South Africa: The Contrasting Faces of Velddrif, Where Harders Turn Into Bokkoms


In Bokkomlaan, a 200-year-old fishing tradition continues, while at the Port Owen marina, modern craft gins and beers hold sway.

There are 12 vishuise, or fish houses, along Bokkomlaan in Velddrif, some of which are still used for their original purpose while others have been converted into places of business.

Columbine Coffee is owned and run by Rudolph Dante. His grandfather was a fisherman, and there is a picture of him (Granddad) hanging on the wall, standing tall and proud on the prow of a boat. There's a strong sense of heritage along this stretch of gravel road which is not proclaimed.

Outside the smaller, block-shaped vishuise you'll see locals working with their fish, as the harders (mullet) caught in the gill nets are transformed into the famous salty bokkoms. A century-old tradition continues in the 12 'vis huise' on Bokkomlaan. Photo: Bianca Coleman

It's an entirely natural process, I learned at Die Vis Hoekie, which is owned by Johan and Saralize Tolken. Marvin Telly demonstrated how the fish are threaded onto a string, belly-to-belly, five a side, which happens after they've been rinsed of seaweed and sand, and packed in layers with local Khoisan salt, firmly weighted down. They're...

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