Grade R parent information evening


On Wednesday 24th January, educator Janaine Pieterse held a meeting with parents of her new grade R class at Aberdeen Full Service School.

Although some have attended a crèche, many of the children start grade R with no previous classroom experience, and Pieterse wanted to interact with the parents as a way to help ease the children into formal schooling.

The parents were keen to learn how to help their children, and the meeting was particularly valuable for those younger parents for whom this is the first child at school. Pieterse was able to provide guidance and assistance to the parents on the everyday school routine, and how to help the children with homework. She also explained the importance of the school for the holistic development of each child, not just intellectually, but also emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually.

The grade R parents were shown how children learn through play, and the parents were encouraged to help their children with simple activities such as counting while bouncing a ball, and looking for patterns in the environment like the wiring between electricity poles.

A total of 35 parents attended the meeting, which considering that there are 43 grade R learners in the class (a few of whom are staying in the hostel), was an excellent turnout. The parents were very grateful to Pieterse for giving up her time, and even the “experienced” school parents learned something of value.

Nelson Mandela University meeting


Nelson Mandela University (NMU) is in the advanced stages of planning an exciting project for the Dr Beyers Naude Municipality, which will see wonderful opportunities opening up for those wishing to further their studies.

The university is hoping to open a satellite campus in the municipality, which will be known as the Dr Beyers Naude Training Academy. Project Director Lungile Mxube, from the university, has visited towns across the municipality to explain the concept, which is particularly aimed at bringing hope to the unemployed youth.

Well over 100 people attended the meeting at the Aberdeen Library Hall on Tuesday, and the Graaff-Reinet Town Hall was packed to capacity that afternoon.

The meetings started with information from Peter Horn and Shamadie Mlumbi from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). Horn spoke well, engaging the audience, and after explaining about the background of the agency, he discussed the five areas where the youth (defined as those from the ages of 14 to 35) can be helped by them. The agency can help find employment, acting as a recruitment agency and providing information on learnerships, bursaries and scholarships. Another function is to help budding entrepreneurs with information on costing and marketing, as well as funding. He stressed the importance of education, encouraging those present to obtain a matric certificate. The agency is also involved with health and well-being, particularly concerned about substance abuse, and helps the youth to become responsible citizens.

There was a great deal of interest in the work of the agency. At this stage, the nearest NYDA office is in Port Elizabeth, and there were many requests from the floor for there to be a local office.

Lungile Mxube then made his presentation about the NMU proposal. Mentioning some of the perceived shortcomings of the current TVET colleges, he told those present about the courses that will be offered by the Training Academy. What was of great interest to those present was the promise that the lectures would be held at venues in each town in the municipality, and students would not have to travel to Graaff-Reinet, for example, to attend classes. The different towns would only come together for functions such as graduation ceremonies, and these would rotate to the different venues. This was seen as very positive, as many people complained that Aberdeen is always seen as the “poor relation”, and they always have to travel to Graaff-Reinet for opportunities.

The courses that will be offered, most of which are National Certificates, include such diverse subjects as Home Care practices and Project Management.  Most of the courses would be offered at two or three levels, depending on the current experience and qualifications of the student.

A great deal of detail was given on the course content, and Mxube offered clear and firm answers to the many questions.

The project was discussed at a Special Council Meeting on Thursday 25th January, and iwas given the go-ahead-it is hoped that courses will get underway in June. Those present were asked to indicate on registers their areas of interest, so that some of the logistics can be started.

DA Aberdeen ward 1 choose new leadership


The Lotusville branch of the DA held a very successful and well-attended AGM on 23th January. The new team of leadership is a good mixture of young and old, men and women, and new and experienced members. Their task will be to reinforce the DA vision, mission and offering for the Aberdeen community towards 2019 elections and beyond, according to Cllr Ruiters, DA PR councillor.

The new chairperson is Abraham Geduld, with Brinylinth Lourens as his deputy. Nadine Darries is the secretary and DAWN rep, and Eticia Kalaka represents the youth in DAY. The three additional members of the executive are Sarie Speelman, Cathleen Kalaka and Bianca Visser.

