Sterkfontein Dam. If you’re driving from Clarens to Durban it really is worthwhile taking the R74 past Sterkfontein Dam and over the Oliviershoek pass. The road makes for easy driving, the views are magnificent and you may even see flamingoes on the dam shoreline. If you have the chance drive into the Nature Reserve down to the shore line. The yellowfish are spawning and there’s a good chance that you will see them thrashing about in the water.
RECONCILIATION DAY, BUILDING BRIDGES
Having been involved in political activism, social activism and evangelism, I can safely and simply say, “human beings act from preconceived perspectives!” In politics, many party cadres become dogmatic at some point and will not be able to accept any other ideology. In evangelism you also meet people who have beliefs that they are not willing to give up, only because ‘they have been passed to them by the elders’. As we work to develop Clarens greater work needs to be done to develop mental faculties, if not to replace some corrupt files.
We are coming from a point where black and white are not only races, but they are messages written in block letters. Some blacks see a white person as someone who looks down upon the black race. They see an oppressor, an enemy to black development and empowerment. On the other side, some whites see a black person as an incapacitated member of the community, no matter how qualified and experienced they may be. They see a spoilt folk suffering from an entitlement syndrome. If it is in business there is rarely uniformity in what a different race expects to pay or to be paid for services rendered. What is wrong in our society? How can we correct it? How can a fair playground be constructed?
We are striving to distribute news, telling it as it is. Mental structures that need renovation are supplied with the right tools, manpower and materials. Not all work requires the same tool kit and manpower. You cannot use a wheelbarrow to cut a tree branch. I am not going to call everything that barks a dog here; very often we find sheep and cattle grazing together. Weeds also want to grow where good seeds have been sown. Not everything that is done in this community, by different races is wrong. There are men and women who are doing great works across the colour boundaries. I can mention some members of our community without reservations from my short experience in Clarens. People like Ollie, the guy who runs Clarens Xtreme has managed to excel in this vein. Mawela Mashinini who runs Fair Brothers Security among other businesses is also a figure that cannot be ignored. Gareth, the pastor of Dihlabeng Christian Church is another exemplary figure.
With tourists coming to our town daily and major world-class events finding Clarens to be ‘the place’, we have a lot to do as a combined force. Our difference in colour should not be a threat to our coexistence but an opportunity for us to serve our market well. Differences can be positively viewed as diversity, which is a precious component of any ecosystem. Let us not create a dog-eat-dog community. Business competition should be sanitized, merit overpowering colour. No activity or event should go unnoticed. Turning a blind eye to what is happening to our nose will only produce a disjointed, sickly community.
I want to encourage you to keep your eye on our events page and get to know what is happening around you. Normally giant opportunities do not use a speaker to announce themselves. The gold is in the dirt, great deals are hidden in the small font. Clarens is the place, great opportunities are around us. Let us work in unison to produce and offer the best to our clients.
The picture below is an extract from the prayer for Matriculants that was held at NG Kerk on 23 October 2015.
Clarens is well known for its Art and Craft and is often referred to as the Art Mecca of South Africa. There is a wide selection of art on offer catering to all tastes. Pick up a copy of the Clarens Art Route map from one of the galleries. It’s not only a guide to the art galleries – but a wonderful way to explore Clarens.
#2. Enjoy the Clarens Village Nature Reserve
Beautiful walks, hiking, mountain biking, swimming. Maps of the hiking and biking trails are available from most shops in Clarens. Hiking – and swimming in the dam – is free, but bikers need to have a permit to use the cycling trails. Permits are available at Clarens Xtreme in Sias Oosthuizen Street.
#3. Visit The Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is well known for it’s scenic beauty, as well as its wildlife and birds. Drive the Blesbok and Oribi Loops. (Maps are available at the Information Centre opposite Glen Reenen Rest Camp.) and be sure to visit the Golden Gate Vulture Hide. While you’re in the park, visit to the Basotho Cultural Village – a living museum will give you a unique insight into the ways and lifestyle of traditional Basotho people.
