Bump that Bum, Numb: five vintages of the Solms-Delta oesfees

It was Elvis Costello, husband of jazz goddess Diana Krall, who memorably noted that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture – a really stupid thing to do.”  That said, how do you describe the annual oesfees (harvest festival) on the Solms-Delta wine estate in Franschhoekfranschhoekcellarwines Bump that Bum, Numb: five vintages of the Solms Delta oesfees
by franschhoekwines
?  The fifth takes place on Saturday.

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The first was opened by that pocket-sized national treasure, David Kramer, in his trademark porkpie hat, red velskoene (from the Tarzan shoe factory in Tulbagh) and pantsulas with braces.  Crouched over guitar, bottom stuck out like an ostrich, swivelling on one leg like a cartoon stork, he could be dancing about Rem Koolhaas.  He headlines again this year.

Back in 2008, Kramer summed it up as “history”.  So when his biography appeared last year with no mention of the fees, question marks were thrown at the authors, a couple of Stellenbosch academics.  Especially when they claimed that “local folk legends Des and Dawn Lindberg [are] still active on the South African music circuit despite having surrendered much of their critical edge since the 1660s.”

This fees is definitely not a Des and Dawn Houghton soirée.  Tannie Grietjie from Namakwaland, singing in a helium-filled voice emanating from deep within the billowing folds of a shocking pink Voortrekker ensemble seated on a white plastic garden chair, could be back in the 1660s with Van the Man in his het Kasteel, slaves laying out farms.  When she squeaks out “hy’s ‘n lekker ou JanVan Riebeeck springs to mind.  Although the one about “droë pramme” (dried-out embonpoints) requires serious cultural credits.

Many farm workers are descendants of slaves and they come to eat traditional dishes involving offal and Aromat and to dance.  That doyen of Kaapsekos (Cape Cuisine), François Ferreira, insists “there’s no such thing as boerekos, it’s just modified Cape Malay cooking.  Look at bobotie and boereboontjies – they’re just Malay boonchies.”  The assortment of traditional treats bubbling in giant bain-maries at the fees makes his point, in excelsis.

The chicken and vegetarian breyani could be from a street vendor in Johor Bahru, it’s that good while the patat served alongside snoek pie is dusted with cinnamon with doorstops of braaibrood and apricot jam to fill the gaps.  The farm’s Klein Handjies crèche is serving vetkoek and curry while the estate’s Fyndraai Restaurant offers bees afval kerri (beef offal curry).

A well-known local Halaal crew called La Jez will present a range of Halaal dishes.  For the sweet of tooth, there is the fat trinity of melkkos, melktert and malva puddings plus koeksusters and hertzoggies made by Stefan at Stall #5.

Always popular on the wine list is Cape Jazz Shiraz, a low-alcohol carbonated wine that pays the bills for Solms-Delta owner, international neuropsychoanalyst of world renown, Professor Mark Solms.  Ice is available by the large plastic sack full and adding it has the triple effect of chilling, diluting and rehydrating after a vigorous rieldans.

This jol is special.  Especially as it reclaims Franschhoek for a day from those swallows who roost in a European village in Africa.  It is the only event in the Winelands that involves the entire community.

Not that politics is allowed to poep the party.  When Stef Bos headlined last year and compared Somerset West veld fires to the social upheaval that one day could explode in the squatter camps of the Cape Flats, one PDD (previously disadvantaged dancer) jumped up and said she’d had enough of politics and wanted to dance.

Before his awesome electric piano set, Stef was summonsed by one ample aunty who wanted to know how much he would charge to perform at her church bazaar.  Stef suggested Valiant Swart, the mystic boer, as being more appropriate.  But aunty had heard of Valiant and thought him well beyond her budget, anyhow.

2011 was a break-through year after the fees was discovered by establishment Afrikaners.  The Sanhedrin of Afrikanerdom, the ATKV (Afrikaans language and culture association), grasped it to its ample crimpolene bosom. The 80-year old cultural movement swooped down on Solms-Delta in a bont bussie (multicoloured minibus taxi) and planted multicoloured flags outside the port-a-loo village.  CEO, Oom Japie Gouws, welcomed brown Afrikaners and their indigenous music into the broader familie and pretty soon stamp daai boude lam (bump that bum numb) had paunches pulsating and bollas bouncing.  Uniquely South African; totally brilliant.

The 5th Annual Oesfees takes place on Saturday from 9am to 9pm at Solms-Delta Wine Estate – Delta Road, off the R45, Franschhoek Valley.