THEY’RE JUST TOO GOOD!

by Melanie Baumeister
For the third year in a row the little drama group from Smutsville, Sedgefield has walked away with all the prizes at the Eden Drama Finale. This Saturday, 26 November, at the finals held at Knysna Secondary School, the adjudicators felt that Team Xplosive was so good that it had outgrown the development festival and moved up to the level of professional theatre practitioners. They underlined this by giving the team an ‘upgrade’ into the Zabalaza Main Festival.
Over the weekend the Garden Route was assured of some amazing local talent on display at the Eden Drama Festival Finale in Knysna. The event was hosted by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) in collaboration with the Knysna Municipality, the Zabalaza Festival at the Baxter Theatre, Absa KKNK and the Lunchbox Theatre in Plettenberg Bay.
But it seems that despite knowing they would be faced with the top local drama talent, the judges did not expect the levels they saw in Xplosive’s ‘Afsny Punt’. Described as ‘simply being on a different level’ – the Xplosive Team received the prizes for Best Director – Samuel Jumat; Best Actor – Llewellen Bond, Best Actress – Brutney Singrew, and Best Script – Samuel Jumat and Llewellen Bond.
“What awesome stuff – They were brilliant!” said Stuart Palmer of Lunchbox Theatre in Plettenberg Bay, who was one of the judges.
Due to this growth of talent, it was then decided that the production group Cay-Cay, who were initially second, would be the overall winner of this years Eden Drama Festival with their production of ‘Draaiende Wiel’.
The Eden Drama Festival has been on the go for six years, the Cape Winelands is in its fourth year and the Overberg in its second year. The initiative is funded by the local municipalities and no expense is spared to bring the art of drama to our local communities. Starting just over six months before ‘curtain up’, each team builds a script, which is then workshopped, edited and put through stringent production sessions. The actors and directors work consistently, alongside their usual every day lives of school, jobs , family and friends.
Team Xplosive’s piece “Afsny Punt’ centres around ‘Kyle’ (Llewellen Bond) who is locked in a closet with a pile of toys. Whilst taking a slow and calming breath he suddenly hears strange voices talking to him. He responds, but the question is: Who is he talking to?
Project Manager Moeniel Jacobs, of Knysna, said, “Well done to the youth for showing great commitment with this programme over the last six years, showing the hunger and need to better themselves with the arts and through the arts.”
Well done Team Xplosive! We certainly hope to see this award winning play performed in Sedgefield sometime soon!

FIRE GUTS STORMS RIVERMOUTH TOURISM HOTSPOT

 

On Friday 25 November, just a week or two prior to the start of the peak tourist season, a fire left the Tsitsikamma Cattle Baron Restaurant and the adjoining shop at Storms River Mouth SANParks camp in a smouldering heap of ashes.

The fire, which started on Friday afternoon and spread quickly through the connected timber structures, was fortunately kept to just those buildings, affecting none of the lodges and chalets.

SANParks spokesperson Nandi Mgwadlamba said that whilst the cause of the fire is under investigation it is believed to have broken out in the restaurant kitchen. Furthermore, even though the restaurant and nearby shop have been burned down completely, the rest of the camp is open and safe.

” A chopper was dispatched in time to protect the fire from spreading to the forest area,” she assured the media in an email dispatched at 9am Saturday, “It is currently under control and no injuries have been reported.  Park officials are meeting on site this morning to assess the extent of the damage, insurance teams will be on site tomorrow . The rest of the camp is safe and visitors carry on enjoying their stay in The Park.”

She added that activities such as hiking would still be accessible, and the popular route route to the suspension bridge was expected to be open by noon.