Branch executives (seated) from ltr; Cllr Eldrige Ruiters ( ex- officio) Brinylinth Lourens, Abraham Geduld, Nadine Darries,  Sarie Speelman, Cathleen Kalaka, Bianca Visser,  Eticia Kalaka.

Det Cst Kameel

Last August, Constable Elrado Kameel from Aberdeen left for Bisho to attend a course at All Saints Police College for four months. After successfully completing the course, Resolving of Crime, he has attained the rank of Detective Constable.

After several years’ experience as a detective, most of the course work was already familiar to Det Cst Kameel, but he feels that the added detail and knowledge has made him a better investigator of crime. He did extremely well, coming third out of over thirty students in the General Law course.

Kameel was born in Graaff-Reinet, and moved to Aberdeen with his family at the age of five. He matriculated from Aberdeen Secondary School in 1996, and then studied electrical engineering at a college in Uitenhague.

After working for several years for an engineering company in Cape Town, he decided that he would prefer to return home to the Eastern Cape, and made a career change. In 2007 he was accepted at All Saints Police College in Bisho, undertaking his field training in Cookhouse. After completing his probationary period in Middelburg, he stayed there for another five years, spending some time with the detective branch. Towards the end of 2014 he applied for a cross transfer to Aberdeen, where he spent six months at the police station, before moving to the detective branch in April 2015.

His thorough and meticulous investigations have led to many arrests, and last year he received the coveted Aberdeen SAPS award for Star of the Month for securing the most convictions at court.

St Mary’s welcomes new minister

At their monthly service last Sunday, members of the Anglican Church of St Mary and All Saints in Aberdeen were pleased to welcome the Revd Dr Mark Marais OSPB, his wife Moyra, and their son Timothy to the church.  After the service, the Marais family joined members of the congregation at a bring-and-share lunch, kindly hosted by church stalwarts John and Jean Watermeyer.

The Aberdeen church is one of the four rural churches which fall within the parish of St James in Graaff-Reinet. The Revd Dr Marais, who moved to Graaff-Reinet from Plettenberg Bay to take up the position of Rector of St James, will be inducted into his new position on 28th January, at St James’ Church.

SAPS Star of the month


For the first time since its inception, the Aberdeen SAPS Star of the Month award for December was not won by a SAPS member, but by a civilian.

Dennis Grootboom works at the SAPS main offices, as well as the new building, as a cleaner, and takes great pride in his work. The 56 year old man has been working at the SAPS offices since September 2011, and is meticulous and conscientious, keeping both buildings in immaculate condition.

During a recent visit by Provincial officials, they complimented the Aberdeen members on the state of the buildings, which were spotlessly clean.

Grootboom’s hard work and positive attitude have been rewarded by Station Commander Captaain Advocate Qashani, and he was presented with a certificate for being the Star of the Month at a recent ceremony.

Aberdeen cut off


The week did not begin well for residents of Aberdeen when on Monday morning communication with the outside world was largely cut off. Due to a Telkom problem, landlines were all down, leading to no internet service for all those relying on the Telkom connection. Just to cap it all, Vodacom service was also unavailable. Those with other cellphone service providers were able to make voice calls and send smses, but Whatsapp messages, even for those with data available, were transmitted erratically.

Initial reports were that there was a break in the cable between Aberdeen and Graaff-Reinet mid morning on Monday. Those with cellphone signal reported the problem to the Telkom fault department by calling 10210, and were assured of notifications on the progress of the fault. Lengthy delays were experienced by those calling later to find out more information.

Soon after 6pm on Monday evening, the landline service was restored, along with the Vodacom signal. However, those wishing to use the internet were still unable to do so, with the sad message of “no internet access available” on countless computer monitors.

Communication between subscribers and Telkom left a lot to be desired. One resident was astounded to receive a call from Telkom on Monday evening, on her landline, with the caller asking in all seriousness “Is your landline working?”!

