“I should have brought my whole extended family!” said one visitor to the Rhenosterspruit / Magaliesberg Biosphere “Living Naturally Festival” held on 13 March at Alpha Conference Centre. “And all my friends,” added his wife as she sampled some of the delicious home-made jams and breads at Hana's Herbs. Her kids weren't interested in herbs – they were watching Experilab's Francois Germishuizen creating scientific magic.

 

Apart from stalls offering the “Best of the Biosphere” - visitors were treated to a range of shows and displays seldom found at one function. The Lesedi dancers' vigour and stamina had the audience spellbound and one tiny boy delighted the audience with his exuberant capers, mimicking the dancers.

Experilab's “explosive” science session should be part of every school's curriculum – bangs, fizzes, magic colour changes, rockets and even a lethal “potato gun”. Lots of appeal to the enquiring mind. The Snake Mythbuster's demonstration with snakes encouraged even the timid to stroke a large python which he had slithering around his neck. They kept a safe distance from the snouted cobra and puffadder, however.

Vincent Carruthers whisked his audience back more than a century to the Anglo Boer War's Battle of Kalkheuvel, made even more “real” because we were standing on the field where the actual battle raged, flanked by the two hills where the Boers were entrenched. Guns blazing, horses rearing and neighing, orders barked and screams echoing from the hills – it needed very little imagination to visualise the battle.

And then there were owls, and hairy spiders, and fresh veggies, and beautiful plants and even a tented massage parlour (no, not that type, a therapeutic one!). The Soweto Heritage Orchestra provided lively music and Gilroys Brewery provided the “spirit” - naturally brewed lager and ale from master brewer, Steve Gilroy.

Don't miss this annual event next time!

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