Koljander, koljander, so deur die Bosch

December 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

vetkoek

Ek het die ander dag berig oor die voorreg om Annatjie Melck, Opperman se muse vir die gedigsiklus “Grondstowwe by die Siklus van Seisoene”, se boek by die drukker te gaan inwag. (Lees hier.)

Dié boek word tans verskeep en julle kan maar gaan vra daarna; as jou boekwinkel dit nie nie het nie, vra asseblief dat hulle dit bestel:

Koljander, koljander, so deur die Bosch

Annatjie Melck

ISBN: 9780799379822

Voorgestelde prys R300.00 (winkels kan hulle pryse maak)

LAPA Uitgewers

Hoekom is ek opgewonde oor die boek? Dit is ’n stukkie literatuurgeskiedenis, waar Annatjie vertel van hulle vriendskap met die Oppermans. (Lees die volledige gedig, met die opdrag “eintlik vir Annatjie Melck” hier.)

Dit is egter maar ’n klein deel van Annatjie se storie.

Annatjie Melck is ook die vrou wat Oom Samie se Winkel beroemd gemaak het op Stellenbosch en sy is die matriarg van die Muratie-wynlandgoed.

Maar Opperman het juis oor kos geskryf: “kerriekos eet, varkrib en bruin wildbraad, souskluitjies met kaneel en gesproete pannekoek.”

En dit is wat hierdie boek so interessant maak. Ek kon nou al blaai. Van die resepte is baie eenvoudig, maar die kulltuurgeskiedenis slaan deur. Kyk hoe lyk haar resep vir vetkoek; die vetkoekfoto is hier bo.

vetkoekresep

(Klik op die resep om dit groter te maak)

Vir Annatjie gaan kosmaak nie oor pretensie nie, maar wel oor liefde en beskerming. Sy sê voor in die boek dat sy nie ’n “fynvingerkok” is nie. Haar resepte is aards, maar deksels lekker.

Die ATKV beywer sigself deesdae vir die bewaring van dit wat kultuurskatte is, daarom is hierdie boek so belangrik.

perske

Dit is erfeniskos. Kyk hoe mooi word versnipperdeperskekonfyt beskryf en verduidelik.

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(Klik op die resep om dit groter te maak)

Daar is ook skreeusnaakse stories oor haar jong jare in. Hier is een.

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(Klik op die storie om dit groter te maak.)

Annatjie Melck is een van die stigterslede van die Fynproewersgilde: As jy wil deel in die poësie van lekker eet, is hierdie boek vir jou.

Hierdie boek is die perfekte geskenk vir iemand wat reeds alles het.

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Daar is ook ’n resep vir skaapkop maak in die boek. Ek plaas net die foto. Grinnik!

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So lyk die voorblad.

Pasgedruk: Opperman se muse

December 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Julle ken die uitdrukking: “Hot off the press?”

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Wel, daar lê dertig boeke by Oom Samie se winkel op Stellenbosch wat so warm van die pers af is, as jy môreoggend een gaan koop, gaan jy dit hê voor die uitgewers hulle kopië het.

Hoekom is hierdie boek belangrik?

Op bladsy 118 van DJ Opperman se Komas uit ’n Bamboesstok staan daar:

Grondstowwe by die Siklus van Seisoene

geskryf vir die Fynproewersgilde

eintlik vir Annatjie Melck.

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’n Foto van die oorspronklike gedig.

Die muse agter een van die bekendste gedigsiklusse in Afrikaans vertel uiteindelik haar storie. Dit is haar boek, haar storie, haar resepte. Die storie van Opperman is ook in die boek.

Annatjie Melck is ook die vrou wat Oom Samie se Winkel beroemd gemaak het op Stellenbosch en sy is die matriarg van die Muratie-wynlandgoed.

Opperman het liries gedig oor “kerriekos eet, varkrib en bruin wildbraad, souskluitjies met kaneel en gesproete pannekoek.” Nou is meer as 100 van hierdie resepte verpak saam met Annatjie se lewensreis – wat begin op die oop vlaktes van die Groot Karoo en eindelik tot ruste kom onder die groot eike van Muratie, net buite Stellenbosch.

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Hierdie boek moes uit, so ek is vanoggend na die drukkers, Creda Communications, om te gaan afteken op die eerste oplaag.

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Ek is ’n seuntjie, oukei, so ek is mal masjiene. Die boek is twee keer gesny, Dit keer dat daar duikies kom in die mooi omslag.

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Ek is ook altyd opgewonde oor mense wat trots is op hulle werk.

