There, where hope springs eternal

I met artist Shaunez Benting on a Friday afternoon in mid-May 2022. He’s based in Strandfontein, a Cape Flats’ suburb 30 km from Cape Town’s central business district. We chatted in the lounge of his brother’s house, where he currently lives. Various paintings had been arranged as a display; some against the flatscreen television, others just above dainty cushions on the couch. Many depicted street scenes of children playing, while others showed adults in conversation or musicians in action. All spoke to me in a deep way that immediately struck a chord with my soul, as the characters seemingly shared a piece of their own souls as they looked at me from the canvas. Seemingly, a moment in time somehow interrupted.

At the time I had just written about Spier Wine Farm and had been intrigued by the Creative Block artist career development programme run by the Spier Arts Trust (SAT). In essence, the programme issues local artists with white blocks on which to create art. Submissions are assessed at regular intervals by curator, Tamlin Blake, and selected works are purchased upfront from the artists. The pieces are then on-sold to art buyers through the SAT and its extensive network.

When design and passion meet in a garden

I recently found myself in a rather unique valley that lies hidden between the Atlantic Ocean and the Klein Karoo, visiting some of the increasing numbers of bespoke and exciting spots that keep popping up on these fertile soils. Perhaps one of the Breedekloof Valley’s most notable, if not most photographed structures is the chapel on Bosjes Farm. But this undulating roof, designed in sync with the early evening silhouette formed by the Slanghoek Mountains, may have some stiff competition if it is to retain that title.

As a working Boland farm, Bosjes has, in recent years, evolved into a day-out venue of choice for families seeking a respite from city life. Accommodation, eateries, wedding and function facilities have been added to the offering, the design of which has been guided by a philosophy central to every aspect of this emerging farm life. Led by Coetzee Steyn of London-based Steyn Studio, this philosophy draws inspiration from the ways of earlier San and Dutch inhabitants of the valley, celebrating a blend of culture and tradition, natural beauty and inspired design.

Life and Linguine in the Breedekloof

There’s something rather alluring about the simple pleasure of enjoying pasta fresca while exploring the backstreets of Firenze, Tuscany’s capital.  

Perhaps it’s the family recipe used to make the pasta, passed down from one generation to the next; maybe it’s the fresh ingredients sourced from local markets that require a crack of dawn risveglio to set you on a path to forage for just the right eggs. Then again, perhaps it’s the quaint atmosphere of the tiny trattoria where your enjoyment takes place, where a walk to the WC entails manoeuvring between fellow diners and leaves you feeling fresh off the samba dance floor as the requisite bead of sweat makes its way down your left temple. 

Whatever you put it down to, there’s nothing quite like fresh Italian pasta. Now, however, you no longer need to cross the African continent and navigate the Mediterranean Sea to satiate your taste buds. Nope, a simple trip up the N1 from Cape Town and over the Du Toitskloof Mountains will deliver you to the pasta-promised land in the small town of Rawsonville. 

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