The writing retreat at Fynbos Estate with senior graduate students and postdoctoral fellows has been a long time a coming. For many years I have looked to find a place – not too far from Stellenbosch or Cape Town – where a group of us could spend time together writing, reading, discussing, relaxing, cooking and eating together in beautiful and tranquil surroundings.
The Farm House and Owl Cottage more than met with our expectations. The house provided ample rooms and tables where we could meet in small groups and discuss work, the beautiful gardens had benches and tables where individuals could withdraw and focus for a morning or an afternoon on completing a section of writing, and the entire group could gather in the evening before dinner around the fire in the lounge to discuss the progress and issues relating to a particular piece of work or study. The space was big enough to allow privacy and alone time, and intimate enough to facilitate good conversations and a spirit of togetherness.
The kitchen was very well equipped and we had some memorable meals with some of the left-over tasting wines of the estate, which are excellent. And those gifted bottles of wine from the tasting room speak of something else: the generosity and hospitality of Fynbos Estate that made our stay so unforgettable.
A piece of the farm will be in each of the theses and dissertations that were discussed and worked at during our week there. And I know the retreat will be a cherished memory for everyone who attended the retreat.
Speaking for myself: I look forward to bringing the next cohort of young academics to Fynbos Estate soon.
Prof. Stephanus Muller, Africa Open – Institute for Music, Research and Innovation, Stellenbosch University.