Chances are very good that you have seen Schalk ‘Thunder’ Merwe on a stage in Stellenbosch in the 25 years that he has been living here.
He studied Law, Political Science, Archeology (Hons), did his Masters in Culture, Tourism and Heritage studies as well as a doctorate in History. So if you haven’t seen him on stage, you might have seen him on campus.
Schalk is always on guitar or bass but when he has time to be in the audience, he will go to one of the following places to enjoy good music. Blues nights at Balboa Balcony Bar comes highly recommended and is great for a more mature audience. He also likes summer concerts at Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, where you can enjoy a picnic on the lawns before the show. He was on stage with Karen Zoid and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra during the Toyota US Woordfees on 8 March. If you prefer to hang out with a younger crowd, try Bohemia, Stellenbosch or Aandklas Stellenbosch.
A gem that Van der Merwe shared with us is GUS (Gallery of US), where you would be able to listen to the occasional jazz concert. The Africa Open – Institute for Music, Research and Innovation hosts events at GUS every couple of months, where music from a specific country in Africa would be played. These events are perfectly curated and always out of the ordinary. From dj’s playing vinyls from the 70’s to conversations with international artists.
Schalk is married to The Food Fox – Ilse van der Merwe and his taste buds are just as trained as his ears. Lunch at Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery comes highly recommended and his 9-year-old daughter Valkie enjoys playing on the lawns in front of the restaurant. Evenings in the courtyard at Genki is a regular outing for the Van der Merwe’s, with a good selection on the menu.
Valkie loves swimming and the indoor swimming pool at Maties Gymnasium provides hours of entertainment. Just check the schedule before heading out there.
When it comes to coffee Schalk prefers to brew it himself, rather than getting served. He buys his coffee beans at Deluxe Coffeeworks‘ Smidtswinkel shop. The interior and the coffee of the new shop of Legado Coffee Roasters impressed him as well.