you can choose your friends but not your family

(* This Blog comes with a warning, its very long and possibly very boring, so grab a cup of coffee and a rusk relax and enjoy:- )

Not trying to tonk my own horn, but I received an e-mail from my sister that said the following.

Hi Boet.

Keep meaning to tell you that it was great watching you on Top Billing. So proud of you. My only claim to fame is my brother who has won the Weakest Link and appeared on Top Billing as the “local historian”. . I thank God everyday for the family I have. We may not see each other or talk a lot, but knowing that we will be there for each other when needed is a good feeling. As in life, it’s not always about quantity, but about quality.

The reason I put this in is because many people do not get on with their families, the Dunkley/Brewerton/Esterhuizen/Mather clans however seem to be different in that we care for and love each other. Family is important and should be cherished through the good and the bad times, I am grateful to have parents that love me and support me “always have, always will” So if by any chance you are having a stupid argument with a family member, call them up and sort out the problem, its worth it.

Last Friday we had the judges from Volksblad, SUT, FNB, Price Waterhouse Coopers and AHI in Clarens to see if we are worthy of becoming the “Tourism village of the year” Well the obvious answer would be yes we are worthy, however the competition is not just about who is at present the best village for tourism, its also trying to encourage other dorps and villages to improve their tourism slice of the pie. This I can understand, but if you are looking for Tourism then Clarens is a winner. Other villages that are now trying o get involved in Tourism are were Clarens was 10 years ago, we did not wake up one morning to find the village as it is, it took many years hard work with a number of people contributing to its success. I believe that the other villages/dorps in the top 4 (Marquad, Ladybrand and Excelsior) should be given recognition for their efforts but not the title ‘Tourism Village of the year” that would be a slap in the face of all those who have worked so hard. In fact it would be a farce if any other town won the title other than Clarens, “we deserve it”. As is the norm a number of residents came to the fore with ensuring that the visit was a success, those being Victor and Vanessa Knowles, Andy, Garth, Simon, Lee-Anne, Pieter, Rene, Kobus and Attie, Celia, Lindy, Astle, Michael, Donve. Thanks ladies and gents for all the effort and trouble.

Had to drive to PE on Sunday at look at houses for our move there at years end and the difference between the roads in the OFS and The Eastern Cape are remarkable, I love the Free State “well the Eastern Free State to be exact” and I am ashamed to say the roads in this part of the world are crap and the roadside stops for someone wanting to stop for a sandwich or stretch the legs are even worse. The road between Ladybrand and Aliwal North has so many pot holes that it looks lie a meteor shower targeted the area. It’s about 250 kms of “pray your car tyres don’t burst”, how people can even contemplate driving on that road at night or even when raining is beyond me, I would not even consider riding it at high speed on a bike, as that would be looking for trouble, to make it worse some genius has filled in some holes with red dirt and compacted it, this when it rains is going to wash away so fast, so why bother. As soon as you cross the bridge across the Orange river into Aliwal North there is a marked improvement of the roads , in fact I did not see a pot hole in the roads from there to PE, (nearly 500kms of back roads) so obviously “Mr Pothole Slagate” is not their minister of roads, the roadside stops are neat , tidy and with no rubbish lying around, how is it that the Eastern Cape (supposedly one of the poorest provinces) can do this and The OFS cannot, it’s a disgrace and I for one will be taking this issue further. Was nice seeing family sadly had to take the Triumph down this trip, seems that my nephew Daniel likes it and I nearly came home with a “ Du Cat e “

Have you ever noticed how men and women approach a road trip, with guys its trough a few things together in a bag, start the car and of we go, with women it’s a tad different, just getting out of the house into the car could test the patience of Jobe, but it’s the need to go to the bathroom just before you lock the front door that I find amusing, this usually takes a few minutes (especially if you have a wife and a daughter) The trip itself is then a challenge of finding toilets that are clean enough to use, and believe me there are not many between Clarens and PE that can be used in fact when your wife tells you to look for a bush at the side of the road them you know the pickings are slim. This makes me think that instead of spending all the time and effort in trying to stop people smoking, perhaps a little of that money and time could be used to legislate how a public toilet should look and what cleanliness standards should be met, (even big garage chains have disgusting ablution facilities, the one I found a hobo sleeping under the sinks (no he wasn’t the cleaner “I asked him”).

You are not allowed to blow second hand smoke in the direction of children but they can sit on a toilet seat that has probably got more germs on it that Hillbrow has Nigerians. Men just want to drive to get to their destination and if you need the toilet you can just stop and do the business where you need to and putting in petrol entails just that, not a shopping spree at the quick shop or a leisurely lunch that takes an hour or more. A perusal around the magazine racks to buy magazines so that you don’t get bored in the car is next, I never knew that my wife read farmers weekly. Then just before you arrive at your destination there is a whole extreme makeover situation going on, brushing of hair, deodorant on, etc etc. I had better stop now or I will have to assume the position, with the position being bowing my head and waiting for it to be slapped, its no wonder I am going bald !!

National Braai/Heritage day was on Thursday and we had a number of people in Clarens meet on the square to celebrate being South African and to Braai, something that I suppose all those “we love South Africa, but not enough to live there brigade” did as well, espousing how much they love SA and are only in the UK, Australia or New Zealand because they cannot find jobs otherwise we would be in that country. Well let me tell you ladies and gents as far as I am concerned that you can only be a true Sef African if you live here and contribute to the economy, you cannot be a long distance patriot. We came up with a new name for Jacob Zuma’s Presidential Plane “If Barrack can have Air Force 1” then Jacob can have “Air Wors 1”. We had a Jol, braaied some vleis and enjoyed each others company and told SA jokes like “YOU ARE PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN WHEN”

