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“De Rust Heritage Now” 

September Newsletter # 9/2019 

“Special Spring Festival Edition” 

This special newsletter can be read or downloaded as a pdf file here



This month we are focusing our attention on the inaugural “De Rust & Meiringspoort Festival” which is being held over the week-end of 20 to 22 September. Our heritage includes the issue of preserving and restoring our environment for future generations.  

Issues of culture and past histories of those who are long gone are included in the above and as the current custodians of our world we are all equally responsible in ensuring we leave our communities and environment in a better place than found it. 


De Rust and the Environment  

De Rust is situated in a valley at the en-trance to Meiringspoort being part of the Swartberg Nature Reserve which is a World Heritage site. 

The area is re-nowned for its wide variety of flora and fauna including the hardy pelargonium which was first discovered in Meiringspoort and then exported to Eu-rope in the 1800’s where it became a favourite bloom.  

In addition De Rust is ideally situated from an eco-tourism perspective in order to be able to reach Prince Albert, the Swartberg Pass, Oudtshoorn and other places of interest in the Klein Karoo. 



Winters are cold at night but with beautiful mild sunny days which are ideal for outdoor activities. Summers are hot – particularly in January and February but with beautiful evenings. The weather is generally dry but with occasional short sharp thunder storms in summer and winter rains from cold fronts coming in from the west. 


The Flora  

The flora is varied with particular reference to succulents which thrive in this climate. In addition, the “Spring Flowers” in this part of the Klein Karoo are an outstanding feature in August and September of each year. However, all seasons are part of the Cape Flora array. 


The Fauna  

The fauna are also very varied including large and small buck varieties, the Cape tortoise and of course the birds. The wide variety of birds make this a favourite area for keen birders.  

For more information on the flora and fauna investigate our website.  


The Program  

The inaugural 2019 “De Rust & Meiringspoort Festival” will be taking place over the long week-end of 20 to 22 September and it is anticipated that this will become an annual event. 


Friday 20 September :  The Festival will commence on the evening of Friday 20 with a welcoming address and Art Exhibition by local artists for visitors and exhibitors including a welcoming drink. There are a variety of talented artists in De Rust who will be exhibiting their work. 


Saturday 21 September : The day starts with a Morning Market in the Main Street with stalls set up outside the various shops and other businesses. The Art Exhibition with local artists will also be open and will continue until mid-afternoon. 


In addition there are the following attractions: 


 09h00 - Birders Walk: This will start at the Tourist Centre in the Main Street and will be hosted by the De Rust Birders  

 11h30 - Visit to De Rust Koppie: A guided tour of the Koppie and the various plants to be found there.  

 Other options include “A Walk in the Swartberg” on the farm Voelgesang which was part of the original farm De Rust.  

 A Horse Trail with owner Celia le Roux in the mountains near Doornkraal  

 17h00 – Meet at the Meiringspoort Waterfall Parking Area: The will be saxophone music and a talk on the history of the “poort” with a complimentary drink. Following this go on to the Meijersrust Guest Farm at the entrance to Meiringspoort. There local long term residents of De Rust will be sharing stories of the early days of the Village and District as well as eco-friendly practices. This will be followed by a meal at a cost of R 150 which includes the Meiringspoort event. Please bring your own refreshments. 


Sunday 22 September  : The Festival will conclude with a Church Service at the NG Kerk in Le Roux Street at 10h00:  

There will be a gospel singer as well as a sermon directed at the fruits of the Bible including figs, grapes, pomegranates and wine.  

This service will be bi-lingual to enable a wide variety of attendees. 


Some Final Thoughts: The major aim of the De Rust & Meiringspoort Festival is to encourage a wider appreciation of using our environ-mental resources more effectively, while at the same time enhancing the fantastic eco-tourism potential of the Village.  

In turn this will provide sustainable development and job opportuni-ties for all residents on a wider basis than at present while giving visitors the opportunities of participating in this varied eco-environment. Building sustainable communities is one of our major key objectives including the suburb of Blomnek where many unemployed reside. 

Future projects include cleaning up the De Rust Koppie and obtaining the assistance of Cape Nature and the Oudtshoorn Municipality in ensuring that this valuable resource is protected for future generations. At the same time we will ensure it is not lost to the wider De Rust community. It also includes the rehabilitation of the “Old Grave-yard” on the Koppie as well as providing better information on the Village to a wider audience both locally as well as for international tourists. 

