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Under the Table

Under the Table.........................(LightHouseFarmLodge.JPG)

I recently spent two months in Cape Town, and wanted to stay somewhere different from usual. Somewhere in nature yet in the city. I chose the Lighthouse Lodge, part of the Oude Molen Urban Eco-Farm in Pinelands, a suburb of Cape Town. A curious place, an old mental hospital that is now rented to artists and other interesting sorts, the farm sits on a hill looking out past a small river with reed beds, and a highway, to Table Mountain.

Under the Table.........................(alanmcarthurcapetown.JPG)

There’s everything here that could possibly fit the bill, and more. A great restaurant selling organic everything. Horses and riding school. Vegetable growing classes, run by octogenarian, John, who will tell you just where to pick the best basil leaves, and all about butternut squash.

A husband and wife team give seminars on the importance of bees and worms in the food chain. Bruce, whose wife runs the crèche, produces clocks from old records, with images of Barack Obama, and probably Nelson Mandela.

Under the Table.........................(alanmcarthurcapetown2.JPG)

I made some good friends from all over Africa and beyond, staying at the lodge, another of these converted blocks. In particular, I was fortunate to meet and get to know the resident white sangomas, Kelly and Brad.

Sangomas in South Africa are healers. They vary in their styles, but essentially work with traditional herbs, and your ancestry, looking for trouble-making relatives that have perhaps cast a spell. One Saturday a group of Sangomas came together at the farm’s community centre. Lots of large ladies in traditional dress laughed and joked and sung and danced.

Under the Table.........................(alanmcarthurcapetown3.JPG)

I’m glad I finally made it to South Africa, and Cape Town. The people are friendly, and the scenery is stunning.

Oude Molen was the icing on the cake for me. I could never have survived empty streets of the city on Sundays had I not had my new friends and all the great things to experience on the farm.

– Alan McArthur

Images: copyright Alan McArthur

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  • kelly

    March 31, 2010

    The lighthouse lodge in Oude Molen is really a home from home – over the past 5 years myself and Brad have lived on & off in the lodge and also found it to be a warm and loving enviroment – hence why we keep going back.
    It is a place that you can connect with people on all levels, those passing through and those who decide to stay on for a while – good friends can be made.
    Alan,was one of the very few people that we have connected with, and i must say he is an amazing photographer. His ability to capture things happening in the moment is very unique.
    Good luck Alan, Hope to see you back in Cape Town soon.

  • Merel

    March 27, 2010

    I have spend a period in the lighthouse farm and have met Alan (the writer and photographer) there as well!
    I completely agree with his review, the ecovillage is something different than the usual backpackersscene or luxury hotels. The village is a beautfifull initiative for the new South Africa, because it’s a village for everyone.
    And I really should recommend a horseride along the river, guided by one of the streetwise cowboys and a look at the talent-exchange market!
    The sangoma’s were great and really amazed me. After staying 2 months I gained inspiration
    If you want something else than backpackers only or luxury and a taste of creativity and permaculture.

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