South of the Lentil Curtain, down past the remote Misty Cliffs and wild white sand beaches of Scarborough, lies the last bastion of civilisation before the Cape Point National Park – the Cape Farmhouse.
Its huge oak trees were vibrating on New Year’s Day to the sound of the group tipped as the next big Afroband – Hot Water – who were launching their third album, South. The group’s leader, Donovan Copley, may look like the head of the school chess club but his enormous charisma has brought together an eclectic multi-instrumental group which blends traditional African music with folk, blues and indie-pop rock.
Admittedly, the audience at the Cape Farmhouse was made up of some of the nuttiest people likely to be found in the Western Cape, but this may be a reflection on the area rather than the band. Resolutely uncool, the fans were instantly endearing – lanky hippies, patchworked dungareed grannies, young mothers dancing with their skirts tucked up in their knickers… but on further inspection there were a few Camps Bay type trendies in the crowd too, and the girls either side of me were tingling with excitement at the Hollywood glamour provided by Sharlto Copley, star of District 9 and brother of Donovan the band leader.
Donovan was the clear star of the show, playing his guitar on his lap and behind his head – even dancing into the crowd with a fly whisk and climbing into the rigging of the tent. The instruments themselves were also enough for me to pause me munching my mouthwatering mushroom burger and gaze in awe – the sitar, the didgeridoo and the Afri-can guitar stood out but the plethora of percussion generally was enormously entertaining.
And the Cape Farmhouse – though far for many – is worth the drive. They could do with a couple more loos for these occasions but the managers have hit exactly the right balance of professionalism and fantastic food with a down-to-earth rustic simplicity and cheerfulness. And anyone is welcome, kids, dogs… and Hollywood celebs.