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Post Retief Centenary Celebrations

25 May 2017
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Honorary Membership awarded to: f.l.t.r. T Botha, F Loots, A Moorcroft, D Wentzel & R Wentzel

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084Mr. F Norval - Master of Ceremonies

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Mr. A Pringle in action during the Wine Auction

Post Retief Farmers’ Association Centenary Celebration
– by Barry James

Post Retief and the Winterberg Mountain Range was described as breath-taking and beautiful by Mr. Doug Stern, the guest of honour and President of Agri Eastern Cape, at a gala dinner at the Post Retief Country Club.

Mr. Stern was the guest speaker at the Centenary celebration of the very proud Post Retief Wool and Mohair Growers Association. He lauded the forebears who pioneered under difficult circumstances in the fertile valleys of the Great Winterberg. Mention was made of a number of families, many 4th, 5th and 6th generation farmers who still ply their trade of wool, mohair and beef production. Some of the older families are the James’, Moorcrofts, Bothas, Davies’, Bennetts and Miles’.

Speaking confidently, Mr. Doug Stern reminded the 100 strong diners of the efforts of maverick, Piet Retief, in wooing the Cape Government to build a road from Grahamstown to the Winterberg where in 1836 a fortified barracks was constructed and thereafter named in his honour. This barracks, which still stands today, was one of many built in the region to police and protect inhabitants of the area. Sadly however, Retief is no more to undertake any maintenance of sorts on what was once called “The Queen’s Road”.

Mr. Doug Stern awarded the association with a Certificate of Recognition in Honour of our Centenary Celebration.

A certificate of Service Excellence was awarded to Mr. Norman Emslie for his unwavering service to E.C.A.U. over many years.

Certificates of faithful duty and support were presented to five long-serving members of the Post Retief Farmers’ Association. Honorary membership was bestowed on Mr. Theuns Botha, Mr. Derick Wentzel, Mr. Arthur Moorcroft, Mr. Rex Wentzel and Mr. Francois Loots.

The Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Francois Norval, with the ease of an automatic gear shift, swopping from English to Afrikaans with amazing ease, conducted matters most eloquently!

A most interesting and stunning collection of Dr. Haggis Black’s exquisite slides of the area were shown to the delight of the guests.

The audience was entertained by a fired up Ford Kuga in the form of Mr. Oggie Pringle, of the Baviaans River, Bedford, who auctioned top quality wines for top dollar prices to top off an enjoyable evening. Two paintings by Mrs. Trudie Botha, one of which was of a merino ram, 2 ewes and 2 lambs was sold for a whopping R6 000, making each animal a very good investment at R1200 each. A hotly contested, brisk bidding ensued when a stunning Winterberg landscape was chased by siblings, Mrs. Dizey Hornby (nee Brotherton) and her brother, Mr. Edgar Brotherton, both former Post Retief residents from the farm Fountain Head. This sold for R6300.

The watering hole was just as hotly contested with water of the malt variety and spirited high-tea slaking the patrons’ thirsts. Samantha James, Ross Bennett and their team perfected the art of Inn-keeping to the delight of the merry throng, while the children were kept entertained by Candice James.

The Chairman, Mr. Brad Emslie, regaled the crowd with a number of facts. The Association boasts an attendance in excess of 80% at all meetings which are held bi-monthly at either the Post Retief Country Club or the Winterberg Country Club.

He and his executive team, ably assisted by the Secretary, Mrs. Rhona van Vuuren, put on a great social event with all of the Who’s Who associated with organised agriculture and Post Retief attending!!! Mr. Ernest Pringle of Agri S.A. as well as Mr. Alfonso van Niekerk the East Cape Agricultural Union representative also attended. Congratulations Brad!!!

Just like the “It’s Time” – Angus Buchan gathering, we too had a full house, allowing time to honour the men and women who have made it possible for us to be at this auspicious occasion. Rev. Mark Langston dutifully said the grace with Ds. Paul Odendaal, the official photographer of the evening, snapping away with his camera. A most beautifully decorated hall by talented Pieter van der Westhuizen, Miné Norval and their team and an exceptionally tasty 3 course meal, prepared by Mrs. Karen Morgan was appreciated by all. Grateful thanks was expressed to our business partners who sponsored the event and an interesting and informative coffee table book on Post Retief as well as engraved wine glasses were given to each family attending the dinner.

Post Retief and the farmers of the Winterberg inhabit a highly productive area of the Eastern Cape, predominantly a sheep farming area producing top quality wools. As good as the area is, so too are the farmers of these hills and valleys. Through generations of working the land and livestock these hardy men and women have proved themselves excellent business people.

The message conveyed by Mr. Doug Stern to the members and guests was very well received and this was “TO NEVER GIVE UP” in our daily endeavours!!!!