CELL PHONE TOWER DEEMED ILLEGAL

With mixed reaction from local residents to the cell phone tower which seemingly appeared overnight in Sedgefield’s Cola Beach area, the Knysna Municipality was called to comment on whether or not the correct procedure had been followed and approvals given. Whilst some living in the area were delighted to see the mast go up, believing that it would surely bring improvement to the terrible cellphone reception in that neighbourhood, others felt that the structure was not appropriate, and questioned why no-one living in Cola / Myoli had been given the chance to object.
“This is insane, the middle of a conservancy and residential area!” said one resident.
 
According to the Municipality, permission for the tower had not been granted.  A statement from Acting Municipal Manager Bevan Elman reads as follows.

The Town Planning Department conducted a site inspection on Thursday, 14 November. Officials found an illegal free standing base telecommunication station. This type of structure is not permitted on a residential property without prior municipal approval.

“As proper procedures were not followed by the property owner, the neighbouring property owners were not consulted prior to the erection of this structure. “A notice informing the owner of this transgression has been drafted and will be sent to the property owner’s postal address. The owner has 30 days to take one of the three actions that are in accordance with Section 87 of the Knysna Municipality By-law on Municipal Land Use Planning (2016), which are as follows:

  • To remove the structure and any other appurtenances related therewith with immediate effect; or
  • To submit an application for the approval, subject to the payment of a contravention levy, of the mast in terms of the By-law within 30 days of the service of the compliance notice and to pay the contravention levy determined in accordance with Council policy within 30 days after approval; or
  • To object to the notice by submitting written representations to the Municipality within 30 days of receipt of the notice.

Furthermore, the property owner has been advised that the submission of an application cannot be construed as a guarantee that the application will be approved.”

FOURTH IN THE WORLD!

Picture by Terence Vrugtman (@tvrugtman). Team Sanlam Painted Wolf – seconds after a sprint finish climax to over 100 hours of gruelling adventure racing. 

On the morning of Monday 14 November, just before 8am local time, the dark horse Team Sanlam Painted Wolf finished the Adventure Racing World Championships in a phenomenal fourth place, after a nail-biting sprint finish. Not even listed in the world adventure racing rankings, the team – made up of our local lads John and Mark Collins along with Andre Gie and Robyn Kime, showed nerves of steel, strength and stamina bar none, completing the 627km course one minute ahead of fifth place Team Naturex, a French team ranked 6th in the world, in 100 hours 25 minutes.
Speaking to his wife, Christine, once he had recovered enough to call her, John Collins said it had been the most exciting finish he had ever experienced in adventure racing. “And it’s actually thanks to the Aussies that we came fourth!” he told her. Collins explained how earlier in the race the Sanlam Painted Wolves had mistakenly left some stuff behind at a check point – and this resulted in a 30 minute penalty at the final check point before the final 18km run to the end. They had been more or less level with Naturex at the time, and so had to watch this team start the final leg 30 minutes ahead of them.
When they started along the beach they did not think they would ever catch up to the French team, and so were taking it easy, thinking that at least they were secure in 5th place. Then with about 7km to go they realised that an Australian team, Shotz Sport Nutrition, was coming up fast behind them. Suddenly under threat, they had no choice but to increase their running speed as much as their tired bodies would allow, desperate to stay ahead.
This near disaster turned out to be a good thing, because about 2km from the finish they met Naturex – coming 4th at the time – heading down onto the beach! The French team had decided to run part of the last leg on a parallel tar road route, and obviously not reckoned on the South Africans’ surge of speed – the teams were now neck and neck.
Despite having already covered a distance of 625km in just over 100 hours, the race was on! Fortunately for South African fans, the pump of adrenaline took the Sanlam Painted Wolves across the finish line a minute ahead of their French rivals, and fourth place was theirs. And this all thanks to the Aussie pressure from behind!
The winners of the World Championships were team Seagate of New Zealand (ranked No 1) who completed the course in a time of 95 hours and 4 minutes, whilst USA’s Adventure Medical Kits (ranked No 3) came second and Columbia Vidaraid- also of America and ranked No 2 – took third place.
97 teams of the world’s best adventure racing athletes from 20 different countries and every continent competed in this event, including another Garden Route flavoured team Merrell Adventure Addicts, comprising Graham Bird, Tatum Prins, Hanno Smit and Donovan Sims. This team, ranked 5th in the world, were favourites for a top ten position in the World Championships, but were unfortunately plagued with misfortune during the race, including a supply box containing much-needed food going missing before the fourth leg 95 km bike ride, and a broken bike derailleur which simply wasn’t fixable and could only be replaced much later in the race.
Showing their famous never-say-die attitude the Merrell team pushed through, eventually completing the course in 126 hours, 12 minutes and 48 seconds. Despite their misfortune along the route, they finished in a commendable 28th position, with their countrymen from Sanlam Painted Wolf cheering them in.
The 627km course itself was something that ordinarily only super-humans would consider doing. Thick forest, mountainous terrain, rocky shoreline, winding rivers, rapids, claustrophobic caves – basically anything the race conveners could throw at the athletes taking part. The 18 legs included a total of 115km on foot – trekking , running and climbing, 322km of mountain biking, 185km of kayaking and pack-rafting and 5km in a caving section.
Though adventure racing certainly isn’t a spectator sport, there was much excitement as family, fans and friends of the teams kept up with their progress online via satellite tracking, watching the dots move around the relief map, and keeping in contact with Terence Vrugtman – the team’s ‘on the scene’ photographic journalist, as well as other supporters via a very active Whatsapp group.
Huge congratulations to both teams – who certainly have done the whole of South Africa exceptionally proud.

