Blog Entry #22: South Africa Day 3: Volmoed Community
Sunday, September 24, 2011
|Pat, Isobel & John de Gruchy, Dan|
One of the true delights of this visit to South Africa has been renewing my friendship with Isobel and John de Gruchy, whom I first met in 1983 at Holden Village, and then studied with at Union Seminary in 1989 during my first year of doctoral studies. John is one of South Africa’s most eminent theologians, an expert on the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his resistance to Hitler, and one of the leading opposition leaders to apartheid within the South African church.
Mike, Allison, and "Bunny" -- Volmoed Community Members
|Chapel at Volmoed|
|View from Grace Cottage, Volmoed|
One of the most challenging early tasks of the community was to heal the land itself: as is the case with many Mediterranean climates worldwide, South Africa finds itself besieged by an invasion of exotic plant species, many from Australia such as the familiar eucalyptus tree. South Africa is home to the fynbos, one of the world’s 6 major flora kingdoms, and among the most diverse in species, though by far the smallest in territory.
|Bouquet of Fynbos Flowers|
Many of these floral wonders are threatened by rapidly expanding plant invaders – some 29 species are already extinct -- and Volmoed from the beginning has been committed to eradicating them from the farm, and letting the local fynbos flourish once again.
Groups of young people came from Capetown to help with this effort, and among them was Anton de Gruchy, John and Isobel’s youngest child, who came early on with his church youth group to eradicate invasives. Thus did the de Gruchy’s become connected to Volmoed, and when John officially retired from his duties at the University of Capetown several years ago, they moved to Volmoed and built a stunning home on the hillside, Well-spring.
Breakfast at Well-Spring
|Vineyards near Volmoed with Walker Bay in distance|
|On the deck at Grace Cottage|
|Grace Cottage at Volmoe|
Comfortably ensconced in our little cottage (appropriately named “Grace”), we were able to explore the nearby Onrus River gorge and waterfall, and hike to the top of the ridge behind the farm for a stunning 360 degree view of the Overberg region.
|"Tower of Babylon" and vineyards near Volmoed Community|
|Volmoed from Well-Spring|