Colesberg or Riemvasmaak? Jasper Cook semigrates …

Molo … goeie dag … good morning … As reported elsewhere, Jasper Cook is currently living in Johannesburg, but frequently visits Hanglip Farm. The Covid-19 pandemic has showed that he and others could work just about anywhere, so Jasper is once again pondering on semigrating to a rural area. His current favourites are Colesberg or Riemvasmaak. Maeder Osler and Jasper have had many stoep talks about this teasing issue.

Riemvasmaak wins on some counts:

  • No 18-wheeler trucks tearing up the tar and parked all over the place
  • So, no potholes
  • Fewer rodents (they don’t stand a chance in a cleanly swept yard, with those fleet-footed township brakke and chickens about)
  • Warmer in winter (fewer trees to cast cold winter shadows)

Colesberg wins cosmetically and practically on others:

  • Shade and trees (cooler in summer)
  • Leafy gardens
  • Shops and co-ops
  • Post Office and courier services

Jasper thinks:

Post Office: It’s debatable how long the Post Office will still be there. There are news reports that it is on its last legs, but then, this has been reported for years. Maybe the PO will survive. If the PO dies in Colesberg, it will die in other semigration destinations as well, so let’s leave it out of the reckoning.

Shopping: It looks like a no-brainer, but here’s the thing. Jasper prefers the idea of living in Riemvasmaak. He has as many friends thee as in Colesberg. As for shopping, when he lived on the farm, his shopping list was emailed to OK Value, whose shelf-packers picked the order. It was waiting for him on arrival in the dorp. He thinks he could continue this arrangement in Riemvasmaak. He no longer owns a car. Jasper reckons there are plenty of people in Riemvasmaak who will collect and deliver things from the dorp to his lodgings, and for a modest fee. This will be cheaper than being forced to own and run a car, and may be the start of a small delivery enterprise.

 Internet: This is not a problem. Riemvasmaak is covered by most of the main cellular networks, and Jasper already uses a MiFi and a laptop with eight batteries. MiFi batteries last for four hours, so he can write during load-shedding without skipping a beat (especially if he is writing music, which he does often).

Haircut: Jasper could make a trip to the dorp for this, but is equally sure that someone in the area can cut what little he has, neatly enough, for the going rate.

Medical: Riemvasmaak is closer to a hospital. A win for the township.

Legacy: In the days of apartheid and before, certain areas were ‘ours’ and others were ‘theirs’. Despite our constitution allowing, on the face of things, anybody to live anywhere, Jasper wonders whether the people of Riemvasmaak will have him, and who he has to speak to for an answer.


On paper, then, Jasper would rather live in Riemvasmaak. It comes down to whether people in Riemvasmaak would accept him.

Jasper listens to a voice recording in his daughter’s house in Morningside, Johannesburg. In between, he’s also thinking about getting out of town ….
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