA het die lewensverwagting in 1918 met meer as 10 jaar gedaal.
'n Onverklaarde is waarom die griep nie hoofsaaklik die ou mens getref het nie. Die meeste streftes was tussen die ouderdom 20 - 40 gewees.
Aanvanklik was die sterftesyfer op ongeveer 21 miljoen beraam, vandag beraam pandemisie dat dit 100 miljoen kon wees.
BRON: Die Wagtoring
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The true purpose of Arts education
I am so extremely proud when I look at what can be done in our communities- walking the road with Dancescape South Africa for a while already, witnessing the passion and dedication going into the arts education of children from disadvantaged communities. I salute Mitya and his team for keeping the legacy of Fiona Sargeant alive.
The following quote is very relevant in explaining why Dancescape South Africa do what they do:
“The true purpose of arts education is not necessarily to create more professional dancers or artists. It is to create more complete human beings who are critical thinkers, who have curious minds, who can lead productive lives.” – Kelly Pollock
I would like to drive this point home because I personally seen the growth of these children under the hands of Dancescape training, care and teachings.
It is just fitting to end this amazing year off- with a festive Celebration!!!
I want to invite everyone with a passion for Dance, Children and the amazing spirit of Community to attend the Year-end show on 8 December.
Mitya tells us more:
It’s been a fantastic year for Dancescape South Africa (DSA).
This year we were able to support Lihle Mfene to pursue further training at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts and he will be joined by Lutho Zwedala next year.
We employ two Resident Teachers and have recently added a Public Relations Officer who continues to do great work for us in the townships. We would be unable to do all of this without the kind donations of individuals from all around the world.
Our dancers won numerous awards at the Montagu Youth Arts Festival including the Best Dance Entry of the Festival 2018 this year.
We recently received the Winelands Mayoral Tourism Award for Best Special Project.
To top the year up we will be showcasing our dancers at a performance :
“A Festive Celebration”
* 8th of December at the KWV Building in Montagu
* 4pm on that Saturday afternoon - performance starts at 6pm
* Tickets are only R50 for Adults and R10 for children.
Pack a picnic of your favorite eats and drinks and to join us !.
Throw a blanket down and relax .
Not only will you enjoy a fabulous evening of great dance but you will also be supporting us to continue our work for the benefit of the youth in the townships.
Many of you have supported us and in particular Fiona Sargeant throughout the years. Fiona sadly passed away in 2017 and her wish was for the work that she started to continue.
Only with your support will this be possible. For booking and more information please phone:
Mitya at +27 78 295 7879 or Patricia at +27 61 920 6940
or check out our website at http://dancescapesouthafrica.org.za/
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The story of Kanonkop started at Pietersfontein in the Montagu district before 1825 when Abraham Verreyne came to Pietersfontein to farm. He was a very interesting character – a true pioneer who brought with him a front loader ship’s cannon with balls that weighed 8 pounds each.
He put the cannon on a hill somewhere in the valley. The only time a shot was fired, was when someone tried to rob his beehive. Fortunately no one was hurt. Only an old goatskin bag was left by the would-be thief.
The old cannon was later transferred to the hill above the town; hence the name “Kanonkop”. The cannon was placed near the two gunpowder houses that belonged to the firms Brink Bros. and Barry & Nephews where each firm housed its ammunition and gunpowder. During those years one could order a few sticks of dynamite with one’s groceries. Then someone would be sent by bicycle to fetch it at the gunpowder house.
The idea behind the placement of the cannon was to fire shots on special occasions, like Queen Victoria’s birthday. When the first church in Montagu was inaugurated in 1852, a few shots would have been fired, but it ended in tragedy. A young man called Jackie had to put the gunpowder in the mouth of the cannon. The person, who had to fire the shot, brought the lighter too soon and the cannon fired and Jackie lost both his arms. Al the best remedies were used and the two stumps were eventually healed. The furious farmers of the area threw the cannon over the hill into Lover’s Walk.
