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  • Writer's pictureSABA

"Exploring the Unique Talent of a Local Bonsai Artist"


I was born in 1978 in Heidelberg Gauteng, where I grew up on a beautiful farm that belonged to my grandfather at the time. From childhood, I was fascinated by plants, and I grew succulents with my father, who was a horticulturist and an experienced succulent collector.

When I was 12, my father bought me a bonsai book, and the very next day, I collected my first Celtis tree from our garden. In the early days without Google and Facebook, I had to learn from books and the horticultural knowledge passed down from my dad. Luckily, I met Oom Johan Bester, who was also living in Heidelberg, and he gave me my first foundation for what was to come.


In 2000, I went to study Jewellery design at Pretoria Tech and joined Pretoria Bonsai Kai. With all the knowledgeable people in the club, my bonsai eyes were opened for the first time, and that's when I got into the world of master Charles Ceronio. I participated in many of his private workshops at his Pretoria home. Through the club, I also met and befriended many bonsai teachers like Oom Theuns Roos, Louis Nel, Erika Kohler, Hennie Reyneke, and many more. These are the people that inspired me to better myself in the art of Bonsai.


In 2003, Pretoria Kai took me on my first Yamadori dig in the Rustenburg area, and that day my passion for collecting Yamadori started with a bang. After a couple of years in Pretoria Kai, where Oom Charles Ceronio, who was still the president, taught me to do demonstrations, first with his assistance and later all by myself. In the years to come, I did demos all over South Africa and met inspiring people like Gary Howes, Brett Simons, and Vian Herbst, just to name a few.


In 2006, I won the new talent competition for Brat at the Cape Town Bonsai convention and had my first encounter with international demonstrators. That's when I met Master Robert Stevens, the man who changed my outlook on Bonsai forever.


Hannes has many talents, even making his own bonsai pots.

In 2013, I started my own bonsai club, Suikerbos Bonsai Kai Heidelberg, with two other friends. The name Suikerbos comes from the area I grew up in and still live in, called Suikerbosrand, and we border the well-known Suikerbosrand nature reserve.

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Netjiese agtergrond, maar nie joune nie. Het jy soortgelyk in jou tuine? Jyjet mos mooi bome?

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