Great Easter Weekend

Great Easter weekend in St Francis

The weather certainly didn’t do our many visitors any favours although Sunday afternoon cleared to present those who have never visited our tiny hamlet with just an inkling of how wonderful it can be. Monday dawned and some must have wondered if we ever enjoy sunshine in these parts but after an almost cloudless summer stretching from October through to the Thursday before Easter, we hardly saw a cloud, the rain was most welcome.

The freezing rainy weather on Good Friday would have kept many under their duvets including this scribe who had every intention of attending Haydn’s 7 Crossroads but chose to keep his nose beneath the covers. Classical musical lovers no doubt, at least those who braved the cold, must have revelled in the performance of the quartet from NMMU who hopefully they will return some time in the future. Maybe a little Mozart next time around?

Saturday’s weather thankfully cleared sufficiently for the market not to be washed out and oh what an attraction this has become. Those who visit the market regularly cannot but have noticed how it has improved in both quality and quantity over the past six months or so. The organisers, St Francis Tourism with others, have truly made this a highlight on our monthly calendar.  There really is something for everyone and with the added choice, even those who have regularly offered their products over the years have benefitted from the bigger crowds. Certainly it was a holiday weekend so bigger crowds would be expected but the market at the end of March was equally busy and illustrates that the organisers are doing it right.

An interesting addition to the exhibitors on Saturday was St Francis Property Owners where several of their committee were available to explain the ins and outs of the proposed SRA that has dominated the minds of many over the past months. Armed with copies of their recently released newspaper ‘St Francis Future’ they were undoubtedly able to set the minds of some of those who could not make up their minds on their vote at rest.

Another newbie at the market was St Francis Animal Rescue with a stand selling doggie treats and paraphernalia. In addition to their market stall SFAR also held a street collection that according to SFAR spokesperson Sue Rae Fox was a huge success and perfectly illustrates the generosity of the St Francis community who support the efforts of SFAR in reducing the number of puppies being born every month with their “Open your Eyes – Sterilize” campaign as well as the work done at their weekly Thursday clinics. Something worth noting is that every member of the SFAR team is a volunteer and every penny raised in their fund raising efforts is spent on sterilising cats and dogs or on treating animals against parasites and purchasing much needed inoculations to prevent canine illnesses spreading to the pampered pets of the village.

It what was rather a dog day weekend SFAR also held their popular ‘Mutt Strut’ at St Francis Links on Easter Monday. Unfortunately the weather played foul and although several ardent dog walkers arrived, they chose not to walk but did donate. As the rain cleared a few late comers arrived and did take the walk through the links following the 5 kilometre Park Run course.

And not to be omitted from the weekend’s events was of course the annual ‘King of the Kromme’ paddling race but more on the race later in the week.

Weekend in pictures

St Francis Market

Garth Perry of Bushbuck Gardens

St Francis Animal Rescue at the St Francis Market

St Francis Animal Rescue street collection.

After market gathering



Sea Vista Marimba band off to China

Local Children’s Band To Perform In China

Sea Vista Steel and Marimba Band off to China

Back : Abulele Silolo, Dean Kalo (bandleader and teacher), Bafana Santi, Ayanda Hlela , Grant-Login Harris and Banele Speelman Front : Sagin Rala (crouching) and Jo-Andre Swarts

At the invitation of the Yangcheng Municipal People’s Government, Jincheng city northern China, the Solid Rock Steel & Marimba Band will leave South Africa on 25th January to fly to Jincheng to participate in that city’s annual Chinese New Year festivities.

“This opportunity came about after a Chinese delegation, who were visiting the Sarah Baartman Municipal District, attended one of our shows at the Cape St Francis Resort,” said band leader Dean Kalo. “We often do shows for groups of tourists at the Resort and we always get a good response. But this invitation came as such a wonderful surprise! We have never been on a plane and most of the boys have never travelled beyond the Eastern Cape!”

The trip will include a 20 day stay in Jincheng with the band playing each morning in the grounds of the Prime Minister’s castle and then enjoying various cultural experiences and shows in and around Jincheng. The boys aged between 14 and 17 will travel with their band leader and teacher, Dean Kalo and other delegates from the Sarah Baartman Municipality who are sponsoring the band’s trip abroad.

Lesley Moore who founded the band in 2001 at the Talhado Children’s Haven is brimming with pride. “We have had our work cut out for us getting the boys equipped for this trip with passports, vaccinations and everything that goes into planning an overseas trip for the group and their equipment. The Sarah Baartman Municipality have been wonderful in assisting us and we are certain once the boys arrive in China, the Chinese people will receive them with open arms and make sure they are very well looked after. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for these youngsters.”

The boys who are travelling with the band are 25 year old Dean Kalo (bandleader and teacher), Ayanda Hlela (14), Sagin Rala (17), Abulele Silolo (14), Bafana Santi (15), Banele Speelman (15), Jo-Andre Swarts (15), and Grant-Login Harris (16).
Make us proud boys!

How Can You Help?

The band is often asked to play at weddings and other functions, and are regulars at the Cape St Francis Resort and St Francis morning markets. The biggest hurdle they face in fulfilling their engagements is transportation. The Haven are looking for a good Samaritan or Samaritans who would like to take on the responsibility of collecting and returning the boys and their equipment trailer from Sea Vista. If you can help call Lesley Moore on 0825561050

Article and Photograph by Lynn Aitken