Saturday, 29 December 2012

Over the Mountain

Wolhuterskop with impending thundershower

Wolhuterskop is a koppie situated in a nature reserve of the same name and it's the highest point overlooking the town of Bethlehem in the Free State. The reserve is home to many species of game including springbok, wildebeest, eland, blesbok and rhebok amongst others whilst the lovely Gerrands Dam has been a favourite fishing and camping spot for many families as well as drawing a host of waterbirds. This reserve holds a very special place for me as I spent countless hours there in the late nineties photographing the landscape. The thrill of waiting for the late light and the anticipation of capturing these wonderful scenes on colour film was where my love for photography was revived. The magnificent sunsets and late afternoon thundershowers with the surrounding game was simply beautiful beyond words.

Wolhuterskop West Face with three Gemsbok and distant thunderstorm

Wolhuterskop Nature Reserve with sunset over Gerrand's Dam

Of late this very mountain has been the point of much controversy as it has been used as a venue for the Apostle Mokoena of the Tyrannus church where thousands congregate over a weekend as he addresses the people from on high on the west side of the mountain. Our President Jacob Zuma was a guest in October 2012 during a weekend conference held in the reserve as thousands camped at the foot of the mountain. A fire broke out that very weekend and a substantial portion of the game's grazing was destroyed. There are numerous allegations and rumours regarding the church's integrity and intentions particularly as to plans to acquire the very koppie of Wolhuterskop.

Love Prevailing at the foot of Wolhuterskop

As a citizen of Bethlehem I oppose any scheme to annex any portion of Wolhuterskop nature reserve especially the very centrepiece of Wolhuterskop itself. South Africa is currently in a grip of power struggles and it would be a very sad day to see a well preserved nature reserve and a Landmark of Bethlehem be taken from it's very own people. I pray that Wolhuterskop stays put and that is with faith that will move mountains!