Clarens Caledon River

Our photograph this week is of the Caledon River, which is the boundary between Lesotho and South Africa. The photograph  features in the 2014 calendar produced by and sold in aid of Cluny Animal Trust.


Tartan Rainbow

Back in the early 1990s Desmond Tutu coined the phrase “Rainbow Nation” when referring to South African society.  No exaggeration there!  For a country so long isolated at the southern tip of Africa, an extraordinary range of nationalities, ethnic groups, language groups and races settled and took root in this land.
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Prof Daan Wybenga – A great loss

It is difficult to express the great sense of loss, sadness and anger  in the Clarens community at the recent murder of one of our most loved and respected citizens.  Those of us who had the privlage of knowing him will always remember him, and I’m sure that many will stop to rest and pause for thought on the bench he donated in memory of his wife (Scilla walk, Clarens Village Conservancy)  to think of them both. And yes – the view is beautiful from up there.  Our hearts go out to his family and friends.

Daans funeral service will take place on Thursday 17th October: 12h00: Gereformeerde Kerk, Bethlehem


Prof Daan Wybenga –  Obituary

Louw van Biljon:

Daan Wÿbenga, geagte, gewaardeerde en geliefde inwoner van Clarens sedert die vroeë 1990′s (saam met sy oorlede vrou Gretel), is nie meer met ons nie. Ek aanvaar dit moeilik – dit hoort nie so nie; Daan was ‘n dierbare mens wat sekerlik nooit iemand sleg behandel het nie.

Alhoewel ek Daan (en Gretel) ontmoet het kort nadat ek in Clarens aangeland het (1996), het ek hom nie goed geken nie. Tog ek het hom ervaar as ‘n effens verstrooide, maar wyse en saggeaarde man. Mens kon enigetyd by hom ‘inval’ – wat ek ook soms gedoen het – en heerlik aan’t gesels raak.

Alhoewel Daan ‘n lae profiel gehandhaaf het, was hy betrokke in die Clarens gemeenskap: hy het af en toe by Meriting hoërskool klasgegee; hy was ‘n stigterslid van Clarens Dorpsbewarea en het vir jare op die komitee gedien. Hy was ook ‘n stigterslid (saam met Gretel) van die ‘Klopse’, die afrikaanse sosiale groep wat maandeliks bymekaarkom om oor interessanthede te gesels. Aanvanklik was ‘Klopse’ aan’t huise by Daan en Gretel gehou. Helaas, sal dit nie meer kan gebeur nie…

Daan, jy gaan waaragtig gemis word.

For the english translation Press here


SPF:  Community Meeting – Monday 14 October 2013

The SPF (Sector) 1 Committee wishes to express it`s sincere condolences to the family of Prof Daan Wybenga on their loss.

The senseless way in which his life was taken leaves us confused and angry. In our small community, fractured as it may be at times, incidents like these must serve to draw us together in our bid to preserve our unique way of life.

We as the SPF are frustrated in the way the local SAPS reacted to our genuine efforts in keeping the community informed. While we respect the internal protocols we fail to understand and accept the reluctance of the Station Commander to embrace and understand the nature of the community she purports to serve. As we write this, unfounded rumours are still circulating around the events leading to Prof Wybenga`s death. In a Village populated with the elderly and infirm, we strongly believe that these and other factors should override SAPS sensitivities with regards to the dissemination of information.

A community meeting has been scheduled for Monday 14 October in the NG Church hall at 10H00. On the agenda will be:

  • The registering of all members of the community that are infirm, elderly, live alone or feel vulnerable. The aim would be to initiate regular patrols to these addresses and set up a more comprehensive block watch system.
  • The approval and signing of a memorandum to be delivered to the Station Commander. This memorandum will be brief and to the point.
  • A short briefing to the community with regards to the SPF initiatives with specific reference to the Reservist initiative and the recent actions taken by the Station Commander.

We hope and trust to see you there!


Johan  Lehman and the Team

The hills were alive … with the sound of music

On Tuesday morning, our serene mountains were filled by the joy and mystical sounds of a truly memorable and once in a lifetime impromptu jam session. Former university professor and now world-renowned holistic animator Dr. Bruce Copley and the intriguing one-man band Zirk Bergh, came together with local electric violinist Denzl Keenen, to have some fun and challenge each other musically.  Read more


Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week: Merwilla plumbea


Damien Coulson:
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. This week  we’ll be looking at a bulbous perennial that has in recent years been much targeted and depleted in the Clarens Nature Reserve by domestic goats.

Merwilla plumbea (commonly known as the Blue Scilla in English, Blouslangkop in Afrikaans and kherere in sisotho), is a small sized plant of approximately 1 m in height, sometimes occurring in “colonies”. M. plumbea is widespread in the eastern summer rainfall regions and grows on cliffs and rocky slopes from 1675 – 2100 m A.S.L. This striking plant is frost resistant and may be grown from seed.
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The Twitcher

One of the most important things about living in a community is that you are a part of it; for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer, to steal a line from the somewhat ironic litany of the Christian wedding vows.  This is true of Clarens, which, if I think about it, is a bit like a large, fractious family.  No matter how much we fight and snarl at each other, and we do, we tend to pull together when we are threatened or when our lives and futures are at stake.

