Table of Contents:
Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce: Letter to business owners; What’s happening at the New Clarens Sports Stadium; Community Gardens : Clarens comes out tops;
Clarens Village Nature Reserve: Plant of interest: Crocosmia paniculata; The Twitcher; Community News: Draft Environmental Management Plan; It’s all about the 3 R’s!; Fun D(Y)ay! at Dihlabeng Christian School; Clarens Recycling Centre; Other Community News; CCIA – AGM; Cosmos – New varieties; This week: Dihlabeng Christian School Autumn Fair; Book Launch: Soweto Burning by Don Emby; It’s super rugby time again; Classifieds; Not on the mailing list?
Take the Rebellie farm turn off the road between Clarens and Golden Gate, and drive up to the Rebellie farm entrance. It’s an absolute joy to see how well last year’s baby zebras are growing up. And Clarens too seems to be growing and growing. (See The Twitcher below.) The new Clarens Sports Stadium is scheduled for opening on the 20th March 2014 (see Julio Ontong’s article below) and tonight sees the opening launch of Mountain Breeze – a new restaurant and pub in Sias Oosthuizen Street. (Sorry – the opening party is by invitation only.) The Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce is also going from strength to strength. The only blot on the landscape is the weather (only if you’re not a farmer) which has resulted in the indefinite postponement of the Sensational Summer Sizzler Challenge for Charity on Sunday. Braai or no-braai, Clarens has some fantastic charities which could do with some help. Have a look at the Community page on our website: www.clarensnews.com.
Greater Clarens Chamber of Commerce: Letter to business owners:
Dear Business Owner,
This a brief update on what is happening at the GCCC.
The Chamber’s constitution has not yet been ratified as the representatives from Kgubetswana have not been appointed because the Kgubetswana Cooperative has concerns about the number of representatives that they will have on the Chamber board. This was discussed with a representative of the cooperative at a meeting held on Monday 10th March. The Cooperative has asked that the GCCC board be made up of 6 directors, 3 from upper Clarens and 3 from Kgubetswana. The matter of representation has been referred back to the facilitators of the Chamber constitution.
Notwithstanding the above, the three directors appointed to represent Upper Clarens have met on a number of occasions to start addressing issues of concern to businesses in Upper Clarens. The most pressing issue (as expressed at the public meeting in January) is municipal rates and following a meeting on 6th March with Peter Reed and Raymond Provos (CFO Dihlabeng Municipality), we are pleased to report that –
– The Dihlabeng Municipality is very pleased about the formation of the Chamber and looks forward to interacting on issues of concern to business
– The business property valuation objections lodged by Clarens business owners have been taken to the appeal board and new property values have been set
– The Municipality has lodged some objections where it feels the new values have been set too low
– These cases have to go back to court for settlement
– We will be sent a schedule of the valuation amendments within the next 10 days
– It was agreed by the Municipality and the Chamber representatives that in cases where the municipality has no objection to the reduced valuations set at the appeal hearings, that the ratepayers (businesses) be refunded the difference between what they have paid for rates and what they would have paid at the lower valuations; obviously in the case of valuations subject to appeal by the Municipality, this will only be done on the outcome of the appeal.
– A further meeting of the directors from Upper Clarens was held on Tuesday 11th March in which discussions were held with a representative of MTN about their desired requirements for the hosting of cycle races in Clarens going forward. Clarens Tourism Forum were due to attend this meeting and have discussions on collaboration/association/integration but cancelled at the last minute. An impromptu meeting was held about the possible inclusion, in a Carte Blanche report on cattle theft, of a piece on crime (specifically car theft) in Clarens. It was agreed that this was not a major issue for Clarens and not in the town’s interest and that nothing would be put forward.
In closing, the meeting with the Municipality was so positive that we now feel that the Chamber’s “career” has finally been launched.
Please advise your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to be included on our mailing list. Other contact details for the Chamber will be advised shortly.
