Friday, August 12, 2011

Haas, BoKaap - Cape Town

Curiouser and curiouser said Alice (in Wonderland)...

Never a truer word, thought I (accompanied by a sharp burst of pride) as I walked into Haas - a jewel in the heart of the Bo-Kaap. Pride because co-owner Vanessa Berlein is like a sister to me. Our fathers were inseparable partners, pioneers and prospectors, not to mention the original custodians of The Caledonian Mining Exploration Company (unlike the blog, the former was a real gold mining company). A duo of legendary proportions, they lived a larger-than-life maverick existence. We often trade stories and have a good laugh about their colorful pidgin-Portuguese, concocted on many a trip to Lorenço Marques

In Haas, Vanessa Berlein and partners, Francois Irvine and Glynn Venter have created a space in which they "challenge one to see the world from a different perspective." The art, jewelry, artifacts and photography are produced by local artists. There are regular exhibitions - the most recent being Exhibition Macabre, which was touted, tongue-in-cheek, as being 'not for sensitive viewers'. Expect to find one-off objects like silver-plated skulls, recycled ceramics, shrines and paintings by Vanessa herself and others.

There is always something brewing at Haas, and when it is not the art, it's the adjoining coffee shop abuzz with Capetonians hatching creative ideas. Try the baby quiche with a sweet secret-ingredient chutney served up by gentleman in bowler hats. They even have a range of coffee called Tretchikoffie! It comes as no surprise. Tess has a hand in it...

I can't help but echo Alice: "When I get home I shall write a book about this place... if I ever do get home."

Painting by Vanessa Berlein

The day was overcast, so the light for photography wasn't the greatest. Here are a few photographs taken with the 'normal' camera as a back-up...

Tanya Laing bunny (Sootcookie)
Drawing by Francois Irvine

Haas, 67 Rose Street, Bo Kaap, Cape Town
Photographs by Philippa Berrington-Blew and Craig Strydom (except for the last one)


  1. This may truly be my most favorite blog post of all. I wish I could jump through my screen (not quite the same as down a rabbit hole) and explore this place myself.

  2. Thank you my most wonderful dearest Billy!Was so great to have you here! - and the blog post is perfect as per usual!