’I’m actually from Kuilsriver, but we moved to Paarl and I got heavy asthma - so we decided to move here. Since we’ve been here I don’t get any asthma - nature became my health-pill here. I’m relaxed. We are totally off the grid - we don’t have a landline, or cell reception and the police van doesn’t even catch his radio signal here. We are cut off from the world and like it that way - and the kids can’t bother us unnecessarily. We do go to town once a week and then they can reach us. If there is an emergency the police will come out and call us. I prefer this place, because here you can actually see the stars - you get the feeling that they are so near that you want to pick them like flowers, while in town you don’t see it as there are too many lights around you. Here you get the darkness and it is so near to nature. I look at the moon basically every night because I walk up and down between the kitchen and here. Actually when I look at the moon I can almost tell you how many days it will be until full moon or till dark moon. You pick up a lot of things about the nature - like when it will rain. You can tell by the baboons and how they are screaming, by the ants carrying their food. Nature is absolutely part of my life here and I wouldn’t exchange it for town - not at all. I mean, you can’t actually describe all of this, you got to be here to feel it - to be part of it… sort of. I just acknowledge myself as a very privileged person, to be here - just to see the sky and nature on the ground and everything all come together. You have to be here to see what is going on - to live with it. Then you start to believe how great nature is, how great God is. I mean he put everything there for us and it fits together like a puzzle. I got no worry about time because when you are in nature you lose time, because there are so many things you observe. Time is not a factor here. You must not worry about getting older because you will get older.’Read More
‘When I was a young girl, we didn’t have telescopes. We had small binoculars mostly because it was after the world war. Today there are so many telescopes - and they are amazing. From this little size from where you could see the moon and the Planets to that big one over there where you can see literally everything.’ - Jess van Elferen, Shopkeeper, Telescope Shop, Brakpan, Gauteng.Read More
‘So I think it can form a basis for humanity, the world, to say that we all have a relationship with the stars and we have used stars for different purposes. If we start sharing those experiences, those practices, those stories - it is one way in which we can unite our people.’
Sivuyile Manxoyi, South African Astronomical Observatory, SALT Collateral Benefits ProgrammeRead More
Ofentse Letebele is part of the team working to translate some of the old Planetarium shows to the new Digital Dome system.Read More
These rocks contain a high percentage of iron and their dark appearance forms a truly ancient landscape. The rocks make a metal sound when played; they are referred to with different names such as ‘rock gongs’, ‘ringing rocks’ or even ‘bushman pianos’. Found in various areas around the world and Africa, tradition formed around communicating with the help of the rocks - evident by the ancient drumming marks often found on them.Read More
'Meteorites or shooting stars are regarded in the Xhosa speaking community as a bad luck omen. This is because it is believed that when somebody dies they become an ancestor and the spirit of that dead person is wandering among the stars guarding us from the evil spirits. So if, perhaps, one dies as a bad person then that person would be a bad spirit or ancestor and up in the celestial sphere the good ancestors would kick out the bad ancestors - so when you see a meteor coming down you are actually seeing one of those bad ancestors being kicked out of the celestial sphere and it falls down. When you see this we say ‘let the bad luck pass us for we are not the only one who saw that’ - meaning that we associate that with bad spirit.'Read More
‘I’ll just tell them it is a thorny tree, it can get stuck into your clothes - you have to pull it out. It goes so deep into your skin that you need to rip it out - it is very dangerous plant. I don’t even want to get close to it and I keep my distance when I water it. It will pierce straight through your clothes into your skin - the thorns are that sharp.’ The same species of plant that was chosen for the photograph of Die Hemelblom (photograph to the right) was found growing in front of Wilhelmina Bostaander’s house in Carnarvon. Photograph inspired by Die Hemelblom, by Jan Rabie, first published 1971. The Hemelblom was sent to the earth by a concerned galactic council to ensure the survival of life on earth.Read More
‘Some people have this strange notion that there is a clash between religion and science. Especially when they come to a poor congregation, where the majority are poor people, they will think that they are perhaps creationist type of people - who reject science per se. That is not even close to the truth. In fact, I think we love science, we love to know more. We may have a certain interpretation of the wonders of creation, we believe in a creator, we believe that God not only created everything but that we are part of that creation and we want to really dispel the notion of science versus religion as always clashing. The Bible was never written with the intention of writing up a science handbook.’
Dr. Isak Potgieter, Pastor, United Reformed Church, Carnarvon.Read More
‘The half blood is not accepted by anyone, he is not ethnic enough for his own group and not good enough for the group he is descended from. So both groups reject him, but he posesses the skills and knowledge of both groups - the strong characteristics of both groups is combined within him. Even though he is initially rejected by the modern group and the historical native group, at the end of the day he unites them - he is the glue that keeps them together. He is the connection or the missing link between them and the two groups then fight together against what you can call the evil side - the bad guys in the story. With him as the leader figure. In the beginning the natives from the planet Kazdan, the Hunters didn't trust the Neanites who were technologically advanced - almost seen as gods. Like it was in the past when the white man landed in the Cape - everybody thought it was amazing and at the end of the day it wasn't that amazing and there is a golden middle groud to be followed and somebody has to take the lead - that is the half blood that brings the groups together. That is the initiating concept of my sci-fi story.’
Nico Smit, Sci-Fi Writer, ClanwilliamRead More
'For real, that is not a shadow, but an upright being squeezed up against the edge. Kind of like a human form with two arms and legs, a narrow, oval face framed by a cap looking like a bare skull, clothed in a blue overall that they only had a glimpse of previously. Dead quiet. Francois lowers the torch, lifts it again. One thing is for sure: this being is just as afraid as they are.'
From Die Hemelblom (The Heavenly Flower) by Jan Rabie, 2nd edition 1974, Tafelberg, first published 1971. Translated from the original Afrikaans by Nic Grobler.
The first encounter with Marwa, the main alien character in Die Hemelblom takes place in a collapsed cave near the Cederberg - she takes hands with the humans as they search for the a way out together.Read More
'Are we alone, I don’t know - the thing is we will probably never know. If we find a civilization that can signal to us, we’ve got to be able to signal to them. If they are a 100 light years away we are talking about a 100 years between every communication, and by then the other one may have died out or they may have not reached the communications technology or we may have blown ourselves up enough to have to start all over again. So we will probably not communicate with anyone out there - not in our lifetime. But there is probably someone. We are so proud that we call them aliens - we may be the aliens. Who knows.'
Chris Forder. Amateur Telescope builder.Read More
McClean telescope installed in 1897 at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town.Read More