– Ed Silberbauer, standing in for Frik Potgieter, the Convenor

In unsettled, cold and uncertain weather it was certainly a joy to find a settled, warm and enthusiastic gathering for an early Spring hack. The scene of action, along Porter Drive between Vlei and Agapanthus roads – an area notorious for terrible infestations of invasives over many years – was given a thorough going over. Dead carcases of these awful trees were left lying to the left and right of the highway – a sight for sore eyes!

The enthusiastic young hackers, Xavier and Zara Berrisford and their cousins Kate and Sam Berrisford and more distant cousins Jacques and Alé Joubert, were accompanied by fathers Stephen Berrisford and Francois Joubert and grandparents Merrilee Berrisford and Jan and Betsey Joubert. Tackling the invasives no less enthusiastically were Maarten Mauve, Carole Roberts, Peter Dall, John Whitehead, Tom Dreyer, Ulli Niemann (a Wednesday, Pringle and now Betty’s hacker), Karin Smith, Rosemary Fowkes, Barry and Galia Manicom, John and Andrea Benn, Lewis, James and Ed Silberbauer. Di Knott made the sandwiches and Merran Silberbauer made the tea.

With the death of Pieter de Waal in June this year the Betty’s Bay Hack Group lost a dedicated and much loved hacker. When Pieter first came to Betty’s Bay in the 1970s he immediately put his foot in it by walking into the fynbos and remonstrating with Denys Heesom for picking wild flowers in our nature reserve. Denys explained that he was in fact preserving the fynbos by removing a coppice of rooikrans. Suitably chastised, Pieter apologised and helped with the task. Pieter then joined the hack group and was always in the frontline in the Battle of Betty’s Bay. Affectionately known as “The Verger” because he worked alone on weekdays clearing the verges along Clarence Drive of invasives, he was later joined by others thus forming the Wednesday Irregulars hack. Pieter was the perfect gentleman, kind, cheerful and caring, making sure that the new recruits were properly instructed in the art of removing aliens. He was mentioned in despatches for rescuing a damsel in distress, said damsel having got herself mixed up with a very dense group of leucadendrons. BotSoc SA awarded Pieter a certificate of appreciation in 2014 for his many years of hard work at the battle front in all kinds of weather.

Next Hack is Sunday 4 September, 2016 on the same area (the road verges of Porter Drive, between Agapanthus and Vlei roads), continuing both east and west. Please attend if you can. Frik Potgieter, the hack convenor, may be contacted at or on 084 600 9891.