Ø You call a bathing suit a 'swimming costume'.
Ø You call a traffic light a 'robot'.
Ø You call an elevator a 'lift'
Ø You call a hood a 'bonnet'
Ø You call a trunk a 'boot'
Ø You call a pickup truck a 'bakkie'
Ø You call a Barbeque a 'Braai'
Ø The employees dance in front of the building to show how unhappy they are.
Ø The SABC advertises and shows highlights of the programme you just finished watching.
Ø You get cold easily. Anything below 16 degrees Celsius is Arctic weather.
Ø You know what Rooibos Tea is, even if you've never had any.
Ø You can sing your national anthem in four languages, and you have no idea what it means in any of them.
Ø You know someone who knows someone who has met Nelson Mandela.
Ø You go to braais regularly, where you eat boerewors and swim, sometimes simultaneously.
· You produce a R100 note instead of your driver's licence when stopped by a traffic officer.
Ø You can do your monthly shopping on the pavement.
Ø You have to hire a security guard whenever you park your car.
Ø When you are a victim of crime and say: 'At least I'm still alive'.
Ø You know a taxi can move twice it's certified number of people in one trip.
Ø You travel 100's of kilometres to see snow.
Ø You know the rules of Rugby better than any referee
Ø To get free electricity you have to pay a connection fee of R750.
Ø More people vote in a local reality TV show than in a local election.
Ø 'Now now' or 'just now' can mean anything from a minute to a month.
Ø You continue to wait after a traffic light has turned to green to make way for taxis travelling in the opposite direction.
Ø Travelling at 120 km/h you're the slowest vehicle on the highway/freeway.
Ø You're genuinely and pleasantly surprised whenever you find your car parked where you left it.
Ø A bullet train is being introduced, but we can't fix potholes.
Ø The last time you visited the coast you paid more in speeding fines and toll fees than you did for the entire holiday.
· You paint your car's registration on the roof.
· You have to take your own linen with you if you are admitted to a government hospital.
Ø You have to prove that you don't need a loan to get one.
Ø Prisoners go on strike.
Ø You don't stop at a red traffic light, in case somebody hijacks your car.
Ø Ruwandan refugees start leaving the country because the crime rate is too high.
Ø The South African Army is the only Army in the world with a Union AND ARE ALLOWED TO GO ON A STRIKE

I saw a headline in a newspaper last week that went “Police bracing themselves for Race riots this Winter”. Seem the Poms and the Muslims are not getting on all that well theses days and are going to be beating the crap out of each other to get each others points across, nothing like a little head bashing to heal rifts. I find it amusing that the Poms will accept just about anyone into the country and then allow them to dictate to the government and its peoples. They are just so politically correct and scared to hurt someone’s feelings, where is that nation that beat Hitler that at one time ruled most the known world? I was also appalled that they let the Lockerbie bomber go, that bastard should have been hung drawn and quartered or sat on a chair and had a bomb go off underneath it, but no because we want to be seen as magnanimous we let him go to end his life with his family, why? Did those who died at Lockerbie get the chance to see out their lives peacefully with their families. Now I see the British government want to send British Policemen to train the Libyan Police, even though 25 years ago a female police officer was shot outside the Libyan embassy and the killer has never been found, it’s a slap in the face to the British people. Give the UK another few years and it will be a Muslim State, with the Taliban as the majority party in the House of Commons.

If Christians go to a Muslim country and want to spread the word of Christianity or god forbid build a church, that’s not allowed and in fact people can be jailed or killed just wanting to practice their religion but when they come to other parts of the world they shout religious intolerance if you don’t allow them to put a mosque on each corner and cause KAK. My response would be if you want to be Muslim, build mosques, blow shit up to get into heaven to meet the virgins you have been promised, then do it in your own crappy country, because most of the Muslim countries are S—t holes, look at Afghanistan, who in their right mind would want to live there, it’s a hovel and instead of sending in troops to get killed by extremists they should just use it as a missile testing site.

How are you with DIY for me that acronym strands for “Destroy it Yourself” I am quite possibly the worst person in the world when it comes to fixing up items or building a book case from 4 planks and a handful of nails, at school we had “shop” and whether it was working with wood, metal or any other substance my project always ended up as an “ashtray” I just don’t seem to have the patience for DIY.

Patrick Swayze the actor died recently and is now doing a remake of Ghost.

Had an e-mail the other day from a friend that is looking for a Chopper bicycle ,I used to have one when I was a kid (if memory serves me correct it was an orange one) and in fact did myself a nasty injury on more than one occasion while riding it, but for the time it was a “Cool” bike

So the Protea’s choked yet again in the opening game against Sri lanka “we should call them pansies”, I have actually got to the point now that when I watch them I expect them to lose and if they win its an unexpected surprise, but who is the genius that decided that we go into a major tournament with 3 months of no games, only practise and fitness regimes? I may not be the recognised coach of any National or International team, but even the Village Idiot (and Wolverine concurs) that you need to play games to get the team playing as a cohesive unit. Methinks that Steyn is going to eat his words that SA will win and there is no one that can beat them (or words to that effect). But perhaps I speak to soon and they will win the tournament. I just think we should get the Boks to play cricket as well, then perhaps we will win some tournaments. At least they played ok against New Zealand so there is still hope, they are busy playing the Poms at the moment, who gave Sri Lanka a beating, so who knows what will happen, it’s a must win game so lets hope tomorrow we can still be in the tournament.

Was reading a book called “Absolutely useless lists” by Philip Ardaghs and here are few fun facts that you may enjoy

1) There is a town called Santa Claus in Southern Indiana USA
2) James bonds favourite food is scrambled egg
3) The Name rhinoceros comes from the Latin via ancient Greek rhin = nose, and keras = horn
4) Julias Ceaser was born with 3 nipples
5) The Tibetans have no word for shoe

Some of you may know I belong to the Goromonzi Farmboys International Motorcycle club and my nickname is Gromit, here are 3 facts about the Wallace and Gromit films

· Four films so far are: A grand day out, The wrong trouser, A close shave, The curse of the were-rabbit
· Nick Parks claims that Wallace id based on his dad and Gromit on himself
· Each film is about 25 minutes long and uses stop frame animation, using around 35 000 frames for each film

I see the National crime figures came out this week and it would seem the criminals are winning, with 20 of the 29 categories showing an increase, “not a decrease” . A local radio station suggested that you will have to have dogs so “Woes” that when you get home you will have to shoot 2 just to get in the front door. Tania asked the question what are the demographics of those affected by the 29 categories of crime, that would be interesting.

