Picture some flowers...

Rooibos Ltd sponsored cameras as prizes for the best photographs entered in the competition organised by the Clanwilliam Wild Flower Society. Prizes were awarded in two categories, namely Adults and Schoolchildren. The theme for this year's Wildflower Show was inspired by the theme of Clanwilliam’s 200-year celebrations, namely Walk together (Stap saam), referring to the often conflict-ridden path that has brought diverse groups together in a spirit of cooperation.

More about the entries
Find more information at www.clanwilliamflowerfestival.co.za or at
http://www.clanwilliamflowerfestival.co.za/index.php/competition (browse through submenu on right).

Explaining the theme of the competition
Physicist and philosopher Fritjof Capra once observed that in understanding reality, the relationships between things (people, plants, animals or any other matter) play a far greater role than any individual element. In African philosophy, we have a name for this concept: UbuntuI am because you are.

It is an understanding of this principle that led to the choice of theme for this year’s bicentennial celebration in Clanwilliam. “Stap saam” or “Walk together” is an expression of mutual interdependence; an acknowledgement of the divergent people and paths that have woven together as part of the heritage of the town and the Cederberg as a whole.

These paths may not always have been mutually beneficial, but they have certainly brought us to a point, as a society, where our worlds are inextricably intertwined. For better or for worse, we are walking together and it is up to each of us to nurture these bonds towards their highest potential.

These ideas, in turn, brought us to the theme for the 2014 photographic competition: “Stap saam – foto’s wat stories vertel” (Walk together – photographs that tell stories). In nature, no living being exists in isolation; on the contrary, everything is part of a complex web of interdependence and exchange. Some relationships may be symbiotic (such as a pollinator and a flower), while others may be parasitic or even predatory. But in each of these relationships there is a story, and this year, we asked our photographers to uncover these stories from behind the lens. The only limitation was that the photograph had to include a Cederberg wild flower or a Cedar tree.

The challenging and creative nature of this year’s theme was evident from the variety of responses received. A total of 143 photographs were entered (from all over the Western Cape), with interpretations on our theme that we could scarcely have imagined. Sadly, there were many strong entries that had to be disqualified, simply due to the absence of wild flowers, but the judges were still spoiled for choice with the quality of entries to hand. In the end, we chose 15 finalists.

Thanks to the loyal and generous support of our sponsors (Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, Rooibos Ltd and Netmar Photography & Framing), we were able to award six winners with fantastic prizes. These were announced at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Clanwilliam Wildflower Show on 28 August 2014.

Walk together to the Cedar Tree – a story by André Schoon (overall winner)
Names such as Krakadouw, Cedar, Chisel, Koupoort, Skerpioenspoort, Heuningvlei and Boontjieskloof immediately catch the imagination. These are names that portray some of the fascination of the places they identify. For this, the Northern Cederberg is truly a magical mountain paradise.

These are not mountains you would describe as “ordinary” for here, beyond the profusion of rocks weathered into the strangest of shapes you will find a complex terrain that is also home to a very special tree – the Clanwilliam Cedar. Sadly today, as a result of mans’ predation, frequent wild fires and climate change, the Cedar tree’s future is under serious threat. This is perhaps reason to appreciate the grandeur of the living trees and to wonder at the twisted skeletons of once proud trees.

Among the many visits I have paid to these favourite mountains, one made in November 2009 stands out. Late one evening, under threat of rain, we lost our bearings in the maze of corridors on top of what we call Labyrinth Peak. Confused by the darkness, we spent the night in a makeshift bivvy under a less than generous overhang. In the light of morning we found ourselves perhaps a hundred metres from our original intended cave destination. It turned out to be very a special visit because over the next few days the dark clouds and torrential rain of an early summer storm emphasised the wildness and beauty of our surroundings. Our mountain top was transformed into an almost mysterious Wagnerian setting with strangely shaped rocks, the dark green foliage of living Cedars a foil to the muted greys and oranges of the rock faces and the stark silver skeletons of the dead Cedar trees.

Details of the winners are as follows:
André Schoon: overall winner and winner, Adults
Peter Palm: runner-up, Adults
Tania Fouche and Elmarie Louw: special mention, Adults
Timoné Daniel: winner, Schoolchildren
Max Niewoudt: runner-up, Schoolchildren