May Writing Contest Winner – ‘Small Town Swops’ by Saskia Boonzaier

May Writing Contest Winner – ‘Small Town Swops’ by Saskia Boonzaier

Our Writing Competition winning-entry by Saskia Boonzaier.

The writing competition was a great success, and Saskia’s story was deemed the winner by our panel of experts. Her story is republished below and has also been published in the latest issue of Wildside TIMES. which is available at the SPAR and various other outlets.

“Saskia recently partnered up with Cathy Kilroe-Smith to form Dune Daisies, a local copywriting, editing & blogging business. If you’d like to read more about what these daisies do, check out their website: or drop them an email:


Small Town Swops

Small towns are known for their charm, special ways, and individuality. I am sure you’ll agree St Francis Bay is no different. We have our own sports clubs, pizza combos, pale ales, surf breaks, and bumper stickers. The views are breathtaking and there is a plethora of unique opportunities for its citizens. And let’s not forget the blissful lack of robots or rush hour.

One of my (many) favourite things about the small town we call home is its brilliant barter system. Have something to offer? There’s a good chance that you will be able to swop it for items you desire. It’s all about knowing the people around you; something which is possible in St Francis Bay. And the beauty of a good barter is that you always give and receive more than the monetary value of the goods in question. I would love to share with you one of my bartering bonanza experiences …

Growing up overseas, I went to a high school where matric dances were not the massive productions that they are here. We borrowed dresses, did each other’s hair, and were lucky if a photo or two were taken by the math teacher outside the school hall. So, it was with disbelief that I learned about the extent and complexity of my daughter Jemma’s upcoming matric dance preparations. The dress code for her school was long and white. Seriously? Make no mistake, I am a huge fan of tradition, but ‘long and white’ sounded very much like a wedding dress to me – help!

Desperate to find a dress that would make both Jemma and our budget happy, I went to my favourite clothing shop; Gently Worn. This boutique is home to not only a wide range of pre-loved clothes, but the owners also happened to be customers of my organic vegetable business. The arrangement we had was this; I would deliver a weekly box of veggies and Angela would translate that into a credit, allowing me to ‘purchase’ her pre-loved clothes. No cash ever changed hands, and we both felt we were getting an amazing deal.

On the hunt for a miracle, Jemma and I browsed the rails and there, tucked in between a 70s floral house coat and a maroon jumpsuit, we found an utterly gorgeous, beautifully embroidered white wedding dress. When she stepped behind the changing room curtain to try it on, we all held our breath. She emerged triumphant. Not only did it fit, but she loved it, and it met the dress code! When we arrived at the till to settle up, Angela happily announced that I had enough credit (from my veggie sales) to cover its cost.

The day of the matric dance arrived and Jemma looked stunning, graciously receiving many compliments on her appearance. I overheard a friend of hers asking, “Your dress is to die for Jems! Where did you find it? In Johannesburg? Or did you get it especially designed for you in Cape Town?” Jemma looked over to where Anton and I were standing and, with a slight, sardonic raise of her eyebrow replied, “My mum bought it for a box of vegetables.”

And that is why I love this town.



The Human Side Of Money presented by Client Care Lifestyle Financial Planning – The Importance Of Being Able To Talk About Money

The Human Side Of Money presented by Client Care Lifestyle Financial Planning – The Importance Of Being Able To Talk About Money

Research shows that money is the #1 reason couples cite when filing for divorce in the USA. Experience tells me that things are no different in SA. The truth is that our money personalities are hardwired into each of us at an early age. We all assume that everyone else views money as we do but we learn that this is far from the truth which often causes problems in our relationships.

We make money decisions every day and if we are not on the same page as our partner, the scene is set to explode like a piece of blitz next to a flame! She wants to spoil the kids or get that beautiful new vase for the house while he has spotted the new Taylormade stealth driver, and so it begins.

Money is very personal so when someone criticizes your use of money it can feel like a personal attack, the accusation feels like it is about you, the core of you not just credit card swipes or receipts.

Ideally money should be a topic that is discussed openly and calmly in a relationship. No-one should feel like they are getting an allowance or in the dark about family finances, an imbalance in money power in a relationship will lead to trouble.

Start by making sure that both partners are on the same page about how money is spent and what is acceptable spending and what is not. Create a budget together and reconcile it from time to time to make sure you are both happy with it.

Plan TOGETHER, what you want to achieve in life, for your family, and if this seems overwhelming, then work with a Lifestyle Financial Planner who can assist you in building that plan and help you make decisions that will get you to where you want to be.

I know it sounds hard, but just start.