Seems the Yanks heard that there is an imminent attack about to happen on their properties in SA, so they closed down for a few days, I think they just wanted to make this week a really LONG weekend, sometimes I wonder how the yanks actually got the tag “Superpower” because they can be such babies. We don’t have violent Camel jockeys in SA, we leave that to England, who have British born Muslims fighting against British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, now how is that for gratitude? I bet when the “wanabee” Bin Ladens comes back after a year in the desert they apply for the dole, get a free council houses and probably a 52 inch flat screen Plasma T.V, while the soldiers get Squat. As far as I am concerned that’s treason and the bastards should be put against a wall and shot of hung in public. Someone from the UK was telling me that an old lady living in a road with the Bin Ladens was nearly arrested because she had a collection of ceramic pigs in her lounge and it offended the suicide bombers so much that they complained to the police and she had to remove them so as not to offend the very same people that at the blink of an eye will walk into a school packed with kids and blow the place up, because it’s what the Koran has told them. I had better keep quite now otherwise Abdul and his mates may fly a microlite into my patio while I am braaing.

To close don’t know if you have seen the Libyan leader Gaddafi on TV this week, he is in the US, he looks like a cartoon character.

I had a good chuckle at the name of the union leader for the textile workers its “believe it or not”, Fachmee Abrahams J

Currie cup action this Saturday saw the Cheetahs against the Boks “oh sorry meant the Blue Bulls” and despite the overwhelming odds on favour of the Bulls running away with it the Cheetahs played well and did us proud.

We have a local micro brewery in Clarens and its run and owned by two awesome people, Stefan and Natalie Meyer, they recently won a few awards at the Wort Hog Brewers summer beer festival 2009 and the Village Idiot as well as Wolverine often pop in for a beer or cider (that is the best in the country) Well done guys we are very proud of you and the fact that Clarens can boast its own brewery.

Quote for the week: ‘May the Wors be with you”

Well that’s about it for now form the politically correct Village Idiot


We may not be family but we are brothers

I am a pretty gregarious type of person and can converse with most people about most things (oh yeah pretty intelligent as well:-) I don’t know if you have seen the Castle advert on TV with the 5 friends who feel more like brothers, it’s a Lekker advert and one that I enjoy watching, it appeals to me because it shows 5 friends who have been through thick and thin together and feel they are not just friends they are in fact brothers. The reason I bring this up is because while one has many acquaintances its unusual for a person to be able to count on more than one hand real friends, I have a few good mates, and to me a mate is someone that you can rely on through thick and thin and if you are in the dwang they will be there for you no matter what.

Talking about that, the best man at our wedding was a Nick Tredger, he was a Rhodesian that I met at Kyalami Ranch hotel and was a great guy, we lost contact with each other many years ago and I have not seen or heard from Nick in many a year, that was until on Wednesday I was looking at books in the Bethlehem CNA and saw a book called “from Rhodesia to Mugabes Zimbabwe” the chronicles of a game range by NICK TREDGER, I did a double take, looked for a photo of the author in the book and true as nannies it was Nick, I then contacted Lemur books and they forwarded Nicks e-mail address, I sent an e-mail and we are again in Contac, I am looking forward to catching up on many lost years Nick.

Like Oprah I want to start a book review section on the Bog that will hopefully have people buying the books that I recommend and I to like Oprah will become fat and famous. My first review on the Blog is obviously my mate Nick Tredgers “From Rhodesia to Zimbabwe” the chronicles of a game ranger, it’s a seasons must , need to have one for Xmas and is available at all leading bookshops as well as via lemur books at

So what’s been happening with the village and the idiot/s in it this week?

Monday was Mitch’s birthday and he turned 13 so officially a teenager, Mitch is Liza’s son and Liza is friends with the Red Headed stepchild, we had snacks and a couple fo drinks at their house and it was very nice to have been invited and celebrated Mitch’s birthday. Friday was Kelvins birthday and as expected the place was packed with a capital P

I see that Caster is the new spokesperson for a well known South African food brand, (see photo for more details.)

Squash season has started again with a few of us getting together to play for the first time in a few months (winter not a great time to play the game, as the court is like a fridge and you can never get the ball warm enough to play properly) Anyway it was good to get some serious exercise and look forward to the regular sessions.

National Braai and Heritage day is on 24th September and we will be having a braai on the square, looking forward to that, should be Lekker, this is an initiative of Diane Salt a local and a good one at that. We are also going to do a mass lying down game photo.

With Force India doing so well in the GP’s India has decided to dabble in racing to attract more tourists and gain more support amongst Indians for the Force India team, however due to limited resources the first event will be 100 eunuchs doing 500 laps of the Taj Mahal and the event will be known as the “Indian Knackerless five hundred”

When I was 16 and in Standard eight the Movie Mad Max hit South Africa and it was touch and go if they would actually screen it here, when they did decide to do so it had a 2-21 age restriction on it, which I found strange as at 17 you could be on the border maiming and killing as many local inhabitants that you wanted or get your ass blown off , but you where not called mature enough to see a bunch of bikers going ape in some outback village. Anyway I just loved the car a black V8 Monster with MFP in yellow written on it (and no MFP does not stand for Music For Planks) my girlfriend of the time was an artist of sorts and drew a poster for me of the car, it took pride of place on my wall until we split up 2 weeks later and it then got ripped up and thrown away – “Ah love was so fickle”. Vanderbijlpark where I lived did not have a movie house showing mad max , the nearest cinema showing the movie was in Vereeneging, so I jumped on the SS Honda 50 , put on the Kiwi Full Face and hightailed it to Vereeneging, somehow I managed to bluff my way past the stern looking aunty at the door and was mesmerised by the outlaw bikers the sex scenes (well not full on but jut the suggestion was enough) and the movie in general, the trip back home at speeds in excess of 75 kms an hour was exhilarating and the next day I was telling all my mates about the movie, some jealous as they could not get to see it as there moms and dads did not think it suitable for their young impressionable minds. The reason I have taken you on the mundane trip down memory lane is that I bought the dvd the other day and had a good laugh at the movie, what I thought was so cool and risqué way back then, was today funny, the car is still cool as are the old bikes, do yourself a favour, if you get the chance rent it.