HUNGRY FOR THE WIN

When you’re enjoying your well deserved coffee, post Saturday morning run, bike ride or paddle, spare a thought for the two South African teams who have been doing all of that non-stop since early Thursday morning. Currently representing us at the World Championships of Adventure Racing, Teams Merrell Adventure Addicts and Sanlam Painted Wolf are likely to finish only sometime on Monday. And that’s at the front end of the field.

Merrell, with a strong paddling pedigree, led the 97 strong field in the first 35km sea leg on cumbersome sit on top kayaks, and they remain in the top 8 chasing down the seemingly invincible Seagate, reigning world champions.

Its been a relentless, very fast paced race so far, as teams navigate themselves around an unmarked 627km route from along the coast, through the caves and across the mountains of Australia’s Shoalhaven region.

Addicted supporters get to follow the dramas of wayward route choices online via a series of dots overlaid on the course map as each team carries a gps tracking device – which tells us where they are but is of no use to them. They carry the maps, a compass and a driving determination to get to the next checkpoint as quickly as possible.

Merrell suffered a setback when their resupply box was not delivered along with everybody else’s, and, as they are not allowed any outside assistance, were forced to continue on for a further 13 hours without their anticipated nutrition. After a full 30 hours of racing they managed to get a proper meal in before heading off on their bikes again. They are planning a 3 hour rest stop at their next stop.

Some teams will continue until exhaustion causes costly mistakes – falling asleep at the wheel, traversing the wrong mountain or forgetting to collect a checkpoint (which would lead to disqualification) but Merrell is known for their strategic planning and often gather strength and surge forward in the later stages of these expeditions.

So spare another thought as you go to bed on Saturday night, and Sunday night, because this team will still be going, making us so proud.

Get addicted on http://live.arworldseries.com/arwc16/
Merrell is Team 6 and Sanlam Painted Wolf is Team 13

Picture by Kirsten Oliver, who is navigating her own way around the course to vantage points with a vehicle generously supplied by Ultimate Car Rentals and capturing some incredible images of the team and surrounds. See them all on the team Facebook: Merrell Adventure Addicts

As usual, Merrell is behind them all the way, with Black Diamond, PVM Nutrition, Ocean Eyewear, Squirt Lube, Island Tribe, ButtaNutt and Llama Bar giving their continued support for this awesome team of good friends: Graham Bird, Hanno Smit, Donovan Sims and Tatum Prins.

