New craft beer trend jazzes up 14th Jikeleza Festival

Craft beers, wedding decor, memory lockets, vetkoek and a fun ride fashioned out of 210 litre drums were all the rage at the 14th Wild Coast Jikeleza Festival at Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve this weekend.

The festival, which continues today, drew crowds despite the gusting south-wester which whipped through the city yesterday. Food stalls, ranging from schwarmas to koeksusters and burgers to Danish pastries fed the hungry, while thirsty over-18s headed for a new edition to the annual festival – the craft beer tent.

Brewery tent organiser Kurt Hansen said brewers from as far afield as KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape provinces were represented, offering unusual brews, including berry infused pale ale from Toti Brewing Company and a pumpkin ale from The Craft Brew.

“There is a growing interest in craft beer in this area so I decided to bring something different to the show which I hope grows in the future,” Hansen said.

Chris Heaton of Emerald Vale brewery in Chintsa said microbrewers were very supportive of each other: “We all have our unique offerings,” he said.

“It’s never too early for a beer,” grinned enthusiastic beer sampler Mike Francis yesterday morning.

In the stylish wedding expo space, Sweetpea Stationery owner Kelly Bodill exhibited elegant lasercut wedding invites, invitation boxes decorated with hand-crocheted hearts and prettily-potted succulent wedding favours.

Noxolo Mantyisi of “I Left my Heart in Africa” sat in the artists’ section of the festival surrounded by beautiful and eco-friendly lampshades, made with flower shapes cut from plastic milk bottles.

“I collect milk bottles from friends in Chintsa East to make them. We use about 30 bottles per shade,” Mantyisi said.

Chantell Wild of Wild by Design in Gonubie said she and husband Gary were “artists who make jewellery”. The exquisite contemporary pieces are made from silver, gold, wood, resin and acrylic.

Also selling pretty jewellery was Jacinda Wicks of Stutterheim, whose see-through memory lockets can be filled with charms including star signs, a tiny cake mixer and miniscule artist’s palette.

Mini game drives through Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve brought some “wild” into the festival. “I especially liked seeing the zebra because it represents my clan,” Zimbabwean Ishmael Maronga said.

Thomas Muller and his band of vetkoek makers were raising money for the Acacia Tree Nursery School which is situated on his Chintsa West smallholding.

“Our vetkoek sales will run the costs of our school for about three weeks,” he said. “But selling food has done better than selling crafts which we did in the past.”

Not bothered by the south-wester was Sharlene Schulze whose mouth-watering German breads and Dutch pastries were impossible to ignore.

“It's a pity about the gusts, but we were well prepared.”