Clarens has a chance of becoming the Volksblad Tourism dorp of the Free State/Northern Cape this month, but more of that next Blog.

Going to PE early tomorrow to look for a house to buy, so when we move there we don’t have to sleep on the beach.

Have a great week and don’t forget on Thursday is heritage day and Braai day so Braai Braai Braai.

The Village idiot

Did Boer women bear arms against the British Empire?

I recently wrote a piece for my Blog, part whereof will be used in a local newspaper “The Mountain Post” It’s called Women at war and concentrates mainly on the role Boer women played in the Anglo Boer war of 1899 – 1902. I also wanted to do another chapter for my book on Clarens and while this particular subject may not be pertinent to Clarens, it is still very interesting.

A couple of weeks after I had finished the original piece, I chanced upon a book in the Bethlehem Library called “Die Vrou in die Anglo-Boereoorlog 1899 – 1902” and while reading in Afrikaans is not my favourite pastime something just said to me, take it out. “What a fascinating read” and if you can read Afrikaans, I would recommend it as a “must read” book about this particular conflict and the role that Boer women played in it, as most books that I have read to date on the war concentrate on the men folk of the time such as Kruger, De Wet, de la Rey, Prinsloo, Joubert, Botha, Smuts, Steyn and many others, but either gloss over or rarely give credit to the role that Boer women played, especially during the scorched earth days and after the war itself when they had to hold the family together, after having lost homes, livelihoods as well as loved ones.

An interesting fact that I remember reading in the book “The Anglo Boer war 1899 – 1902, a pictorial history” is that while three of the foremost British protagonists of the war - Milner, Rhodes and Jameson – were bachelors, the Boer leaders were often followed into battle by their wives, with Commandant General Piet Joubert’s wife Hendrina in particular taking a lively interest in all matters military, and is even said to have given firing orders to the gunners on occasion

Herman Mockford stated in the Cape Argus 13 April 1901 “Womenfolk (the Boers) are seldom seen in the saddle, though many of them are quite at home either bare backed or on a mans saddle. So also many of them are fearless and good rifle shots and can span in a team of oxen as well as their husbands……”

Stories and especially photos of Boer women fighting the British were very popular in Dutch, German, Russian and French newspapers, but as you will see most if not all were posed and the myth about women fighting the British was mostly “a myth” Here is what I learnt from reading this book as well as additional research.

Women throughout history have been involved in wars, battles or sieges in one form or another. Perhaps the most common occurrence when women would take part in battles was when their homes, castles or villages were under threat. It was accepted that ladies in medieval days would take charge in their husband’s absence. Some women like Boudiccia, Joan of Arc, and in South Africa Mantantisi successfully led large armies into battle. Throughout history there have been numerous cases of women disguising themselves as ordinary soldiers or sailors so that they could take up arms in defence of their countries, and as you will see this ruse was copied by Boer women also wanting to take a more active part in the war.

The question to be asked is if the two Boer republics actually condoned women physically fighting or following their husbands into battle, the answer to that would be no, The ZAR had expressly forbidden that women be present in laagers at the outbreak of the war and there was a proclamation that Christian de wet wanted his government to enforce after the battle of Paardeberg, due to some of the men in Cronje’s laager having had their wives and children with them, during the investment and bombardment. It was reported by Hillegas that the women in the laager in no way hindered the men and many assisted in digging trenches and some even used firearms as enthusiastically as their men folk. No other written or photographic evidence seems to exist to back up his statement that women did in fact fight at Paardeberg, in fact de Wet felt their presence a great hindrance and tried to get his government to put a stop to it.

10 months after the battle Philip Botha (an Orange Free State General) wrote to Kitchner that the reason the Boers had not complained about the bombardment of the laager with the women and children in it, was because “they should not have been there”. It is estimated that up to 50 women and children had been in the laager at Paardeberg and after Cronje surrendered they were allowed to go back to their homes, some decided to accompany their men to Cape Town with Cronje’s wife and grandson being allowed to accompany him to St Helena.

The question still remains did Boer women take an active part in the war? Hillegas, the American war correspondent claims “Scores of Boer women can claim the distinction of having taken part in many bloody battles”. Ben Bouwer in his memoirs wrote “Daar kan n lang lys van vrouesoldate in mansklere gemaak word”. While during the war itself it may have been a romantic notion that Boer women were taking on the might of the British Empire, neither of the two Boer Republics had granted women dispensation to be armed, and to fight as soldiers in the war, however after Roberts had made inroads towards Pretoria in May 1900 women in the city did toy with the idea of taking up arms in the defence of their country. And on 11 May a meeting was held in Johannesburg with a follow up conference on 15 and 16 May being held in Pretoria, this meeting was chaired by the wives of Dominee H.S Bosman, Louis Botha and F.W Reitz. The conference decided that women should take over the men’s work at post and telegraph offices as well as other areas, this would allow more able-bodied men to go on Commando. Much like the women did in the Second World War and modern day Israel.

It was also decided that if women wanted to be armed then they would need to source those weapons themselves and use them only for self defence, the women also decided that they should make themselves available to the government should their services ever be needed to defend the country. The London newspaper “the Morning Herald” however decided that this was to tame a story to publish and its correspondent reported, “….the women of the Transvaal are forming a corps of Amazons to fight the British, it is understood that they are being drilled, about 2000 of them at Pretoria and that all are first class shots. They are said to be dressed in kilts like Highlanders and are known as the Amazon Corps”

Probably the most famous photo that was used as proof of Boer women fighting against the British, shoulder to shoulder with the men was that of a man and a woman in men’s clothing, both armed with guns and bandoliers. In a German publication they are named as a Mr and Mrs Wagner who fought together against the British. In a Dutch publication she is named as a Mrs Berret that had fought with a Commando for 3 months and had been wounded at the battle of Spionkop, according to P.H.S van Zyl in his book she is identified as Mrs Berret and the gent as a Mr Wagner.

