Clarens News Clarens Scene

This week’s photograph captures just another one of the beautiful landscapes we live with in Clarens.  What more is there to say.  Mary Walker is taking a break this week, but we can look forward to another of her photographs and entertaining articles in the News again next week.

Spoilt for choice

Last weekend we were all spoilt for choice. Such a pity that there was just too much going on for us to see it all.
We at Clarens News did however manage to do most of the Bibliophie Bookfest events – and are now inspired to take the News to greater heights.  The Bookfest was not just about books – it also gave authors a chance to network, inspire, and encourage: the South African reading public can certainly look forward to some exciting new publications in the near future. You can get an idea of what the atmosphere was like by reading Refiloe Mabejane’s blog:   I write because It’s Who I Am”and other Clarens Classic Festival 2013 Stories.

Lanny Mokwoena, who grew up and was schooled at Daljosafat  farm (between Clarens and Bethlehem) was also excited to hear about the Footprint event (see the article by Genevieve Blignaut in this newsletter) and has promised us an article about his early years on the farm (including all his poaching exploits in the area.)

It was also great fun to see Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit again. These two have put together many articles about Clarens in the past – one could even go as far as to say that they were largely responsible for putting Clarens on the map as a tourist destination.  And having had a look at their website, it seems we may expect more.

Tavern Tour

Clarens News Clarens Tavern Tour

After having heard of the tavern tours many times, I finally had the privilege of going on a tour myself. We left excited per taxi from the Municipality buildings and was told by our security, Sam, that we were going to visit three of the most popular taverns in Kgubetswana

Our first stop was Tsamahantse, where we were greeted by friendly faces, a spotless environment and of course our first quart. I could feel my heart jumping to the rhythm of the music, filling the air of the heart of our beautiful township, and then we were off to experience more of the richness the community has to offer.

Zama-Zama has spectacular views of the Maluti Mountains accompanied perfectly with sounds echoing from the much-adored jukebox. We couldn’t have dreamt of a better way to end the tour than listening to the Stars of Kgubetswana at the busy Hunters Pub. The local band plays regularly at the taverns, and gave us memories to cherish with songs such as Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door and Michael Jackson’s We are the World.

The tours are an absolute treat and a must for one and all.

Kgubetswana has much entertainment on offer and we are very excited about the “Battle of the DJ’s” taking place on 2 November 2013.  (Read next week’s Clarens News for further details.)

 Thusanang –  Footprint Project

Footprint Project in Clarens

The wonderful work of the Thusanang Care Group Centre seems to be ever expanding, inspiring and helping so many along the way. On Friday 18 October 2013 the Daljosafat Farm School, situated 20km from Clarens on the Bethlehem road, gratefully accepted the compassion and help showered upon them by the care group.

The Footprint Project, run by the Thusanang Care Group, aims to alleviate the needs of local and surrounding schools by supplying them with school material, stationary and school uniforms, funds permitting. Furthermore the care group gathers the necessary information to establish why children in the community are not attending school and what the primary cause of their absence is. The Footprint project will then determine where help is needed most and what can be done to provide the much-needed education.

With funds raised during the Community Braai, the Thusanang Care Group thought it well to invest the money in schools in and around Clarens, by providing them with much needed school shoes. Read more 

 Clarens Community Vegetable growing project

The Clarens Community Vegetable growing project is progressing well, and I was invited to help with assessing those gardens which are part of the project.   I must say, it was heartwarming to see how many gardeners are taking part in the project, and my congratulations must go to Tsepiso for getting this project out of the ground.     Unfortunately, Clarens has a very late start to the growing season,  so many of the gardens were still in the seed germination stage.  It was however patently obvious that much work had been done getting the gardens ready. What’s more, a lot of the back-breaking work that goes with starting a new garden from scratch is being undertaken by people who are “way past their prime” with very little in the way of utensils. (Many of the gardeners do not even own a hosepipe!) Prize giving will take place on the 29th, when every gardener will also be given a certificate of participation. Prizes, however, are in short supply, and we appeal to all Clarens residents to donate a prize.  It really doesn’t matter how small: these gardeners would appreciate every little bit of help. And just think, how much food a a tiny packet of vegetable seed can grow into.  (Article by  Toni B Walters)


Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve

Plant of the week: Dichoma anomala :

Damien Coulson:

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a small perennial herb that grows in summer rainfall areas and tends to conceal itself between tufts of grass.
Dichoma anomala (commonly known as Fever Bush in English, Aambeibos in Afrikaans and hloenya in sisotho), is a small monocotyledonous plant with stems approximately 50-600 mm long. Dichomameans “two-tufted” (Di-two & coma – tuft of hairs) and refers to the hair-like appearance of the floral bracts. Anomala is Latin and means irregular or deviating from the normal. D. anomala is widespread, growing in stony poor-soiled grasslands and in the crevices of rock sheets up to 2075 m A.S.L.

Read more

The Twitcher

Another week in Clarens and the Classics Festival is thankfully behind us.  Reminds me of the old chestnut: What if you gave a party and nobody came?   Not strictly true of course.  The few hundred paying guests probably had a high-old time but it was hardly what you would call a triumph.  Pity really, but if you pick the quietest weekend of the year and keep the event a secret, you must take what you can get.
Much better news from the Bibliophile BookFest though.  An excellent three-days laid an important foundation stone for future Clarens Arts Festivals and gave Clarenites a treat at several different venues.  Robin Binckes, author of Canvas under the Sky (a tale of sex, drugs and volk spele in the Great Trek) and The Great Trek Uncut was very entertaining at the Sheepshed Gallery and the Phatt Chef.  He was supported by inputs from Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob (Winnie Mandela: A Life), Refiloe Mabejane (Strawberry Lips), Chris Maris and Julienne du Toit (Karoo Keepsakes 2), Lanny Mokwena (Radio Lesedi playwright), Stephen Gray (Bosman editor and poet) and Maya Kriel (Rings in a Tree).  Stephen Gray also introduced the Sheepshed Gallery audience to the world of Herman Charles Bosman, together with Peter Badcock-Walters, designer and illustrator of the Illustrated Bosman, who discussed his illustrations and technique.  Stephen also read his poems (Shelley Cinema) at 278 on Main.    Read more

This weekend – Weather

Wasn’t it amazing to see snow on the Maluti Mountains this week?  I found it interesting that according to Stephen Dunkley it has snowed here every month of the year.   Who knows – it seems that there’s a chance (even if it is remote) that we could get a white Christmas!

According to Acuweather we can expect some thunderstorms this afternoon and tonight.

This weekend – Live Music (Restaurants)

Friday 25th October 2013
The Grouse & Claret:   20h30  :  Slipstream     

Saturday 26th October 2013
Friends:   20h30  :  Swetty Betty 

This weekend – Rugby


This weekend – Other things to do

Have a look at the Adventure page on our website:  There are lots of adventures to choose from.

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


Looking for a house to rent, a job, (there’s a nice one going at Bergwoning)  or wanting to sell something? You might find it the Classifieds section on our

Should you wish to place an advertisement in this section please email:
(Classified advertisements are free.)

Note from the editor

Your editor made the classic mistake of replying to an email from a dubious source, which led to someone hacking into our system and sending us over 150,000 emails.   This caused havoc, and in trying to delete all these emails and stopping more from coming in we may very well have lost many genuine emails. If you emailed us and have not had a reply, please could you resend. Hopefully, the problem has now been fixed and we’ll get your message and be able to respond. 

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.