Malcolm Hickman, Natalie Meyer, Carl Swerts
What’s happening at the New Clarens Sports Stadium
On The 1st of March 2014 I sat down to interview Aiden Wampach. To all of you that are not familiar with Aiden, he is the Project Manager of the Clarens Sport Stadium that is currently still under construction. Aiden works for Mofomo, which is the Project Management company that is building and constructing the stadium.
Community Gardens : Clarens comes out tops
Its a great pleasure to inform you that on the 01 March 2014 we went to the Provincial Event of the vegetables competition.It was held at Glen Agriculture College in Bloemfontein.
Great news is that out of 7 categories won by Thabo Mofutsanyana District, Clarens participants won four. They were as follows:
– Best Existing School Garden – Clarens Primary School. (They won R15 000 & a 10 000 litres water tank.)
– Best Song – Thusanang Care Group , they won R5000
– Best Dish – Clarens Cooks representing Thabo Mofutsanyana District – second prize of R10 000 and 10 aprons and 10 AMC pots
– Best Official – Thabo Mofutsanyana District & Province – Tsepiso Mosia – won first prize of training worth R6500.
I would like to thank all the sponsors, Clarens Business , Clarens Community, all the participants, stakeholders, our mentor Mr Thabo Olivier, my colleagues, my family, MEC Mamiki Qabathe, Premier Ace Magashule and lastly GOD ALMIGHTY.
Clarens is so special and let us keep up the good work for our community. This vegetables project is an ongoing project and let us grow it to another level. Remember Clarens is the Trend setter and others just follow.
Thank you very much, GOD BLESS OUR VILLAGE.
Tsepiso Mosia Department Of Agriculture & Rural Development
0710791332 E-mail: email@example.com
Congratulations Tsepiso. We know how hard you worked for this. And congratulations too, to all the community gardeners who participated in this event.
Clarens Village Nature Reserve:
Plant of interest: Crocosmia paniculata
Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at an attractive specimen of the Iridaceae family.
Crocosmia paniculata (Falling Stars in English, Vallende Stetetjies in Afrikaans and khahla-ea-Bokone in Sesotho), is an evergreen herbaceous species that typically grows to between 1 – 1.8 m, usually in clumps rather than solitary. Krocos – saffron and osme – smell, refers to the saffron-like aroma of the dried flowers once placed in warm water. This vivacious wildflower bares an affinity for moist grassland areas and may be observed in close proximity to rivers, streams and forest margins. The plant has been recorded at altitudes of up to 1500 m A.S.L.
This particular specimen was found growing on a section of the Spruit hiking trail just above Lake Clarens adjacent to one of the recently installed wooden bridges (also in close proximity to an old willow covered in a form of bracket fungi/mushroom – giving the area a sort of magical ambiance and a slightly disconnected sense from the rest of reality).
Oh the luxury! Two whole weeks between Twitching, not a care in the world and twenty-five hours a day of shooting hints for amputees on television. Can there be anything better than this?!
Of course the weather has put a bit of a damper on outdoor activity: no nude sunbathing on the square; the Vaal River rising precipitously and lapping at Bethlehem’s back door; Gautengers fleeing for their lives and finding breathless solace in the flesh-pots of Clarens. Oh, the drama, the drama! Our minor leaks and wet washing are not too bad, comparatively speaking. But what to say this week, with a hindsight view of events stretching back fourteen days?
Well, for starters, what a show at Gosto’s last weekend, the new porro restaurant on the square! Almost two-metres of tantalizing temptress, nom de guerre of Cat Simoni, wowed audiences two nights running with her take on Barbra Streisand. Best bit, for those with staying power, was the impromptu jamming session late Saturday night (well, Sunday morning actually), with Hansie on piano and matching chords in short supply. How good to have supper theatre in Clarens, with more to come. Rumours of whisky bars at the Highlander and Mexican cuisine (??) up the road abound. So gird your autumnal loins, dear Clarenites; the good times are about to get better.