WORLD AR CHAMPS UNDERWAY – WATCH OUT FOR LOCAL TEAMS

Mark and John Collins of Team Sanlam Painted Wolf going steady on the first day. Picture by Terence Vrugtman (@tvrugtman)

The Adventure Racing (AR) World Series championship got underway today (10 November) .  Two SA teams – both with local members – our very own Merrell Adventure Addicts (Tatum Prins, Hanno Smit, Donovan Sims and Graham Bird) who are ranked 5th in the world, and winners of this year’s Expedition Africa, Sanlam Painted Wolf (Robyn Kime, John Collins, Mark Collins and Andre Gie), are amongst 97 teams of the world’s best, coming from 20 different countries and every continent.  

The race started at 3am (SA time) in Jervis Bay, near Ulladulla in the county of Shoalhaven, which is 230km south of Sydney, Australia.

The AR World Series Championship is a grueling nonstop course, that  will see competitors trekking, mountain biking, ocean and river kayaking, pack rafting, navigating and caving for 600 kilometres around the Shoalhaven and surrounds for up to 8 days.

‘Dot watchers’ can keep abreast of their progress by at this link live.arworldseries.com.  At the moment both teams are going exceptionally well and have been in the top 10, but anything can happen in adventure racing – so keep on watching!

According to website arworldseries.com, the top teams from nine AR World Series qualification races this year will be the favourites, bringing race winners to the start line from events which have taken place in Belize, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa, Paraguay, USA, Colombia, Ireland and France.  The European and U.S. national champions are also in the start list, as are the top 7 teams in the AR World Series rankings so there is no doubt this will be one of the most competitive races ever held.

What better place for the a magnificent adventure racing course:- a staggering 70% of Shoalhaven is designated National Park and there are dozens of rivers, lakes and bays, and 109 beautiful beaches, including Jervis Bay, with the whitest beach in the world. Wildlife is abundant, and the huge Morton National Park is renowned for its sandstone cliffs, canyons and forests. Host town Ulladulla is a beach and surf Mecca and nearby Nowra is a renowned climbing destination.

The 600km route was only revealed just before the race start with teams given their maps in ‘Lock Down’ (i.e. without access to phones/internet) and the course will be open for 8 days – which is shorter than previous XPD’s. 

The event is described as “a straight out linear race, no mandatory stops, no dark zones, no optional controls – pure adventure racing at its best!”  This is very much in the XPD ethos of ‘as much an expedition as a race’, giving all the teams time to finish the route and have their own adventure regardless of their position in the rankings. The leaders are expected to take 4.5 days to complete the route, sleeping only for a few hours at the time and place of their choosing.   (As always in adventure racing, tactics, navigation and team work will be as important as endurance and speed in the final outcome.)

The question is who will be the leaders?  It’s a very hard question to answer as there are so many experienced and elite teams in this race and any team getting into the top 20 will have had an exceptional race. Let’s hold thumbs for our local lads and lasses.

 

 