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Daar by Creda Communications is elkeen, van die voorman tot die operateur, trots op die werk wat hulle lewer. Hier is die voorman wat die hele tyd met almal skakel om die boek se proses dop te hou.

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Die vrou is een van die drie mense by Creda wat elke boek oopmaak en bekyk. Haar oë is skerp. Sy laat gaan nie ‘n boek as sy iets snaaks raaksien nie.

Ek is van Creda af Stellenbosch toe.

Die eerste dertig boeke is nou al by Oom Samie se winkel, die res is van vroeg volgende week af by goeie winkels, of jy kan LAPA bel en bestel: 012 401 0700.

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Het ek al gesê? Ek is ’n seuntjie, so ek is mal masjiene.

***

Annatjie Melck is een van die stigterslede van die Fynproewersgilde: As jy wil deel in die poësie van lekker eet, is hierdie boek vir jou.

Vir Annatjie gaan kosmaak nie oor pretensie nie, maar wel oor liefde en beskerming. Sy is lief daarvoor om haar kos in mooi en interessante houers te bedien, maar verkies dat die kos natuurlik lyk sodat die kwaliteit en smaak behoue bly.

Dit sal ’n uitstekende Kersgeskenk maak vir daardie persoon wat reeds alles het. Daar is meer as 100 resepte en baie stories om te lees.

Koop dit.

Koljander, koljander, so deur die Bosch

Annatjie Melck

ISBN: 9780799379822

LAPA Uitgewers

R300.00

Die Rakkers het gepraat: #16DaeVanAktivisme

December 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

lekkerlees

Baie dankie. Veral aan die wonderlike mense van Lekkerleesboekrak wat soveel omgee. Ek het gehoop om ’n respons te kry op my oproep om via die letterkunde iets te doen rondom die #16DaeVanAktivisme. Wel, ek het. En wat ’n ongelooflike respons! Die lyste volg hieronder, rol gerus af.

As julle nie Lekkerleesboekrak ken nie: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lekkerlees/

Sinisme

Die Suid-Afrikaanse outeur, Helen Moffet, is nou al bekend vir haar jaarlikse aksie teen die die #16DaeVanAktivisme. Sy voel ons moet elke dag aktiviste wees teen geweld. Ek stem natuurlik saam. Die rede waarom ek egter die golf ry, is juis omdat ek hoop om mense aan boeke bekend te stel wat hulle koppe kan swaai. Die hele jaar lank.

Gesprek vs Fascisme

Nou net, terwyl ek besig was met die redigeer van die Rakkers se antwoorde, vra ’n jong vrou van 22 vir my waarom ek ’n Pot vol winter “toelaat” op hierdie lys? My antwoord was: Maretha Maartens het die orde van Kerk en Staat en Skool uitgedaag deur te praat oor tienerseks. In daardie dae was die skool, die kerk en die staat een. Voorbehoedmiddels het bestaan uit “Jy mag nie”.

Ongelukkig is daar steeds te veel kerke wat presies dieselfde doen. Ongelukkig is daar steeds klinieke waar meisies lesings kry, in plaas van inspuitings. Ongelukkig eindig te veel tieners steeds in agterplaasklinieke waar mense gewillig is om aborsies uit te voer, al is dit veronderstel om gratis en geredelik beskikbaar te wees in staatsdiens. Lees ook Jan van Tonder Roepman, ’n boek wat toevallig nie ter sprake gekom het nie.

Dít is die krag van boeke.

Ek wil een aanhaling op die rak uitsonder, wat presies die doel van hierdie oefening opsom. Karin Behrens skryf:

Ek weet nie presies waarna jy op soek is nie, maar net my persoonlike ervaring. Vir iemand wat ‘n liefdevolle pa gehad het, en ’n goeie man getrou het, was die boeke ’n eye-opener. Daar is mense wat in totaal ander omstandighede groot geword het en ook ander huweliksmaats het. Die boeke lig my in, leer my empatie. Ek ek probeer help waar ek kan want my omstandighede kon baie makliker anders gewees het.

Dankie, dankie, dankie dat julle lees. Dankie dat julle deelneem.

Ek het my bes gedoen om almal se antwoorde te kopieer.

