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Musician puts Ladismith on the grid with braai invention

Written by Mickey Mentz

New industry established in town famous for its cheese

Musician Willim Welsyn and his team have created a new industry in the Klein Karoo town of Ladismith following the rise to fame of their Blitzkriek Braaikaaster (braai grid shaped like a guitar) that has captured the imagination of an international audience.

The Braaikaaster is the brainchild of 63-year-old Bert Lintvelt who decided to create the practical “instrument” as a gift to Willim and his family. After producing more than 100 Braaikaasters over the last thee years, Willim decided that it was time for the business to expand.

He launched a crowd funding campaign on Heritage Day to source the needed capital. To his delight he managed to raise close to R140 000 within the first month.

“The response has been great and we have received so many orders, the team will be working well into December (and on weekends) to ensure that as many people possible receive a unique Christmas gift,” said Bert who heads up a team of three.

While drastic increase in orders is wonderful for Bert and the brother/sister combo of Novi and Boetie van Eik who are his right hands, the growth of the business could depend on them reaching their R250 000 crowd-funding target.

To donate to this worthy cause click here.

Meanwhile the 23-year-old Novi has vowed that she will continue to defy stereotypes who believe that physical work should be reserved for men.

Having overcome many personal trials and tribulations in the last year, she said that she would be happy if the work she does inspires other women in the area to do the same.

She is as excited as the three men (Willim, Bert and Boetie) about the future of the Braaikaaster business and had the following advice to young girls who are considering entering a man’s world.

“Sure, it it looks very difficult, but once you start doing a job that many people think is only for men, you will realise it is actually very easy. It’s simply a case of learning on the job,” Novi said.

For Boetie, a 30-year-old who had struggled to make ends meet prior to this project, the increase in orders has been a blessing of note.

Boetie van Eik, Man of Steel

“Orders used to trickle in, but now, thanks to Willim, we have enough work to keep us busy for a long time. I feel like a dog that has just received the biggest bone,” said Boetie.

Bert van Lintvelt – the Mastermind

Bert, however, finds himself in a tricky spot. From making a precision crafted braai utensil, to becoming a rockstar in his own right in Ladismith – it has been a fun ride which has left him with the exact number of sleepless nights only new business owners know all too well.

“I’d just like to thank everyone who have donated thus far. It has been surreal and you have not only changed our lives but the lives of so many people in this community.”

Willim said that he was equally humbled by the experience and that he remains hopeful that they would reach their crowd-funding target. The Bellville rocker who crew up on the foothills of the Swartberg mountain range managed also thanked his friends and fans for supporting this cause that not only means a lot to him, but to the town of Ladismith at large.

*Willim’s music isn’t that bad either, while he is mostly known for his Afrikaans tunes – the legendary Koos Kombuis has rated him as one of the best in South Africa, he also released an English album titled Shunt in 2014 under name William Welfare.

About the author

Mickey Mentz

From my Barrydale base, my goal is to tell the stories of people and places on the picturesque R62. Ek het oor die jare 'n cappuccino verslawing ontwikkel en my hond se naam is Karoolus.

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