In the Book “Kommandolewe tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog 1899-1902” by Professor Pretorius he writes about a lady who had dressed as a man and fought at the Natal front, where in November 1900 it was discovered that the man was in fact a woman, she was sent back to Johannesburg, she was apparently an Ms Herbst. Hillegas in his book also writes about a lady called Helena Herbst Wagner from Zeerust, who lived for five months in the laagers and trenches without being discovered as a woman, this was most likely the same lady that Prof Pretorius wrote about?

Another photo that was popular was that of a Mrs. M Krantz in sombre Victorian dress replete with bonnet as well as a rifle and a bandolier, this was the wife of Otto Krantz of the German corps, which in turn had been part of the Vryheid-Comando that took part in the siege of Ladysmith. Hillegas also implies that Mrs Krantz had been at her husband’s side at the battle of Elandslaagte 21 October 1899 and again at the battles of Tugela thereafter, and had received permission to accompany her husband to the prisoner of war camp in Ceylon.

In a book called “A few months with the Boers” and written by Sophia Izedinova there is a photo of a group of women and children all posing with rifles and bandoliers with the caption “this is a group of women who had taken up arms against the British”. Many believe the photo was posed, as all the ladies wore crisp white blouses with fashionable bonnets upon their heads. It is felt that the better looking the women in the photos the more chance that the photo had in fact been posed.

Another author Linesman “Words by an Eye-Witness” writes “ Women are seen behind the kopjes at Colenso and Vaal Krantz; there were some smartly habited and well horsed, even with the raiding party which from Mooi River kept Pietermaritzburg awake and alarmed. Two girls were actually killed at Pieters Hill – one, poor thing, whispering just before she died that her husband had kept her beside him in the trench ‘because she was a good shot’.”

Many historians of the Boer war believe that Linesman was a very patriotic individual and did not have much time for the Boers, hence his words that Women fought on the front lines was to embarrass the Boers and show them in a bad light. Linesman stated he found Boer men very strange as they fought like lions during the day but returned to their laagers at night like pussy cats full of women and washing.

There are recorded cases of women following their husbands on Commando an example being a Mrs P.J Moll from around Pretoria who followed her husband for 11 months before she and her baby were captured and sent to the concentration camp at Newcastle. General Badenhorst names a Mrs E. Lotz from the Boshof district that accompanied his Commando as a nurse from January 1901 until the end of hostilities in 1902, this incident was also mentioned by professor Pretorius in his book “Komandolewe tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog 1899-1902” and it is his conclusion that there were no Boer women fighting alongside the men in the trenches.

Other sources indicate that women did in fact fight alongside their husbands, the first was written by John X Merriman, the Cape Politician who wrote in his personal journal that on 1 March 1900, that two Boer women were found dead in trenches where they had fought side by side with the men. In his book “A Guardsman memories, A Book of Recollections by E Gleichen he states that on Pietershoogte “I found a pair of lady’s stays with a lot of Mauser cartridge cases and clips alongside”. I presume the question to ask oneself is how and why the lady slipped out of her blouse in the heat of battle?

While reading “Methods of Barbarism”? By S.B Spies I came across this piece of information. Three to four hundred women and children from Jagersfontein and Fauresmith of the Orange River Colony were sent to the Port Elizabeth concentration camp, it had been alleged that these villages had been attacked by a small force under the command of General J. B. M Hertzog on the 16th and 19th October and the inhabitants not only supplied his Commando with food, ammunition and information, but that in Jagersfontein the women themselves fired upon British troops from their houses. The report that the women fought was never proved and even Milner himself stated that he did not know what truth there was in the allegations. Some fifty years later, the then South African Minister of Finance, N.C Havenga who participated in the attack on Jagersfontein, told an archivist that he had no knowledge of women shooting at British troops.

It was not uncommon for Boer women to accompany their husbands to the front and as previously mentioned perhaps the most apparent of those women would have to be General Piet Jouberts wife, Hendrina. The British also had women follow the army with Lord Roberts bringing his whole family to South Africa.

Perhaps the most famous case of a woman who was on Commando for an extended period of time, would be that of Sarah Raal, who together with 2 friends escaped from the Springfontein Concentration camp and were taken in by a Commando sheltering in the nearby hills. Sarah joins a Corporalship of 20 men, but unlike other incidents of women getting dressed as men, Sarah always wore a dress. Sarah admits that she did use a rifle when necessary but in most instances hid during battles. Life on the Commando was very hard and she was captured again, spending the last part of the war in a Kroonstad Concentration camp.

So the question to ask yourself is “did Boer women fight alongside the men against the might of the British Empire”? I believe that there were cases of women taking up arms in defence of their homes and country and that it is very possible that women did in fact disguise themselves and fight the Khaki’s and could even have been killed or wounded, however I believe instances like this were few and far between and as you have read, when discovered these women were banished from the front lines. Many posed pictures found their way to loved ones fighting, as well as to overseas publications, the pictures to loved ones to show their husbands that their thoughts were with them, and the ones for the overseas publications to show that the Afrikaners as a country were standing up against the might of Queen Victoria at that stage the strongest Empire on Earth

What is certain is that Boer women did act as spies, most however would not have thought of themselves as such, but the British considered the passing of information to Commando’s about British troop movements and strengths as spying, it probably only became apparent after the war itself as to what an important role the ordinary women had played with regards the setting up and maintaining of a communications network in the two Boer Republics as well as in Natal and the Cape Colony.

Perhaps the two best known Boer women spies would have been that of a Mrs Van Warmelo and her daughter Johanna who throughout the war passed on valuable information to Boer Commandos, to Boer sympathisers overseas as well as in Natal and the Cape Colony; however theirs is a whole new story. Women who did get involved in passing on information came up with ingenious ideas to ensure that the information did not fall into British hands.