Community News: Draft Environmental Management Plan
If you haven’t had a look at this yet, do so now. Time is running out: you only have until the 28th March to make comments.In terms of s. 39 (2) of the National Environmental Management:Protected Areas Act, No. 57 of 2003, the Clarens Village Conservancy (CVC), being the appointed management authority in terms of s.38 (2) for the Clarens Nature Reserve, hereby submits a DRAFT Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to the public and relevant authorities for consultation. This draft EMP is compiled in reference to, and should be read with, the Dihlabeng Spatial Development Framework which was approved in 2013.
Hard copies of the draft EMP are available at:
– the Clarens public library in Bester street, Clarens,
– the Book Nook, above the Methodist Church Hall in Clarens (Tue 10h00-12h00 and Thu 14h00 – 16h00),
– Clarens Xtreme Adventure Company, Swart street, Clarens,
– Tshepong public hall in Kgubetswana,
– the Dihlabeng Municipal Office in Main Street, Clarens,
– the Village Grocer in Main Street, Clarens.
An electronic copy of the draft EMP is available for download at:
All comments and suggestions to improve the draft EMP, and all requests by individuals or organisations to be registered as Interested and Affected Parties (I&AP’s), should be submitted to the CVC on the forms provided with the hard copies, or electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org, or in any format to any one of the CVC committee members listed in the EMP (and whose contact details are also available on the CVC website) by 28 March 2014, please.
It’s all about the 3 R’s!
Reduce, reuse & recycle. These are the words that encompass almost the entire concept of sustainability. The ways in which the 3 R’s may be practically applied are limitless; however they have a profound effect on the arenas of ecology, economy and human welfare.
Over the last decade the cost of living has really shot through the roof as petrochemical product prices keep going up, and in the last few years on an almost monthly basis. Globally, pollution of an anthropogenic nature has also never been higher. The need for ingenious solutions to common problems is therefore at an all-time high. Finding new means of cost-savings and improving overall quality of life requires that we now adopt these measures; we must adopt the 3 R’s. This week we give special attention to some people from within Clarens who are helping to realise the 3 R’s, and the manner in which they do this.
Fun D(Y)ay! at Dihlabeng Christian School
In continuing with our theme we now focus on 2 more of the 3 R’s: Reduce & reuse. This past month saw the students of Dihlabeng participating in several C.V.C. hosted events. A new recycling station was also set up by Sherri & Laurence Gersh.
The first of which entailed a basic introduction to the concept of the R’s in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and recycling video, followed by a recycling game and interactive Q & A session and ended off with the announcement of a poster competition. Groups of students from each grade were asked to produce posters utilising reused materials and to explain how their posters best convey the concept of sustainability. The winners from the foundation and intermediate phases would be taken for a day of fun sponsored by Clarens Xtreme and the C.V.C. This helped to spark enthusiasm and the first event ended on a high note.
The second and main event held again at Dihlabeng involved the students from grades 2 – 7 in a series of 5 games, all of which were created using only recyclable materials and served as a means of showing the students that one can reuse and recycle and even have fun while doing it. It seemed that all who took part in the event thoroughly enjoyed it – including the students, WoF team, teachers, rangers and our committee member Sherri Gersh. The day ended with the judging of the posters and presentations and all the students were eager for our return to announce the winners.
Last week Wednesday was a cold, grey and windy morning. Thankfully we were all safely tucked away in the school hall where we announced the winners of the poster competition. Judging was not easy as many of the posters had their own merits. That’s why grade 7 saw both its teams win from the intermediate phase while a team from grade 2 in the foundation phase met our critical eyes.
The 3 R’s are part of our everyday lives whether we like it or not. The time is right to be a part of the solution. The time is right to improve our own livelihoods. Ladies and gentlemen, the time is right to start living again. One ant makes all the difference.
Clarens Recycling Centre
Recycling hasn’t always been big for Clarens, which is unusual considering that the majority of us living here are arty by nature and live outside-of-the-box, as conveyed by the wealth of art galleries, quaint and unusual shops and intriguing characters. All can be found right here in the little out-of-place, timeless Village.
