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4th July, 2013: Celebration

The Christmas tree on the square has been lit and everyone is looking forward to our Christmas in July celebrations next weekend.  In a break from tradition our Christmas tree is not the usual pine, but an agave inflorescence. Traditionally there should also be a fairy or an angel at the top of the tree, which got us thinking about the beautiful angel at the Van Reenen graveyard in the Golden Gate National park.  It would be a bit difficult to move her (and in any case I don’t think our Christmas tree could stand the weight) but I’m sure the Van Reenen family wouldn’t mind you going to see her. It is Christmas, after all.

Community News

Letter from The Police Sector Form: “TSAMAYA HANTLE” Rampai
Fellow Clarenites,
It is with regret that the Sector Police Forum has to inform the community of the sudden death, due to natural causes, of one of our fine Police Reservists, Rampai.
Rampai was well known to many by his impeccable turn out in uniform. Not only was he was very active in keeping the square free from vagrants and patrolling regularly throughout the village but took the time to regularly visit the shops to ensure that all was in order. Sadly his happy demeanour will be missed by those who knew him. The Sector Police Forum is appealing for donations of R100.00 from any business or private individuals who feel that they can assist towards his funeral and family. These, appreciated, donations can be handed to Ronel at the Village Grocer.
Should you wish to deposit into the Police Forum Trust Account please use the following details with your Surname/Rampai as reference.
Acc. Name: Police Forum Trust
Bank: ABSA, Bethlehem Branch
Acc. No: 9274490569
Branch Code:632005
Thanking you,
The Sector Police Forum.

The Clarens Village Conservancy: 
Damien Coulsen has found some interesting facts about a plant we often see in these parts:  “‘I was surprised by some of the information I pulled up on this particular plant. Mostly it’s regarded as a nuisance species by farmers, but it looks like nature knows better..” (See the sidebar or go directly to the page on the Clarens News website.)
Visitors (and residents) continue to enjoy our nature reserve, and I can’t think of a better place for photographers in search of the ultimate Freestate photograph: the view of the Malutis from the Maluti View walk is particularly spectacular in the late afternoon.  Cyclists are also welcome, but they must get a permit – available (along with lots of advice)  from Clarens XTreme in Sias Oosthuizen street.  Trail Maps are available at the Bibliophile, The Old Stone Bottle Store, and The Village Grocer. You can also phone Toni on 082 4492 082 to order maps for your guesthouse, restaurant or shop.
I know I wrote this last week (and the week before) but since illegal dumping of rubbish in the nature reserve is an on going problem – and particularly bad over busy weekends – all residents and guest houses are once again asked to delay putting their refuse out until well after dark the evening before collection or just before leaving for work on the morning of collection.  (Not just this week, but every week.)  Read more.

Food Security Outreach Program for Clarens.
Following on the meeting held at Tshepong Centre last friday  Tsepiso Mosia (our Clarens connection to the Department of Agriculture  & Rural Development: Phone 071 079 1332) sent the following report:

The MEC of Agriculture  & Rural Development Me Mamiki Qabathe have a special programme of food security in the Province.  In Thabo Mofutsanyana District Clarens, Marquard and Excelsior were identified to be on the programme.
The main purpose of this programme is to encourage people to grow their own vegetables in their backyards.Different stakeholders were tasked to identify poor families, child-headed households, vulnerable children and families and any person who is willing to grow vegetables on his/her backyard. This is for all races that we have in Clarens. They are going to use any recyclable material to grow the vegetables.
This will run as the competition between different institutions: Churches will compete with churches, schools with schools, clinics with clinics etc. The winners of the categories will compete with others from different towns and eventually the Province.
Judging Criteria:
1.    Innovation
2.    Most beautiful garden
3.    Compose a song about your garden or drama
4.    Prepare best dish with your vegetables.
Please help us with and tyres or anything we can plant in.  Let us work together for the Clarens community and for Clarens to win this one.  Read more

Fouriesburg Polar Bear Plunge

Polar bear plunge 936441_148290038699614_1479982358_n
Congratulations to all those polar bears that took part in the Fouriesburg Polar Bear Plunge on the 29th June.
For more photographs visit the Cluny Animal Trust facebook page.