On Tuesday morning, there was still no internet service available, with no explanation forthcoming from Telkom other than that there was a fault. Shortly after 11am, those affected received an sms from Telkom saying that “Telkom ADSL has been restored” – but hedging their bets by continuing with “Reply to this SMS within 24 hours with “NO” if service is still faulty”. Needless to say, a flood of NO messages were sent!

Just after 4pm, another sms was sent to subscribers from Telkom, advising them that “the network outage in your area has been resolved” – but again, adding the proviso that “should a fault still exist on your service, please call 10210”. Once again, residents took to their phones, some having to wait more than half an hour, and others eventually giving up.

On Wednesday morning, a Telkom employee informed a resident that the initial problem occurred on Monday when a farmer at Brooklyn farm, about 24km from Graaff-Reinet on the Aberdeen road, dug out 11 Telkom poles, damaging the fibre-optic cable with his tractor in the process. There are allegations that this was a malicious act rather than an accident, and a case was opened with the Graaff-Reinet police by Telkom. According to a reliable source who did not want to be named, the farmer had applied for a new phone line about two years ago, but was told that there was no infrastructure available for a new line.

It is understood that when the repair was affected, the ADSL line should also have been operational again. However on Wednesday morning subscribers were still unable to access the internet, and according to a Telkom employee, the fault was at the Aberdeen exchange. Residents are frustrated and angry at the lack of communication from Telkom, and the fact that no efforts seem to have been made on Tuesday to fix the problem at the Aberdeen exchange. When a resident called the Telkom fault line on Wednesday morning to enquire about, he was just told that Telkom are aware of the fault and are working on it.

Eventually the ADSL was restored soon after noon on Wednesday, and residents breathed a collective sigh of relief thankful to once again be connected with the outside world.

Aberdeen New Year’s baby

No babies were born in Aberdeen Hospital on Christmas Day last year, but one little one made her appearance on New Year’s Day.

Chandre Jackson (24) gave birth to her second child, a little girl, on 1st January 2018, at 20h56. The little girl, as yet unnamed, weighed in at a healthy 3.21g, and mother and baby are both well.

Three babies were also born on the same day at Midland Hospital in Graaff-Reinet.

Church clock

The Dutch Reformed Church in Aberdeen, which is claimed to have the tallest spire in South Africa, is a striking landmark in the town much loved by locals and visitors alike.

However, for the best part of 2016, there was a part of it that was NOT “striking”, as for many months the clock in the tower was out of order. Initially it very intermittently displayed the right time, then for a while showed different times on all four faces, and eventually gave up completely, with the hands stuck at five minutes to one. During the intermittent phase, it would occasionally chime correctly, but was also heard to chime 13 times at 4.30pm! Eventually the chiming also stopped, and residents missed the reassuring regularity of the tolling bell.

Dominee Abe Beyers explained that they initially thought that the problem was due to the wrong lubricating oil being used.  The clockwork was thoroughly cleaned but to no avail.  Then a local handyman diagnosed that the bearings were worn out.  This caused some despair, at the thought of the enormous amount of work that would be involved in dismantling the clock, bringing it down from the tower, repairing it and then having to assemble it again up in the tower.

“Fortunately a member of the church, Sieg Nel, remembered the name of Nico van der Merwe –  a former teacher in Aberdeen many years ago, who now owns a clock restoration business in Heidelberg in the Western Cape” explained Ds Beyers.

Van der Merwe was contacted, and he agreed to come and service the clock, and make the necessary adjustments. “On Monday 18th December 2017 we could hear the sound of the clock striking out the time over our beloved little town of Aberdeen” continued a delighted Ds Beyers.

Church member Eugene Rademeyer now attends to the clock regularly, maintaining it according to the detailed instructions given by van der Merwe.

The church is grateful to Hannes Eyssen for his initiative to raise money for the repair, with a collection box in a local café so that members of the community could become involved in the project. Other donations were promised by residents of the town, as the clock is truly of benefit to all.