To experience the serenity of nature and get a dose of Zululand culture while fine dining at an award-winning restaurant, Hartford House in Mooi River is the place to be.Read More
Filtering by Tag: Zulu Dancers
Daar is mense wat sal sê daar is geen ander plek op aarde soos dié stukkie paradys in die KwaZulu-Natalse Middelland nie, vertel Duncan Bruce, die man wat aan die stuur van sake staan by Hartford House, 'n hotel en restaurant digby Mooirivier bied Koloniale styl op sy beste! Duncan Bruce sê hoekom hy nét hier sal bly.Read More
A Kwazulu-Natal dance troupe has left audiences on the international entertainment stage calling for more after their foot-stomping performance at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The Ngombamakhosi were among hundreds of Commonwealth and international participants at last week’s tattoo. The acclaimed event, now in its 56th year, is watched by a TV audience of millions around the world.Read More
A picture of our exuberant iNgobamakhosi Zulu Dance Troupe has been judged the best pictorial moment of the 65th Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in a competition run by show organisers last summer. Pavol Čepček from the Nitra Region in Slovakia, scooped the £500 first prize with his eye-catching picture of the South African group performing battle songs from the KwaZulu-Natal iButho.Read More
Unmistakenly one of the KZN Midlands' top boutique hotels; its history rich manor house and uber styish accommodation makes Hartford House the sought after venue for family celebrations, weddings, anniverseries, birthdays and barmitzvas.Read More
The one performance that has penetrated the hearts of visitors from across the globe at Edinburgh Festival, where the Royal Military Tattoo takes center stage, has been that of Mooi River's traditional dance troupe, the Ngobamakhosi, the name given by King Cetewayo to the regiment that routed the British at Isandlwana in 1879.Read More
People who know us, know too, that Summerhill and Hartford have long been worshippers of authenticity, originality, the upholding of tradition and the preservation of the environment. The rewards for our adherence to these things have been in ample supply this week, with the announcement on Friday that John Motaung had become the second of our graduates of the School Of Management Excellence in three years to make top student at the English National Stud. In a matter of days, our traditional dance troupe, the Ngobamakhosi, were overjoyed by an invitation to perform at the Edinburgh Festival at the end of July, where the live audience numbers more than 4 million, and their performance is witnessed by however many viewers who tune into the BBC.
In the same week, Rossouw's Guide lauded the Hartford restaurant as the principal champion of the use of local produce, an aspect of the guest experience here which distinguishes us from those urban eateries that have liberal access to the enticement of imported ingredients. There are those that would say we have little choice, isolated as we are, yet our remoteness is fundamental to what you find on your plate: local is "mnandi."
The term "African time" has been used in jest for centuries to refer to the relaxed approach to time in Africa, which prioritises relationships and experience over revenue and productivity. Funny though, how this tradition is becoming a trend the world over, as more weary Westerners revert to values and wellbeing. Slow food, slow design, slow living.
It usually takes excess to turn us off something. In this case, the overdose is mass-produced perfection and slick consumerism. Air-tight, airbrushed, air-conditioned. Having traded communities and tradition for corporations and technology in the name of progress and profit, we're now questioning the cost of this exchange, and investing again in sustainable well-being and meaningful fulfilment. Wholesome, home-made, authentic are the new currencies, and you'll find them in generous supply in life at Summerhill and Hartford House.
"Slow" embraces craft artefacts, vernacular design and generations of traditional evolution. Go to Google, and you’ll get hundreds of hits for craft sites, knitting classes, book clubs, cooking courses and all sorts of hobbies making a massive comeback. This is not the domain of Auntie Bertha and her blue-rinse brigade, but rather of hip young people seeking traditional skills and a sense of cultural heritage and tradition. The news of our dancers descending on Edinburgh has already been greeted by those who know them with elation, unlike those British soldiers that faced their fury at Isandlwana in 1879; this time the trepidation is with our Zulus, many of whom are on their maiden voyage abroad, though a small core were part of our earlier team which distinguished itself in far-away places like Tokyo and Hong Kong. Big as those two were, nothing touches Edinburgh.
The reversion to authenticity is an answer to the real needs of people, space, communities and the environment. Sustainability has given greater value to things that endure, to antiques, the creative arts and healthy living. It privileges the hand of the maker and celebrates the idiosyncrasies of things imperfect, aging and organic as an antidote to slick, stylised perfection. A witty spin-off is the move to creating instant "antiques", intentionally factoring flaws into designs. There is no greater compliment to the things we hold dear, that impersonators devote so much energy to the recreation of the things we celebrate every day. Slow, African time... it's about time!