Dismiss these platitudes at your peril however, for they have some force and conviction to them.

For example, the village of Clarens is about to initiate an October Classics festival, which will involve the translocation of thousands to see and hear great music and fine entertainment – and celebrate a bookfest; well, the four or five surviving Free State readers anyway.  While this is an early stage in Clarens’ development of arts and culture as a spectator sport, it promises much.  Imagine the reaction of the City Fathers of Grahamstown when some palooka first suggested an arts festival to swamp the town?  Yet look at their festival today, corporate sponsors and all.  The point is that, as stakeholders in Clarens Inc., we are potentially at the same point of lift-off, awaiting a trigger-finger to start a fire in the hold.  Well, a smouldering ember at least.

Yet in the same week, as we rush manically about trying to play catch-up against shrinking festival deadlines, one of our respected senior citizens is done to death for a cell-phone and elderly Toyota.

South Africa’s reality is our own and upon our doorsteps.  We can focus our attentions on the business of tourism and have a gay old time (sorry!) dancing the light fantastic around the square to raise money for Kgubetswana charities, but the truth is that we are as vulnerable as the rest of our benighted land.  Certainly, the incidence of crime in Clarens is somewhat lower than the rest of South Africa’s, as too is its severity.  But the hard truth is that we have just lost a friend, colleague and fellow-citizen to the madness of need and greed.  And surely, we will lose others over time, albeit at a fractional proportion of the country’s losses.  The victim of this murder was a gentle man who grew and gave away vegetables, who minded his own business and who gave a great deal more than he ever took.

So, as we gear up for a party celebration, we will be looking over our shoulders and wondering how this could have happened in our little village.  There will be anger, belligerence, threats and more.  Hopefully, the police will do what they are paid for and catch those responsible.  Calm heads will no doubt prevail, but there will be a sense of betrayal to deal with; a social compact broken and unwritten agreement dishonoured.  The question is whether we can rise above this jolt to our sense of security, and deal with being South African rather than merely Clarenites.  The answer is that we have to grieve and celebrate in equal measure – not just for the death of one man, but for the end of an era in which we all believed that we were somehow invulnerable here in the mountains.

This weekend – Weather

This weekend – Events

Saturday: 12 October 2013

Farmer’s Market (outside the Bibliophile). 10h00 – 14h00.

The Clarens MacNollie Challenge. (Read all about it at  This is a fund-raising event for the SPF.  Proudly sponsored by Nissan Welkom, Nissan Bethlehem and UD Trucks/Welkom.
Those of you not taking part in the challenge can still be part of the fun.

Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting @ the Clarens Golf Club On Saturday 12 October 2013 From 13h00 – 15h00
Cost: R50pp for a Skill Game of 15 Shots
Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting, also known as Laser Clay Shooting or even Laser Shooting is a variation on the traditional sport of Clay Pigeon Shooting. Real shotguns are disabled and fitted with harmless infra-red laser equipment that can detect hits on specially modified reflective clays. A total of five people can shoot at the same clay at the same time. No risks! No injuries! No blue shoulders!  (No need to book – just arrive!)

Jordania Primary Golf Day:  Clarens Golf Estate

Harrismith Mountain race.  11h00 Harrismith


This weekend – Live Music

Friday 11th October

Artichoke: 18h00             Zirk Bergh

Music for Saturday has yet to be confirmed, but will be posted to our facebook page once we know who is playing where.


This weekend – Rugby fixtures


Absa Currie Cup Premier Divison 15:00 Golden Lions v Griquas Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Absa Currie Cup Premier Divison 17:05 Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Absa Currie Cup Premier Divison 19:10 Sharks v Western Province Growthpoint KINGS PARK, Durban

Coming Events Classic Clarens Festival 18-20 October


Lots of entertainment.Start the weekend off with Kaya Mthethwa on friday evening.

Saturday:  Relax in the tea garden on the square while enjoying a Vintage Fashion Show :   with Phoebe from Mona Liza Garment Gallery; “Forehands”  Hansie  Jordaan and Rene Human  (2 pianos); Working on Fire; Moriteng Choir, and


Saturday evening enjoy a classic concert with Pia Jesu Eleganza, Chris Coetzer, Andre Schwartz and Mariette Pitout. 

Note from Clarens Tourism Forum: There are still a few tables left for the Classic Clarens Festival’s Food & Wine tent on the Village Square, at R500.Please contact JCM Events on if you are interested.

Coming Events: Bibliophile Bookfest 18-20 October

To see the full program of events:

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Note from the editor

Our website is still “work in progress” and you can expect to see some changes every week.  The Adventure page has had a phenomenal reception – and even people who have lived in Clarens for years have commented that they didn’t know there was so much one could do in Clarens.  Please accept our most sincere apologies if we’ve left your company/adventure out, and be sure to contact us at so that we can put it right.We are now working on a page for all the art galleries and artists in Clarens, and would like to include everyone who offers art courses as well. Please feel free to contact us: so that you can be sure we don’t leave anyone out.