The Grand Opening of iNyoka Gallery

On Friday the 19th of September a long awaited dream became reality when our artists co-operative gallery was officially opened in Hoedspruit.

After years of planning and months of really hard work and renovations done by the steering committee, the artists themselves, their partners and sometimes even their children, we were finally ready.

There was a strong feeling of anticipation within the group and folk worked hard at getting invitations out and a couple of the steering committee worked night and day putting the final touches to the incredible space we had created.  All participating artists were asked to donate one piece for an art auction to raise funds for phase 2 and phase 3 of our project.

I was quite edgy about the auction and worried about the turnout. What if no one bid on my art? What if there was a poor turn-out for the grand opening?

I need not have worried.

The Grand Opening of iNyoka Gallery was the event of the year in this small town with over 300 people attending and our auction raised just under R140 000! What a buzz the evening was!

A HUGE thank you to all who attended.

(If you look carefully at the second picture, you can see my painting of a lions head hanging on the center pillar)

Special thanks to Kerry Simpson for the photos.

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away

On Saturday we attended the Wild Horse Festival in the small arty town of Kaapsehoop which is about 15 minutes outside of Mbombela, perched on top of a mountain.

 This sleepy village boasts amazing views over the Lowveld as well as some beautiful wild horses that freely roam around town, over the hillsides and in the nearby forests of pine trees.

Gold was discovered here in 1882 but the deposit was poor and most miners moved off towards the richer areas of Pilgrims Rest and Barberton. This led to the decline of the small town until it was repopulated by artists and folk looking for a peaceful weekend retreat.

This weekend’s festival was held to raise money to take care of the horses as well as a road fund to repair their roads. It was very well attended and we had a wonderful day browsing the market stalls, watched horses getting shod by blacksmiths, eating a most delicious mutton curry and watching rugby before heading home.

There is a good choice of accommodation in Kaapsehoop as well as many things to do in the surrounding area including horse trails, hiking, a visit to the nearby Kruger National Park, or a trip along the Panorama Route to name a few.

If you are ever in the area it is well worth a visit.


Farm fresh veggies!!

One week in and I have found a source of fabulous farm fresh vegetables and fruit.  The system is run by a lass called Chene and she drops off your bag weekly. You can also order farm fresh duck and duck fat from her.  

This is what I got for R60!

I am now on the hunt for a source of good grass fed meat and farm milk.

Mr A

When I first moved to Hoedspruit my life was all planned and organised – I knew what I wanted and how I was going to get it. At this time I met Mr A. He was an estate agent (and a lawyer and an insurance broker) and he showed us a farm that we fell in love with on the spot.  The negotiations on the property were prolonged and difficult and during this time my relationship with my partner shattered. Mr A was just always there helping me along, getting the property sorted out once I decided I still wanted to buy it and he also started to introduce me to art lessons and poetry groups etc to get me socialized. Always such a strong supporter and promoter of this blog. If I needed anything he knew who I could contact and he had their numbers. He seemed to know EVERYONE in our area and he slowly introduced me to so many of them who are still wonderful friends. He instinctively knew where I would “fit” and helped me along till I was back on my feet. As time passed Mr A also met someone special and I was so happy to watch him fall in love and find such peace and happiness within himself. It shone from him and it attracted people to him. Children especially loved him and he ALWAYS had time to listen. And he really listened…… .

Sadly Mr A passed away suddenly and unexpectedly this last weekend. He was with his love and many of his friends when it happened.  Our whole town is in a state of shock and mourning for this wonderful man.

We are really going to miss you Mr A. RIP my dear friend.

Memorial service: van Rensburg hall – Hoedspruit – Sat 28 Sept 10h00

Sincere condolences to Bianca, his love, Henry and Emma,his children, and to the rest of the Smith and Wiggill families.


One of my friends here in Hoedspruit, Sarah, is involved with two charities mainly working with impoverished communities and children. Last week she was introduced to the Khutsong Center in Acornhoek  – just down the main road from our town.

Khutsong means “rest” in one of our local languages, and the Khutsong Center is just that – a place for 13 elderly people from rural villages to rest for their last days. It’s an incredibly poor project with a ramshackle hut that houses the eleven women and two men who are being taken care of. One of the aged is disabled and many are bedridden.