It is said that centuries ago the emancipation of women began and that over those many many years’ women slowly but surely came out of the shadow of man to become a force to be reckoned with. In South Africa there were women that against the backdrop of the Boer war stood out when the chips were down……….”This however is another story for another time.”

"Crisis, what Crisis" ??

Last Thursday a few friends and myself played a football match, that to be honest had muscles aching that I never knew I had. My wife Tania said to me the next day that she could see i as getting older as in the past I would have chased every thing around the field and tried to score all the goals. I was a bit taken aback as I still like to think of myself as a 18 year old with wrinkles, I then realised she was right and this then got me to thinking (which sometimes can be a dangerous thing) that I was not getting any younger and was fast approaching 50, I then got to think about that dreaded term MIDLIFE- CRISIS and while I don’t think I have had mine yet it could still come as some people can have later on life and it has been known that some people can have them at a younger age than what you or I probably expect. I decided to look research the subject and here is what I came up with.

The term MIDLIFE CRISIS was coined in 1965 by a one Elliot Jacques and is used to describe a period of dramatic self doubt that is felt by some individuals in the “middle years” of life as a result of sensing the loss of youth and the immanence of old age

So what are the characteristics of a midlife crisis?

· Need to spend more time alone or with certain peers
· Deep sense of loss for goals not accomplished
· Desire to achieve a feeling of youthfulness
· Search of unidentified dreams or goals

So how do you know if yourself or someone you know is having a midlife crisis? Well you or they could exhibit some of this behaviour

· Abuse of Alcohol (well if thats a criteria then half of Clarens is having a midlife –crisis)
· Buying of unusual or expensive items (like the older guy buying a sports car or hummer or even a large motorcycle)
· Depression, mood changes and unusual selfishness (yes we all do get like that but when your nastier than normal on a regular basis then you have to watch out)
· Paying special attention to ones physical appearance (older folks highlighting hair, guys putting in earrings and wearing pony tails or “buying a rug as they say in the classics”, getting tattoos, piercing’s or brandings, I suppose women Botox lips, get Liposuction or have Butt and Boob jobs. Wearing ‘hip” clothing or trying to dress like the young crowd.
· Entering relationships with younger people, this could mean “relationships” or just hanging with the “homies” and talking the lingo
· Try to pick up younger girls or guys WAY younger than oneself, “I said hello to a lovely young lady last week and she replied “Oom dit gaan goed dankie” PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST “can you here the ego deflating”??

The question to ask is how long does a midlife crisis last and can it be treated, well according to the article I read no one knows how long and NO, but common sense has to tell you that you have to grow up sometime and while you can have younger friends and mates as many of us do you know that you also have responsibilities and that you need to act like an adult.

Now please excuse me as I need to get braids, a tattoo, pierce my nipple, buy a new wardrobe “you know the fashion were your underwear is your outerwear or the Kelvin Klein logo of your undies can be read under your arms as your Guess jeans are hanging around the ankles and of course the cap on sideways”, pick up my 9500cc manhood enhancing Hummer and Jol with the lighties and “piepie jollers” till my eardrums burst or I wet in my pants (whichever comes first)

It was my Wife Tania’s Birthday this week, so Happy Birthday again I love you lots. Tania as many of you may know has set up a craft business ( and over the last few months has worked really hard to get it up and running. This week Tania got her first big order and I am sure it will be the first of many; well done Tania I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Proud of you and look forward to the day that Crafty stuff becomes a Multi Billion Rand company. Tania, Gabby, Mark, Kathleen and I had dinner at Ocean Basket in Bethlehem, it was nice and managed to watch but not listen to “moi” on Top Billing, yes I know sometimes I can be so pretentious. Oh we did manage to see a “prawn on a Steeeeeeeek at ocean basket, but don’t think it was real, seemed a bit “fishy: to me

Many of you may know that by years end I will no longer be a Village idiot but a Concrete Jungle Jester as the family are moving to PE (Port Elizabeth). I was asked the other day do I want to leave and to be honest the answer is NO “I don’t want to leave” However if the question had been do you think you need to leave my answer would be yes, “why you ask” well there are many reason, but perhaps the most important is that while the village has been great for Gabby to grow up in as a child, I don’t think it’s the right environment for her as a teenager, as I believe that many youngsters in the village (and this is a generalization) get themselves into a rut and don’t have anything to look forward to other than work, drink, and skinder, sadly this also applies to single older people as well “who should know better and while we all should be able to have fun, life is also about responsibilities and looking towards the future . I believe that Clarens is great and I Love the village to bits but there is a big wide world out there and it needs to be explored.

I am looking forward to spending time with Ryan (he is my brother in law, but more like my brother) and look forward to watching rugby etc with him, Ryan does not drink, but apart from that he is a great guy and someone that I admire as he has also gone through hard times, persevered and come out on top. What or who will I miss about Clarens (well this Blog is not long enough at the moment) But I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt I will miss My Good Mate Wolverine as well as a number of other locals, but Wolverine and I have become good friends over the months and will definitely miss that. But let me finish there before I start crying……………….J.

A new Tourism Forum was elected for the village on Monday at the Protea Hotel, a good turnout from the village saw the election of the following persons: Simon Kerr as Chairman, Pieter Kruger as secretary and Victor Knowles as Pr/Marketing. Lets hope that these people can lead the Village forward and that all role players will get involved and work together to make Clarens the number one destination in SA.

Wolverine has a thing about catching drug abusers and told me that he had taken photos of a vehicle that proved without doubt that the owner of said vehicle dabbled in the selling of mountain cabbage. It took me a while and a few Peroni’s to get through to him “he is a special child” that POTSELA was in fact an African name and not a job description.

Thursday we has the first rainstorm of the season, it was so nice to see precipitation-taking place.