Die rakkers se lys fiksieboeke:

  • ’n Pot vol Winter, Maretha Maartens
  • A little life, Hanya Yanagihara
  • Anderkant die stilte, André P. Brink
  • Chinchilla, Nanette van Rooyen
  • Die donker god, Fransi Phillips
  • Die geheime kamer, Corlia Fourie
  • Die naamlose, Mariël le Roux
  • Die Reuk van Appels, Mark Behr
  • Dis ek Anna, deur Anchien Troskie
  • Donkermaan, André P. Brink
  • Here Be Lions: A Memoir, Not Suitable for Children, Helen Brain
  • Klara, Mariël le Roux
  • Pastoor, Pat Stamatélos
  • Saliger, Dibi Breytenbach.
  • Sirkel van die noodlot, ST Potgieter
  • Sirkusboere, Sonja Loots
  • Skaduself, Paula Marais
  • Swartskaap, Odette Schoeman
  • Thula-Thula, Annelie Botes
  • Tippex dit uit, Anne-Marie Conradie
  • Triomf, Marlene van Niekerk
  • Van Skoolbank tot Bordeelbed, Jaco Hough-Coetzee en Elanie Kruger
  • Vaselinetjie, Anoeschka von Meck

Die rakkers se lys niefiksieboeke

  • Bloed op haar hande, Carla van der Spuy
  • Ek is g’n Slams, Fatima Osman
  • Exit, Grizelda Grootboom
  • Hobhouse: Geliefde Verraaier, Elsabé Brits
  • I have life, Alison
  • Love is War: The Modimolle Monster, Karyn Maughan and Shaun Swingler
  • Mens of Monster, Carla van der Spuy
  • Mishandel, misbruik, misken, Carla van der Spuy
  • Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus, C. Crais & P. Scully.
  • Verlore onskuld: Suid-Afrikaanse kinders wat moor en roof, Chris Karsten

Ek wil egter ook die skrywer en joernalis, Elsabé Brits, se wysheid deel, want hierdie lyste kan natuurlik nie volledige wees nie.

In die geval sou en dink nie-fiksie is waarna ’n mens soek. Maar wat met vroue gebeur het in die land gaan sover terug as die storie van Sara Baartman, vergrype jeens slawevroue wat tragies was. Stories soos Krotoa, Armosyn van die Kaap, verhale uit die ABO en swart vroue se verhale ook.

Karel Schoeman se boeke beeld die vergrype teen vroue in SA goed uit.

Daar is ’n magdom boeke oor die ABO se wandade. Let wel Kamphoer (en het nie die ander een onder oë gehad nie) is geskoei op ‘n ware verhaal, maar dit blyk fiksie soos dit daar staan in swart en wit. Vir die verkragtings in die ABO is die Havanga-kommisie se verslae daar.

Waarby ek wil byvoeg Dan Sleigh se boeke is ook oor en oor die moeite werd om te lees.

Slagofferskap

Ek wil ’n laaste punt maak. Een van die Rakkers het voorgestel Susan Lemmer se boek Ek wil hê jy moet weet: Sy is steeds my kind oor Cezanne, beter bekend as Advokaat Barbie, moet ook hier wees. Ek gaan ja sê. Die slagoffer van geweld word dikwels die een wat geweld pleeg.

Asseblief, lees Amor van der Westhuizen se storie in Mishandel, misbruik, misken soos vertaal aan Carla van der Spuy. Amor kon wegbreek uit die siklus, maar sy is baie eerlik dat sy dit byna nie gemaak het nie.

Amor het oor Carla se ander boek, Bloed op haar hande, gesê sy amper ook só uitgedraai het. En weet julle wat ek raakgelees het in Bloed op haar hande? Daar is nie een vrou, en ek gaan dit herhaal, nie een vrou in daardie boek wat nie ’n ding oor haar pa gehad het nie. As man is dit erg.

Lees ook asseblief die kortverhaal “Om die hemel te proe” in die US Woordfees se bloemlesing, Bly. Dit verwoord die siklus baie goed.

Zwing-zwing

Sjoe, dit was lekker. Ek dink ons het boeke van NB Uitgewers, Random House Struik Penguin, Naledi, Protea en LAPA gedek – en daar was onafhanklike uitgewers ook.

Ida Roux skryf uiteindelik: “Wel, ek dink Izak se kop zwing nog met al hierdie boeke.”

Wel, jy is reg Ida. Maar dis ’n lekker zwing!

Swartval: #16DaeVanAktivisme

December 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

Vandag is die eerste dag van sestien waarin ons veronderstel is om aktiviste te wees teen die geweld wat vroue en kinders op die lyf loop. Ek wil kyk of ons iets deur middel van die letterkunde kan doen.

Speel asseblief saam?

9780799380910

Swartval

Goed, ek is bevoordeeld, maar as daar een boek is wat my heeltemal oorrompel het in 2016, is dit Martin Steyn se Swartval.

