Oom Schalk Rooting for the Cape Leopard
Rain was lashing on the roof, while Oom Schalk sat on his favourite wooden bench puffing his pipe contemplating life and the universe on the stoep of his farm in Groot Marico. Reminiscing about the stories of all the local folk, he had told so many times over the years over a peach brandy or moer’s coffee, to countless willing (and not so willing) listeners. The skill of telling a good story, Oom Schalk said, is to know when to tap your pipe against your veldschoen and to know what parts to leave out.
In the Masque Theatre in Muizenberg, Herman Charles Bosman‘s classic tales of Oom Schalk Lourens were brought life on stage by local actor David Muller. Oom Schalk is the famous character in Bosman’s short stories series set in the Groot Marico district in the early half of the 20th Century. Groot Marico is where the bohemian Bosman took his first teaching post and created probably his most famous short stories series.
Oom Schalk from the Heart was skilfully directed by Celia Musikanth and through many months of tireless rehearsals, Muller was able to hold the audience’s undivided attention. The show with a lively selection of Bosman’s tales will be performed again in the Masque Theatre on the 9, 10, 15, 16, and 17th August and is well worth visiting.
Last night, Oom Schalk’s story telling was in aid of the Cape Leopards. In Oom Schalk’s own words, there are two types of leopard in this country, one with more spots than the other. But who cares which type of leopard it is, when you are lying in the shade of a Withaak tree in the Groot Marico veld looking after your cattle and you come face to face with the beast. You don’t have time to count his spots!
The Cape Leopard Trust cares a lot and works around the clock to conserve the Cape leopard and work with the farming community to create a greater awareness of these solitary and magnificent creatures. The below leopard, Max, is a shining example and was photographed by one of the camera traps in the Cederberg Mountains (photo by Cape Leopard Trust).