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Dear Cavernites,

As we lunge forward into the festive season we must quickly share our Activities Calendar for 2015, let you know that we have been marvellously busy despite the horrid R74 and that the summer rains have transformed our piece of mountainside into a crisp green lush valley once more!

The good news is that there is work happening on the R74 and we believe that the contract for the portion past the dam has been awarded. Imagine a gorgeous piece of road linking Gauteng and the Northern Berg once again. We live in hope!

Our Activities Calendar for 2015 has many of our favourites once again; birding, photography, botanical art and stargazing. We are going to be enticing Helen back for more Yoga ~ what a mission it was for her to get these country bumpkins to bend and stretch!

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And, we have added a Walking 4 Education weekend. Raise R5000 for the school and stay free for the weekend. Any hip, out-there companies or Cavernites who would like to sponsor drinks, t-shirts or goodie bags for all the participants must be in touch! It is going to be a fab weekend for a fantastic cause. Education provides hope for our beautiful land – be the change!

We are also running a Valentines special to entice one and all to the mountains in the glorious month of February:

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We get some wonderful emails at The Cavern. Just recently we received one from a family wanting to know more about Walter Coventry.

Walter Coventry

Walter owned the farms where the present Royal Natal National Park is situated. The province bought the farms from Walter to set it aside as a nature reserve, and he was responsible for the laying out of all the bridal paths in the park. He ran the hostel at National Park for some time, but when they asked him to take on the job of Warden, I think he declined and he then moved over to the Cavern around 1930.

In 1941 he sold The Cavern to Judge Thrash, and that is when Ruth and Bill Carte came to work at The Cavern. The judge wanted run cattle on the farm and Ruth was to run the Guest House which took about 12 people in those days. Apparently, Walter had gathered friends from his days at National Park and so he had accommodation at The Cavern for when these people came to visit him. He then moved up to the farm Sungubala where they stayed for many years.

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The Cavern is not well suited to ranching cattle and the Judge could see that it was not viable. Ruth however saw the potential for the Guest house and so she and Bill borrowed money from an uncle and they bought The Cavern.

Guests from The Cavern would walk across to visit the Coventrys at Sungubala and they would be given tea. No-one was very commercial in those days and the story goes that people would leave six pence under their saucer in payment for the tea. The Coventrys had 2 daughters, Doreen and Enid. Doreen married Willie Chalmers, who was an artist who came into the area to study the bushmen art. They lived in the area for some time and Willie did a number of rock carvings in the area. Enid married Mr Len Walsh.

Walter checked on his property on horse back and one day had a fall and broke his leg. From what I remember, his dog returned home without him and a search party was sent out to find him. He had to be carried back on a stretcher. A portion of Sungubala was then sold to the Everitt family and their son still owns the property where Walter lived.

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Khanyisela Project

Dave & Daphne have popped past once again. We love having them and it is great to have a couple that are interested, committed and so resourceful in making our projects work. We were also very fortunate to have a visit from our loyal Retford Rotary supporters. They visited our schools and projects and we had the opening of the Vusanani Pre-School. Peter Jervis and his family have funded the building and the community laid on a great celebration to thank them. We had speeches and dancing and were treated to a wonderful tea.

The Rotarians also came to check up on the International Grant. We have managed to distribute books to all the little schools, toilets and jungle gyms are in; thanks to our wonderful cousins at Montusi and our teachers are enjoying their monthly trips to the Midlands College where they are receiving their training. We are very thankful to the Benoni Aurora Club for their involvement and assistance.

Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom ~ George Washington Carver

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Royal Drakensberg Primary

Another fantastic year draws to an end. We thank Sue Kraupner, who is at the helm, and her dedicated team for all that they have achieved this year. We are continuously impressed with the little folk! This week is the Christmas Nativity and all the tiny kids have learnt long strings of words! They have certainly made us proud. We bid a sad farewell to our older children but know they have done their very best with us and are ready for the challenges ahead.

Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace. ~ Confucius

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Support our school in the new year:

Join the My School programme

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Final Greeting

Wishing you a good end to 2014, a blessed Christmas time with family and only good-things in 2015.

Best wishes from us all,

The Cavern Family

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