Getting festive in Stellenbosch

Sometimes I find it slightly scary meeting new people. I am one of those people who wear their heart on their sleeve.  This is a good thing in many ways but it can also result in unwanted vulnerability.

I read this quote the other day, “If you are scared, it is because you are about to do something really brave!”

I was invited by a group of really fantastic visual storytellers recently to a tour of Stellenbosch. Young bloggers and influencers that are making waves as they go. As you can imagine meeting everyone and not knowing them from a bar of soap was rather daunting. Daunting until they shared their various handles with me. Isn’t it strange that living in a world of social media sometimes results in people knowing me more as The Truffle Journal than Melissa Delport?

Well I can’t exactly criticize because I am one of those people that will recognize you quicker by your Instagram handle than your real name. Once I had matched the "virtual persona" to all the real live persons I quickly settled in for an adventure that involved a group of really dynamic and fun people.

The hashtag for the day was #festivestellenbosch, which quickly started trending on twitter just by the influence of everyone combined. This is my photo journal. A little look-see into what Stellenbosch has to offer.

A walking tour through Kayamandi that in my opinion, every South African should do hosted by Bites and Sites.  It ended up being the best excursion of the day. Why? Simply because it forced me to look across cultural boundaries and to see that in truth as a young South African I had never actually been into a township. Yes to be honest it was out of fear. Now I see it was the fear of the unknown. To see how my fellow South Africans live was not only humbling but also enlightening.

The smiles and warm energy that we were received with was something I will never forget. To see another human being live in destitution but still smile, laugh and face each day with bravery made me feel foolish for the amount of times I complain in a day. So you will have to excuse the amount of photographs but I couldn't help but capture this experience!

Walking into a little nursery school with broken windows and worn off paint I couldn’t help but have flash backs about the privileged education I received and how different it was. I could not begin to compare.

My heart almost burst when I entered the nursery. Happy little faces greeted me with smiles and cheer. They called us Teacher, as it is a standard for anyone who visits them. They sang us songs and performed dances for us. All the while the walls covered with posters about sexual abuse and how it isn’t their fault, teaching these tiny little humans to speak up and communicate to the adults teaching them. Again it made me think of my fairy tale up bringing.

With prominent events like our #feesmustfall in headlines recently it makes me think how we as a nation need to stand together. Yes, tertiary education should be affordable to all South Africans but in my opinion every single child of our nation should have access to the fundamentals; the ABC’s.

We stopped by an elderly gentleman called Jimmy who does pottery from his shack. He was illiterate and yet had forged his own path in life the best way he could – to be honest I don’t know if I would have survived as well as he has. He worked at a pottery studio sweeping floors and one day asked his boss to teach him. He now has several spinning wheels and offers classes for those who are interested in the craft as well as selling his beautiful little bowls, plates etc. His laughter and his eager attitude left me wondering how different his world would be if education were an option for him.  I thought about how something as simple as a Facebook page and a great location would swing his life around or at least create the possibility of change.

Of course after this amount of walking I was starving – not that it was far! I am just always game for lunch.

We were whisked off to Tokara wine estate to juxtapose our township adventure. The Deli is one of my favourites. With plenty of great products on offer their Olive Oil made on site is one of my favourites. We all sat down and had a chance to finally chat and get to know one another more as fellow online Bloggers. Of course I decided to take it easy and get their burger for lunch. A giant patty of goodness served with the perfect potato fry. An ideal lunch to wash down with some of the finest wine Stellenbosch has to offer!

With our bellies full we set off to take a guided tour through Stellenbosch. It is amazing how something can be right in your back yard and yet you can have such little knowledge of it. Walking through the town and learning of its history and landmarks was just fantastic. I must admit I had house envy for some of the historical landmarks. They are simply magnificent and I wouldn’t mind moving in!

I’m no authority and it's no rule - here it is, a list of the places I went to and loved.

Stellenbosch Dorp Museum
Tokara Deli
Bites & Sites cultural food tour
Schoon De Companje
De Warenmarket
Spier wine farm & Eigh