This unique South African stamp is worth US$40,000

Triangular stampOn 1 September 1853, the first triangular postage stamp was issued in the Cape of Good Hope, which was a British colony at the time. The triangular shaped stamp, which became known as the Cape Triangular, was the first stamp to be issued in Africa.

It’s currently one of the 13 most valuable stamps in the world, estimated at US$40,000.

The stamp was designed by Charles Davidson Bell, who was Surveyor General of the Cape Colony at the time. The triangular shape of the stamp was a unique design for a stamp during this period, which depicted the figure of Hope. Sir George Cathcart had supposedly suggested that the stamps look completely different from those of the British.

The reason for these stamps was allegedly due to the fact that postage was based on distance, and therefore proved unfairly expensive. The Cape Triangular stamps appeared in two values, the “four pence blue” and the “one penny red”, and could be used to pay inland post only.

Source: Wallis, F. (2000) Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau

South African pothole humour

L’Agulhas lighthouse

L'Agulhas lighthouse

The Cape Agulhas lighthouse began operating on 1 March 1849.

The lighthouse was based on the design of the ancient lighthouse of Pharos of Alexandria, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the world and it was built from limestone.

Today, the Agulhas lighthouse is the second oldest working lighthouse in South Africa (the oldest being the Greenpoint lighthouse) and was declared a national monument in 1973.

The Cape Agulhas lighthouse is 27 metres tall, and its beam can be seen up to 31 nautical miles away. It is used in combination with a radio transmitter to warn ships not to come too close to shore.

Agulhas is Portuguese for ‘needle’, the name is said to have been given to the cape because the compass-needle was seen to point due north, that is, with no magnetic deviation.

What is a “mashonza”?

Mashonza are also known as mopane worms, named after the tree they are found in (the Colophospermum Mopane).

MashonzaThe caterpillar is spiky, blue and green, and the larvae of the nocturnal emperor moth. The worms are high in protein and minerals and a free source of food for the rural poor. However, they are becoming an ethnic snack for tourists and are putting a strain on the population.

The mopane worm is usually fried or dried.

One of only two city wildlife reserves – in the world

Misty Bloemfontein (South Africa) view from Signal Hill
A view of Bloemfontein from the top of Naval Hill on a misty morning.

Established in 1930, the Franklin Game Reserve atop Naval Hill in Bloemfontein is one of only two city wildlife reserves in the world (the other is in Hong Kong).

The Franklin Game Reserve is named after Sir John Stuart Franklin, mayor of Bloemfontein in the 1920s.

One of several urban legends about the White Horse is that every time a maiden is kissed on Naval Hill, it moves a step forward.

Giraffe, blue wildebeest and city views are on offer and apart from the game, there are many bird species, including Karoo scrub robin, the fairy flycatcher and violet-eared waxbills.

For safety reasons, it’s best not to walk alone in the reserve, even though walking is permitted. You can also take a day drive to the top of Naval Hill in the reserve, where you can take in the city view.

Naval Hill white horse, Bloemfontein, South AfricaAn iconic feature on the east side of Naval Hill is the ‘White Horse’, a sculpture of a white horse created from rocks painted white. The most widely accepted origin of this sculpture is that it was created during the South African War (also known as the Anglo-Boer War) as a direction marker for the British cavalry who could see it from afar. A remount camp was stationed here after the British captured Bloemfontein from the Boers on March 15th 1900.

The White Horse was most likely the handiwork of men of the Second Battalion of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Wiltshire regiment, and is said to be the only Wiltshire white horse that is not in Wiltshire.

No charge is levied to visit the reserve.

Jan Ellis had a pudding named after him

Springbok legend Jan Ellis

Jan Ellis pudding is basically a baked sponge pudding that’s covered in a creamy syrup. Jan Ellis was the most capped Springbok rugby player (he played flank) when he retired, with thirty-eight caps to his name.

Huisgenoot phoned Jan’s wife Hyla in Bronkhorstspruit to trace the recipe’s origins. She got the recipe from a friend, who got it from her Aunt Vossie of Stellenbosch. They first named the pudding Vossie, but one day someone phoned to ask for Jan’s favourite pudding, for publication. She gave the recipe for Vossie, but when it appeared it was called Jan Ellis’s pudding. Now everyone knows it by this name!

Here’s the link to the recipe:

Jan Ellis poeding (Afrikaans)
Jan Ellis pudding (English)

Jan Ellis pudding recipe (English)

Jan Ellis pudding
Jan Ellis pudding (Photo credit:
Jan Ellis (1965)
Jan Ellis (1965)


  • 5 ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 125 ml milk
  • 200g (375 ml) self-raising flour
  • 100g (125 ml) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 ml smooth apricot jam
  • 20g (25 ml) very soft butter/margarine
  • 1 ml salt


  • 250 ml water
  • 250 ml cream
  • 230g (250 ml) butter/margarine
  • 200g (250 ml) sugar
  • 5 ml vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180 °C (350 °F). Spray a 2 litre ovenproof pudding dish with non-stick cooking spray. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in milk. Mix remaining batter ingredients together, stir in milk mixture and mix very well. Spoon batter into dish. Don’t use smaller dish even if the batter seem to be too little for the dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Custard bowl and boxes
Photo credit:

Sauce – mix all sauce ingredients together and bring to boil. Pour the hot sauce (little at a time) over the pudding while still hot (straight after removing from oven). Stand for a while to allow sauce to settle/absorb. Serve with custard or ice cream.

Jan Ellis poeding resep (Afrikaans)

Jan Ellis poeding
Jan Ellis poeding (foto:
Jan Ellis (1965)
Jan Ellis (1965)


  • 5 ml koeksoda
  • 125 ml melk
  • 200g (375 ml) bruismeel
  • 100g (125 ml) suiker
  • 2 eiers
  • 30 ml appelkooskonfyt
  • 20g (25 ml) sagte margarine/botter
  • 1 ml sout


  • 250 ml water
  • 250 ml room
  • 230g (250 ml) botter
  • 200g (250 ml) suiker
  • 5 ml vanilla geursel

Voorverhit die oond tot 180 °C (350 °F). Smeer ‘n 2 liter bak. Los die koeksoda op in die melk en sit eenkant. Meng die res van die beslag bestanddele saam. Gooi dan die melkmengsel by die beslag en meng baie goed. Gooi die beslag in gesmeerde bak. Moet nie ‘n kleiner bak gebruik nie al lyk die beslag te min vir die bak. Bak dan vir 25 tot 30 minute. Toetsstokkie moet droog uitkom.


Sous – meng al die bestanddele vir die sous saam en bring tot kookpunt. Dit is gewoonlik makliker in die mikrogolf. Giet die warm sous (bietjie vir bietjie sodat dit insuig in die deeg) bo-oor die warm poeding sodra dit uit die oond gehaal word. Laat dan staan vir 5 tot 10 minute om toe te laat dat die sous geabsorbeer word. Bedien dan met warm vla of heerlike roomys.

Largest man made urban forest in the world – or not?

The largest man-made urban forest in the world, Johannesburg, South Africa

The largest man made urban forest in the world is located in Johannesburg, the capital of the Gauteng province in South Africa.

But is it really the largest?

See this article by Nechama Brodie from Africa Check, entitled “The Jo’burger who went up a tree and came down to a forest.”