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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bokkoms at Velddrif (and blog's first anniversary)

The schools of fish near Velddrif have attracted people for ages! Some fish traps and shell middens dating back hundreds of years, having belonged to Khoi-Khoin (early indigenous inhabitants) are protected historical beacons. The quaint little lane next to the Berg River which is aptly named "Bokkom Lane" is considered an informal "national monument". Here, in a never-changing cycle, schools of harders are offloaded from rickety boats onto rickety jetties. First, the fish is thrown into deep salt troughs, then, still wet and glistening they are bunched and hung out to dry. The moment they are salted and stringed onto rafters they are no longer referred to as harders or mullet, but become bokkoms.

In my painting, and in the photographs you can see the first steps in the process. Bokkoms are hung out to dry. They are very beautiful and this subject is a favourite among West Coast artists. My next post I will show them dried to a golden colour. I will then explain the second part of the process and explain how to eat this local delicacy.

I mentioned in the title that this is my blog's first anniversary. When I took those bold steps, I did not know that I would make many friends, sell lots of paintings and really get hooked on blogging! I did not add my flag counter before June last year, but what fun it provides! So now I know that I had 8664 hits and 71 countries visited my blog so far and that my highest number of visitors in a day was 122. (Sport and celebrity blogs cannot compete here, please!) And in true Oscar style I want to thank my 1747 unique South African visitors, 792 very kind Americans, 99 Australians (who ARE you, I want to meet you too???), an equal number of UK people and 77 Canadians. The biggest surprise was the interest in my blog that was shown by travel websites.


  1. A wonderful painting, Marie, and I am quite squeamish of fish. Still, when I read the words and history of this fish in your journaling, I find myself intrigued. (Often I find myself just wishing I liked the taste of seafood, but I just can't stand it!) Can't wait to see your next piece on this subject!

  2. A wonderful literary and visual account

  3. Congratulations on all you have achieved in just one year blogging - enjoy your anniversary and treat yourself. I'm one of your English fans in that global count.

  4. Marie,
    Congratulations on your first anniversary with your wonderful blog!
    This painting really caught my eye. It is done so well. I appreciate the painterly quality of these silvery beauties!

  5. Congratulations from one Canadian admirer. Your blog and paintings are inspiring to us poor souls that do not have your talent and your vision.


  6. I love the way you achieved the silvery look of the fish. You are very talented - which is what attracts people from all over the world to your blog.

  7. A very special thank-you for these kind comments!I have visitors and family commitments and things like day-long power blackouts also happen here. I feel that I have neglected everybody in the blog world!

    Sherry, I knew that I had to take people's sensitiveness into account, but thanks for
    understanding this very old tradition.

    Thank you for the comment, Nancy. I try to keep the "lesson" side of the story very brief.

    Joan, thank you for the lots of UK people that you surely guided towards my blog!

    Linda, you make me wish that I have used those lovely words: "The painterly quality of these silvery beauties"!

    Anne-Marie, I painted a Canadian bride in a dark blue dress "The Bride and the Ocean" early on in my blog and soon had a good start with Canadians. Thank you for your words.

    Jean, that is so kind of you. Because of the severe lack of time I started on the left with the very detailed fish but had to rush the rest of them. Turquoise and purple and some Prussian blue and black helped with the silver look.

  8. Happy Anniversary!!!!!! I'm sure you have enjoyed your year of blogging as much as I have browsing through it!

    Awesome silver fish Marie.....and so painterly done!

  9. Congratulations on the Anniversary! You have such an interesting blog with great information, wonderful paintings, superb stories and history it is no wonder that you have followers from all over! I like fish paintings and love eating them too. These guys almost look like they are still wiggling.

  10. Happy Anniversary! Your paintings are so beautiful and your blog is wonderful. I look forward to reading more!

  11. Happy Anniversary from California, USA! I am delighted that I found your blog and we have become blog friends.

    The fish painting is so handsome. They just glisten on the paper. I wish we lived closer so I could take lessons!

  12. Happy Anniversary on your first year blogging. Your words and art are both inspirational and educational. Not even to mention how beautiful your art is, thank you for sharing.

  13. Two great posts and two incredible paintings on Velddrif Marie! As for bokkoms - personally I can't stand the taste! Will hopefully see you in Velddrif next week!

  14. I understand how these fish make a great painting subject! The bokkoms are delightful.

    Congrats on your blog anniversary! Don't you wish you had started one earlier?? I do!!

  15. I'm so happy to have known you in the past year - it's a delight and an honor! You are a wonderful painter as well as a story teller - congratulations! Looking forward to seeing/reading more from you, loves, theresa.

  16. wonderful painting. Great blog. Congratulations

  17. I LOVE that painting... Wonderfully done.
    Of course I'm not surprised you have so many visitors and from so many places around the world...
    Great job!!!

  18. Happy Anniversary Marie! Your blog is always a joy to visit. So sad I will not be able to make the trip next week with Liz, but I have to sit at the Kirstenbosch Exhibition on Friday.
    Your fish are absolutely beautiful!

  19. Happy Blog Anniversary! You shouldn't be too surprised at the visits, it is a beautiful blog and your paintings are gorgeous.


  20. It is time to move on with the story of the Bokkoms, but just a note to say that I had a lovely blog anniversary and appreciate all the comments. Thank you Debbie, and I hope you enjoy your course with Jean in the UK!

    Thank you Catherine, Mango Gal, Mary, Joan and Liz. Thank you Dean, Theresa and Gary! Nice to hear from you Marian, Carol and Silver. I read all your remarks several times to gear up for the next year.


I love your comments, they make my day!