This is what Sarah says “……….. their gentle smiles have really tugged at my heart, and I would love to be able to make them feel, just for one day,on Christmas, that the world has not forgotten them………………………”

So what we are going to do is put together thirteen Christmas hampers for these wonderful old folk.  We need to include basic items such as tooth brushes and toothpaste and soap, a facecloth, some Vaseline, a blanket, something nice to make them feel good like a scarf or clothing item and then a few treats like biscuits and crisps.

If you would like to contribute in any way we would really appreciate your help.

Please contact Sarah at if you can assist with any of the items.  Financial contributions can be made to  :

Paypal donations can be sent to


Bank details : nourish NPO, First National Bank,  account 62321718324, Hatfield branch number 252145. Reference OLD AGE ( and ur name ) or email a proof of payment to

Photo’s courtesy of Sarah Bergs.

I will write another post on this center when we go to hand these folk their Christmas hampers. I can’t wait to see their faces!

Roots of Rhythm

Yesterday we were invited to attend a new show in our area. It has been set up to complement the lodge and safari industry in our area.  Tourists can now visit a beautiful cultural village, get a guided tour of the village and ask lots of questions about local culture and then watch a stunning show by the Roots of Rhythm Tribal Dancers depicting the history of our local indigenous people.

Nyani village promises to be a prime tourist attraction.

After the tour of the village one gets a chance to practice stick fighting or to consult the Sangoma (witch-doctor)

The Sangoma

Then the drums begin to roll and everyone moves towards the show area where we are dazzled by the dances, songs, humour and pure showmanship of the Roots of Rhythm artists.

And then everyone gets to dance

A wonderful morning out and well worth a visit.  Our tour started at 11am and the show at 12.45 although there are many different time options available to tour groups. There is also a restaurant and bar on the premises.

Please visit their Facebook page for more information.

For bookings please see the contact details below.

An introduction to another blogger from Hoedspruit.

I have not met many people in Hoedspruit who write blogs. I guess there are so many other things to do here.  A week or two ago my friends from the US were here (the lads who gave me my wonderful camera) and they introduced me to the people who they rent part of their home to.

Michaela and Ian are a wonderful young couple who have recently gone through an awful ordeal, and Michaela has written a blog about their difficult journey. Through her blog she has been able to raise most of the funds to pay her huge hospital bills although they will still be needing a bit more to get back on their feet.

It is written beautifully and from the heart and I hope you will pop in to her blog and leave a message of encouragement.

You, me and the big C by Michaela Shoebotham

Matikinya Primary

This is the school where I painted one of my murals.  Childrens Eco Training has sponsored the community gardens, the new school hall and the Eco classroom where I painted my mural.  Although this school is dirt poor, one can see that they still take so much pride in their teaching environment.  There is still quite a bit to be done and lots of equipment needed for this school.

Matikinya Primary School – Acornhoek

I’ll let the pictures tell the story.




Arty update

While I may not have been blogging much, I have continued to paint.  Here are a few of my recent works.

These wet pebbles were for our “Going Coastal” assignment on Free your Art.

and an enamel bowl and jug – this was an exercise on white on white – I really enjoyed it.

I also painted two wall murals at two under-privileged schools for a charity which does really great work with the schools on raising awareness of our ecology and ecosystems and also running food gardens at the schools

Cartoon art challenge – final pictures

Our “Artful Cartoon” challenge finished after the first week in August and I have been remiss in blogging about it.  You can read the details of the challenge here.

Although cartoons are really not my thing when it comes to painting, this challenge tested our creativity more than any of our previous challenges.  The test was to reproduce a cartoon in your own style and medium – creating a work of art.

Here is my attempt – I called it “the little mermaid grows up” and I painted it in acrylic on board.

As you can see from the picture below we got so many unusual and creative entries. From wall clocks to skateboards, paint shopped images to Popeye and Picasso.

A collage of the other entries

The piece of art that won the popular vote was a painting of Spiderman’s hand on a skateboard done by Jamey Richards.

Excellent detail.  Congratulations Jamey!

To join our art challenges or to just follow along (although we love everyone to join in – no matter what level) please join our Facebook group – Free your Art