500th EDITION

It’s not often that a newspaper can make its own front page headlines, but we thought that this ‘five century’ milestone is one worth shouting about, especially as the growth (and indeed survival) of this community newspaper really has been a community effort.
Some locals may well be able to cast their minds back to November 1998 when The EDGE title was first launched, but if the truth be told the newspaper was officially started in February 1997 by Dee Bernard, under the ‘Sedgefield Advertiser & Wilderness Ways’ banner-head. It had a print run of 1500 copies.
Kelly and Bomber Webb bought the business in February 1998, and it was run by Kelly’s brave sister Kirsty Hayward whilst the Webb family finalised their immigration. At the time it was an A4 publication printed on bond, which normally ran to 10 pages, mostly as an advertising platform.
The new owners felt that in order to sustain the paper (there was a flood of ‘only advertising’ publications at the time) it would be better, and definitely more fulfilling, to steer it in the direction of ‘Community News’. The decision to change its name was made, and a competition launched to get the community involved in the process. Mrs Kruger, a retiree from Plett, suggested it be called The EDGE (she said that’s what the paper had on its competition) and so Sedgefield’s new community newspaper was born.
It seemed that the decision to include as much local news as possible paid off as the community soon adopted The EDGE as its own – even popping in to the offices on occasion to remonstrate with staff members about the odd spelling mistake. (“But what about the 25000 words I spelt right?” the editor would ask.)
With readership numbers growing year on year, the newspaper acquired a single-colour printing machine early in 2006, and in April that year, when it had reached a regular 32 pages per edition, the owners took the next bold step and increased the page size to ‘tabloid’ (A3).
“It’s like a real, grown up newspaper,” the staff told the elderly reader who came in to enquire why it no longer fitted into her handbag.
At that stage the printing process was lengthy, and the black and white publication, which was by then at a print run of 5000, took the best part of five days to print. A team of ladies would come in to fold and collate each edition.
By 2009 there were more and more advertisers asking for the inclusion of colour in The EDGE, so enquiries were made to a large print company in Port Elizabeth to see if going the full colour route would be a sustainable option. As it turned out the costs were not prohibitive, and the real clincher came when the company’s production manager was asked how long it would take for their high-speed web press to print, fold and collate The EDGE.
“About forty five minutes,” was the answer.
This meant, of course, that the newspaper could report on the latest news right up until the night before publication – which would obviously be far more satisfying for the editorial team and their readership.
And so, on 11 March 2009, edition 306 of The EDGE ‘hit the streets’ in glorious full colour.
From its humble beginnings of being run from a small corner of a lounge by a solitary, except-ionally stressed person, The EDGE is now designed and produced in its own dedicated building by a happy team of six. Still stressed, but cheerfully so.
This phenomenal 18 year ride would not have been possible without the wonderful support of our staff (paid and volunteer), advertisers, editorial contributors and, of course, our readers. So to you all we raise our grateful glasses (champagne, not reading) and say a heartfelt Cheers! Here’s to the next 500 editions!

 

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A COMEDY OF ALL THINGS… WELL… MISCHIEVOUS AND MUSICAL

This Saturday (22 October) at 19:00 performing artist Daniel Geddes will be doing a Musical Theatre / One-Man show at the Sedgefield Community Hall in aid of Busy-Bugz Early Childhood Development Centre. Music & Mischief is a celebration of all things musical and funny.

Featuring some old favourites, some new ones, and some not-so-favourites, it promises to be a laugh for anyone who’s ever loved musical theatre. And anyone who hasn’t. Entertaining from both in front of and behind the piano, Geddes takes you on a journey through some of the best contemporary tunes, and worst old classics. From Gilbert & Sullivan, to Avenue Q and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – show tunes as you know them, and others as you’d probably like to forget them – Music & Mischief promises great entertainment, sharp wit, and musical virtuosity. A must-see for anyone with ears. And eyes. Everyone really.

Daniel Geddes is an actor, dancer, musician and composer, based in Johannesburg. He completed his Honours Degree in Performing and Visual Arts at Wits University in 2014. Daniel has worked in various capacities in several theatre productions, performing in front of audiences around the world including Iceland, Norway and Greece. His most recent performances include the hilarious musical comedy Naked Knitting and Other Contradictory Acts, directed by Greg Homann, and Devil’s Wood, a piece commissioned by the French Institute and directed by SA theatre giant Sylvaine Strike. Daniel co-heads the theatre production company Liquid Fusion, whose current running production, Burn, won a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival 2016. In 2015 he was employed as Associate Musical Director for UJ Arts and Culture, and premiered his first collection of solo piano works at their Con Cowan Theatre in Auckland Park in September this year. His television credits include the upcoming Madiba series to premiere in 2017.