Dit is geskryf vanuit ’n vrou se oogpunt. Deur haar oë beleef jy geweld, verkragting, die angs van opgesluit wees, en die brute wil om te oorleef.

Steyn breek die reëls. Hy neem die leser verder op die pad as wat ’n normale krimi sou wou. Hoekom? Hy wou juis hê dat ons geweld teen vroue moet verstaan; dis nie ’n vinnige woepwaps en dan is alles oor nie.

Wat meer is: Martin Steyn skenk ’n deel van elke boek se verkope aan Rape Crisis.

Gee om met ’n boek

Skrywers gee om.

Dink aan Thula-Thula van Annelie Botes.

Dit is maklik om te sê ons kan niks doen nie, want vroue het dan gestem vir Donald Grab them by the Pussy Trump en onse eie Showerhead word deur ANC Vroueliga op sy troon in Nkandla beskerm. Wat de hel?

Maar: Nie alle vroue het vir Trump gestem nie. Ons moet hulle beskerm; en ons moet die vroue wat wel vir hom gestem het, teen hulleself beskerm. Die wêreld van Brexit en Trump en wit Nasionalisme is ’n koue plek. Vra die mense wat onder Hitler gely het.

Ditto met ons eie land: Daar word duisende vroue in Suid-Afrika verkrag terwyl Showerhead Zuma kattemaai. Ons moet hulle beskerm.

Bewusmaking

Deur te praat hieroor, doen ons reeds iets. Deur idees uit te ruil oor boeke wat ’n verskil maak, doen ons reeds iets.

Praat asseblief saam? Ek werk by LAPA en ken dus hierdie uitgewer se boeke tans beter as die ander s’n, hoewel ek wyd lees. Ek vra dus by voorbaat dat julle moet my moet help om my blindekolle in te vul.

Voorsmakie

Bly, die US Woordfees se kortverhaalbundel gaan ter sprake kom, so ook Alta Cloete se Net ’n mens.

Ek wil in die volgende paar dae nog gesels oor Die oorlewingsgids vir ’n bedonnerde diva, deur Sophia Kapp; Chanette Paul se krimis onder die loep neem, Dina Botha se Suikersoet sonde proe en dan verduidelik waarom Deon Meyer se Koors ook op my lysie sal wees van boeke wat almal moet lees.

Swartval

Vir vanaand sê ek dankie aan Martin Steyn vir ’n besondere boek. Dit is my boek van 2016, en daar was groot, groot aanspraakmakers op hierdie titel. Dit is hier te koop.

Riel: Gesigte / Faces

November 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

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On 3 December 2016 we will all converge on Paarl again to witness the finals of the annual Riel Dance championships.

Op 3 Desember 2016 sal ons almal weer in die Paarl bymekaarkom vir die finaal van die jaarlikse Rieldanskampioenskappe.

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The Riel Dance is an old, indigenous dance form. It was on the brink of extinction when Elias P. Nel (above) convinced the ATKV to put money into its survival.

Die Rieldans is ‘n ou, inheemse dansvorm. Dit was op pad om uit te sterf toe Elias P. Nel (hierbo) die ATKV kon oortuig om geld in die oorlewing daarvan te sit.

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Today, eleven years later, it is a booming cultural activity and is hotly contested. So high is the quality that the reigning Riel Dance Champions also won gold in Los Angeles at the world indigenous dance festival in 2015.

Vandag, elf jaar later, is dit ‘n groeiende kulturele aktiwiteit en die kompetisie is straf. So hoog is die gehalte, dat die verdedigende Rieldanskampioene ook goud gewen het in Los Angeles by die wêreldinheemsedansspele in 2015.

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Of interest to me is that the Riel offers young and old, from remote areas of our country, the opportunity to shine on the international stage.

Die Riel bied jonk en oud, ook uit afgeleë gebiede van ons land, die geleentheid om te skitter op die internasionale verhoog.

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While the MD of the ATKV, Japie Gouws (above), also showed off what he has learned, it is hitherto unknown individuals who shine on the night.

Terwyl die besturende direkteur van die ATKV, Japie Gouws (hierbo), ook gereeld spog met wat hy geleer het, is dit onbekende individue wat skitter daardie aand.

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What follows is a random selection of faces I snapped during the 2015 finals.

Wat hier volg is ‘n lukrake seleksie van gesigte ek gekiek het tydens die 2015 finaal.

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Tickets to the 2016 finals are for sale at Computicket, but hurry, they fly.

