Hawston was settled as a fishing village in the 1800’s and many families still depend on the sea for their livelihoods but this traditionally coloured residential area has grown into much more. It is now home to about 18 000 strong community rooted in the founder churches of St Andrews Anglican and the Dutch Reformed Church, who now all work in Hermanus and the surrounding area.
The social life of Hawston now extends beyond these two churches to many more places of worship, a magnificent Blue Flag beach, the only Olympic-sized pool in the area, a busy campsite and several vibey night spots. Music events, festivals and general community meetings are held regularly in the new Thusong Hall which can accommodate up to 800 people.
The first inhabitants of the area were Khoisan and later Griquas but sadly nothing of their habitation or any of the first fishermen’s houses that followed, remain.
Natural attractions besides the Blue Flag beach include an ancient Milkwood Forest and Paddavlei lagoon, where the fisherfolk used to do their washing. Today however, this little lagoon is home to superb birdlife. Angling from the beach is still a major pastime for many residents and visitors can consult a local for the best advice on where to fish and which bait to use. The small natural harbour is regularly used by fishing skiffs.
A primary school and high school cater for the growing young population and the steel band and marimba band from the two schools contribute to the cultural colour and sound of the community. The entire community celebrates together at the end of every year with the Hawston Sea Festival – a seafood extravaganza in true Hawston style.
Any Hawston resident will tell you it is the warm hospitality of the area that they enjoy most and they are more than willing to share this with visitors. Here one can still find a corner store where the customer is served from behind a counter and shopping includes a good bit of gossip about what is happening in the neighbourhoods.