Scraps of Hope – Pre cycle-tour Free State visit
You may recall lasts weeks post about Ruan Smit – the enterprising young cyclist who sets off on his “Explore South Africa Cycle Tour” on the 13th February. (see the article here – Collecting people’s stories – cycling 9000km in 70 days). Ruan will be sending us weekly snippets and stories abut his experiences on the road during his tour to share with our readers – and here is the first. Says Ruan – “I’m spending some time in the Free State, doing some training and trying to get to some other towns – and wrote this article for you …”
“I’m in Ficksburg today, and I could tell you how beautiful the mornings are, that it’s at the foot of the Drakensberg, that before the rain falls there’s usually a sandstorm that precedes it. I could tell you that it’s the cherry capital of South Africa and that the sun shines a blistering silence during the day. But all these things you will probably find if you Google “Ficksburg” …
I rather want to tell you about two ladies that inspire this little Free State dorpie. Two ladies that lost everything a few years ago… well Sandra kept the dog…
I haven’t even settled into my room when Sandra starts bombarding me with their story. It’s a story about love, commitment, perseverance and scrap ideas. I’m not even going to bother telling you how they ended up having nothing because this is not what their story is about. Their story is about gaining more than they’ve ever had. More than they’ve ever dreamed was possible. And it all started with scrap metal. Yes, old pots, pans, wire, frames, anything you can buy from a scrap yard.
As I enter the gate, Sandra welcomes me with a pink umbrella that I’m sure she’s stolen from her daughter. She takes me to my room and explains that this room was built from stone that a friend gave her when she had the idea of building a guest house. The room is perfectly odd, but beautiful. She starts telling me that when she had to furnish the room she had no money, so she started picking up random pieces of scrap metal from scrap yards to turn into furniture. This inspired a concept for which people drive hours to get a glimpse of.
As she animatedly tells me her story she invites me for dinner where I would meet her Ansie. Ansie is her partner in crime, her business partner. The one that has more energy than most teenagers.
Ansie and Sandra are two middle aged ladies that find creativity in everything. When they were given the challenge they rose to the occasion and produced an idea so unique you would never imagine stealing it. They make art from scrap. What?! That’s the reaction from many a visitor as the get a first glimpse of their ‘gallery’.
They now employ ten artists that work full time on the crazy ideas they have. But when it all started these two ladies only had Paul. Together they took a welding course at the community centre and with broken Sotho built a skill that has now become a little empire of random scrap metal.
What they do is, take scrap metal from anywhere they can find it and literally transform it into something beautiful. They even have bakkies coming from Lesotho selling them rusted pots and pans for money to feed the children. Since they’ve started, Ansie has become a motivational speaker, spreading her positive energy throughout South Africa. She speaks about how anything can become something beautiful, no matter how rusted it is, inspiring. These two ladies take the time to listen to people. In their garden there is an artwork that reads “Where there is coffee, there is company.” And they are always ready to sit down and have coffee.
They’ve put life back into this town. When people drive here to see their exhibit they help this little town to become what it is supposed to be. A town full of life, a town full of extraordinary people.
When I ask them if I could take a picture the chatter stops instantaneously. “Not like this!” Before my eyes they transform into the caricatures their artwork portrays. With some red lipstick and two hats made from pots they are all of a sudden ‘presentable’. They pout, sit upright and face the camera. They’ve obviously done this before…
If you ever pass this town hidden in the up hills of the Eastern Free State stop over at their place. Or better, if you have nothing to do over a weekend take the trip to this little dorpie. Have lunch with them and meet their artwork. You’ll be pleasantly surprised”.
You are reading Explore South Africa Cycle Tour Series Read more from this series of articles.
- Collecting people's stories – Cycling 9000km in 70 days
- Scraps of Hope - Pre cycle-tour Free State visit
- Where is Ruan? Join us as we follow him on his "Explore SA" cycle tour
- A human wallflower - from the road, by Ruan Smit
- She’s no Barberton Daisy ...
- Rashid had R30 - Stories from Explore SA Cycle Tour
- Not another high tea - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Give a Soccer Ball ...
- A Gonubie affair - Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Kenton on Sea inspires - Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Say Cheese! - Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Adin ‘The no money man’ - Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- There is a city… stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- An Elands Bay Road trip - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Where love grows with flowers - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- A River of Life - Stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- And Douglas smiles - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Digging for Dreams in Kimberley - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Seeking the sun - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Pitching a tent - stories from the road by Ruan Smit
- Parys with a ‘Y’? - stories from the road by Ruan
- A different forest - stories from the road by Ruan
- For the love - Ruan makes it home