Saturday, February 28, 2009


The "Advent" will change SA's destiny once and for all. After the "Advent", all problems will be solved, all differences settled, everybody will be rich and we'll all live happily ever after. From that moment on, every event in SA will be defined as having taken place either before or after the "Advent". 

The "Advent"  is not going to be a sort of miracle like Fatima etc. it will be the 2010 Soccer World Cup. 

During the "Advent", a boundless crowd of enthusiasts, from all over the world, will flood the country throwing money at whatever moves. They'll try to eat five meals a day, sleep in 2 or 3 different places at the same time and buy whatever they can lay their hands on.

Since South African main cities won't have enough resources to accommodate their spending frenzy, in between games, millions of soccer fans will invade every other city, small city, village, dorp - or any aggregation of more than three dwellings - tasting all local delicacies, buying every ostrich egg, all wall-to-wall posters of the big five, every clock in the shape of the African continent and thousands of cubic meters of biltong. 

As there are doubts that the soccer fans will succeed in reaching any remote corner of the country in such a short time, the best brains of Barrydale - as well as of every other city, small city, village, dorp or aggregation of  more than three dwellings - are at work in order to convey to them the most unmistakable message of welcome and readiness - this in the unfortunate eventuality that our soccer friends decided, for whatever reason, to dissipate their riches somewhere else.

Apart from sticking flags of any size, colour and nationality wherever possible, so far no great plans came out of our local - not to be underestimated - creative elite. Except that just the other evening at a meeting on the necessity to put once and for all Barrydale on the international maps, the remarkable idea of placing a makeshift goalpost at the side of the road with kids kicking balls into it whenever a car seems to approach the village, left the audience gaping.

This commendable display of lateral thinking, vented by a notorious and respected representative of Barrydale's think tank force, will certainly have the merit of reminding our visitors about soccer - in case they momentarily forgot - and somehow conveying to them, in no middle terms, our eagerness to be thrown money at.

I cannot but applaud.

At the same time, having heard during the meeting all sorts of brilliant and semi-brilliant ideas on how to promote Barrydale from a touristic point of view, I wonder how come that nobody had the simple idea of making Barrydale worthy of being visited. 

How come that nobody mentioned that perhaps it would be a good idea to get rid of the incredible amount of rubbish lying all over, in and around the village? And how come that nobody spent a word about cleaning the river and - perhaps - letting it flow instead of sucking it dry? And again, I wonder why nobody has proposed to eradicate some alien vegetation, or clean the verges and the empty plots, or, even better, try to do something about the cloud of pesticides that in certain days makes the air unbreathable.

How many thousands of flags one needs to hide all that? 


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi Massimo

If one looks at the breakdown of the tickets for sale, the outlook for the
distribution of the Soccer World Cup wealth looks bleak for the countryside.

All the FIFA ticket holders and their cronies will be ploughing their noses
into the troughs of the various Buffets that will be held in their honour in
and around the cities. They will visit Table Mountain, Cape Point,
Khayalitsha, a Wine farm and all leave with a complimentary SA flag colored,
FIFA endorsed Vuvuzela.
The tickets distributed to locals that cannot afford tickets. Those persons
will just stay in the cities and go on the rampage through the streets from
time to time. They will try and destroy Table Mountain, Cape Point, a wine
farm and blow their counterfeit FIFA vuvuzelas all the time.
The average soccer hooligan, being not so adventurous, will hang around in
bars, nightclubs and take-away joints to be as inebriated as possible
throughout the whole affair. They might buy a postcard of Table Mountain,
Cape Point, a wine Farm at the airport and leave their broken vuvuzela lying
in a street somewhere.

The discerning explorer will give South Africa a miss during the World Cup
as it will now be safe to wander around areas in their own countries that
were previously inaccessible due to the roaming gangs of Soccer thugs that
will now be absent and terrorizing SA. They will watch it on TV and see the
pictures of Table Mountain, Cape Point, Wine Farms and wonder if it is worth
it to come out here given all the plastic vuvuzelas lying all over the

My personal suggestion to our highly esteemed elite is to suggest to the
businesses of Barrydale to board up their windows and doors just in case a
gang of soccer hooligans gets lost and end up here by accident or FIFA and
their cronies come looking for freebees.

Jurgen said...