#4. Eat out.
Clarens has many fine restaurants, delis and coffee shops. This is however a busy time of the year, so booking is essential.
#5. Take a drive to Fouriesburg.
Enjoy scenic views over the Maluti Mountains. Look out for Mushroom Rock (at the turn-off to St Fort) and visit the Plaque at Surrender Hill. Further along the route you may spot Queen Victoria. (Turn off onto the S505 to Lesoba Guest Farm to get a perfect view of her.) Be sure to stop at The Rose Hip restaurant at The Rose House to enjoy locally produced red wine, from organically grown grapes grown right here in the Eastern Freestate. If you want to book for lunch Contact Trish: 072 142 3183.
NNETE FOUNDATION, Multi-Dimensional Truth Display
“Can I meet you the week after next week?” That is all Gareth Oosthuyzen asked for. It was early May 2015 and I had posted on my Facebook wall that I was going to start teaching Maths in Clarens, and Gareth had read it. About a week and a half later we were seated in my rented room and the term Nnete Foundation was introduced to my ears.
After the greetings and catching up after our first meeting six months earlier, we got to business. We discussed the Mr Onward Maths Academy idea, then the Nnete aspect. By then, Nnete was like a two months old pregnancy, only those very close to the pregnant lady would know. The premise to be used did not look like it could be a hope for many. A shop, it was from afar and from a close range. Reality was just a zygote.
It’s been over seven months now and birth pangs can be felt. The water is about to break. The midwives are attentive.
Nnete Foundation is a Non-Profit Organisation that is being established in Clarens. The place that used to be the Dihlabeng Store is becoming a place of academic upliftment and life skills development. The mandate for this work is to put Clarens on the map academically and knowledgewise. Nnete is a Sesotho term that means truth. From my discussion with Gareth, truth is going to be dished in basins. A world-class set up is on the cards. Grade 8 and Grade 9 learners from schools around Clarens are being targeted. This is not going to be a one-day event or single-year occurrence. Once a learner has been enrolled into the system they will be helped mainly with the English Language and Mathematics until they complete Matric. The idea is to make sure learners from Clarens get Matric passes that can help them study further in areas of choice. In the long run, Nnete Foundation also looks forward to source bursaries for deserving learners to help them further their studies.
Laptops have already been donated and tutor programs obtained and installed. The tutor programs can help individuals struggling with a subject, e.g. Maths, giving video lectures and exercises to tackle. If a learner struggles with an exercise, there is an option to go to a page where the problem is solved, stage by stage.
Some Grade 10 learners from Moriting wa Thuto Secondary School and learners from Clarens Combined School and Ntsu Secondary School benefited from the testing period from 15 October 2015 to 26 November 2015. 18 learners were enrolled for that period. The number is set to be increased to 30 when the Foundation gets fully operational early next year. The Official Opening is then expected to in January 2016 and there will be two staff members fully dedicated to the work.
Besides helping learners from schools the Clarens Community is also set to benefit immensely from life programs that will be run from time to time, free of charge. The only currency requested in return to services rendered is commitment and an eagerness to learn. Volunteers who are experts in their areas of specialisation will come to tutor and mentor. Health related issues, financial management, and other crucial aspects of the livelihood of mankind will be covered. Hanna Banks, originnally from the United Kingdom will be in charge of all the operations from January 2016.
Some signs are already showing that this work is set to impact the educational level in Clarens. Margaret, the principal of Dihlabeng Christian School has seen the need for such a foundation and has inspired the school to donate a sizable amount of money towards the establishment of Nnete. This is an indisputable prophecy of the impact of Nnete on mental faculties.
The work is being established, you can be part of this big dream.