Prior to the 26th of August of last year, our pint-sized recycling centre struggled along in the absence of daily management, relying on borrowed funds and causing a big headache for the C.V.C. committee. Then things changed and she happened – Mrs Evon Els, a recent inclusion in the Clarens community voiced her intention to turn things around at the rec. centre – and that she has. Fetching, sorting, bailing and transporting loads of recycled materials to their penultimate destinations is no easy – and certainly not the most pleasurable task. Yet since stepping in, the rec. centre has observed more than a quadrupling of capacity; the precision and pace with which items are sorted has increased dramatically and now up to 4 loads a day, 3 days a week may be transported. This all at personal expense and utilising personal equipment without the expectation of a salary – yet day in and day out Mrs Els is there, often before anyone else arrives and is usually the last to leave.
Currently there are 3 individuals employed on a contractual basis with extra hands being brought in at peak tourism times for Clarens. Watching these individuals and their leader at work is actually most interesting and the sorting process is an educational experience for anyone with a few moments to spare. Certainly it helps develop an appreciation for the recycling process as a whole and respect for those who are involved in it. A big Thank you Evon for your team’s efforts and an extended thanks to all who already are involved in recycling in Clarens – your efforts are helping to keep the streets of Clarens clean and are definitely having a positive effect on the environment.
Article and photography by Damien Coulson
Other Community News
Bird Interest Group:
I would like to extend a warm invite to all bird watchers of Clarens and The Eastern Free State.
The SANPARKS HONORARY Rangers of the Free State host a birding weekend in Golden Gate every year during the 2nd weekend of February.
This year the event were attended by 64 guests. They spotted 132 species during the weekend.
Rick Nuttal a past president of Birdlife S.A and CEO of the National Museum in Bloemfontein and other birdlife experts normally take the guests on guided walks or drives through the park. Rick is also responsible for verifying the sytings.
We as Honorary Ranger will very much welcome some participation from our local birdwatchers.
Our next event will be the 2nd weekend of February 2015.
The Honorary Rangers were also responsible for the building of the Vulture Hide in the park. This is the first vulture hide in a national park in S.A.
There are still a challenge to help the park with the management of the hide. There is also a great need for farmers in the Clarens area to donate carcasses to the park to keep the hide functioning.
Anyone who wants more information can contact me, Div Bosman, on this e-mail address or phone me on the number 0824576743.
We would very much like the Clarens group to participate.
Thank you to the editor of Clarens News who keeps us updated on all the events and your interest in plants and wildlife.
Chairperson of The Free State SANPARKS Honorary Rangers.
Interested in being part of a Bird Interest Group? We’ve been trying to contact other groups in our area – but there don’t appear to be any! It looks as though it’s up to Clarens to get something going. Clarens News invites interested persons to contact us (email@example.com) with their input and ideas.
Community Notice Board
Please note that we now have a Community bulletin Board on the website: To view Click here
Clarens Combined Churches in Action – AGM
The CCIA delivered on its promise of entertainment at its AGM yesterday, and everyone who attended had a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Click here to read Julio Ontong’s article on the AGM and what’s happening at the CCIA
Cosmos – New varieties
Would you believe that there are a whole range of varieties of Cosmos to be had in the USA. These varieties come in a range of colours: pink, orange and even chocolate. Doubles, singles, short and tall. Personally, I don’t think you can beat the variety that grows so generously along the road verges. (The pic above was taken yesterday on the road to Rebellie farm.) The flowers may be simple – but oh, how they dance in the wind!
This week: Dihlabeng Christian School Autumn Fair
Book Launch: Soweto Burning by Don Emby
Click here for more information about the book
It’s super rugby time again
Watch all the action at one of our local Clarens pubs (and if you want to watch it on a big screen go to Artichoke). The atmosphere is great – almost like being at the game!
Looking for accommodation? Do you have a house you want to rent out? Need a job? Want to open a restaurant? Remember to check out the classifeds section.
Advertising on the classifieds section of Clarens News is free. All you need to do is to email your advert to: