About Us

Trading Places is staffed by a team of three people, with additional input from the resident willing canines, Siener and Batla (Africanis aka African hunting dogs) and Shula (a Cairn cross).


Carmel Rickard moved to Smithfield from Durban in 2002. After university (in ‘Maritzburg) she was a high school teacher for a few years, but since 1981 she has been a writer and journalist (print and radio). After many years as the legal editor of the Sunday Times she is now writing a colourful weekly column for The Weekender (the weekend edition of Business Day) as well as providing that paper with news and analysis about legal and other stories.

View some of Carmel’s writing.

She is keen on growing roses, like the Smithfield Rose specially developed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the village. She has a passion for indigenous plants and trees and loves walking in the veld with the dogs, noticing what is in bloom and taking photographs.


As housekeeper, Julia Tele takes care of guests’ rooms and shares responsibility for breakfast with Carmel. Julia, 30, lives close by and has one daughter, Cressie. Julia says she loves her job and specially likes her uniform which she helped Carmel design. She’s extremely proud of the guest house and enjoys showing people round. When she first started work here she was nervous, shy and reluctant to speak. Now she’s a confident woman who plays a prominent role in the church and wider community.


Paulus Sololo Ramatse originally worked on a farm some distance away, but he is now enjoying village life. He lives on the premises; under his watchful eye and thanks to his hard work, the barren garden we inherited from the previous owners is being turned into a delight for visitors and passers-by. He’s also the handy-man for Trading Places and it would be his pleasure to wash down your vehicle for you.

Paulus has recently started cycling again, something he had not done since he was a child. His red bike is his most prized possession and after work he spends as much time as he can in the saddle. He entered and completed his first official mountain bike race in July 2006, finishing with an excellent time and winning a special development prize.

He has attended several gardening courses in Bloemfontein and hopes to learn more about how to look after plants, particularly the indigenous shrubs and trees that we are using in the gardens here.

Smithfield soccer

We sponsor PheZulu Rangers Football Club, which has come top in the local tournament in three of the last four seasons. Manager Thabo Ramanyake says the team will welcome games further afield.