Thursday, May 06, 2010


We now officially live in Joubertina - or Joub Joubs as we affectionately call it. Thats a surprise - for us ,I mean. We never intended this to happen. We came to the Langkloof to live in Twee Rivieren. We left Cape Town for Twee Rivieren. Our dream, our road led there. Our path, we believed, led there. Joubertina was just the nearest dorp, a mere 5km away, a place we would buy supplies. Nothing more. It just goes to show...

Joubertina is not a pretty place really. It is flanked by wonderful mountains on either side, the Tsitsikamma and the Kouga, and deeper in, the Baviaanskloof. The main street is forsaken, litter strewn. There are no tree lined sidewalks, like other dorps, no quaint shops. The signs are mostly those red ones, sponsored by Coca cola. The shop fronts are uninspired. No broad stoeps here, no broekie lace, no shady tables under trees.

We have lived in Greyton. Picture postcard perfect as it is, one wanders down the oak lined lanes, browses in the many interesting shops, sips real capuccinos at a variety of restaurants and coffee shops. Not so Joubertina.
In search of koeksusters the other day, I went and stood in the queue at the take out chip and burger place where they are available, freshly made from a stainless steel bowl next to greasy frankfurters. I was surrounded by people from Africa, maybe Zimbabwe, Malawi or South Africa. I loved it, paper strewn, jostling, loud. Many, I suppose, would not.

Joubertina is that kind of place. A koeksuster kind of place - bought at the greasy spoon on the main road.
Actually you really have to know the locals in order to know where to buy things.
I have compiled some examples to clarify:
- the most beautiful bunch of exquisitely fragrant roses (VERY cheap - I believe) bought for me by L from the local hairdresser.
- homemade rusks, aniseed or buttermilk - we buy weekly from the shop that also does hair (a different hairdresser), sells coffins , milktart, bully beef and organises my contact lenses!
- the cheapest and best cheese is to be had from the local haberdashery store, who does clothing alterations, serves tea and satisfies all our stationery and small gift requirements.
- one of the best caterers in town takes orders from her place of employment - the bank!
- the cheapest and freshest milk - straight from the cow is available from the hardware store, who also sells second hand furniture. Fresh spinach is also often on offer!
- all laundry requirements are met by a take out shop, advertising pies and chips on a blackboard outside.
- I have found some great second hand clothing from a shop in town, and if there is nothing for me that day I can always buy some homemade jam, wool or fresh herbs in pots!
- immediate medical emergencies are normally diagnosed and prescribed for by the local pharmacist
- all clothing requirements are met by the three shops owned by neither Afrikaans or English speaking Chinese - ofcause they also sell radios, TVs and bicycles
- a courier service is run from the car repair shop who also meets all glass requirements and
- there is a great little deli at the liquor store

We know that there are many other services still to be discovered, but as all is not immediately obvious it is by word of mouth, and that word is definitely an Afrikaans one.
Anyway, we now live in the prettiest street in town - a long one that includes the school, the church, the dominees house, doctors surgery, the clinic and the sport field at the end. The people are pretty real. What you see is what you get. Mostly they are 5th or 6th generation, with hardly a transplanted city person in sight. We know all the English folk. And they, the towns folk, farmers, shop owners and everyone else it seems, knows us.

The people are friendly to us, allowing me to speak my very poor Afrikaans, rather than speak English. They just don't, speak English I mean. Everyone can understand it very well though.
Twee Rivieren, the home of all the English inkomers is often visited by us and our children. They all remain our closest friends. We miss them all, but with much to do, and much to keep us entertained, we are doing nicely here in Joubs!


  1. Anonymous9:18 PM

    Isn't it fascinating how God takes us to the unexpected places...
    I really enjoyed your description of Joubs, wish we could stop hanging for visas and come and see! Lots of love, Corli

  2. Riana9:09 PM

    Dit is die raakste beskrywing nog van ons ou dorpie, Joubertina. Thanks Michelle, I realy enjoyed it.

  3. This sound like the place we have been searching for, to get out of the rat race in Cape Town. I teach (in English) and all small towns I've researched are Afrikaans, how did you manage the transition? Lee

  4. We also left Cape Town - and the transition was not all plain sailing! I am fortunately bilingual but Michelle struggled through teaching drama in a muddle of English and Afrikaans - her students accepted her as she is - and her Afrikaans improved radically as did the student's English! Its all about compassion, understanding, being prepared to be humble and a large serving of Grace!