Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Clippety-Clop Blog

Mrs Kaartman and I began our married life teaching at Kettley’s Country Day School. I mention that because Kettley’s has not a single entry on Google, and it’s high time it did – anyone who would like to share anything about that extraordinary school can contact me at
    This was the only non-racial South African school during the apartheid years of BJ Vorster – and it was, to boot, a private school that uniquely served the economically disadvantaged. It sadly died when a crooked lawyer wrote a crooked constitution for its Board of Governors, and a huge grant of cash that Anglo-American wanted to pump into the place simply withered away ... but I digress. My sole purpose in mentioning Kettley’s was a sneaky way of bringing me to Cape Town High School. 

A Kettley’s kid in the school playground

One of my jobs at Kettley’s was to find high school places for our graduating Standard Fives – usually two or three kids in the early stages of spotty adolescence. There were five of them in that year when all their parents wanted them to move on to Cape Town High School.  I was sent off into the City to see the Principal, hoping to convince him that our Kettley’s kids would be worthy entrants.
        Max Leeuwenburg was the Principal at the time, a tall, rangy man with bushy eyebrows, a ready smile and (so his son Jeff always claimed) a grandfather who had been a Dutch pirate in the Sumatran sea. Before I could put my kiddies’ case to Max he smiled piratically and said, “Tell their parents that they’re all accepted. Would you like a cup of tea?”
    That was that – no entrance tests, no academic records, no nuthin’. “Kettley’s kids are always,” Max explained, “an asset to my school.” Turned out that Kettley’s tiny contribution in numbers had led to a regular stream of Cape Town High head girls and boys over the years; my lot were no exception – two of them went on to become heads of their new school.

Some Kettley’s kids – a couple of future Head Girls and Boys
 amongst them – with some friends. At Toorwater hot springs in
 the Karoo; the two under-dressed little girls flanking the boy
 with the snowball have just come out of the 38°C pool ...

Which was why, a few years later, I went back to Cape Town High with a problem around a child who had reached the registration age for national service in the bad old SADF. The head had changed; Neil Berens was as tall as Max, with a beady eye and a ready smile but (probably) no pirates in his family tree. I put my problem to him: how to register this boy – who might have held foreign citizenship – for National Service. Neil smiled; he winked engagingly and piratically and replied, “What National Service?”
That was about 1979, and I reckon that this singular act of civil defiance might have been the tipping point that eventually led to the collapse of the authoritarian National Party government, also known as the Apartheid Regime.
At about the same time we got to know Neil’s wife Penny – not well, you understand, but through the regular appearance of the Std 5 girls from Micklefield School on an environmental course we ran. Penny was principal of the school, but the girls would be accompanied by June Clark, a most wonderful person who, as the girl’s geography teacher, was constantly embarrassed on these courses because the Micklefield girls were from the only school that regularly got lost. We used to set visiting kids off to find the campsite all by themselves; they had to walk about 3km down a wide-open beach, cross a large, open and shallow pan with no geophysical obstacles, where they would be met by local kids who would guide them the rest of the way (often by actually holding their hands).

Of all the schools who ever came to us, only the Micklefield girls regularly (in fact, on an annual basis) got lost during this challenging endeavour ...
Which is a sneaky way of introducing the very excellent Chris Berens, the son of Neil and Penny, who has made up for the geographical ineptitude of generations of Micklefield Std 5s and his father’s wilful disregard for dictatorial authority by becoming a most estimable mapmaker and artist extraordinaire. With Fiona Berrisford he is the creator of those amazing silver and blue moon and tide charts that you’ve seen in your own and your friends’ houses.
Chris also creates maps, and you can find out more about them at . He also runs MapLand, a spatial data management consultancy that specialises in a “common sense approach to mapping”. Which is why we asked Chris to produce this superb relief shading for our forthcoming Cederberg Hiking map:

Chris’s work on the left; combined with
our own height shading, on the right ... 

... and here’s a little piece of the final map, to whet your appetite ...

Click on the map sample to enlarge it ...

Chris’s own commercial maps include wall maps of South Africa, the Western Cape and Limpopo, but you should also visit ClipClop’s own site to see the full range of their creative genius: . There’s a great glimpse of Fiona’s wonderful mosaics, too. Buy ClipClop products now – they come in neat cardboard tubes and make absolutely fantastic birthday, wedding, Christmas, you-name-it presents, too.
Kom koop!
Kaartman, July 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Bunch of Baboons

“Get Peter Slingsby’s Baviaanskloof map – a Baviaanskloof adventure without it is like a house without a stoep.” So wrote Barnie Louw, Editor of ‘Drive Out’ mag a year or so ago. Clearly ‘Drive Out’s sister mag ‘Weg’ felt that the stoep was big enough for two, and they’ve banged out their own ‘Baviaanskloof’. On the same waterproof paper, too, probably about the same size [I haven’t bought one yet], and R23 or 20% more in price. Oh well, competition’s good for us all, but I couldn’t help feeling that ‘Weg’ might have started off with one of the many areas that desperately needs a map, but hasn’t got a good one yet – like Richtersveld or Magaliesberg or somewhere.

But I’m not here to promote someone else’s stuff, especially if I haven’t seen it yet. Our ‘Baviaanskloof #3’ is about to hit the shelves [Friday 6 July] and it’s a substantive upgrade on edition #2. We never ever ever reprint a map without upgrading, and we’ve had great inputs from Jane Zaayman, o/c of the official Baviaanskloof Tourism in Willowmore, who endorse our map. At the other end of the Kloof some of our best fans are at the famous Tolbos Farm Stall in Patensie; Hetsie Scheepers gave us some good stuff to improve the eastern end. Finally, Dieter van den Broeck and his wife Sylvia Weel of ‘Living Lands’, who have become an integral part of the whole Baviaanskloof community, filled us in on the Presence Learning Village and their other projects.

Click on the sample piece of the map to see an enlargement
Add to that an all-round improvement in colouring, symbolization and GPS info that’s now in line with our other more recent maps, and first class world-class printing by Creda Communications, a great local company – local is lekker, especially local employment [we don’t print at three times the price offshore, in Italy for example ] ... and the price is still the same, R87.50 online, or even less at some retailers, for this superlative, double-sided map.
Entering Baviaanskloof at the Willowmore end: 
Nuwekloof Pass, Die Slot van Baviaanskloof, Rooikuif Rocks
One thing we could not determine – apparently the steeper parts of a couple of the internal passes are being concreted, but no info was available when we went to press, so for safety’s sake we have still characterised those routes as 4x4 recommended. Mind you, raising the Kouga Dam wall is in the pipeline and that’s going to mean the re-routing and rebuilding of at least 12km of the R332 at some future date, but it won’t be for a couple of years yet.
Willowmore cedars; Leguaan; Pelargoniums; one of the
 countless side-ravines for which Baviaanskloof is famous
In the meantime, enjoy the Bavvies with our ever-helpful map; there are 64 places to stay located with their telephone numbers, full GPS info and distances, and a host of activities from hiking to twitching, 4x4 routes, where to eat, where to picnic, all the great stuff I hope you expect from our maps. On 111 gsm waterproof, tear-resistant Duraflex paper, too.
Baviaanskloof people
You can even read it while sipping coffee, on your stoep. Remember – it was the first map, and it’s still the best!
Some of the 64 great places to stay

Witpoortjie; Kouga Dam; Combrink’s Pass
Kaartman, July 2012