As they say – 2018 lies on its back and is done and dusted! It was challenging with lots of blessings and joy, and 2019 will no doubt be no different.
FREDO BLOG is looking forward to a busy year covering its focus areas. At the outset, we would like to wish all our readers a special 2019 – may you enjoy lots of blessings and may the good things be many and the tough times be few.

Let us not kid ourselves, however! For South Africans in general it will not be an easy year. The state of the economy, dragged down by mismanagement, state capture and corruption, will mean that all will experience challenging times. Our Eskom woes will continue and it is certain that the joy of not having to cope with electricity supply problems over the festive season will be short-lived as we enter the New Year. The fact that it is election year, will muddle things up and contribute to uncertainty. All we can hope for is that once the election is over, we will end up with a stable government.

Those who have watched the turmoil within the governing ANC Party with anticipation, predicting its fall, may well be licking their lips. For South Africa, though it will probably be better if the ANC can have a fairly reasonable victory under the circumstances. We all know the mess that recent coalition governments in the major urban areas have resulted in – we cannot afford this at national level – not with the economic mess we are in. That will put the shutters up!

For the Fruit Industry it is the start of another season. Fredo will write monthly for his international magazines partners on the fortunes of the industry which is so vital for the rural regions of South Africa. Later in the year FREDO BLOG also intends to regularly publish its own highlight bulletins on the most important local and international developments in the industry – all to add value to our readers. Our site will be updated further to enable us to do so.

Then Fredo is looking forward to completing The Quest for Quality – the story of South African table grapes. It is due to be published in April at the end of a two-year long journey for Fredo and Janey. Then we will tackle the last part of ‘Citizens of Africa’ – Fredo and Janey’s own life story – that will be a nice read and will document some of the memorable moments and involve stories of the most memorable people we met along the way.

Fredo and Janey will continue to travel. We are now looking at streamlining our many different interests that occupies a lot of our time – in order to pack in some more travelling. The highlight will be a family visit to Mauritius – our first visit there – to celebrate the wedding of Johno and Jules.

As soon as possible we want to also undertake a camper holiday – travelling through Kruger again or visiting the smaller game reserves closer to home – Camdeboo at Graaff-Reinet, Mountain Zebra Park near Cradock and Addo Park near Port Elizabeth. At Addo we also want to visit Riverbend Farm of Sun Miguel Group and good friend Alex Lucas, as well as drinking some coffee, or something better, with Hannes de Waal in the Sunday’s River Valley. There are some special stories to tell!

Then we will also plan another visit to Kgalagadi – we need to spend some time at Nossob Camp – and possibly go from there up to our favourite, Etosha National Park in Namibia. Undoubtedly it will be a challenge to do all this in one year – but stretching over three years is also not a problem.

In 2018 we lost some legendary friends and colleagues – Louis Kriel and Gerrit van der Merwe – to name two. We think of their families and all others who lost dear families during the past year.

And our best of the New Year’s greetings undoubtedly go to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mrs Tutu – special people who have such a great influence on our lives – next week we will share some delightful table grapes with them.

Now we have to see out the Old Year and Welcome the New One. At Riverside there will be a great party on the lawn in the Valley – no doubt going on till well after midnight. Then, in these parts, many of the holiday makers will start leaving – it is a long road to the North – and all schools will open again on 9 January.

Then the plovers and dikkoppe will return to the lawn in front of our house – on the sandbank the Herons and seagulls will follow the Duikers as they hunt – and in the evening the harders and grunters will flap their tails on the low tide.