I don’t know if you saw all the hoo haa about a South African trying to get refugee status in Canada and basically talking a load of bull about the country and its peoples, well on Friday Percy Mokoena from the Clarens Mountain estate decided that he was going to have a braai and a beer for myself and a couple of his staff. What a great couple of hours, we sat behind the storage shed with Mount Horeb on our left and the village on the right, the willow trees are in fool bloom on the estate as are the many peach trees, we lit a fire (safely of course) and then just sat, chilled and shot the breeze, you know what it was perhaps one of the best afternoons I have ever had, we talked about history, love and religion as well as how we feel the country is doing and where its going to. If you are a paler skinned South African reading this do yourself a favour and communicate with your staff or locals around you and you will see that they have dreams and ambitions just like you and me. “Thank you Percy for showing me again that SA is a great place and if we work together towards the same goal we can only get stronger and get to know each other better”.

So the Boks beat NZ and are the Tri Nations champs, winning 5 out of 6 games is good, would have been better though if it had been a clean sweep, I missed Saturdays game as in Bloemfontein as I did the Cheetahs game who I see came back from behind and beat WP (also great) and the Sharks beat the Bull.

There is a new site and you should check it out and send your own photos, there are no photos from Africa as yet, so you could be the first, you can see Wolverine and my attempts.

Next Friday is Kelvin’s Birthday “who is Kelvin you may ask” well he is the owner of Friends (Clarens Rugby supporters club base) and “keeper of the Chicken strips”. I am sure “nay positive” there will be a HUGE bash at friends and that a multitude of people will be there to celebrate Kelvin reaching the ripe old age of 20 (I think I have a sweatshirt older than that). If Kelvin is lucky we may just let him get to 21 J

Talking about parties on Saturday Tania and I attended our first 3 Sum party at Andre and Annetjies house, “must say it was a bit different from what I was expecting”. First all the people were clothed, second there were kids running around everywhere and thirdly if I had of read the invitation properly I would have seen the 3 Sum was to

1) Celebrate Andres 50th Birthday
2) Have a house warming party
3) Celebrate the imminent arrival of another grandchild

Caster Semanye is in the news again; apparently she does not have a womb and has internal testes (and no Wolverine that does not mean taking an exam indoors). This is according to the Aussie papers who had inside info from the lab that does the testing, so whether or not we can believe them is another thing, but lets say they are right, I can just imagine the press conference: “So Caster news reports say you don’t have a womb”.. ‘That’s not true I have two rooms in my house a living room and a bedroom”. “Ok but they also say you have testes”. “How do you think I passed matric????………………”Sorry what do you mean? …………….” well I had to have testes and pass them to get my matric!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Do yourself a favour and get the you magazine with Caster on the front cover “not even an extreme makeover can hide the fact that there should be doubt. But I have a solution, Caster should just enter the special Olympics and where they can run the men’s and the women’s 800 meters “at the same time” will save both time and money.

Our friends Kathleen and Mark have decided that they ant to change their status to single and that they will become housemates and share the house that they rent at the moment, while we are sad about them splitting up, we respect there decision and will still be seeing them both regularly. I am sure there will be the usual K-K stories doing the round in the village, but that’s par for the course.

A couple of Blog’s back I told you about the carpet bomb drink, well eventually Wolverine got me the photo that I needed to show you, no that’s not me in the photo its my evil twin “Super Bok”

The recession has started to hit home in Clarens with even the very young having to sacrifice for mom and dad to make ends meet, Aden “or peanut as we like to call him” has traded in his Sandton type Jeep designed pram for something more practicable and can be used for a number of purposes.

Also we have found photographic evidence that a club “Wys jou Muis” does in fact exist and that they sell T shirts, we hope the ex bottle store owner is in fact happy there “amongst her own”

Book on Clarens is all but done, just needs to be edited and then I need to choose the photos I want, “anyone want to sponsor the printing of the book” ?????

I have a solution to the problems in Africa “feed the homeless to the hungry”!!!!!!

Well on that note its time to say “Adios Amigos”

The Village Idiot

Cats vs Dogs

We are a 3 cat household and while I like dogs and until a couple of years back had dogs in the house I don’t think I would easily go back to having a dog again in the house, before you start shouting “dog hater” and accusing me of being bias towards felines, let me count the ways why not having a pooch is better

1. You don’t have to pick up dog crap on the lawn etc (drollie patrollie)
2. You don’t have to take the cat for a walk
3. They can let themselves in and out of the house
4. You can go away for a few days and leave them to their own devices
5. They don’t bite
6. They bark
7. Cats don’t get ticks
8. Cats clean themselves

I wonder if like me you get the M—r in when you walk in to a bank or supermarket and there are teller stations or check out areas up the wazoo, the place is packed and there are only two people assisting, it drives me “Beserk, what you need to do is find the manager and ask for a job, I have done it and it really makes them cross, but hey to bad. Their normal response is “sorry but we don’t have any vacancies at present” to which you reply, but why then do you have so many tills and only 2 cashiers has the company retrenched staff due to the bad economic times? then they really get defensive and blabber on about people being on leave, being sick or being on lunch “what at 10am in the morning ?

So we will have to beat New Zealand now to win the Tri nations after the loss on Saturday against a Better Aussie team, the ref was an idiot, but we still did not play well and the Australians “as much as I hate to admit it deserved to win” Hopefully we can get a bonus point at least next week and not have to rely on the Aussies beating the New Zealanders. At least the Cheetahs beat the Lions to keep their winning momentum going forward. Also WP seem to have their act together so we could still have a very interesting Currie Cup.

The soccer match between Protea Hotel and The Village Idiots was played this week and we lost 6 – 3, I have to say at one stage we were 2 – 1 up but then just before halftime they scored 2 quick goals and from there it was downhill for the Village Idiots. I have to say that I was proud of the boys, considering that we are either old, smoke 30 a day or perhaps overindulge a tad in the libations we did OK.