Kaartjies vir die 2016 finaal is te koop by Computicket, maar gou spring, hulle vlieg.

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Come, be part of the experience!

Kom, deel in die ervaring!

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Bottled Education

November 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

Excellent education for kids of wine-farm workers

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Wifi in every classroom? Yes.

Data projector in every classroom? Yes.

Massive computer lab with internet access and educational software? Yes.

Free, nutritious meals every day? Yes.

Excellent bathrooms? Yes.

On-site medical facility? Yes.

Library? Yes. Two of them.

Low teacher-pupil ratio? Yes.

Stunning mountain views in between the rural vineyards? Yes.

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Keen to send your child? No, you cannot really. This school is run by farmworkers for the benefit of their children, as are the three crèches feeding it.

An accidental meeting

I was in Rawsonville as part of an outreach programme by LAPA Publishers and the ATKV when I saw these schoolkids receiving food.

I am nosey.

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Curiosity got the better of me and I asked permission to photograph the eating children. Once inside, I was intrigued by the quality of the school. After being shown around by Tienie Smith and Bernard Kotze, I was given complete freedom of the facilities and I was allowed to speak to any staff member, and the children, without management being present. Being a photographer, I snapped away.

I did visit the cellar once before when their mobile library was officially opened by the premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille and I did report on the mobile library at the time, but I had not seen the school nor the crèches then.

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Fair play due to Fairtrade

Du Toitskloof Wines is Fairtrade accredited, which means that for every bottle of wine sold into the export market, a premium gets paid to a collective that benefits the workers. In 2016 alone more than R4 million was paid to this collective. These funds are managed by the workers themselves. A large proportion of it goes towards education, which means that these working-class children now have opportunities that rival those from upper-middle class homes in the suburbs.

These farmworkers also send their children on to secondary-school education in town and they provide scholarships to the kids who qualify for tertiary education. Transport to and from school is provided and there is money for sports and educational tours as well.

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In 2005, Du Toitskloof Wines was one of the first wineries in South Africa to get accreditation from Fairtrade; today it is punted as the largest Fairtrade social responsibility project in the wine industry in the world.

Not only does the exclusive Fairtrade badge mean that workers are getting fair salaries and have decent working conditions, it also means that the workers and their families are direct beneficiaries of their own produce. Running and maintaining the school and crèches are expensive, but since the workers get a few million rand per annum, they have been empowered to provide excellence to their children.

The workers themselves benefit too. The collective, managed by the workers of Du Toitskloof Wines, also provides a mobile clinic, literacy projects for adults and decent housing.

Initial accreditation is tough, and expensive. Each one of the 22 producing farms and the cellar has had to open their farms to inspectors and their accounts to auditors, and they had commit to ongoing inspections in order keep their accreditation. No more than eighteen months go by between audits and if one of the 22 farms or the cellar fails, the entire collective loses its Fairtrade certification.

The workers go for regular medical check-ups and as part of the accreditation process. A professional nurse is on duty during the week; any farmworker or a family member has access to her. Visits to the clinic are free and no one visiting is penalised for not being at work.

Tienie with the little ones

Tienie Smith with the little ones

Tienie Smith is the compliance officer for Du Toitskloof Wines. He used to own a farm, but he has recently sold it and today he is in the full-time employ of the collective – he now works for the workers who have once worked for him.

“Oom Tienie” gets a baby five

“Oom Tienie” gets a baby five

Tienie’s enthusiasm for the collective was contagious. He he took me on a tour of the school and one of the crèches, before giving me the freedom to investigate and speak to anyone I found.

We were mobbed by the kids. There is no doubt that Tienie is much loved. Even the older kids go out of their way to high-five him, the young ones simply run up for a conversation, a hug, or to ask “Oom Tienie” to play with them. Some of the smaller kids insisted on a “baby five”.

A close-knit community

The cellar is situated at the bottom end of the Breedekloof Valley. All the producers live within a radius of 10 km from the cellar and, importantly, so do most of the farmworkers whose kids are benefiting from the Fairtrade initiative.

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The production of Du Toitskloof Wines dates back to 1962 when six wine farmers formed a cooperative. In those days everything, including the production of wine, was heavily regulated by the apartheid regime. By 1990 the cellar producing Du Toitskloof Wines has grown to 22 producing farms and South Africa was a very different country; Nelson Mandela was a free man and the draconian restrictions on agriculture were gone.