When the Cogmanskloof Pass was finished in 1877, the engineer, Hendie, transported the old cannon to Rooiwal outspan, now called Ashton, to fire a salute – probably during the inaugural ceremony. The old canon was, however, so rusted that it burst.
Kanonkop was without its cannon for many years, but in 1988 Mr Kenneth Knipe, the mayor of Montagu at that time, heard that a cannon was lying in the sea near Simon’s Town. It was part of an old wooden ship that had sunk many years before. Mr Knipe, with the help of Gerhard (Gerry) Smuts, retired Naval Commander then owner of Mimosa Lodge in Church Street, obtained permission to fetch the cannon. In order to get it out of the sea, air bags were fastened to the cannon and filled with air until the cannon floated on the water. It was brought to Montagu on a municipal lorry, but after nearly 20 years under the sea, the cannon were covered with a thick layer of salt and mussels. To neutralize this the cannon was unloaded in the Baths Kloof stream, which helped a great deal. It was transported to Kanonkop with a fork-lift truck, and placed on solid jarrah sleepers.
Thanks to Mr Knipe’s initiative and perseverance the Cannon still watches over Lover’s Walk, Montagu West and the whole valley.
Apart from the cannon, a few tragedies happened on Kanonkop. According to Mr Jan Jordaan of Montagu, a Coloured man named Kallie, who worked for Mr Beets, got lost in 1947 and fell down Kanonkop and died.
Years ago there was also a Nothling family who stayed close to Kanonkop. Every afternoon the boys used to take goats to the hill to graze. One day, while the boys were chatting, the goats grazed too near the cliff overlooking Montagu West. One boy, Gertjie, tried to chase them back, but lost his balance and fell over the edge onto a rock ledge. After the accident the Family moved to Paarl.
References: Montagu Museum archives; the Library, conversation in October 1998 between Mr Kenneth Knipe, Mrs Esther Hofmeyr and Mr Jan Jordaan.
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Famous for more than the hot springs, but till today one of the best preserved historical towns of the Western Cape.
THE HISTORY OF MONTAGU (in short)
Montagu was cut off from the main trek routes due to the seemingly impenetrable nature of Cogmans Kloof. It wasn't until Thomas Bain built the pass and the tunnel that trade began to develop in the area.
In 1841 Montagu was laid out on the farm Uitvlucht and in 1852 John Montagu, the Colonial Secretary of the Cape, visited the infant town.
In 1855 the first school was opened and two years later a contract was signed for the building of a church designed by George Burkett.
In 1873 the Montagu Hot Springs began charging a fee for the use of the baths. Their use obviously goes back to time immemorial, with traces of early man found in the nearby caves. The importance of the baths to the general public is reflected in the conditions written into the title deeds:
That the outspan place and thoroughfare as laid down on the diagram shall remain free that the grant now made the public shall not be excluded from the benefits derived from a Hot Springs situated within the Limits of this land, but on the contrary, have the right of using the said Springs as a Hot Bath and that it shall be optional with them, should the proprietor hereafter construct suitable accommodation on the spot, to avail themselves there or not, as they may think proper; that all roads leading to the bath shall remain free, that the said public frequenting said bath shall be allowed to Outspan on this land, but the cattle shall not, unless with the consent of the grantee or his successors, remain longer that twenty four hours on his land.
Montagu banknotes were printed and issued from 1861, up until the demise of the bank in 1868. Samples of notes are on display at the museum. In 1877 Thomas Bain built the Tunnel and the new road through Cogmans Kloof.
Between 1902 and 1985 the Brink Brothers enterprise was of major significance to the town. Their activities included general dealers, bottling work, canning factory, dried fruit production and a department store.
In 1936 Montagu was declared a health resort. This resulted in an influx of wealthy people purchasing holiday houses. At one time during the early years, Montagu boasted 5 millionaires!