Editorial Comment: What a Difference a Dinner Makes
When Sue Campbell of 278 on Main decided to tickle the local fancy with a cut-price 3-course dinner for locals, there were a few sceptics who predicted that it would be a one-night wonder.   Simon Kerr (aka The Phatt Chef) joined the fray and added Monday nights to Sue’s Wednesday night special.  Since those early beginnings, locals have multiplied and lapped up the meals on offer with relish.  Indeed, last night’s offering at 278 on Main was full to overflowing and the sense of bon hommie was profound.
Certainly not every course is to everyone’s taste, but the fact is that a 3-course meal in convivial surroundings for R60 is a panacea in these stressed economic times.  Perhaps the best thing about it is that the selection of local diners is expanding and changing; the concept of bringing a friend (or two) is fast catching on and last night’s gathering was significantly different to that of previous weeks.  Add to this the introduction of a take-away Shushi menu on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the concept of budget dining for locals in Clarens is firmly on the map.
Monday Madness: 8th July.  Simon is preparing roast pork belly.  (Phone  082 469 3832 to book)
Wednesday Winter Warmer: 10th July.  Sue is preparing a Christmas dinner with a roast gammon as the mains. Phone 082 5565208 to book.
By the way:  Visitors to Clarens need not feel left out.  Everyone is welcome. (And after all, it only takes about ten minutes in Clarens before you start feeling like a local.)

Clarens Switzerland

CLARENS SWITZSome of you may remember Rolf Schlub’s letter published in Clarens News in November last year:

I started a drive about 3 Years ago to have a twinning relationship with Clarens Switzerland.
I went to Switzerland, spoke to the relevant people there and they thought it was a rather good idea.
Back in Clarens I started an interest group to persue this idea.
I also designed a flag to indicate the relationship and to show the 2 Countrys and from there the name
CLARENS² was born.

Rolf’s latest update reads as follows:  I would like to follow up on those informations with the publishing of the Memorandum of
Understanding ( MOU) which was signed by the Mayor’s of Switzerland and Dihlabeng at the
Centenary celebrations. I feel that the residents of Clarens deserve to be informed and kept in the “loop” of what has
happened at the Centenary celebrations. Of course, we are now anxiously waiting of the next steps taken by the honorable Mayor of
Dihlabeng, Mr. Tjhetane Mofokeng to the follow-up on this agreement
. To see the MOU press here


Weekend Weather

What has happened to winter? And where is the snow?  I had a look at the forecast for the rest of July, and it looks as though we can forget about a “White Christmas.”  But, snow or no snow, we’re still in for some fun.

Clarens Country Market   

Remember – Christmas is coming – Get your Christmas “goodies”here.  To see some of what’s on offer  CLICK HERE to visit the Clarens Country Market facebook page.  Because The Clarens Country Market is where local people to exhibit and sell local produce, arts and handicrafts, here is your chance to show your support for all things Clarens. . It is held in the front garden of the Bibliophile Bookshop in Church Street, between Van Zyl and Market Streets, every Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm, weather-permitting.
For more information or to book a stall, contact Debra 083 765 8901 or Megan 082 469 2072.

Live Music
Thursday 4th July
Street Cafe: Shamrock  8pm onwatrds
Friday 5th July
Street Cafe:  Slipstream (9pm onwards)
The Grouse and Claret:  Grumpy Old Men
Saturday: 6th July
Street Cafe:  11am – 2pm: The Souti from Toit
Friends:  Slipstream  (8pm onwards)


Rugby, Rugby, Rugby!
Vodacom Super Rugby Fixtures.  Stop in at any of the many pubs and restaurants in Clarens – there’s always a great atmosphere.  (Almost like being at the game.)
Super 15

Date Match Time Venue
July 2013
05 July Crusaders v Chiefs 09:35 AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch
06 July Hurricanes v Highlanders 09:35 Wellington
06 July Cheetahs v Blues 14:50 Bloemfontein
06 July Kings v Stormers 17:05 Port Elizabeth
06 July Bulls v Sharks 19:15 Pretoria