Article and Photos by Onward Blessing Mvurume
Many Clarenites enjoy the sense of freedom that comes from being able to walk their dogs practically anywhere and anytime in and around the “Village” of Clarens. This is just one of the many privileges bestowed on residents which, all too often are taken for granted. For the most part, a harmony exists between dog-owners, their dogs, the public and other dogs; there is however an exception to every rule.
A particular point of concern regards the walking of dogs in the Clarens Nature Reserve without a leash. According to the NEMPA Act 57 of 2003, s. 50 (1&2) no domesticated animals may be permitted within a protected area. Due to the proximity of the CNR to the Village and its popularity with locals, the CVC – as designated management authority – agreed to allow dogs in the reserve. Unfortunately of late there have been cases of dogs chasing hares, dassies and Mountain Rhebok and even instances of dogs mock-charging other visitors (and occasionally the rangers) in the reserve. The rangers have even observed dogs out walking alone in the reserve.
Therefore the CVC has no other option than to request that owners utilize a leash in the proximity of other people and dogs, and within 100 metres of the main entrances to the reserve (demarcated by large signboards). This is to protect both residents and tourists using the reserve, as well as wildlife that reside within the reserve, in terms of the Animal Matters Amendment Act no. 42 1993 s.1 (1), which provides for criminal liability. Please note that the CVC does not incur any liability for an incident that happens in the reserve, it is the owner of the animal that is prosecuted.
Please be sure to have a leash on your person when walking your dogs in the CNR and be reminded that the rangers are authorised to request that dog-owners display their leashes at any given time. Furthermore any dogs that are known by their owners to be likely to chase wild animals must have their dogs on a leash at all times. Failure to do so can result in the rangers instructing said owner to leave the reserve immediately, and repeat offenders may be liable to prosecution or their animals being impounded.
The CVC does not wish to police every activity and endeavours to make the time in the CNR a memorable and unique experience for all users in so far as this understanding exists. Keep in mind that a “memorable” user experience entails each user considering the enjoyment and safety of themselves as well as that of other users and have an environmental and safety responsibility from the moment they enter the reserve.
In Damien’s own words: “We’ve had one heck-of-a interesting and productive year in 2015, and have achieved many new accomplishments (infrastructure, maps, post cards, guided tours, new rangers, new committee members, etc.) and have come one step closer towards self-sustainability.”
MISS DIHLABENG 2015-’16, LET’S SUPPORT OUR OWN
Thandi Tee-bone Mashinini brought joy to the youths of Clarens by organising of Miss Teen Clarens 2015, with Siya Mofokeng. A great success was registered on Saturday, 28 November and Puleng Jobo started her reign. It is Miss Dihlabeng now and Thandi is the only one representing Clarens. Let us help her continue putting the beauty of Clarens on the map.
Miss Dihlabeng will be crowned on Saturday, 19 December, at the Bethlehem Town Hall. Thandi is one of the 24 finalists. Each of the finalists has been allocated a unique code and Clarenites can rally behind and vote for Thandi.
It is not by mistake that Clarens is called the jewel of Freestate. The beauty of our own, Thandi is also a testimony to that!
The pageant was officially launched at the Dihlabeng Mall on 19 October 2015 by the Dihlabeng executive mayor, Tjhetane Mofokeng. A lot of emphasis is being put on the importance of education. Exciting prizes are just waiting for the day.
Let us contribute in bringing the crown and prestige to Clarens by voting for our choice, Thandi (in the picture). To vote, sms ” MISS D #39″ to 43359. Each sms costs R1,50.
The CVC Report-Back for November 2015: Yet another interesting update on everything that’s happening in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve, and the ongoing work done by the CVC Rangers. (These reports are submitted monthly by Damien Coulson. To catch up on past monthly reports visit the Clarens Village Conservancy page on this website or visit their own website: www.clarensvillageconservancy.org. They also have a facebook page: www.facebook.com/ClarensVillageConservancy.
CVC Report-Back November 2015:
Our rangers on Patrol;
Click here for more information on the Clarens Village Conservancy