Tourists in Aberdeen love the rural sight of a donkey cart trotting around the town, but it seems that some of the donkeys are being left to graze freely at the moment. This is not good news for the town’s gardens, which are already suffering in the drought.

It is not known who owns the animals. They have been seen in many areas of the town, even venturing as far as the padstal near the busy N9. As well as destroying the once carefully tended gardens, they are becoming a traffic hazard.

The municipality has a problem in that there is no municipal pound, so stray animals cannot be confiscated and impounded. However, officials at the local offices have requested that anyone seeing stray donkeys or pigs should contact the office as soon as possible, and attempts will be made to locate the owners. Municipal law enforcement officers can then hopefully follow the matter up with the owners.

NGK bazaar


This year’s annual Thanksgiving Bazaar at the Aberdeen Dutch Reformed Church proved to be a very enjoyable experience for all who attended.

Before the Bazaar was officially opened, prayers were held in the church itself for rain, and for relief from the drought. About 50 people attended this, and Dominee Abe Beyers expressed his gratitude to those who attended.

This meant that the doors to the hall were not opened until the official opening time of 10am, by which time there was quite a crowd of people who had arrived early to catch the bargains!

The frozen meat table was laden with produce, and queues soon formed as people waited patiently to pay for their purchases. Others made a bee-line for the puddings, which included some more unusual offerings this year. Cakes and biscuits were snapped up, and the tables in the middle of the hall were soon filled with groups of friends enjoying a cup of coffee and snacks from the café.

It was a treat to see all the farm fresh vegetables, which are generally hard to come by in the town.

The smell of the freshly-cooked braai meat proved irresistible, and many were seen buying large containers full of cooked meat to take home. For those who enjoy spicy food, the tasty curry and rice was a real treat.

Younger visitors were catered for with a children’s table, with colourful crackers, popcorn and small packets of sweets.

Financially, the Bazaar was a great success, with a considerable improvement on the previous year despite the drought and difficult conditions for the farming community. Ds Beyers would like to thank all those involved in the organisation and who donated goods, as well of course as the members of the community who came out in droves to support the bazaar on the day.

Clash of the choirs

The inaugural Clash of the Choirs festival, held in Aberdeen on Saturday 30th September, showcased some enjoyable performances from the participating choirs. The venue, the Library Hall, had been draped with brightly coloured material, emphasising the colours of the South African flag. Members of Aberdeen CPF were on hand in case of any problems, and Capt Qashani of Aberdeen SAPS had any security concerns covered.

Programme Director Jeanette Tinus kept the event flowing, after a rather delayed start due to the late arrival of several of the choirs. Unfortunately the Mayor was unable to attend, but Chief Whip Cllr Angeline Booysen was present to represent Council, and welcomed everyone to the festival.

Zoleka Sakata from the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture explained the purpose of the day, giving some background to Heritage Day. He explained that many people had attempted to analyse and explain the significance of the various colours in the South African flag, but in reality, it simplify reflected the diversity of the country and its people, living side by side.

Organiser Lucricia Jackson from the Special Projects Unit of the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality then introduced the judges: Cllr Notizi Vanda from Jansenville; Garth Hitge (previously  Revenue Accountant in Camdeboo Municipality, and organist at St James’ Church); Malibongwe Qwibi from the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Roberto de Jager (Area Music Coordinator for the New Apostolic Church); and teacher and talented musician Esteline de Jager.

Before the competition started, entertainment was provided by Dolce, a group of singers from Graaff-Reinet, and some very energetic young traditional dancers from Jansenville.

Each choir then sang a short introductory piece, from their places in the audience, before the competition got under way.

Unfortunately several choirs had dropped out at the last moment, and of the 13 allocated a place on the programme, only eight arrived and performed. No church choirs at all took part, despite the abundance of talent in this area, and only two primary schools and one high school from the education sector. This was perhaps understandable though, as the festival took place after the schools had closed for the holidays.

The first section was for primary schools, and both Hobson Khanyisa Primary from Klipplaat and Elmor Primary from Willowmore acquitted themselves well.

Nqweba High School choir’s moving renditions were probably the highlight of the whole competition, with outstanding presentation as well as a powerful combination of voices. Even their short introductory excerpt brought tears to the eyes of many.

As there were no church choirs, the judges decided to split the community choir entrants into two sections, as it was felt that it was too difficult to judge children and youth choirs against adult choirs. Thus the youngsters of Mloza Juniors competed against the Jansenville Youth Choir, both of which performed well.

The remaining three community choirs then competed for the third category. Wessels Choir, from Graaff-Reinet, was followed by the Lisakhanya Choral Group and Mloza Senior choir, both from Aberdeen.

On behalf of the judges, Cllr Vanda summed up the criteria used to determine the winners, which included note value, accuracy and tone, as well as creativity and presentation. She explained that she had started her teaching career in Aberdeen back in 1966, and thus it was a special privilege for her to be back in the town to be part of the judging panel for the festival. She said that she hoped that more choirs would take part next year, and stressed that choirs should take part for the joy of singing, rather than for the prizes.

