A Fabulous Festival!

South African Festival: 18 September 2016

imageAll our prayers for good weather were answered when the day started with partly cloudy skies and cooler end-of-summer air, which was thick with excitement in anticipation for what the day was to bring! Fête day had begun… after months of painstaking preparation it was finally upon us!

The venue this year was a new one: Hethersett Village Hall proved a perfect choice to accommodate all the stalls and approximately 450 visitors. There was ample space inside and out, excellent facilities, and even the tennis court proved to be a very handy dog enclosure!
Our church service was to start the day off at 10am, and yet again Jaco Beukes delivered a superb message which inspired us to believe that through God’s strength we can make a difference in the world.

imageDuring this time, the outdoor chefs were already at work. Eight men had their fires lit and their potjiekos (pronounced poy-key-cos: a cast iron 3-legged stewing pot used on an open fire) simmering away, potjies filled with fresh and colourful goodness. The menu for the potjiekos competition included:  Lamb Shank Curry, Lamb and Root veg Pot (x2), Boerewors Pot, Pork & Pineapple Pot, Sweet Curry with Dumplings and Sweetcorn, a Port and Ox Tail Pot, Venison Pot and a Chicken Thai Curry Pot. Later on in the day, and after much tasting and discussion from 3 different judges (one being a chef himself), the deserving winner of the Potjiekos Competition was announced: Well done Rob Taylor for your excellent Chicken and Apricot Potjie! I’m sure his Wooden Spoon Trophy will be proudly displayed in his cabinet at home!

On offer as starters, or just as snacks because it’s just so delicious, was biltong (a dried cured meat, a bit like beef jerky, only better!), in many different flavours and forms. The Limpopo Biltong stall was constantly busy selling its produce to biltong-hungry South Africans, and the non-South Africans got to try this delicacy and soon realised why we love it so much!

We were all very excited when we heard that Sophie Little, a BBC Radio Norfolk presenter for the show ‘Treasure Quest’ (link to BBC Norfolk Treasure Quest), was to make an appearance. She was on her weekly treasure hunt (her show is on a Sunday 9am-12noon), and her clue ‘what’s stewing for charity’ and the tantalising smells in the air led her directly to the steaming potjies. It was great to get a bit of publicity on the local radio for Loving by Giving!

Being a South African Festival meant that there had to be loads more food to choose from! There was Boerewors (boo-re-vors) rolls, Sosaties (soss-ah-teas) and Cape Malay Curry & Rice on offer to satisfy even the hungriest of appetites. Portions were huge (we South Africans are renowned for our generosity!) but space was still left over in our tummies for desserts.

imageThe cakes, the puddings, the sweets… where do I begin!? For a sweet-tooth like myself it was absolute heaven! The cake stall displayed an array of traditional South African desserts such as Milktarts, Peppermint Crisp tarts, Hertzog biscuits, Banana Bread and the world-famous Tannie Marthie van Overmeier’s Koeksisters (cook-sisters): deliciousness defined! Over at the Tea Room, Lorraine van Heerden’s gorgeous cupcakes stole the show. We were blessed to have such a pro baking for us (Night Owl Cakes)! So many other treats on offer there too, as well as favourite cold drinks (like Fanta Grape, Crème Soda, Granadilla Twist, Sparletta Sparberry and Stoney Gingerbeer) all the way from South Africa that brought back childhood memories for everyone.

The pancake stall was well prepared this year for the hordes of hungry customers, with 7 people on the go flipping pancakes! They were busy all day, and sold in the vicinity of 600 tasty pancakes flavoured with cinnamon sugar, lemon or Nutella.

imageOutside, the kids were all having a ball and being wonderfully entertained. With two bouncy castles to choose from, a Balloon-Folding man, as well as a line-up of games such as Tin Can Alley, Coconut Shy, Treasure Hunt, Crazy Candy Countdown, Cupcake Decorating and Finding Dory, they were definitely not bored! A special treat was in store for kids and adults alike at the Candyfloss Making Machine… nothing quite like that buzzing sugar rush to get everyone in good spirits. Smiling faces were adorned with colourful face paint and arms decorated with dazzling tattoos. Well done to the talented Zelda & Erin Swanepoel and Blod Grant for their amazing efforts.

During the early afternoon, it was time forimage Boeresport. Teams of parents and children were formed and races were run, including the Three-Legged Race, Egg-and-Spoon Race, the Wheelbarrow Race and Egg Tossing. These all proved to yield excited cheering from the side line amid squeals of laughter at the competitors’ antics!

More entertainment for the crowds came in the form of ‘The Zulus’. Scleo KaMathanya and Paul S’wela Thwala got everyone clapping and singing along to ‘Shosholoza’ and ‘In The Jungle’, and delighted us all with their rhythmic traditional Zulu Dancing. The drumming of their drums and the singing of their soulful songs got us all reminiscing about our Mother Land.

Soon it was time for the silent auction of four original watercolour paintings by our amazingly talented artist Kate Grant to take centre stage and the top bidders announced. Four very happy customers admired their beautiful African wildlife scenes, depicting leopards, elephant and giraffe, gemsbok and hippos and zebra, and magically found themselves transported into the bushveld just by looking at these special artworks. Incredibly, Kate’s paintings alone raised almost £1400 for Loving by Giving: a huge thank you for your efforts Kate!

Then the not-so-silent auction was conducted by Mandrich Gerber, and more funds were raised by the auctioning off of some Canaries Football memorabilia and a handmade silver jewellery set by Silver Owl Jewellery. The Raffle Draw afterwards proved imagevery popular with many people clutching at their coloured tickets expectantly waiting to hear if they had won any of the impressive prizes: photoshoots, beauty, hair, massage, make up tutorial, bootcamp and golf lesson vouchers were handed out as well as vouchers for Chapelfield, Butchers and Toys R Us, and a set of silver jewellery. Then the iPhone 6 Raffle was drawn,
the winner being a very happy Madèl Fourie!

imageAnd thus all good things had to come to an end and the day concluded with everyone pitching in to help tidy up. It truly was a fantastic day, and lots of fun was had by families and friends; a great opportunity to mingle and make new friends. We were absolutely amazed when the news came in that almost £6000 was raised in total!! The biggest fête so far, what a blessing this will be to so many people. The money will go towards Loving by Giving’s many projects, one of which will be the Outreach to Tanzania later on this year. The takings will contribute towards the installation of water harvesting systems for people living in the Arusha District in Northern Tanzania, where poverty is rife and water is dirty. Last year, Loving by Giving provided fresh drinking water for 7000 people per day for 10 years: a wonderful privilege to be able to do this, thanks to fundraisers like the fête.

And so, in conclusion, an enormous amount of gratitude goes out to everyone involved in making the South African Festival 2016 such a success, it is appreciated more than you know!