Impact SA

Botha’s Halte celebrates heritage through CSI in the Breede Valley

Botha's Halte Primary school - Exterior (HR) 1 photo Adam Letch

In the heart of the upper Breedekloof Valley, surrounded by the Waaihoek and Slanghoek mountains lies Bosjes farm, a historic, working Boland family farm that has established itself recently as an award-winning hospitality destination in the Cape winelands.

By Chris Buchanan

Images: Adam Letch

Its standout feature is the architecturally acclaimed chapel designed by Coetzee Steyn, which has become the Bosjes signature, taking the structural technicalities of the hyperbolic parabola, blending into the natural elements of garden, water and panorama.

Underlying this luxury venue is the profound obligation to the people who live within and serve the wider area through CSI initiatives on the farm and upliftment projects in the valley, facilitated by the Bosjes Trust. One such project is Botha’s Halte, a historic farm school, originally established as “Anna Zaal” missionary school in 1926, now given new life as an educational model of sustainability and progressive digital technologies, serving a rural community.

From a sustainability perspective the school is off grid, using solar and wind generated power, as well as rain and storm water harvested for irrigation and stored in a large reservoir under the school buildings. The reservoir is topped up by a borehole as well as with the clean, treated effluent from a sewerage package plant. A vegetable garden, tended by school learners will eventually supply fresh produce to restaurant and bistro facilities on Bosjes farm.

Architect Tiaan Meyer’s design focus for the school was to show educational best practice from around the world emphasising digital technology with all classrooms equipped with e-beams, connected to the internet.

The interiors are light and bright, with an abundance of colours to stimulate the creativity of learners. Furniture and equipment have purposely been selected with this design intent in mind. 

Included as part of the school is an auditorium-type multipurpose hall, two specialist classrooms with sewing machines, handwork and woodwork equipment, as well as a science laboratory.

A Discovery Centre, where learners can gather in small groups under the “tree-of-knowledge columns”, forms the heart. Here, they make use of the multi-media equipment, computers, a screened-off audio-visual area, and good old-fashioned library books. The area also serves as break-out space from the adjacent classrooms, for group work or individual teaching.

The school is run by the Western Cape Department of Education, which will use the design and sustainability elements as a blueprint for future schools, with the Bosjes Trust involved in the governing bodies and mentors within the school. There are currently 170 learners at Botha’s Halte coming from surrounding farms in the Breede Valley most of whom deliver to Botha cellars. The school has a capacity for 220 learners.

The Bosjes Trust was conceived by the owners as a vehicle for social investment. It was established with a vision to create employment and secure a future for children of the valley. Education is a strong focus of social development, as well as hospitality training. Carlen Vorster, Head of Hospitality and Marketing at Bosjes says the CSI strategy also extends into hospitality through in-house training from waitron level and extending to the other offerings including the spa, accommodation, and food and beverage.


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