In 1941 the Montagu Muscadel Co-Operative was formed with fifteen members present at the first meeting. The development can be gauged by the fact that in 1944, 800 tons of grapes were processed; in 1991 the figure had grown to 11,000 ton.
In 1950 Montagu hosted the first South African Wine Festival. With much trepidation and debate the committee members assured the protesters that drinkers will not be able to make themselves drunk during the periods the wine will be served. "We will not have dishonour brought to our product" ... and all went well.
In 1954 the Montagu Nature Garden was inaugurated by a group of ladies gathered to work in the gardens, as it still is to this day. During certain months of the year - usually until October, the Tuesday morning teas & snacks are still on offer to all who care to join them.
In 1982 Joubert House was acquired by the Museum Trust.
In April 1995 President Mandela in his first informal engagement following his inauguration, opened the twenty first Muscadel Wine Festival.
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Traditional Medicines Project
There is a rich heritage of traditional medicinal remedies in the Montagu district. This knowledge was handed down by the Khoisan, who lived in the Langeberg Mountains and were expert users of the veld, to the coloured people who became farm labourers. This knowledge was absorbed by the settler farmers as it was virtually impossible to obtain medical services.
For the past twelve years the museum has been involved in a conservation research project dealing with the traditional medicinal plants of this district.
An important aspect of the project is the collecting of information about herbal remedies used in the past, as many of the older generation pass away and meaningful knowledge is lost. The remedy for an ailment is carefully written down and included a museum publication titled Herbal Remedies: Montagu Museum.
The colourful local names for the plants used in the remedies are carefully noted aas well as the area where found, and specimens are taken to Compton Herbarium for identification.
The Museum is busy compiling a complete collection of water colour sketches of all the medicinal plants used in these remedies for easy identification.
An indigenous medicinal plant garden has been created at the back of Joubert House, our house museum. The aim is to cultivate examples of all the medicinal plants of the district for public viewing, information and environmental education.
The museum also exhibits examples of herbs cut and dried in the traditional manner, slaves and various infusions.
Further research is being undertaken in conjunction with the National Botanical Institute and Department of Pharmacology, University of Cape Town.
Visitors are invited to contact Montagu Museum for further information and for lecture tours.
Longstreet 41, Montagu, 6720
Tel: 023 614 1950
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Kwela Dorp van die Jaar 2018 / Kwela Town of the Year 2018
-Stem vir MONTAGU!!!! – Vote for Montagu!!!!
By now everyone should know that Montagu was chosen as the Western Cape Town of the Year – which puts us directly inline for the National (including Namibia) Town of the year.
Thanks to great promotion and many Social media postings and most importantly VOTES – we got to this privileged position.
The secret was already out when the recognizable KIA and Afrikaans.com branding was very visible all over town in April.
On 10 and 11 April the Kwela team already spent many hours in Magical Montagu to film as many as possible of the beautiful places, people and things to do for a special insert that announced Montagu as the Winning Finalist of the Western Cape in the Kwela Town of the Year Competition.
Now that all 9 finalist towns have been announced – the voting lines is open (from 27 May until 1 June, 12:00 midday).
The winning town will be announced on 17 June 2018 on Kwela, KykNet, at 18:00. The winning town walks away with one -million- rand TV airtime on KykNet for a year.
It is only VOTES that count at this point- so please do not hesitate to vote immediately – Just sms to 33157 – MONTAGU!!
You can send 30 sms’s from a cell number.
Homebrew Films, the producers of Kwela, will produce a 45 second advert about the town that will be flighted for the year.
There will also be a huge KIA Dorp van die Jaar Makiti (party, Festival, jollification) in the winning town and everyone is invited.
Music, food, fun and loads of that winning town spirit. Also, this Makiti will be filmed and flighted at a later stage on KykNet – publicity that is indeed invaluable for our lovely town.
So, all that remains now: STEM VIR MONTAGU!!!!! VOTE FOR MONTAGU -SMS 33157
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