Hi Massimo

I have a good laugh when I realize how similar Barrydale is to Riebeek Kasteel. Not similar insofar location, scenery and size is concerned, but rather when it comes to the attitude (and perhaps the mentality) of the average resident.

Yo many residents, Riebeek Kasteel is the "Centre of The Universe", the be all and the end all. It is as if these people have never travelled out of the town. Perhaps its a "big fish in a small pond" kind of scenario. In this dorp they are important people, thy have power, they have wealth and with it they feel that they are respected members of the community. Take them to Cape Town and they will be nobody.

We too have seen much discussion on the 2010 World Cup issue. With meetings between residents and the self elected so called "Tourism Committee" on ways to attract the big spenders to this dorp.

There are so many restaurants in this town, with more opening almost on a monthly basis, that they are all now fighting for the same slice of the "pie". As business is now quiet, they are all "suffering" or not doing as well as they would have thought, and so they are now looking at ways to boost business and to get more people to visit this town.

One of the "elite" (who has thrown many a customer out of his restaurant/guesthouse and told others that they are "not welcome" when they have complained about his shoddy service ) feels that putting flower boxes below the windows of the businesses (in the town) and flower baskets on the lamp posts of the town, would go a long way in attracting people to this town. He feels that we should use "Europe" as an example.

Riebeek Kasteel is not "Europe" , neither is it Stellenbosh or Franschoek. There are some genuine and pretty "Cape Vernacular / Victorian " houses in the town, that have been tastefully restored. There are however a lot more ugly modern houses (from the 70's ) that are more suited to areas like Bellville and Durbanville). Houses that really look out of place in a rural country village.

I have noticed how the shop owners, businesses and residents in Franschoek go to a lot of trouble to make their front gardens and the area in front of their respective businesses look beautiful and appealing - a way to welcome visitors. Sadly this does not happen in Riebeek-Kasteel.

Yes, it is a small rural town and it does have its charm - insofar its setting close to the mountain and the surrounding pesticide enriched vineyards are concerned.

Yes there is the occasional attraction like Garden Bleu the wrought iron furniture shop,the colonial stoep of the Royal Hotel, and then the interesting "Short Street " complex. But that is about all that the town has to offer - besides many restaurants ( some good and others not) and then a bevy of B&B's.

As business is not so good (a world wide trend ) and property is at an all time low (nationwide), those in the know ( and believe me there are plenty) are looking to pin their recent misfortune on someone. And what a perfect opportunity to blame their misfortune on my wife and I, for destroying the town, their businesses and the property market, simply because we disapproval of the pesticide issue and have made it quite clear that we no longer wish to have our house and garden, ourselves and our children, sprayed with a cocktail of highly toxic pesticides.

They have called meetings, they have suggested putting money into a collective "kitty" to be used to sue us and the press, for the bad publicity that the pesticide issue has given to the town.

Instead of approaching the cause of the problem (one farmer who has been spraying in an unlawful manner)and asking him to follow the recommendations of experts (professors and representatives of Agriculture and other organisations) and to furthermore spray in a lawful manner, they instead chose to "shoot the messenger" and to attack my wife and I.

Its an attitude like this, that makes the town "ugly" as far as we are concerned.

We have been thrown out of two local restaurants and told we are no longer welcome, and that the farmer has told them ( the owners of the restaurant) that if he sees our car parked outside, he will have their restaurant boycotted ( presumably by his friends and and associates ).

What message are they sending across? You are only welcome to spend your money in our establishment if you allow the towns most influential farmer to continue spraying unlawfully ( as he has been doing for decades)?

So money is more important that health? More important that principles?

Clean up the town, clean up the town square, landscape it and keep it green. Refurbish the "shop frontages" , plant more trees, upgrade the roads .. and your attitudes. Perhaps then the town will be able to emerge from being a Dorp stuck in a time warp, to something more in with the times. Apartheid is long gone and its time to remove the last remnants that are still visible.

Anonymous said...

@ Jurgen
What you're describing is extremely sad. This happens when people chose their petty interests instead of truth, justice and objectivity. These people don't make a community, make hell.
Priorities are upside-down and stupidity once more reveals the consistency of a cosmic inalienable force.
Don't despair. I'm sure that the majority of the "thinking" community is with you and that good sense sooner or later will overcome this collapse of conscience.