Part of a Vintage Film Collection “Shadows Over Stones”
Most dorps have their own signature koppie. Ficksberg has Soutkop – an erect nipple spire, shaped by the wind that rises high, piercing the sky. As we enter Fouriesburg, Hoenderkop sits like a gigantic Perlomen, sucking on the landscape, ever watchful of Fouriesburg. Each koppie has its own history and its own relationship with the people that live there. Translated, Hoenderkop means, ‘You’ve had too much to drink’. Named after a tavern that stood at its base, it also doubled as a trading store. The inn supplied a dop or two for the traders across the border in Basotho. It also provided refreshment to Boer soldiers after a strenuous days’ work against the likes of Sir Archibald Hunter and his Rooineks during the Boer war. To the South Sotho Hoenderkop is called Mokhlonedi meaning, ‘The face that watches over’. If you ever travel there, look carefully from the south towards north and you will see a face on the west side – clearly visible in the setting sun as we arrived.
During the Boer war Fouriesburg was the temporary seat of the Orange Free State government. President Martinus Theunis Steyn resided in Fouriesburg with his wife Rachel Isabella (Tibbie) Steyn. However it turned into a brutal battleground through the British “scorched earth” policy. Tibbie Steyn and the Boer women fled, hiding in the surrounding caves in Hoenderkop Mokhlonedi and other outcrop koppies, keeping an eye on the searching British soldiers below. Eventually they were caught and imprisoned in a British concentration camp. The ‘Vrouemonument’ or Women’s monument in Bloemfontein commemorates the suffering of some 27,000 Boer women and children who died through malnutrition and disease in British concentration camps.
Whichever way I looked at Hoenderkop, she looked beautiful. From the R26, which is the Fourieburg/Ficksburg road or from the R711, the Fouriesburg/Clarens road. She stood out like an imposing monolith. The skies rumbled. Bolts of lightning tore into her – cracking noises of a horseman’s whip echoed across the Eastern Free State veld – dust swirled in the air. The wind whipped up, pursing the shadows that crossed the landscape – fallen leaves rippled along the dirt road like torn sheets of silvery dried-out parchment paper. The young green mielies swayed to and fro, rustling in the easterly wind. Slowly the dusty air started to clear as moisture descended from the heavens, leaving a crisp sharp image for me to capture. The hot mist stayed buoyed in the air, clinging to my spectacles. Slowly it changed to a drizzle and then came the downpour. The earth was drenched and the willows were weeping with rain, and I was sinking into the clay quagmire – an Eastern Free State bog. With muddy legs I plodded back to the sounds of joyous laughter within me.
Every few minutes, streams of sunlight would filter through, caressing the vast fields of mielies, stretching as far as your eye could see. Thunderbolts cracked across the black nimbus skies – she was tormenting me. Her voluptuous breasts had turned into monochrome cauliflowers – the earth lit up – dappled light everywhere. While mesmerized by this spectacular event of nature, I stood in awe, forgetting for a moment, why I was there. The smell of garlic mixed with the grassy aromas of mielie sheathing mingled in the rain.
When John Steinbeck talked about ‘God’s country’, he should have been standing in a mealie field, just outside Fouriesburg. Now was the time to open the Mercedes doors and let Bono sing.
‘In God’s country – Desert sky, Dream beneath a desert sky…’
This Vintage Film Collection “Shadows Over Stones”, originally exhibited at Nedbank, Waterfront, Cape Town in 2012 and is now available as special limited edition print run.
The authentic effect of photographing on film is the natural film grain that is produced in its reproductions, this was intended by the photographer Mike Rossi as a genuine representation of capturing images with his Hasselblad XPan film camera.
Also available as a Limited Print only Edition.
Collectors Print with Custom Frame: Limited Edition #03
Black & White printed on Ilford Baryta paper: 315 g/m² silk finish with a 1 cm white boarder around image. Complete with a Hamburgs 2 cm x 3 cm Black Stained Oak Solid Wood Frame with a 5 cm White Passe-Partout mount. Mirogard museum high quality glass. Authentication Label on back of frame with printed signature of Photographer. Authentication Certificate included.
Overall Frame Size – 69.7 cm x 35.7 cm (54 cm x 20 cm image size).
Total number of Framed Prints available in this Limited Edition print run – 10 off.
This is a “Bespoke” order.
Go to “Choose an Options” to select a Numbered Print from this Edition.
Please refer to the Product Guide for more information about Ilford Baryta black & white prints and Solid Wood Frames. Other frame types, finishes, colours and mounting methods are available.Please contact us with your bespoke requirements and we would be happy to assist in finding the right solution for you.