Cllr Booysen then also spoke briefly, thanking the judges and invited guests, as well as Jackson for the organisation of the day. Jackson had been assisted by Gerrit Oormeyer, the Graaff-Reinet CPF Youth Chairperson, who was responsible for the décor and design. Each of the judges was given a small gift.
The winning choirs were then announced. Elmor Primary were the winners in the primary schools category, and, despite the lack of competition, the judges were very happy to award the secondary schools’ trophy to Nqweba High School for their outstanding performance. The Jansenville Youth Choir, won their section, and the final winners were Mloza Senior Choir.

Each winning choir received an attractive trophy and R2 000, sponsored by Goldrush. The organisers are very grateful to Goldrush, who agreed to the sponsorship of prizes and refreshments at short notice. Jackson would also like to thank the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, the Advertiser, and the Departments of Education and Sports, Recreation and Culture for their support.

Usave opening

The day that Aberdonians had been waiting for finally arrived last Thursday when the new Usave store opened its doors in the old Verspreiders building.

Newly appointed manager Tashwell Plaatjies, who moved to Aberdeen from the Beaufort West store, as well as visiting Regional Manager Andre Alberts were on hand to welcome customers.

As expected, the store was packed out and excited customers streamed through the doors. By late morning the rush had abated somewhat, as by opening before the end of the month, many potential customers had not yet been paid – however this did not stop them coming to look! Shelves appeared to be fully stocked, and except for a few gaps, prices were clearly shown on the shelves.

Outside the store, the Shoprite Mobile Soup Kitchen was doing brisk business, serving bread and soup to hungry shoppers and interested bystanders.

On Sunday and Monday, many customers queued to collect their SASSA payouts at the till, and due to the lack of signage, this did cause some confusion and delays for shoppers. Plaatjies explained that the store would obviously not be able to carry sufficient cash to pay every beneficiary in Aberdeen, but that they would certainly continue to provide a limited service for this.

All cashiers and shelf packers are Aberdeen residents, none of whom had worked in a Usave before, so a few minor problems due to inexperience have occurred, but these are more than offset by the friendly greetings and genuine pride in their jobs shown by the staff.

Manager Plaatjies is keen to listen to requests from customers for other goods that they would like to see on the shelves, and by lunchtime on the first day, already several people had apparently enquired about a few products. As a brand new store, it will obviously be a little trial-and-error in the first few months, but the aim is certainly to please and cater for what Aberdeen customers would like to buy. Plaatjies confirmed that he will put a suggestion box in the front of the store and will welcome input from customers.

This is the first national grocery chain store to open in Aberdeen, and residents are very grateful to Usave for providing this facility. Ward 7 councillor Rudy Jacobs congratulated both the owner of the building, Roelof van der Merwe, and Usave, for the wonderful investment in the town. “This is a first for Aberdeen and you have made it possible for future ventures to move here.  In my capacity as the Aberdeen CBD Ward Councillor, I want to also thank you for the job opportunities you have brought to some of our unemployed. Our town’s economy has now also received a boost, all thanks to you” said Cllr Jacobs.


Heritage day at Luxolo

Learners and staff at Luxolo Intermediate School in Aberdeen enjoyed a wonderful experience last Friday celebrating their diverse backgrounds for Heritage Day. The event was organised by language teacher Zoliswa Rasi and LSA Sinovuyo Nonnies, with assistance from the Soul Buddyz group.

Most of the learners dressed in outfits to reflect their heritage, and many of the girls’ Xhosa outfits were particularly impressive.

Activities on the day included traditional music, songs and dancing, which were greatly enjoyed by all. Many of the learners spoke about their families, and in the case of the Xhosa children, their clan names. HOD Jeanette Tinus talked to the learners about the history of Aberdeen, the common thread in all their heritage.

There was also a modelling competition, and the learners were judged on their traditional dress as well as their correct bearing- for example, those boys who were dressed as initiates had to be respectful and always look down.

Crèche donations

Kabouterland Creche in Lotusville and Thembalesizwe Creche were both beneficiaries of a wonderful donation of toys and food from old Aberdonian Monica Abrahams last week.

Monica grew up in Aberdeen, and she and her late sister Margaret started a small crèche many years ago at the George Haywood sportsfields in Lotusville. About 30 years ago, Monica moved to Cape Town, and was employed as a domestic  worker for 15 years. Her dream had always been to own her own crèche, and seeing the many preschool children wandering aimlessly around her neighbourhood prompted her to give up her job and follow her dream.

She started with 15 children, in a small RDP house, and her passion and dedication has enabled her to now run a very successful business with 150 children with 13 staff, in a building worth over R2m. Since the beginning of her enterprise she has never stopped learning, and has attended many courses. Members of her staff are all fully trained, and the school is known as a centre of excellence with a long waiting list.