We all know the best weather follows a snowfall, or at least those of us who live in the Midlands do. Last night witnessed the first snow-dusting of our neighbourhood this winter, and from their lofty perch at "The Monastry", high up on the Giant's Castle end of the farm, our students at the School Of Equine Management Excellence and those doing their internships at Hartford House, looked out on a crystal-white landscape from the Drakensberg in the West to the ancient scene of the Battle of Willow Grange on their North-Eastern perimeter. No matter how often you've seen it, you never quite get over the goosebumps that come with it, and while this fall was just a smattering of the destruction of 2012's, the early rays of the rising sun and the ebbing mist of early morning found us in a winter wonderland.
There's a fascination in most of our hearts, and particularly those of our coastal dwellers, for a snowscape, and if your hospitality establishment isn't already full, you can count on a weekend like this to make sure it is. Mercifully, Hartford House has been "cooking" for the past couple of years, and there's seldom a spare bed on a weekend, but that doesn't mitigate the palpitations we feel in our breasts when we rise to this sight. Suddenly there are Beverly Hills helicopters flying in for weekend lunches, Ballooning SA's hot air balloons (two of them) will be billowing up from our paddocks in the wee hours of Saturday and Sunday, and those that are lucky enough, will have a view from an entirely different perspective.
Diners at tomorrow morning's breakfast and disembarkers from these escapades, will be treated to the incomparable energy of our traditional dancing troupe, whose name and fame extends to Tokyo and Hong Kong, where they ranked third and second in the world respectively on their debut performances. Now they've been invited to perform at Scotland's Edinburgh Festival, where no doubt, they will dance the socks off anyone who's lucky enough to see them, courtesy of Col. Reggie Purbrick (let’s not forget the OBE part!).
It's never good to speak ill of the dead, and this is not intended to diminish in any way the marvellous talents of Michael Jackson. As a dancer, he was as good as he was because of his "Africaness", not because he was American, yet in this company, he would battle to make the bench!
Hartford Zulu Dance Team in action
(Photos : Hartford House)
"Hartford Zulu Dance Team"
It's with great hustle and bustle that the Award winning Zulu Dancers from Hartford eagerly enter their details for the up coming season of SA's Got Talent. With Auditions for the first round taking place on the 23rd June at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban, they'll be competing against various acts from musicians to magicians as well as acrobats and smooth groovers.
The Zulu Dancers have been performing at Hartford House for the last ten years and comprise young zulus from Bruntville, a community just outside Mooi River. They take great pride in showcasing their Zulu Heritage and we love watching them perform with such vigour and enthusiasm. We are very excited that news of their amazing talent has travelled and that they have been invited to attend "SA's Got Talent".
From all the staff at Hartford and Summerhill we wish our team of dancers all the best, and we cannot wait to see them on etv in September 2012.
For more information please visit :
Hartford Zulu Dance Troupe at the annual Summerhill Stallion Day
HARTFORD TRADITIONAL ZULU DANCERS
It’s official. The Hartford Zulu dance troupe is the best in KwaZulu-Natal having won the provincial competition this past weekend. Next stop, Joburg, where they will compete for the honour to represent South Africa at the World Traditional Dance Championships to be held later this year. Having competed at international level before, coming third in Tokyo and second in Hong Kong, and in the process beating some of the best dance troupes in the world, this is an amazing achievement for our little troupe... the self same troupe who perform for our guests every weekend in the Hartford gardens.
Growing up in the Mooi River district, their determination to rise above poverty and helplessness has catapulted them onto the international stage.
This is yet another another amazing story from our area, showing that with determination, bags of sweat, and enterprise we can achieve anything.
Now they’re off to the city of gold, Egoli, with big dreams, carrying their cowhide drums and hose sticks, and of course the beat of Africa.
They leave with warm wishes from all at Hartford House, Summerhill Stud and Vuma Horse Feeds.
Onwards and upwards!
A Hartford Wedding
A WONDERFUL HOTEL FOR A WEDDING
Durban, South Africa
It’s always gratifying to receive feedback from guests who stay aHartford House, as an enormous amount of effort goes into making every guest’s stay a memorable one. It was therefore with deep appreciation that we received these reviews via theripadvisor.com website.
We booked Hartford House for my daughter’s wedding. We took over the whole hotel for two nights. What an unbelievable experience! All the guests from the United Kingdom and South Africa thought it was a very romantic location for a wedding.
The food we had at the reception was, as expected, excellent. The accommodation in the suites which overlook the lake was out of this world. I do not think I have stayed in a room anywhere in the world as large as the one at Hartford House. We also took advantage of the guided tour of the stud farm which was very interesting and informative.