The show has an age restriction of PG13L. Tickets are available from Busy-Bugz, Sedgefield Tourism Office or Deo Gratia book lounge in the Pick n Pay Centre. Email busybugzevents@gmail.com if you prefer to buy an eTicket. Tickets cost R80 per person or you may choose a package deal that includes your entrance ticket, curry & rice and a glass of wine / beer or soft drink of your choice for only R120.

SEDGEFIELD MEETS WITH SAPS

Last night’s public meeting with Knysna’s SAPS leadership representatives and those of Knysna CPF, held at the Smutsville Community Hall, could only be described as frustrating. Both because of the low turnout of community members, and because Sedgefield is still no closer to getting an answer to the burning question – when will it be getting the long-promised fully fledged police station?
With such a topical and important issue up for discussion, one would have thought that the hall would have been packed full of concerned citizens, but this certainly wasn’t the case as only a smattering of people trickled in.
Some of those present pointed out that the meeting could have been started at 7pm so that people had time to get home from work, whilst another suggestion was the use of a loud-haler in the streets of Smutsville / Sizamile, to alert people about the meeting.
But the low attendance did not mean an easy ride for the panel, made up of Station Commander, Colonel Metu, Lieutenant Colonel Detective Commander Khan and Captain Kidd of Knysna SAPS, as well as Sedgefield Sector Commander Sonja Stander, Jessica Trail and Cheryl Brits of Knysna CPF and Juanita of Sedgefield CPF.
They heard tale after tale of poor service from the under-manned Sedgefield Station, from finding the doors locked and the lights off, to waiting hours and hours for response, to actually watching criminals escape because due to lack of SAPS members available to arrest them. There certainly was no shortage of frustration, and some of those present even suggested that mass-action protests might be necessary to get the village’s concerns heard.
Gary Atkinson, whose restaurant suffered a break-in only last weekend, asked how smaller towns such as Dusseldorp could have their own full-on police stations.
But whilst the SAPS members at least acknowledged that the lack of resources in the Sedgefield Sector was a big problem, asking those present to report the individual cases of bad service to the commander for investigation, they were unable to provide any solid answers as to when, if ever, a proper police station would become a reality.
Indeed one particularly shocking revelation came from Captain Kidd who pointed out that Sedgefield Station isn’t even a satellite station, but actually a lesser entity called a ‘contact point’.
“Satellite stations have designated staff who report there for duty, whilst ‘contact points’ have their staff deployed from the larger station,” he explained.
He quickly added that in discussion with Cluster Commander General Reddy, the problems in Sedgefield had been raised, and that they are certainly being given attention.
“I can’t say what or how, but it’s definitely looking up,” he said.
The meeting continued along the same vein for almost two hours, but in the end many of those attending left more frustrated than ever.
Said Mike Hoffhuis, head of Community Orientated Policing (COP) “It was very disappointing to see such poor attendance by the community as a whole. Residents are quick to take to social media and be keyboard warriors, yet when we need them to voice their opinion in person to officials, they are nowhere to be seen.”

DEMI-LEIGH, OUR MISS SA SEMI FINALIST

Our very own Demi-Leigh Nel Peters has been selected as one of the 26 Miss South Africa 2017 semi-finalists. This was announced at at an event hosted at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton City, Jo’burg.

This former (2009) Head Girl of Laerskool Sedgefield Primary has gone from strength to strength in her modelling career over the last few years, having been featured in a number of national magazines – often on the cover – as well as various fashion bill boards and promotional material.

Still in her final year of studying towards a BCom, Demi-Leigh is one of an impressive group of SA’s most beautiful women, representing six of the country’s nine provinces: Six women are from the Western Cape, 14 from Gauteng, three from Kwa-Zulu Natal and one each from the EasternCape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
She and the other ladies will compete for the prestigious Miss SA title at the Sun City Resort Superbowl on 25 March 2017 in an event which will be televised live and simulcast on M-Net and Mzansi Magic.