Du Toitskloof Wines took a hard look at their new future and began bottling their own wines. New cultivars were planted and the cellar experimented with wines for export. The team created its own sales-and-distribution infrastructure and began wooing markets in North and South America, mainland Europe, Scandinavia, the Far East and the rest of Africa.

Fairtrade accreditation followed in order to guarantee a fair deal for the labourers; that means the more successful Du Toitskloof Wines became, the bigger the ring-fenced benefits the workers and their dependents received. Since the workers themselves decide on the best way to spend the money, their children now attend a primary school and three crèches which today boast facilities that are better than 99% of government-run schools, even those in the wealthy suburbs.

Three crèches

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Even the little ones are looked after. I was taken to one of three crèches run by the collective and I had to chuckle: The little ones had been playing outside and they were dirty. My son would have looked the same at that age.

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The personnel had clearly received training and a programme provides structure to the little one’s day – a practice that one sees in crèches run by the ATKV’s Abbasorg facilities as well.

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Hygiene forms an important part of the programme and the kid’s toothbrushes are on proud display.

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Apart from that, there is ample free space, which is carefully fenced in, for the little ones to run around, sand to play in, a jungle gym and swings to play on.

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Upgrading the primary school

I started my own education in a small farm school consisting of three prefab classrooms where three teachers, which included the headmaster, taught seven grades.

Ditto, once, for the little school near Du Toitskloof Wines. For many years the facility consisted of an old church, which is still in use, and two prefab classrooms.

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A considerable amount of money was spent on the school. Every grade now has an own classroom, plus an extra classroom was built for Grade R, the formal preschool year. In every classroom there is a qualified teacher.

Today the school’s facilities rival those of the private school my son attends.

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“I want to swim in the sea”

The workers’ children also get the opportunity to go on sports tours, paid for by the collective.

One young man had recently been on a rugby tour to the Eastern Cape. Upon his return, his marks skyrocketed.

When he was asked why, his answer was metaphorical. “I no longer want to swim in the farm dam or river,” he said, “I want to swim in the sea.”

Education beyond the community

After completing their primary education, the children go to a secondary school in town. The collective pays for that too. Depending on the children’s needs, they get go to Goudini High, Breëriver Secondary or Worcester Secondary. The collective, being proud parents, recently donated money to help with upgrades at these schools.

Tertiary studies in South Africa are expensive, but no less than six students are presently studying at a number of institutions, their studies are all paid for the collective.

Yet, there is more.

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Paying for the less privileged

The workers benefiting from the Du Toitskloof Wines’ Fairtrade status spend a large part of their annual income on running and maintaining a mobile library that benefits eight less-privileged schools in the valley.

Archive photo: Taken when the library was opened

Archive photo: Taken when the library was opened

The mobile library, fitted with computers and internet access, has been built into a trailer hooked on to a Mercedes Benz truck. The farm workers pay for a part of its maintenance, and yet their own kids only see this truck once every two weeks. On the other days the truck visits communities outside the Du Toitskloof Fairtrade Initiative which have fewer resources.

This initiative began when Marius Louw, CEO of Du Toitskloof Wines, who is a keen cyclist, one particular morning stopped next to a number of kids walking to school. It was a long distance away from the farm school run by Du Toitskloof’s workers, and it struck him that these children did not have books with them. He stopped and asked them whether they had done their homework already? Was that why they did not have any books with them? One kid shrugged and said that they did not get homework as there were no books at his school. This bugged Louw.

He rode home with a burning desire to help the others schools in the area, but all his calculations showed that erecting and maintaining libraries at every school in the valley would be prohibitively expensive. In discussions with the farm workers the idea of a mobile library was born.

The initial cost of creating this facility, was tremendous. Du Toitskloof Wines received a large sponsorship from one Douglas Green’s principals. Douglas Green is a distributer which owns wineries with Fair Trade accreditation.

The sponsorship paid for creating the library, but the continued cost of running this facility is shared by Du Toitskloof Wines and the workers themselves – with the funds that come from the Fairtrade Innitiave.

Archive photo: Premier Zille and the librarian Annelie Syferts

Archive photo: Premier Zille and the librarian Annelie Syferts

On the 14th of May 2015 the library was formerly opened by premier Helen Zille.

In this video Abraham Oerson, the Du Toitskloof CSR project Chairman, explains how the money for running the library is allocated by the workers themselves. He speaks Afrikaans, the language of the region.

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The librarian on the itinerant library, Annelie Syferts, once attended the little farm school which is now managed by the workers of Du Toitskloof Wines. Her salary is now paid for by the farm workers whose kids attend the same, upgraded school.