Dirk Groeneveld, Certified Financial Planner

t. 083 261 9287


Previous Columns:

Cooking With Conrad Gallagher – Favourite Recipes – The Salmon Rillette

Cooking With Conrad Gallagher – Favourite Recipes – The Salmon Rillette

Welcome to our weekly food and cooking column, Cooking With Conrad Gallagher.

Conrad Gallagher is a Michelin Star chef and author and is the owner of Off The Menu Food Emporium and Bistro Vin De Boeuf in St Francis Bay. Conrad won his Michelin Star when he was only 24 years old. We are very proud to have him writing for St Francis Today. Furthermore, this is his regular column, Cooking With Conrad Gallagher.

In today’s column, Conrad gives us his recipe for the best selling dish – the Salmon Rillette



3 cups dry white wine

1 pound fresh salmon fillet (preferably wild), cut into 1-inch pieces

3 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1/4″ pieces

1 poached quail egg

1/2 cup (or more) Aioli

15gr chopped red onion

15gr chopped gherkin

15gr chopped capers

15gr chopped dill

2 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives

1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice

Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

2 slices sourdough, thinly sliced, toasted


  • Bring wine to the boil in a small saucepan over high heat and add fresh salmon. Gently poach until salmon is barely opaque in center, about 5 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Place salmon in a large bowl, cover and chill until completely cooled.
  • Add the smoked salmon, 1/2 cup aioli, chives, and 1 tbsp. lemon juice to the cooked salmon. Gently mix just to combine (salmon will break up a little, but do not over mix or a paste will form). Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more aioli and lemon juice, if desired to do in advance, Rillettes can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
  • Serve with a poached quail egg, crispy sourdough toast and watercress, lemon, gherkin, capers, dill & red onion.


Bon Appetite!


Conrad Gallagher

(to see Conrad’s first column – )

Notes From The Editor

Notes From The Editor

All images courtesy South African Surf Lifesaving Association/DHL


It was another big week and weekend for many St Francis residents. 

SA Lifesaving Championships

Last week the DHL Lifesaving SA Nippers and Masters National Championships took place at Kings Beach in Gqeberha. The St Francis crew were there, representing.

However, before the event began, the competitors were bolstered by the news that local lifesaving and swimming legend Amica De Jager had rewritten the record books in Durban at the senior Lifesaving Championships.

Amica won so many medals in an unprecedented streak and booked her spot in the ILS Africa Championship in Egypt in December.

In an article on last week: “The 22-year-old De Jager, who won five individual golds, a team gold and an individual silver in the surf competition earlier this week, added more silverware in the Pool Championship taking place at Newton Park, and also got confirmation of selection for Team South Africa’s participation at the 2021 ILS Africa Championship in Alexandria, Egypt, from December 1-5.”

Full article here!

But back to King’s Beach and the St Francis competitors. 

In the Nippers event, St Francis was represented by Jess, Nicola and Danni Harcus, Ethan and Emma Darke, Brin Jarvis, Liam and Jamie Schweitzer, Zoe Harding, Sloane Warner, Jamie White, Hayley Holmes, James Reed and Milla Aylesbury. In the Masters, we had Lorrin Jarvis and Claudia and Brandon Harcus. 

They were all representing Summerstrand Surf Lifesaving Club, which ended up winning the entire event. All the results and photos can be viewed on the Summerstrand Surf Lifesaving Club Facebook page here!  

All images courtesy South African Surf Lifesaving Association/DHL


Former World Champion Longboarder JBay’s Steve Sawyer Competing In World Title Showdown.

The World Surf League (WSL) Longboard Tour World Title race will conclude with the Jeep® Malibu Classic presented by Havaianas at one of the sport’s proving grounds, Malibu, California’s First Point. On October 11 and 12, former WSL Longboard Champions and the next generation of competitors will vie for their respective World Titles.

Sawyer, world champion in 2018, will be surfing in heat 5 of the first round. 

Steven Sawyer of South Africa surfing in the Heat 3 of Round 1 of the Cuervo Surf Ranch Classic on September 29, 2021 in Lemoore, CA, United States. (Photo by Thomas Lodin/World Surf League).

Border Historical Society Looking To Make Contact with Lynn Phillips From St Francis Bay

Message from Donald Davies, Committee Member Border Historical Society In East London.

Hi St Francis Today

I’m hoping you will know how I might contact Lynn Patricia Phillips from St Francis Bay. Formerly from Koonap River Farmers District, Grahamstown to Bedford, to Fort Beaufort area!

 Lynn relocated to St Francis Bay a few years ago. She hardly uses Facebook, and although I have had many conversations with her in the past about the history of that area of the Eastern Cape, I have been unable to establish a contact number.

 If anyone could assist me in making contact with Lynn, it would be most appreciated.  

 From Donald Davies, Committee Member, Border Historical Society In East London

 Phone 0824591254