Overall Super Rugby Table and Standings
Conference leaders.
Team Nation P W L D B PF PA PD Bp Ttl
1. Chiefs () 14 11 3 0 2 417 305 112 9 61
2. Bulls () 14 11 3 0 2 415 281 134 7 59
3. Brumbies () 15 10 3 2 2 415 274 141 7 59
Wild card teams
4. Reds () 15 9 4 2 2 307 284 23 6 54
5. Crusaders () 14 9 5 0 2 378 275 103 7 51
6. Cheetahs () 15 9 6 0 1 348 345 3 6 46
7. Waratahs () 15 8 7 0 2 399 357 42 4 44
8. Blues () 14 6 8 0 2 318 304 14 12 44
9. Sharks () 14 7 7 0 2 307 272 35 6 42
10. Stormers () 14 7 7 0 2 292 267 25 6 42
11. Hurricanes () 14 6 8 0 2 325 383 -58 7 39
12. Rebels () 15 4 11 0 2 344 478 -134 8 32
13. W.Force () 15 3 11 1 2 246 351 -105 5 27
14. S.Kings () 14 3 10 1 2 273 482 -209 2 24
15. Highlanders () 14 2 12 0 2 288 414 -126 6 22

Last update after Match #108/125

Bethlehem Kine
School holidays have started.   To see what’s showing at the Bethlehem Kine this week  Press Here


Wine  Tasting:
6 July 2013 :  Mont D’Or
With Winemaker Wynand Grobler from Rickety Bridge Winery – Franschhoek
Limited seats available.  To see the menu and make a booking CLICK HERE

Chrismas in July Weekend
12 -14 July right here in Clarens.
Those of you who can’t wait for Christmas will be happy to know that it’s only a week away.  (Four more shopping days, I think.)
The Tourism Forum are working on a varied program: caberet, music, huskies, tavern tours and lots, lots more. To see the program PRESS HERE

Bibliophile – official opening of the new premises.
book luanch:  Primal Night by Maja Kriel
14th July at noon

PRIMAL NIGHT 2Primal Night is a collection of loosely connected tales all based in an African setting. The framework of the stories is a journey or travel of sdome kind in which a character’s primal assumtions of life are overturned or reinforced by the particular contex and circumstances of each story: a journey to the Okavango Swamps, a literary holiday and a romance in the hills of the Western Cape, a mysterious death of a toruist, and the obsessions of a gambler fixated on his lucky number, to name a few.And – there’s even a story about Clarens.  Come and meet Maja at the Bibliophile on Sunday  14th July – she will be there to chat and to sign books.


Other books which feature Clarens include:  African Brew – Exploring the craft of South African Beer.  (which includes several pages on our own Clarens Brewery) by Lucy Corne and Ryno Reyneke,
All our Yesterdays – An anecdotal history of the Clarens Valley (published by Bibliophile)
Christine’s Story – by Jennifer Jane
The Clarens Chronicles – Stories from the Jewel of the Free State – by Stephen Dunkley

Verone Wyers fund-raising walk
16th July –  arrive in Clarens.  (See them at The Brewery.  Time to be advised.)

There are four girls:  Shelley, Marina, Liezel and Hettie doing a 230k  walk (Fouriesburg, Clarens, Bethlehem, Reitz and back to Bethlehem) in order to raise funds and awareness for Verone Wyers,
Verone  was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML) in March this year –  a rare type of childhood leukaemia which can only be treated with a bone marrow transplant.

