Wednesday 26 September 2018
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Val de Vie’s Berg River bridge opened

The new Berg River Bridge at Val de Vie was officially opened on 21 June 2018.

The Berg River Bridge at Val de Vie Estate was officially opened by Executive Mayor of Drakenstein Municipality, Councillor Conrad Poole, on Thursday, 21 June 2018.

“The opening of the Berg River Bridge is a remarkable event for Val de Vie Estate and is the first private bridge of this scale in South Africa. Drastically reducing the travelling time to Cape Town International Airport, the Mother City and Stellenbosch was the main drive behind the project which cost the development company over R100 million,” said Ryk Neethling, Val de Vie Estate Marketing Director and Shareholder.

Stuart and Leigh greet PnP

Stuart Downie and Leigh Courtnage purchased the ‘Co-op’ in 1997. This photo dates from the mid-1990s.

Stuart Downie and Leigh Courtnage laid down the reins as owners of the PicknPay Franschhoek stores in May 2018, after 21 busy years in the Franschhoek retail sector.

Their retail journey together started in 1996, when their paths crossed at the then Franschhoek Verbruikers Ko-operasie in the centre of the village, or the ‘Co-op’ as everybody knew it.  They purchased the business and, in 1997, established the Village Supermarket.  In 2003 they joined the Pick n Pay family. A Pick n Pay Liquor store was added to their business in 2009 and a Pick n Pay Daily store in 2010.

State to launch turnaround strategy for Solms-Delta

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform announced in a press release on 31 May 2018 that it is to initiate a turnaround strategy and a restructuring of the operations at the Solms-Delta Wine Estate.

The Department acquired the estate in December 2016 as part of the pilot phase of the Policy Framework on Strengthening the Relative Rights of People working the Land. As part of this agreement workers acquired a 45% stake in the wine making business.

Proposed luxury retirement village angers neighbours

Architect’s rendering of group housing units proposed for historic Die Eike property. (Jan Hanekom Partnership).

News that the owner of erf 3476 (Die Eike) is planning a luxury retirement village on the property has not been welcomed by the property’s neighbours.

Bruce Gatland, GM of La Cotte Farm, says: “If this development were to be approved, it would have a marked detrimental effect on the value and enjoyment of our property … La Cotte Farm is regarded as of great cultural and historical importance … We have gone to great lengths and expense to preserve and restore the heritage aspects of the property. The applicant’s proposal is alarming and disappointing in its apparent total disregard for this heritage.”

Pniel Female Farmer wins SABF award

Mbalie Zamisa (SBF) and Claudia Williams

Pniel entrepreneur, Claudia Williams, was recognised at a prestigious event at the Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg on 5 June. The SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Development Programme annual awards ceremony recognised seven entrepreneurs who are creating jobs in their regions. Just two years ago, this remarkable woman started off as the only employee in her own company. Due to her remarkable growth, she now employs 18 staff members.

2018 Bellingham wines built to last

Bellingham Chief Winemaker Richard Duckitt

Harvest 2018 is complete and Richard Duckitt, Chief Winemaker at Bellingham is enjoying a momentary reprieve.

The Cape’s devastating drought played a dominant role in this year’s harvest: the Winelands were declared a disaster area and the outlook at the start of the vintage wasn’t a positive one. A plunge in yields was to be expected, but this fear was compounded with the effect the drought would have on quality – as lack of water during the critical veraison period can affect berry composition, and in particular sugar accumulation and concentration.

New Huguenot Memorial Museum Manager

Anita van der Merwe

The Huguenot Memorial Museum has a new manager. Anita van der Merwe (nèè Du Preez) has taken over the reins from Elvira Johannes who was transferred to the Paarl Museum during 2017.

Anita has more than 20 years’ experience in the cultural sphere, during which time she worked in several parts of the country. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Library and Information Science from Stellenbosch University as well as a post-graduate qualification in Museum Studies. Her MA degree dissertation dealt with Cultural Landscapes.

She joined the Western Cape’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport in 1997; initially as the Visual Art Genre developer in the Art and Culture section and later as a Heritage Researcher with a focus on geographic names – role she still fulfils.

Anita is a passionate garagiste winemaker and, fittingly, a French Huguenot descendent. She says she is excited by the opportunities offered by her new position and looks forward to becoming a part of the Franschhoek community and its activities.

New uniforms for FHS first netball team

Amy Kleinhans (left) and Alrishka Macaskill (right) with the FHS first netball team in their new uniforms.

Franschhoek High School’s first netball team is going into the netball season with brand new uniforms thanks to the generosity of Terbodore Coffee Roasters and a little help from local resident Amy Kleinhans.

Amy’s housekeeper, whose daughter plays for the team, approached her to help find a sponsor for new uniforms as their old ones were in a dire state. Amy approached Michael Macaskill and the team at Terbodore Coffee Roasters and they immediately came on board as the anchor sponsor for the new uniforms.

On 24 April the team and their coach met with Amy and Alrishka Macaskill to enjoy a coffee at the Big Dog Café and to show off their new uniforms. Their coach says the new uniforms are motivating the team to do well this season.

Cricket final goes down to the wire

Pniel Primary and Bridge House Prep faced each other in the final of the Groot Drakenstein Games Club’s Under-12 Cricket Tournament.

The Groot Drakenstein Games Club’s Under-12 Cricket Tournament, after eight weeks of round-robin, quarter and semi-finals, resulted in a very apt final between Bridge House Prep and Pniel Primary.

Petite and Pretty

Sarah Eichler, Miss Petite South Africa 2018

Sarah Ruth Eichler (8) who lives outside Franschhoek on the R301 was recently crowned Miss Petite South Africa 2018 in Pretoria. In May next year she is invited to attend the Little Miss Universe pageant in Turkey.

This is how it happened. Last year Sarah was selected to represent the Western Cape as a Mr & Miss Junior South Africa 2018 finalist. She was one of nine 7 to 8 year olds from around the country in the Miss Petite age group. At the pageant the contestants were judged in different categories: casual wear, evening wear and interviews, and for fun there was also a themed wear round for which the organisers chose ‘Futuristic Sci-Fi’ as a theme this year. Sarah went as a futuristic ballerina.

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