Swellendam, just the right place for a winter school.

Having proved itself as a nurturing environment, Swellendam offers a lifestyle that will allow your creativity to thrive. This is how linographic and silk screen print artist Esme Kruger replies when asked why there is such a
concentration of experienced artists and other experts in this small historic town; and why they are willing to share their wisdom and skills with others at the Swellendam Winter School. Silence prevails here, she says while we gaze through her lounge window at the Langeberg mountain range that rises up in breathtaking proximity behind the little town. In Pretoria, where she lived and worked for most of her life, there was no rest – as people living in other cities and large towns probably also experience it to be. She says on a Saturday at 1pm in Swellendam, silence literally descends. You can then pick up a book and read. Or you can simply allow your creative
energy to be unleashed. What also plays a conducive role, is a stroll along the mountainside or an outing to the nearby De Hoop Nature Reserve bordering on the coast. She also mentions the friendliness of townsfolk, and that everyone greets one another. She had already been fascinated by the town as a child, when she had read the book by Mikro titled Die Rooi Geruite rok about the short-lived existence of the Republic of Swelllendam in 1795. During the 1980’s she had visited Swellendam for the first time, when the national road had still run through the centre of town and the grove of oak trees that lined the main road, had made a lasting impression on her.

Mariejo Wieho, whose course teaches you on three levels how to connect with your inner being and your Creator through breathing and stretch exercises, feels that the environment offers a good kind of energy within which the acquiring of new skills is easy. There is a balance between fire and water, and the mountain adds a metal energy that is very good for breathing.

Wendy Crafford, who will enlighten participants on the growing of organic vegetables, has a very down- to-earth approach. Swellendam offers water security, a favourable climate and a town that is well managed. It is located in the crossover zone between the winter and summer rainfall regions, which means you enjoy the benefits of both.

For Willemina de Wet the answer lies in the Langeberg mountain, at the foot of which Swellendam is nestled. “It is the most beautiful mountain with the most beautiful flowers,” she says. In her course spanning two days, she will help participants to appreciate the rich Cape floral kingdom and teach them how to identify genera. Her vision is for more and more people to become aware of how threatened fynbos is and that it is still possible to rediscover species that have been regarded as extinct.

Museum expert Johan Kriek tells a story about Lady Anne Barnard that dates back to the days before the town was actually established, when she use her artistic license in the late 1790’s to finish her famous sketches of Swellendam. In one of them, the floor of the Drostdy is depicted as being tiled with large white and black squares, which would have been highly unlikely during the days when dung was used as a floor cover. Historians were kept guessing for a long time. In another sketch she has the short and rather unattractive clergyman Dominee Johann von Manger, who had been responsible for the town acquiring its status as such by building a church, staring through a window with the magistrate’s daughter, so as to avoid the problem of his round face and long upper lip.

If you are also keen to discover solutions at Swellendam, visit the website www.winterschool.co.za or get more information by calling 078 778 5365, or write an email to admin@winterschool.co.za .

As jy ook oplossings op Swellendam wil kom vind, besoek die webwerf www.winterschool.co.za of kry meer deur 078 778 5365 te skakel of ‘n e-pos aan admin@winterschool.co.za te stuur.