The Village team consisted of Myself, Mark, Steve, Lawrence, Frank, Graham, Andy, Marius, Gareth, another Steve, Rob as usual all those that indicated that they would come and play had commitments so instead of having a rolling sub system we we just seemed to roll on and off the field, I was really impressed with Steve ?? having a cigarette on the field during the game “that’s not something you see often” We nicknamed Rob Koch “Robaldinhio due to his fancy footwork, and Frank from now on will be known as Manny (the woolly mammoth from Ice Age), Frank was awesome and really “like everyone else gave his all. They call soccer the beautiful game, well we were anything but beautiful and the soccer we played had a lot to be desired, but I can see why billions of people all over the world love it, I really enjoyed to see was the local support from Kgubetswana and hearing a Vuvuzela being blown during the game, it makes you feel a little special.

After the game I felt I had been hit by a truck with parts o my body hurting so bad I thought I should just lie down and cry, the next day I was walking around like a child who has just done a number 2 in their nappy. I now have a lot of respect for footballers and rugby player’s as their fitness levels are amazing.

The game the day before between the River Rangers “Celtic” and the Artist Café “The Brazilians” ended in a 4 all draw. We look forward to playing against these teams just as soon as we all start walking properly again :-)

In a Blog a couple of weeks ago I wrote about belly button fluff and how it accumulates, Tania showed me that on Bid or Buy you can buy belly button cleaners! “What will they think of next?

It seems that the SANDF would like to have a union.

The fact that Botswana could probably invade SA and take it over in a day is beside the point we have an army and they want to have a union to ensure better wages and fair labour practices. Now I have no problems with the defenders of our sovereignty and constitution getting a fair wage, but then like everyone else they need to earn it. The army is not a democracy you get told what to do and the only time they want you to make a decision is usually when you are staring down the barrel of a gun, the decision being “do I stand and fight or do I run away”?

Just imagine the army or the navy and air force have a union, can you imagine the chaos if we are ever involved in a war, Picture the scene…………… The Second Division Jelly Donut Brigade is defending the NI against the Evil axis powers of Taxiland its 9 am (wake up call was at 7.45 with a rusk and a cup of team, served by non-union members or officers) and just as the members are standing inline for a large breakfast (someone has to help them keep that Tank Ass large or the Kevlard layer thick ), there is a pop , pop, pop of an AK47, the weapon of choice of Taxi lands henchmen who usually use it against defenceless buses or other renegade Taxiland members . Today however they decided that to spice up the day they would attack the SANDF unit protecting the commuters against attack and picked a time of day they know they would be vulnerable “Meal Time” in the past it would have been just as the sun was setting or just before dawn, but the Taxiland forces are at the Shebeen planning the next days attacks as the sun starts setting and commuters need to get to work as the sun is rising, so for them that does not fit in to there plans, this is also why the Jelly Donut Brigade can sleep late as they know they are safe from attack.

As the first shots are heard the brave defenders of our democracy dive on to the food to protect it from harm and then do their best impression of a leopard crawl, that looks more like a beached whale trying to drag itself up a sand dune. Those who are Special Force trained are able to launch a counter attack using globs of Mielie meal hurtled from nearby SPATULA”S etc etc etc………………………………………….

So great to see that warmer weather has arrived, last couple of days has been Lekker, so nice to be able to wear shorts again.

The Village Idiot will be on TV again, this time on Top Billing, and will be on next Thursday at 7.30am. SABC 3. We also managed to get the Friends Clarens Bok Supporters club in the local Vrystaat newspaper this week. The Destiny castle is awesome and you should really watch the programme, also local artist and entrepreneur Werner Brandt is on the show check out Destiny Castle’s website or

Talking about TV, I am a Survivor fan and the final was on Monday, it was all going great until some idiot decided to not show the final tribal council and go on to the Reunion show. What a disappointment. But on Friday night there were two of my favourite movies on the box Shawshank Redemption and Scar face, so I was watching movies till late. I love Shaw shank, I must have watched it 10 times and every time I watch it, it just seems to get better, if you have never watched it do yourself a favour and do so.

I am really happy with the way the SANDF are handling the dismissing of the 1300 Ass---les that went on the rampage a week ago, hopefully they will stick to there guns and not allow those idiots to dictate to South Africa.

Had a couple of people tell me that since I have stopped being nasty on the Blog its lost a little of its sting, they are probably right, so It need to look at subjects that I can vent my spleen on to spice things up. Well this week I have a problem with our local municipality, usually I have been pretty supportive of the unit manager in Clarens but this has really made me the moer in, it’s the fact that teams have to pay to play at a local soccer ground that is apparently under municipality jurisdiction and this weeks game between the Village and Protea was nearly stopped because of it and we were threatened with the police (would have thought they would have better things to do than harass law abiding citizens using public property (no private property signs and bringing the community together?)

The question that needs to be asked is if the Municipality gets R to use for the upkeep of this facility why then does it look like it is the national stadium of Liberia, the field is crap, the ablution facilities look like they have been used for carpet bombing practice, the tap leaks and there is enough rubbish lying around to fill a skip (in fact I found a fork on the field while playing) So where then does the money go?? and why is it that only certain teams that are asked to pay ??? . This matter will be taken further as I do not believe that Clarenites (black and white residents are being treated fairly.). Those working or should I say running the village should remember that they are civil servants (Civil meaning well mannered and Servants meaning so serve those who pay their salary, “that’s us the rate payers just in case you were wondering”).

On a more positive note a local has started a digital magazine for Clarens and its pretty AWESOME look it up its going to be a winner and according to owner/editor Paul, he had close to 400 hits on the first day it went live, “Well done Bro”. See below for details.

FREE Clarens MAGAZINERead it now at: will need Adobe Flashplayer to view it. Download free at: (5.66MB)email: for advertising

It seems the great idea that Wolverine and I had of winning the Capt Morgan competition to win a trip to Vegas has fallen through as the competition finished on the 3rd September, so we where a tad late.

We were invited to a little soirée by the Protea staff to say bye to Tania Malan, it was at Brambleberry restaurant at the Golf club and it was nice for a number of Clarenites to come and say bye to a lady that has done so much for this village in such a short space of time.

Quote for the week: “It does not matter if you win or lose , Its how you play the game”.

The Village idiot
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