My daughter could not have had a better wedding experience. The staff could not do enough for us during our stay. A highlight was the performance by a local group of young Zulu dancers which the hotel arranged for the evening before the wedding. They were the best we’ve seen.
FABULOUS HARTFORD HOUSE
Ezulweni Lake Suites
During our stay I mentioned to the manager that they should put Hartford House on the TripAdvisor site, and I’m glad she did!
This is a fabulous place for ambience, countryside views, peace and tranquillity and excellent food. We were lucky that, while we were there, a top South African jockey and his family were staying and, together with them, we had a guided tour of the stud farm with Mick Goss, the owner. They look after and breed for many of the top owners in the world. The horses are amazing! There are just fields of mares and foals.
They have several rooms, the best definitely being the suites which overlook the fishing dam which is quite good for fly-fishing. My husband also went on a fly-fishing trip on the small trout rivers nearby which were demanding but, apparently, very good.
I would thoroughly recommend Hartford House.
WONDERFUL COUNTRY ESTATE
Cape Town, South Africa
Siyabonga Suite 15 Bedroom
We booked at Hartford House in Natal for 2 nights, due to the fact that the on-site restaurant was voted as one of the Top 10 restaurants in South Africa.
The Siyabonga Suite we stayed in is completely separate from the whole estate, overlooking the dam. The suite itself was massive with a complete lounge with fireplace, entrance area, and a big bedroom with seating space. The bathroom was the cherry-on-top with 2 freestanding baths next to each other for bathing. A massive shower room with separate toilet and dressing area completed the suite. Everything in the suite was in neutral earthy colours and our suite even had a grass roof. The materials used to build the suite were made by the locals with their local building materials.
The main building is absolutely beautiful. The building is still the old original sandstone farmhouse. Inside, portions of the ceilings are even stained glass, which lets light through during the day and is absolutely amazing. The main building houses the restaurant, lounge, porch and breakfast area. Everything has old world charm, yet is updated with modern style and done tastefully. It is a beautiful house.
The estate itself is on a working stud farm and apparently breeds some of the best horses in the world. We did see some horses and it's understandable why. The estate is massive with every inch of ground manicured to perfection.
The highlight of our stay, however, was the restaurant. Being avid “foodies”, the dinner and breakfasts during our stay were mouth-watering sensations each time. I'm not going into detail, but each course was made with fresh ingredients from the estate and had a perfect combination of tastes. Even breakfast was a three-course meal, and not the normal buffet with a selection of everything. The three-course breakfast was a refreshing experience with exquisite combinations.
All in all, this estate combines everything perfectly. The proximity to the Drakensberg is also very nice, as it's only 50kms from Giant's Castle.
We loved our stay here and will be back again and again.
Hartford House Zulu Dance Troupe
(Photo : Summerhill Stud)
About ten years ago, a group of local kids approached us with a view to auditioning as a traditional dance troupe. Mick Goss grew up in the heartland of traditional dancing in one of the remotest parts of South Africa, and he’d seen just about every traditional dance there was to be seen. Reluctantly, and only because they represented families of our disadvantaged, he and Cheryl agreed to attend an audition on Hartford’s front lawn. In the event, some 30 turned up, ranging from ages 8 to 18, together with six makeshift drums, strapped with animal hides and beaten with garden hoses as substitutes for the traditional drumsticks.
Remember, the judges had sat through more than a thousand renditions of traditional dance routines in their lives to that point, so this had to be impressive to become anything more than just another audition. Yet these kids were so good, when the show was over, it took the Gosses less than a minute to decide they would be a permanent fixture, on duty every Saturday evening at Hartford House for as long as the weather permitted. These youngsters were not just talented, they had regaled themselves in the full ceremonial gear at their own expense, yet they were part of an impoverished community. No doubt about their determination, not to mention their self belief.
Until three years ago, they’d never ventured beyond the confines of Mooi River, then, out of the blue, they were invited to perform at the Provincial Championships in Durban. There they won the right to represent KZN at the National Championships, and the rest is a fairytale. As the best dance group in South Africa, they were sent to Tokyo for the World Traditional Dance Championships, and on debut, they ranked third, in the whole darn world! It’s barely believable, we know, but here they were, the only team on the African continent to rank this high, and a year later, in Hong Kong, they finished second.
Reality is, this team is still a “work in progress”, and they’re getting better by the day, to the degree that we were confident, had it taken place as scheduled in the United States earlier this year, they might’ve returned with the World crown. Sadly, the present economic climate in the United States has led to the postponement of the event, but these youngsters will still have their day.
You need only ask those that’ve witnessed their routine to know how good they are. And while a man of Michael Jackson’s dance talents owes everything he’s knows to his African roots, he’d struggle to make the “bench” in the Hartford troupe.