The Simon van der Stel Festival

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Simon van der Stel (1639-1712) was the second Commander of the Cape (1679-1691) and first Governor (1691-1699). Among his many contributions to the colony, he established the town of Stellenbosch (1688) and by his decree his birthday ( ** October) was annually celebrated there by the locals. On this day they were allowed free trade and visiting sea captains were invited to join the celebrations, which included an "ox-braai". The highlight of the day was a parrot shoot, with competitors winning money prizes for shooting different parts off a clay or wooden parrot on a pole. The "King of the Shoot" was ceremoniously escorted home. It is perhaps the oldest of the imported festivals and while it fell away after Van Der Stel's death, it was formally resurrected in 195* and is today still celebrated in pageant form on the "Braak" (Common) in Stellenbosch. A general bazaar involving the whole community is now very much part of the festivities. From 2001 onwards it was amalgamated with two other local festivals (the Stellenbosch Festival and the Stellenbosch Food and Wine Festival) to form one integrated Stellenbosch Festival. (TH) Keywords: Stellenbosch, festival, folk dance. (Bosman 1, p. 17) Howeveer this did not work and two years later they each went their own way again.

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