 Read more
The Clarens Macnollie Challenge 
12 October 2013
Based on the famous Royal MacNab challenge the Clarens Macnollie is aimed to stay true to the spirit of the original – but with an interesting ‘green’ twist  Participants will compete against each other as corporate teams in three disciplines i.e. hunting a Reedbuck will be replaced by shooting an Impala target on a shooting range (best grouping), the Trout fish will be replaced by a Bass (catch and release) and the shooting of  Grey-wing Francolin will be replaced by shooting clay pigeons (electronic laser system). All three disciplines still to be completed in 12 hours. The event being a prestigious one, only corporate team winners and second place winners will be eligible for the Clarens Macnollie Trophy and Macnollie Shield respectively. Our main sponsor NISSAN Betlehem, NISSAN Welkom and UD Truck Division Welkom challenges you to the Macnollie. Click here for the NISSAN challenge invitation. For any inquiries contact Johann Lehman on 083 447 9925 or email  or visit their website:  All funds rasied will go to the SPF.(Sector Police Forum)

Afriski – Lesotho
July 11 – July 14
A ski slalom and giant slalom race 4 children , juniors, seniors and masters. For accomodation and details contact Stephan at Gone skiing 0861754669
Ski racing is a fun way to improve your skiing.
BUT WHY WAIT until then to visit Afriski, when you can have fun in the snow NOW.  Phone Dean of Maluti Footprints: 072 133 9615/082 921 3894 to arrange a trip in the Maluti Footprints bus (which is equipped with snow chains, a satellite phone and all the necessities (including back-up) to ensure you get there and back safely.   Should you wish to drive there yourself please be advised that the Lesotho Traffic Department requires that each vehicle has two triangles and one fire extinguisher. You are also advised to check the road conditions before you go:  ice covered roads can be hazardous.
Remember to bring your passport.

Plant of the week

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. The rangers recently photographed a plant species that many of you will recognise from within the Clarens Nature Reserve and it may occasionally be observed on farmlands. This plant has become of interest in scientific literature, for reasons you will discover below.
This week we introduce Gnidia anthylloides, commonly known as Brandbossie (a close relative of Gifbosssie for which it is often mistaken) in Afrikaans. Many of the species from the Gnidia genus have historically been used in traditional medicines to treat multiple ailments (headache, sores, nightmares, snake bites, tonsillitis, etc.). Unfortunately ingestion of parts of the plants of this genus without proper preparation may result in severe irritant effects as well as death in humans and animals due to several types of toxins (hence the common name). Scientists are now rediscovering some truth in the use of plants of the Gnidia genus ...Read more

Ornithological Notes

How about that?   It’s July 4th and Americans everywhere are celebrating their Independence Day with whoops, squeals of delight and the echoing sounds of “The Star Spangled Banner”, “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful”.   You may note some degree of patriotic fervour in this selection of tunes but what else would you expect from a nation that celebrates its birthday with, for example, concerts, parades and a hot dog eating contest?

For the record, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies  from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress  voted to approve a resolution of independence  that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of  Virginia, declaring the United States independent from Great Britain.   After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson  as its principal author.  Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4, 1776.   And Great Britain heaved a cataclysmic sigh of relief.

Being American, Independence Day is a national holiday marked by patriotic displays which often take place outdoors, which is as well considering that these involve a cast of millions.  All non-essential federal institutions (like the postal service and federal courts) are closed and politicians make it a point to appear at public events to flaunt themselves by praising the nation’s heritage, laws, history, society and people.  Families celebrate by taking the day off to gather with relatives and festoon their houses with streamers and balloons, generally colored (would you believe) red, white, and blue.  All in all, a messy and vexatious event.

So what has this to do with ornithological notes and the bird life of the Clarens valley?.….. Read more

Things to do:


The village is filled with an abundance of shopping, to see some of the local stores
(no franchises) click HERE


Tasty treats, snacks and picnic basket fillers available HERE


Once you’re done shopping go and have a bite to eat and glass of whatever you like,
to see them click HERE


Treat yourself to a good night’s rest and delightful hopitality at any of these
establishments, click HERE


Celebrate life with an amazing adventure by clicking HERE

Venture out on a tour, click HERE

Or pamper yourself at a spa, Click HERE

What have you and opportunities, to see what’s on offer click HERE


For those of you who have already made the best decision,  HERE are the people
who can make things even better


The numbers everyone should have are all available rightHERE.

Video of the week:

This weeks’video is about the power of words.  “Change your words and change your world”. The clip is less than two minutes long – but nonetheless still very powerful.

Ever wondered how thingsreally work?
The next time you step up to the ATM to draw some money, spare a
thought for the poor guy who really makes the machine work……….