At the same time De Rust is becoming recognised as the central hub of the “Klein Karoo Heritage Trail” stretching from Uniondale in the East to Calitzdorp in the West. All of these destinations are within an easy day trip from De Rust using the Village as a base. See our web-site for more information on this latest new initiative.  

In addition to the above the September, 2019 Edition of Country Life Magazine has a cover story on De Rust which is well worth a read. Copies are available at your nearest bookshop, supermarket or from  

Our sincere thanks to all the De Rust folk who participated with Chris and Julie in the story.  

We appreciate the efforts on the De Rust community in making this event happen. For further advance information contact the main De Rust & Meiringspoort Festival 2019 organisers Willie Immelman on 082 952 2001 and or alternatively contact Callie Burger on 082 455 5487. Tickets for the evening event at R 150 are available from either person.  

De Rust   20 August, 2019 


This special newsletter can be read or downloaded as a pdf file here




“De Rust Heritage Now” 

August Newsletter # 8/2019


Winter is finally here and with it a certain amount of welcome rain as well as snow on the mountains which ensures our water supply.  


This month’s edition of our Newsletter is going to focus mainly on the issues facing many smaller communities in the Karoo and how some of them are resolving their issues. It is a well known fact that many municipalities across the country are insolvent and are increasingly unable to offer even basic services.    


We are therefore, adding the excellent article by Julianne du Toit from the latest Karoo Space Newsletter on the issues faced in Cradock where they live. It covers how that community is managing the serious issues facing them from the municipality owing Eskom over R 100 million, to lack of maintenance on basic services such as the local sewage plant and the supply of clean water to the community and how these challenges are being approached and overcome. 


The article by Julianne du Toit from Karoo Space is available here with photos by Chris Marais.  Alternatively go to 

The above article shows the serious state of affairs in many rural communities throughout the country and is a reminder of how communities need to work together to ensure service delivery of essential basic services. Although the Western Cape is in a better position than other provinces it is the responsibility of all communities to hold their elected municipal officials responsible for clean, efficient delivery of services to all involved. 


Article on De Rust in Country Life Magazine 

In addition to the above De Rust will also be featured in the September, 2019 edition of “Country Life Magazine” which will be available in the shops from mid-August.  

This article follows the visit by Chris Marais and Julie Du Toit of Karoo Space to De Rust at the end of May, 2019.  We will also carry a link to this article in our September Edition of “De Rust Heritage Now” as well as on our website.     


Heritage Western Cape  

On 18 June, 2019 a meeting between officials of Heritage Western Cape and the registered heritage bodies in the Southern Cape and Klein Karoo Region was held in George. Notes from this meeting are available on our website under Klein Karoo Heritage Forum on the drop-down Notes on Meetings. 

At the meeting certain undertakings were made by the Director of Heritage Western Cape but a month on there has been no further progress on the issues discussed. Again the question must be asked why are HWC not able to deliver on undertakings and why are they so slow in communicating with their registered bodies?  

Considering the lack of commitment by HWC to follow-up on promises made it appears that there is absolutely no merit in taking the time and effort in registering as a heritage body with Heritage Western Cape.  In addition, why are HWC carrying out basic activities that could be better handled at the local level and at the same time building capacity?  

It is clear that Heritage Western Cape has absolutely no idea on how to manage its own structure on a multi-disciplinary, decentralised basis and if this were a business organisation they would have long disappeared into oblivion. This reflects the current state of government and semi-government organisations in South Africa and is unlikely to change in the short, medium or long term.   



Coming De Rust/Meiringspoort Eco-Festival

The De Rust/Meiringspoort Eco-Festival is scheduled for the week-end of Friday 20 to Sunday 22 September, 2019. The anticipated final program as supplied is as follows: 

Friday Evening 20 September: Art Exhibition in the Church Hall 

Saturday 21 September 2019: 

Morning: Street Market and Art Exhibition continues. Also Guided Walks to the De Rust Koppie and Bird Watching 

Late Afternoon: Sundowners at the Meiringspoort Waterfall and talks on the flora and fauna

Evening: Long Table Dinner at Barry Meijer’s Farm Shed 


Sunday 22 September: Church Service on Biblical Foods such as figs, olives, pomegranates and wine.    