Here is another video about the mobile library, which was shot when premier Helen Zille opened it. You will hear Annelie Syferts speaking about her role. Most of it is in Afrikaans.

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For those who do not speak Afrikaans, here is a video in English about Du Toitskloof Wines. It is a lot more corporate, but is does also provide clear visuals of the library and the schools.

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Fairtrade or an unfair industry?

Few people think of farm workers as “privileged” and it has has become a hobby of foreign journalists looking for a scope to write stories of the horrifying conditions of farm workers in South Africa. Such negative publicity then gets lauded and distributed by others without bothering to visit our country.

Tienie Smith

Tienie Smith

While I was on site, I asked Tienie Smith about this. Tienie took a while to answer, before he said: “You know, I think most people want to do good things, but they do not all have the means.”

A view from management

After writing the first draft of this article, I decided to asked the management of Du Toitskloof Wines to comment, in writing, on the bad press the industry continues to receive. They answered in Afrikaans, here are their words, which I translated.

Bernard Kotze

Bernard Kotze

Bernard Kotze, brand manager of Du Toitskloof Wines, wrote: “Du Toitskloof is proud to be one of the leaders in terms of the services and opportunities that it creates for its employees. Although our brand builds a high profile because of these social projects, and it is definitely beneficial for business, it is important to emphasise that goodwill comes from the heart. We do not do so because we have to, but because we want to. Everyone’s future is inextricably linked to the the relationships between groups of people. Those who do not want to realise it will be reduced to become peripheral figures in the wine industry.”

Marius Louw

Marius Louw

The CEO of Du Toitskloof Wines, Marius Louw, wrote: “I cannot speak for the industry, but in my experience there is no doubt that the relations between workers, farmers and wine producers have improved remarkably over the past 30 years. The tangible evidence of this is visible everywhere: compliance with labour regulations, proactive creation of social and educational assistance, as well as the development of career opportunities. More important than that, however, is the change in attitude and understanding among employers and employees that everyone’s future in the wine industry depends on mutual respect and fairness.”

Declaration of interest

I have written a number of articles about the wine industry before, mostly for overseas publications. This, however, is not a paid-for article.

I also received no money nor any gifts from Du Toitskloof Wines at the time of my visit, nor as a result of this article.

Keen to read more of my stories?

Here is a recent English-language stories about work done by the ATKV: Add a little bit of Palesa to it.

I have written a number of articles on education for LitNet, here is a selection, all in Afrikaans:

John Nicholson, met die agterplaasbiblioteek, weer vereer

November 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

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John Nicholson, daardie man wat ’n biblioteek in sy agterplaas gebou het, is Vrydagaand weer vereer. Dié keer was dit die Afrikaanse Taalraad wat aan hom en Gail, sy gade, ’n Koker gegee het. Hy is vereer in die kategorie “Bemagtig”. Hier oorhandig Japie Gouws, besturende direkteur van die ATKV-groep, die Koker.

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Conrad Steenkamp, die hoof van die Afrikaanse Taalraad, het die foto’s gestuur.

John is ook vroeër vanjaar met ’n ATKV-Woordveertjie vereer, klik hier vir foto’s.

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Hier is ’n video waarin hy vertel oor die werk wat hy doen.

Verskeie uitgewers, soos LAPA Uitgewers en NB Uitgewers, het ook boeke geskenk aan die biblioteek.

LitNet het ’n volledige persverklaring geplaas oor die Afrikaanse Taalraad se toekennings. Lees dit hier.

Anders wenners is:

  • “Bevorder”: Magdaleen Kruger vir haar program “Die Tale wat ons Praat.”
  • “Beskerm”: Kaptein John McNab van die Rehoboth Bastergemeente vir sy internasionale en 
plaaslike bydrae om Afrikaans as moedertaal te beskerm.
  • “Spesiale Koker”: Prof. Jacques van der Elst vir sy lewenslange bydrae tot Afrikaans en sy 
onbaatsugtige rol in die stigting van die Taalraad.

Erepennings, gemik op jonger mense, is toegeken aan:

  • Refentse Morake vir sy grensverskuiwende werk in Afrikaanse sang en bydrae tot versoening en die herposisionering van Afrikaans.
  • Gershwin Cupido vir sy sterk gemeenskapsbetrokkenheid, onder meer geletterdheidsbevordering en sportontwikkeling in die Hessekwa streek.
  • Daniëlla van Heerder vir haar bydrae tot Afrikaans as nuusleser en verslaggewer by eNuus op KykNet, asook as redakteur van Die Wapad, studentekoerant van die NWU se Potschefstroomkampus.