When she was in Aberdeen last December, Monica visited the two local crèches and saw for herself some of the problems experienced by these two organisations. Due to lack of money, there are very few toys for the children, and often insufficient food. Although the fees asked are very low (R30 per child per month at Kabouterland if the parents are not working), very few parents actually pay. Aware of the stark contrast to the facilities available to the children in her care in Durbanville, Monica decided that she would like to give something back to the community in which she grew up. She launched an appeal to the parents of the children at her school and local businesses, and received tremendous support.

Monica and five of her teachers visited Aberdeen last week, bringing with them 18 boxes filled with puzzles, toys, and books for the Aberdeen crèches, mostly brand new. Five boxes of tinned and dried food were also donated by the Durbanville parents.

A fun day was organised for the Aberdeen children, with games and songs. Monica has been asked to help the local crèches on a regular basis with training, which she is very happy to do. The motto of her school is “it’s all about the child”, and she is very willing to pass on her knowledge and experience to help in the growth and development of the Aberdeen children too.

Bonny baby

This time last year, Aberdeen residents Athiphila Nomandla and Nellie Douws were thrilled to welcome baby Philasande Sibabale Douws to their family.

Philasande was a real miracle baby for the couple, as Nellie had miscarried during her previous two pregnancies. She is diabetic, and the couple believe that this, coupled with high stress levels, was the reason she lost her previous two babies.

Nellie’s diabetes is also thought to be the cause for Philasande’s size- he was a whopping 6.2kg (nearly 14lbs) at birth! Due to his size, he was born by Caesarian section at full term. He has continued to grow, and at a year old he now weighs 19kg. He can stand on his own but not yet walk –probably due to his size- and his father described his way of getting round as “shuffling along on his bottom”!

Despite his weight, he is a healthy baby, and his mother takes him for check-ups at the Masikhane Clinic. Every time they attend the clinic, staff and fellow patients are amazed at his size.

Philasande’s birthday was on 25th August, and his parents are still hoping to organise a belated celebration for him.

Dog statue recovered

Some time in the early hours of a Sunday morning, in June 2015, a heavy stone garden statue of a guard dog was stolen from the verandah of a house in the centre of Aberdeen.

About twenty cars and bakkies were parked outside the nearby bar that evening, but there was no sign of any disturbance. It was only the next morning when the owner discovered that the dog statues were missing from their usual positions either side of the verandah. One was subsequently discovered by the main gate –it appeared to have been dropped, and the nose of the dog had broken off. Each statue weighs about 120kg, and it would seem that whoever took them must have climbed over the front gate to get in. It was the owner’s opinion that at least four people must have been involved, to carry the statue and to lift it over the high gate.

The statues are of great sentimental value to the owner, who bought them about twenty years ago, and he offered a reward of R500 for information on the whereabouts of the missing statue.

Just over two years later, the reward has been claimed. An intelligence-driven operation was conducted, and the statue, fortunately undamaged, was found on a farm in the Aberdeen district at the end of last month. The statue has been returned to its owner, who has now withdrawn the case.

Clash of the Choirs


The main event that the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality will be holding to celebrate Heritage Day this year will be a Clash of the Choirs in Aberdeen on Saturday 30th September.

The event will be held at the Aberdeen Library Hall, starting at 10am. Choirs from all areas in the DBNLM are welcome to participate, and as many as possible will be contacted by the municipality with a formal invitation.

There will be three categories: community-based choirs; church choirs; and school choirs, which will be further divided into primary schools and secondary schools. The theme is “The Year of OR Tambo: Celebrating South Africa’s living human treasures and legends”, and choirs are encouraged, if possible, to choose songs to reflect this.

Registration should be made with Lucricia Jackson, Special Projects Unit Co-ordinator, by email to , fax to 0865008781 / 0498922166, or phone 0498075908 or 0735537935/0766524333.

Entries close on Wednesday 20th September at 4pm. No late entries will be able to be accommodated, due to transport and catering arrangements.

Aberdeen farmers association receives donations

Aberdeen farmers got together on a cold and misty Monday morning to off- load the second link of maize which was organised through the Aberdeen Farmers, Wool and Mohair Growers Association with the generous assistance of SAWAMBA (South African Wool and Mohair Buyers Association).  Agri EC also made a very welcome contribution towards the transport, for which the farmers are very grateful. A third link will be arriving on Wednesday for the next group of farmers.

The Chairman of the Farmers Association, Dickie Ogilvie, would like to thank both SAWAMBA and Agri EC for assisting the farmers.

Members of the Aberdeen farming community at this stage are in dire straits with the production of wool and mohair being adversely affected by the lack of rain. Stock losses are high, and in particular the lambing and kidding have been reported to be at their lowest percentages for many years.  The knock -on effect of this will affect the entire community.

It is difficult for farmers to remain optimistic under these conditions but the Aberdeen farmers are known to be a resolute bunch.  “We can only hope and pray that we receive relief in the form of rain in the near future” said Ogilvie.