For further information contact the organiser Willie Immelman on or 082 952 2001   


De Rust 

01 August, 2019




“De Rust Heritage Now” 

July Newsletter # 7/2019 



HWC Meeting with Southern Cape & Klein Karoo Heritage Bodies 

 meeting between senior staff and Council Members of Heritage Western Cape and representatives of registered Heritage              bodies in the Southern Cape and Klein Karoo region was held in George on Tuesday 18 June.  

During the meeting there was frank discussion on the role that HWC should be playing, as well as a number of related issues particularly around better communication. For further information the detailed Notes from the Meeting are available here. 



More Autonomy for Some Identified Local Municipalities 

 Following the above meeting it was agreed that in the case of the structures within the Greater Oudtshoorn Municipality there was an opportunity in terms of the current structure to assess the role of the Municipality in order to allow for the grading of Level 3 properties.  

In terms of grading and the comment by Heritage Western Cape at the meeting that in the last year they had graded over 3 000 applications in Cape Town. Why are the majority of these not being carried out at the local level? 

In addition, in the case of De Rust where a Heritage Survey had been conducted some years ago by Professor Franco Frescura and his team from the then University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela University) this could be assessed as a first step towards having the Village formally graded.   

Another important point raised at the meeting was the lack of legal follow-up from Heritage Western Cape on cases where infringements were currently going unpunished. It was suggested by the HWC Legal representative that in many cases the best option was for municipalities to pass additional by-laws with sufficient sanction to cover this more effectively. 

The above issues are currently being discussed at Heritage Western Cape as well as at the local level by Heritage Oudtshoorn Erfenis and De Rust Heritage directly with the Oudtshoorn Municipality. 


Follow Up to Chris Marais and Julianne Du Toit’s Visit to De Rust 

Since the visit to De Rust at the end of May, 2019 their article has been submitted to Country Life Magazine and it is anticipated that it could be carried in the September edition of Country Life which is on the shelves from mid-August, 2019. We await final confirmation on this date. We also look forward to a further visit from Chris and Julie in the Spring with another project we are currently discussing with them. 


The Issue of Values: Values are often quoted by people at all levels of society but are seldom really understood – most people who quote “values” often believe that all should share their value system. This is not the case as seen below quoting from the work of Prof Clare Graves and Dr Don Beck.   

Equally, the issue of “heritage” is seen differently at different stages on the values spectrum. As an example a person who is battling just to survive is certainly not going to be interested in anything “heritage” and may in fact be part of destroying - rather than building heritage just to stay alive: 


 Values of Existence: Staying Alive at all Costs  

 Values of the Tribe: The Tribal Order and Good of the Tribe - Ubuntu  

 Power Now Values: I want “Power Now” not later but NOW  

 Values of Stability: Building a Stable and Safe Society for All  

 Values of Enterprise: Innovation/Industry and Success  

 Green Eco-Values: Saving the Environment and Our World  

 Integrated Global Values: Understanding the Global Values Mix 


Each individual globally is a mix of a number of the above values and the predominant value in their mix is how they will in all probability react. The question of values and change are critical in terms of the individual world views and how each person sees their world and manage change. It is important to note that no single value or mix of values is better or worse than others – it is how to best manage these constructively for the improved welfare of all.   

Based on the above research over more than 70 years, there is significant real world evidence to show that in South Africa in particular we have the “full mix” of values which are not always evident in many other countries. Based on this we need to carefully consider how to tackle many important issues including heritage. Heritage will succeed or fail depending on the understanding of how to manage the “values mix” present in our community, region or country.  

Understanding values is the key to building sustainable communities at both the micro and macro level. This in turn results in successful communities, regions and countries with positive values being in the majority mix. 


Launch of Klein Karoo Heritage Eco-Trail  

We have recently launched the Klein Karoo Heritage Eco-Trail including the towns of Uniondale, Prince Albert, Klaarstroom, De Rust, Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp. The tourism potential of this Eastern Region of the Klein Karoo is enormous and what is required is a window to assist in taking this information to the wider public both locally and overseas. In this regard the concept of an integrated tourism package directly linked to building “sustainable communities” including eco-tourism, heritage and other related activities is essential – see under Klein Karoo Heritage Trail.  


Tourism is the growth industry of the 21st Century and our objective is to ensure that the Klein Karoo region builds on this for a sustainable long term future. Linking heritage directly with tourism and particularly eco-tourism is a key component in building sustainable long-term communities. 


De Rust   

01 July, 2019