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Hier is ’n foto van al die wenners saam met Anne-Marie Beukes, die voorsitter van die Taalraad. LitNet het meer inligting oor elkeen.

I see a super moon risin’

November 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

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#supermaan – 14 November 2016 – #supermoon

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Flaminkverbyvlug – Flamingo surprise

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Vinger / Finger

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Spreeu / Starling

Rolls Royce: Bargain Books Willowbridge North

October 31, 2016 in Uncategorized

(Afrikaans hier onder)

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Last week a purry, silver machine whispered into the parking lot of Bargain Books Willowbridge North. The owner, Sam Cooper, gently pushed the enormous door shut and took a seat in the wonderfully packed bookstore.

Somehow the old, English elegance of the massive vehicle made Sam’s entrance appropriate: Bargain Books Willowbridge North is a bookish store. It is full, covered to the brim. It feels like those English country-side bookstores we see on television.

What’s more: the staff know their books, they know their store. Lynne, the English-speaking manager, sells enormous amounts of Afrikaans books because she understands her customers; she and her staff are always willing to help.

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Whether you are looking for a brand-new American thriller, a book on old English motor vehicles, or the best Afrikaans books for yourself or a friend, park yourself at Bargain Books Willowbridge.

Experience the store. Don’t just walk in and out. Stay. Breath. Smell. This is a bookstore. Go and love it.

Parking is free, even for a Rolls Royce.

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LAPA Uitgewers het onlangs twee bekendstellings by Bargain Books Willowbridge North gehou; wat ‘n wonderlike winkel. Al is Lynne, die bestuurder, Engels, doen sy geweldig baie moeite vir Afrikaans.

Enige iemand wat in die Noordelike voorstede bly: Dit is ’n winkel om te gaan ervaar.

29 Oktober 2016: Swartval

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Op 29 Oktober is Martin Steyn se Swartval daar bekendgestel.

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Madri Victor was die gespreksleier. Selfie oomblik!

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Die winkel is propvol boeke. Boeke, boeke, boeke. Lekker.

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Die eetgoed is ook altyd lekker.

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Danksy Leopard’s Leap se wonderlike steun, word die kele ook nie afgeskeep nie.

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Bargain Books Willowbridge verkoop baie Afrikaanse boeke.

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Martin aan die teken.

27 November 2016: Ek! Ek! Ek! en Offerlam

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Op 27 November was daar ’n gesprek oor narsisme. Riette Rust was daar om te gesels oor Ek! Ek! Ek! Herken en hanteer narsiste. Chanette Paul was daar. Sy het gesels oor die karakters in Offerande, waarvan minstens een ’n narsis is; ’n aantal ander vertoon narsistiese neigings. Madri Victor was weer aan die stuur.

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Baie mense, baie boeke.

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Ek was amper te laat om die happies af te neem – die kos was weer heerlik.

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Gelukkig was Leopard’s Leap weer daar.

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Sam Cooper en Milady was daar.

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Chanette teken boeke.

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Riette teken boeke.

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Thank you Lynne for running a wonderful bookstore!

Lyke en bloeddiamante; feite of fiksie?

September 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Offerande het pas verskyn. Die eerste lyk is reeds aangemeld.

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Michael Desaedeleer se dood is ’n feit. Is die blou diamant se kragte in Offerande bloot fiksie?

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Hoe verklaar jy dat die berig oor Michael Desaedeleer se dood in ’n Belgiese tronk presies 25 uur verskyn ná Chanette Paul se boek oor bloeddiamante amptelik lewendig gegaan het op haar uitgewer (LAPA) se stelsel?

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Sommer baie vroeg in Offerande vind ’n moord plaas in ’n Belgiese tronk; en dit alles draai om bloeddiamante.

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Nou ja. Diegene wat Offerlam gelees het, sal weet dat Caz met ’n klomp diamante opgesaal sit – wat haar in die moeilikheid laat beland.

In Offerande lek hierdie geheim uit. Die lyke stapel op.

In Anthony Doerr se briljante teks All the light we cannot see, is daar ‘n rooi diamant wat probleme maak – daardie diamant het skynbaar spesiale kragte.

Hmm. Ek gaan niks sê oor die bloupers diamant Offerande nie, want ek vrees, Michael Desaedeleer se dood wil voorkom asof daardie diamant se kragte nie bloot fiktief is nie… Maar nou sê ek NIKS meer nie.

Feite? Fiksie?

Lees die boek. Dit sal van volgende week af in die winkels wees.