Cities are louder, busier and more crowded than ever. Many people are becoming disillusioned with the rushed city life, and are seeking alternative lifestyle opportunities.
Nooitgedacht Village, on the doorstep of the Boland town of Stellenbosch, has come up with a vision that hits right at the heart of ‘the city question’ – answering it with the word “village”.
The estate is located in the Winelands region, less than 10km from Stellenbosch, with a plan to offer more lifestyle amenities than most estates boxing in the same weight category. To name a few: a 2.3ha eco park, a hotel and gym, 200ha of farmland with hiking, running and cycling trails, an office park and a commercial and retail square. But what really sets it apart is its underlying vision, encapsulated in their motto, “Join the Story” and the word “village”.
The owners of Nooitgedacht Estate, the Wirth Family, emphasise the importance of history and tradition in our day and age – values centred on the family and community. The estate itself has dug its roots into 300 years of history, but how can residents “join” this history?
“Legacy” is widely held to be one of the most fulfilling aspects of a person’s life. It could be described as the knowledge that your life is the result of someone else’s, and that your life will, in turn, significantly influence the life of someone else.
“Join the Story” locates individuals within a greater narrative of inheriting and leaving a legacy.
In a Western worldview, “village” is an archaic concept, packed away in boxes with John Bunyan and the Brothers Grimm. The word, “village”, awakens an imaginary element. It calls up something more human than “city”.
Something vibrant but not exhausting. Bustling but not loud. Lively but not overwhelming.
In the village, we see ourselves, once again, as part of a community. It revives a sense of accountability for others and encourages participation.
But how does Nooitgedacht Village aim to bring their philosophy into reality? Can its fruition be achieved through brick and mortar?
The Walls Have Voices
Enter Nooitgedacht Village. The first thing that will strike you is a different kind of architecture: cobblestone streets… high rising Italian-style towers – tiled, pointed roofs… fountains and euro-style archways.
The whole environment says, “slow down”.
Cobblestone streets, traditionally, were designed for pedestrians and horses. Cars seem out of place. The very streets expel the fast-paced and rushed atmosphere of modern cities. The rat race is to be left at the door.
Fountains sing the same tune in their soothing water voices. And the quaint towers produce the desire to stop, to look up. Maybe there’s someone standing on the balcony, Shakespearian style. It’s a place for imagination.
Imagination is about more than escaping. It is about a more acute perception of the wonderful world we live in. It seeing reality more perceptively.
The Revival of Face-to-Face
Nooitgedacht’s commercial and retail square will create a sort of micro economy. Even this will have a Village character. Instead of housing mass-market chain stores, the businesses invited to take part in the local economy are artisans – bakers, brewers, artists and boutique clothing designers.
The presence of small scale businesses encourages a more wholesome economy, where local produce is bought from local producers, causing an increased awareness of the wellbeing of others.
Here, people are able to be more thoughtful in spending, seeing the person behind the product, face-to-face.
Only a Dream?
Nooitgedacht certainly holds a strong appeal for people seeking an alternative to a rushed, unsafe and over-privatised lifestyle. An attractive vision is one thing, but in the real world, sales determine everything. So how well is Nooitgedacht Village executing its master plan?
With four phases sold-out and the construction of its Village park well under way, Nooitgedacht Village is hitting all the right notes in the perfect market.
The Stellenbosch economy is bursting at the seams and this growth is showing no signs of slowing down. This is not only due to its world-renowned University and attraction to international sportsmen and tourists, but also to its popularity among businesses and technopreneurs.
For someone interested in property investment in the Western Cape, this is the place to look.
Nooitegdacht Village is set up for success, and is grounded in more than mere luxury, but in a clear and rich multi-story-ideology.