Creative Calvinia

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There’s nothing boring about the town of Calvinia…

Text & Pix by Chris Marais

The Calvinia Museum is the Imaginarium of the Upper Karoo.

Here’s a very large stuffed sheep that looks like a Victorian blow-up toy because its fleece is massively flared out.

This fellow belonged to one Danie Poggenpoel of Bonekraal Farm in the Roggeveld Mountains.

It went missing up in the hills for a couple of years and skipped a couple of seasonal haircuts – hence the 38cm-long fleece.

But the biggest display at the Calvinia Museum belongs to the Lombard Quads. Klasie, De Waal, Jan and De Villiers from Loeriesfontein were born in the Calvinia Hospital in 1951.

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The Lombard Quads – place of honour in the Calvinia Museum.

Their mom, Johanna Lombard, immediately took on the nickname of Hannie Vierling (Hannah Quadruplet) and you couldn’t tell the babes apart at all.

They all grew up in the area and were working for the local meat co-op by the mid-1970s.

The museum has all their baby stuff on display: bottles, toy cars and monogrammed hats and handkerchiefs.

Let’s get some fresh air. We hop in the car and drive down the main road past the church and the biggest postbox in the world. Hmm.

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Jorg Genzmer sizing up part of one of his decorative frames.

Just out of town on the Nieuwoudtville road is the local golf course.

For anyone used to the green links of Johannesburg or the Garden Route, this is like golfing in the Twilight Zone.

In winter, you play in desert sand. When you putt, your caddies have to carve a way forward to the tin cup with a roller. In spring, you play through a delirium of daisies. Either way, it’s golf like you’ve never known it before, Jim.

Corne and Jorg Genzmer are a husband-and-wife team of illustrators, photographers and graphic designers who live in a sprawling house in Calvinia and make the most incredibly ornate wooden frames – works of art.

The frames are inspired by the cultures of tribes all over Africa and are adorned with exotic African additives like engraved copper, Nguni beads, makalani nut shells and cowries. They’re mostly sold overseas and take months to complete. But there’s no rush. They live in Hotel Calvinia, right?

Calvinia Info:

  • Die Hantam Huis: Call 027 341 1606 or visit http://www.calvinia.co.za. Email hantamhuis@calvinia.co.za;
  • Calvinia Museum: Call 027 341 8500. Address 44 Church Street, Calvinia.
  • For a great morning amongst the seasonal daisies and the year-round succulents, visit the Akkerdam Nature Reserve outside Calvinia.
  • If you’re around during the last week of August, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the Hantam Meat Festival – sharpen the knives and let the protein in!
  • In Nieuwoudtville, less than 70km to the west of Calvinia, lie the Hantam National Botanical Gardens. For a guided tour of this great natural asset, contact Colleen Rust on 027 218 1200 or email hantam@sanbi.org.za
  • Another great day drive from Calvinia is to make the 120km drive east to Williston and take in the country delights of the Williston Mall: books, art works, mementos and the best pink milkshake south of Sandton.
  • You can take the R355 north to Loeriesfontein (90km) and visit the second largest collection of windmills in the world at the Fred Turner Museum.
  • African Windows Image Frames: Corne and Jorg Genzmer. Call them on 027 341 1100 or 076 7199 817. Email Corne on cornegenzmer@gmail.com

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2 Responses to Creative Calvinia

  1. corne November 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    What wonderful work you guys are doing! Thanks for the wonderful articles, pics and stories that take us on meandering journeys through the Karoo, specially the one about Calvinia!

    • dirk van Rensburg December 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

      awesome to read you are such talented people… we love you for all your great work and books. thanx for Karoospace !

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