Talk of the Town

Back with another instalment of the latest local news, Eikestadnuus‘s Danie Keet brings you all you need to know about the stories that matter in the Winelands.

Botanical Garden

Dr. Donovan Kirkwood started his tenure as new curator of the Stellenbsoch University Botanical Gardens on 1 October.

“I am very excited about my appointment. I have been working for some time in the biodiversity sector but I also enjoy to grow plants for fun. This job is a fantastic combination of two of my biggest passions,”Kirkwood said.

Kirkwood is a highly experienced botanist and can also boast a strong academic profile. He is a trained ecologist in the field of the Cape, savannah and forest ecosystems and experimental design as well as statistical analysis and reporting. He received his PhD in 2003 at the University of Cape Town and his research focuses on population ecology and the description of plants, which includes formal floral surveys and analysis.

“Above all I just want people to fall in love with plants and nature.”

Bowling Club

by Michelle van der Spuy

The Stellenbosch bowling club can boast some of the most beautiful greens and facilities in town. Due to the good winter rains, the club’s greens, which forms part of the Van der Stel Sports Club, are green and the grass healthy. The kitchen in the club house was recently refurbished and the braai facilities is the ideal place for social gatherings.

If one looks in the direction of where the Klein Libertas Theatre used to be, it is a different picture all together.

The wire fence that separates the property of the bowling club from the open piece of land, is in tatters as criminals first climbed over the fence at the taxi rank to break into the clubhouse.

Mike Kühn, chairman of the club, said there is nothing that the criminals won’t steal.

“They break into cars when we have functions or matches, at night they will lift the roof sheeting to get access to the clubhouse and they have stolen anything from globes to taps and plants.”


by Elmarine Anthony

Where you and me only see an ice cream holder or pine cone just as that, Moses Muller (55) of Kylemore see them as items to create something artistic.

Moses is a versatile artist who makes handbags from rugby balls, riel dancers and animals out of pine cones, necklaces of beads and flower pots out of wire.

His talent to basically construct something out of anything and his dedication to teach others these skills, earned him one of the e’Bosch accolades this year.

In her motivation for Moses to be a winner of this award, Anne Kruger, owner of iThemba Curios where some of his products are for sale, said: ”He is passionate about his hand craft and is always prepared to share his passion. He is currently training 15 women from Kayamandi in different techniques of bead work to produce items that can be sold. With his passion for his work, he is the ideal candidate for this award.”


by Dawid Botha

He is very dependable and always loyal to his job.

This is how the manager of the Stellenbosch Museum, Debbie Gabriëls, describes Pieter Rothman who retired last week after a career of 32 years at the Stellenbosch Museum.

Rothman started as clerk on 1 August 1986 at the museum and one of hios tasks was to assist the then curator, Marius le Roux.

After working at the Toy Muyseum for five years, in 1995 he became the chief supervisor over guides at the town museum, also in charge of the entrance hall.

During his career Pieter witnessed the inauguration of Grosvenor House and the Bletterman House as well as the restoration of Erfurt House as administrative centre of the Stellenbsoch Museum. He was present when a case of explosives was uncovered by the historical archaeologist at Bletterman House.


Kanonkop received an unprecedented 100 marks in the Tim Atkin Wine review – a first ever for the SA wine industry

Michelle van der Spuy

He never considered that the Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2015 will one day be a championship wine, says Johann Krige.

Krige, co-owner and chief executive of the Kanonkop wine estate says he has a different philosophy about this.

“It was an exceptional vintage. All the elements over which one has no control were good. A bottle of ine is, however, only good when he is old and even better on the day it is paid for.”

According to him 2015 was one of the best vintages the South African wine industry has experienced over the past ten years.

“One is subjected to the mercy of nature. Mother Nature has over the past t years tested Kanonkop’s tenacity through not only a major veld fire, but also with a drought.”

Krige says his team was ready to take on the challenges.

“The drought had a negative impact on the vineyards, but that is part of the variables. A lot of our vineyards are not irrigated which resists certain climatic changes better. After that 2016 was a difficult year while 2017 was a very cool year, despite the drought and it therefore also looks like it could be a good vintage.”

The fire in 2016 was not such a big stumbling block for Krige as he argues that farmers are better equipped to manage fires.

“It was run of the mill, these things happen. In ten years’ time we might have another fire.”

“One of our philosophies is to manage the elements you have no control over. If you are going to stay down in the dumps, you will get nowhere. Manage that which is within your control and stop complaining,” he said.

Oceans Rift

Elbé van Heerden

For residents and visitors to Stellenbosch it is a common occurrence to sit on a stoep and have something to eat or drink and to be entertained by various groups of artists.

Sometimes it is a circus group, then an opera singer or gumboot dancers and sometimes even a choir. And then there is a group of four men who every now and then makes an appearance.

Oceans Riff is only one of these groups but they get the whole street moving when they make their way through the streets of town on Sundays.

This singing group from Ocean View have been making music together for the past five years but has only focussed on popular music over the past two years. Prior to that they focussed on playing copper music instruments.

Charles Jonas, Morné Holland, Leo Letsepe and Joshua Daniels nowadays are fulltime musicians. All of them started making music as youngsters with a history going back over three generations.

“We all grew up in the same vicinity and our parents and grandparents all played together in musical groups,” Josh explains.