Snowmen rule in Harrismith

2011-07-26 11:18
Harrismith - Frosty the Snowman made several appearances at Harrismith's town centre on Tuesday, as families gathered to create a South African version of the "jolly happy soul".

Resembling scenes from an American Christmas movie, many children began rolling up huge snowballs to create snowmen.

But instead of the "corn cob pipe, a button nose, and two eyes made of coal", these frosties wore South African Springbok scarves and beanies.

"There's no work today, we don't have power, so we are out here to play with the kids," resident Suzette Brits said.

Their big-bellied snowman wore two horns on its head, symbolising the Blue Bulls rugby team they supported.

"It took us 20 minutes to make this snowman," she said.

Youngsters were spotted throwing snowballs at each other. Another set of town dwellers were trying to make an igloo.

"Snowmen are just so overrated," one of them said.

Travellers stranded

The tiny Free State town was under a blanket of snow after heavy falls overnight. The unusual weather caused the closure of a long stretch of the N3 highway, between Van Reenen's Pass and Villiers. This left many travellers moving between KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng on Monday having to seek accommodation in Harrismith, a halfway spot, overnight.

Petrol stations and stores were running on generators as the town was also hit by an electricity cut. "Nobody must even think of venturing out on the roads," said Dries van Niekerk, owner of Dries Auto. "Today is a day to stay indoors and drink Gluhwein."

He said this was the worst snow storm since 1992. Van Niekerk at the time was in the town council's emergency services.

"We had cowboys, out of towners, who decided to drive down the road into the valley during that snow storm. And the next thing we received a few hours later, was an emergency call to say they were dying."

He said emergency services with the help of the army were then tasked with the rescue.

"You can lose yourself in weather like this. We recorded three centimetres of snow last night."

Snow draped surrounding mountains in white, while cattle were seen grazing in a nearby field by a frozen lake. Truckers and other motorists were lined up just before the N3 offramp.

"We are stuck here," one motorist shouted. "I have to get to the highway."

- SAPA
Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  weather
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