Nadia van Wyk from Robertson and Anthony Patterson of George joined the staff of Aberdeen Full Service Primary School this year, just a week after the beginning of the first term.
Van Wyk, a foundation phase specialist, has a grade 1 class,
and Patterson is teaching English to grades 4 and 5. Although his specialist
subject is mathematics, he is happy to adapt and fit in wherever he is needed.
Both new teachers were keen to work in a small town, and say
they are finding it very quiet- except for the mosquitoes!
The February meeting of the Aberdeen Garden and Social Club
was held at the house of Noelene Palmer on 13 February, and 13 members
Cathryn Uys brought along some stapelia grandiflora plants,
commonly known as the African starfish cactus, to share. Although the flowers
smell rather like rotten meat, they attract flies, and so are good to plant
well away from the house.
A fun general knowledge quiz was presented, which made most
of the members realise how little they know of current happenings and people in
the news. A discussion was also held about a planned bingo evening to be held
in aid of Aalwynhof Home for the Aged in May, which raised much interest.
After a report on the challenges currently facing CARE, the animal welfare organisation in Aberdeen, members unanimously decided to donate R500 from the club funds towards the outstanding vet bill.
The next meeting will be held on 12 March, with the theme
and venue to be announced nearer the time.
Captain Ettienne de Beer has joined the Aberdeen SAPS as
acting station commander, after Capt Vernon Minnaar moved to Graaff-Reinet as
acting Cluster VISPOL Coordinator.
Capt de Beer is originally from Aberdeen, and he started at
the local station in 1993 as a constable fresh from college. After 13 years in
Aberdeen, during which time he rose to the rank of warrant officer, he was
promoted to Pretoria as a captain.
After spells in the Eastern Cape Provincial Office in Bisho,
and as station commander in Rietbron, he spent three years in Graaff-Reinet as
the Cluster VISSPOL Coordinator.
De Beer is happy to be back in Graaff-Reinet, and is
well-known in the town, as he has always had a base there. His wife, Martha,
has been a nursing sister at the Aberdeen hospital for many years.
He sees the main challenges as the shortage of manpower, as
he does not feel that four members on a shift is sufficient, especially as in
practise it is often only three due to illness or leave.
“We have too few members, but too many vehicles,” he added,
explaining that having too many vehicles leads to abuse by members. Four
vehicles are currently in the workshop for repairs, but there are still several
at the station that are not needed.
He is very pleased to see the willingness of the community
to help in the fight against crime, and plans to hold meetings with the
community in the next few weeks.
Kamdebo Primary School in Lotusville is proud to welcome
four newly-qualified young teachers to the team. What makes these young ladies
extra special is that they are all proud Aberdonians, who grew up in the town!
Back: Kelly Februarie (grade 2) and Delré
Sweetland (technology and English)
Front: Riché Klassen (social science and Afrikaans) and Trulene
Olifant (grade 3)
At the end of last year, there was some doubt as to whether
the Aberdeen Garden and Social Club would continue to meet regularly in 2020,
but the attendance and interest shown at the inaugural meeting of the year has
proved this to be unfounded.
After their excellent work this year, Judith Dardis, Jadre
Lategan and David Millar, those of the committee still available to stand, will
continue in their roles this year. Other members agreed to help when needed,
and some will be asked to be responsible for organising outings and activities.
Many interesting ideas were discussed, and it was agreed
that club would aim to meet once a month, alternating outings with talks and
activities locally. Last year, the cost of travelling caused one or two trips
to be cancelled, so it was decided that as the club is in a healthy position
financially, the transport costs for one major outing would be sponsored by the
Some of the possible outings are the annual Bedford Garden Festival in
October; a visit to the historic Cranemere
farm, synonymous with Eve Palmer’s book, The Plains of Camdeboo; and
Somerset East to visit the Walter Battiss Museum and some of the beautiful
gardens in the town.
On the social side, two of the suggested activities involved
a vintage-themed morning and a bingo fundraiser.
The usual sumptuous refreshments were enjoyed after the
meeting, provided by host David Millar, Judith Dardis and Estelle van Wyk.
Two new teachers have started at Aberdeen Secondary School
this year, and for both of them, it is their first post.
Leilani van Staden from Willowmore trained at the Cape
Peninsula University of Technology, and is currently teaching life orientation
and arts and culture. She was pleased to be offered a permanent post not far
from her home town, and has found the people of Aberdeen to be friendly and
helpful. She hopes to become involved in sport at the school, particularly
netball and athletics.
Claudio Jonas is from Somerset East, and trained at NMU in
Port Elizabeth. He was also happy to get a position relatively close to home,
and likes the quietness and clean streets of Aberdeen. Jonas is teaching junior
classes for social science and economic and management sciences. He has trained
to teach the implement sports of cricket, tennis and hockey. None of these are
currently offered at the school, but he hopes to reinstate cricket as an
option, as the school has equipment.
Both teachers found the large grade eight classes a
challenge, as there are not enough desks in the classrooms for the learners.
The extreme heat in a prefab classroom has also been very uncomfortable! They
have been made very welcome by their colleagues, and look forward to making a
positive contribution to the school.
The spontaneous joyful celebration of rain after six years
of drought has made Aberdeen farmers Gert and Pietie van Rensburg into instant
During a trip to Graaff-Reinet last Tuesday morning, a
despondent Pietie was encouraged by a pharmacy assistant to have faith that the
rain would come. They last had significant rain on their farm Herbousvlei, 60
km outside Aberdeen, in March 2011, and since 2016 have had to feed their stock
every day. Many times they have been ready to give up.
Later on Tuesday, a friend sent them a video of rain falling
in Aberdeen, and they were thrilled when heavy soaking rains started to fall on
the farm during the afternoon.
The couple decided to get into their bakkie to see whether
there was water flowing into their dam, but found only mud. Whilst driving
through the veld, to their great delight they then saw a river of water flowing
strongly across the track towards the dam. “The excitement was just too much,”
said Pietie, relating how Gert jumped out of the bakkie and ran into the water.
She started filming his antics as he jumped around in the water, then lay down
and was tumbled along by the fast-flowing stream.
As well as Gert’s happy frolicking in the water, what caught
the imagination of viewers of the video was Pietie’s uninhibited singing. “I
even got the words wrong, I was so excited and the moment was just too much!”
she confided to the Advertiser. Pietie said that she originally took the video
to send to Burre Burger, whose drought relief organisation has helped keep them
going with donations of feed. However the sheer delight of the couple caught
everyone’s imagination, and by the weekend, the video had been viewed over
100 000 times, with many thousands of shares. Initially the couple was rather reluctant to
share what had been a private moment of celebration, and they were amazed at
the interest it generated. “If it can help make people aware of how bad the
situation is for our farmers, and perhaps they can donate towards drought
relief, then I am happy,” said Pietie. She
has asked that anyone who has been moved to make a contribution gives to
Droogtehulp Met Burre Burger, FNB cheque account 62721858522 at branch 200406.
Two days later, the river was once again dry, but there was
some water in the dam. “Our hearts feel so much lighter now. The dam
didn’t get much water but at least it’s a start,” said Pietie. “I believe the
Lord is preparing the dam to be filled soon.”
Aberdeen Secondary’s Class of 2019 achieved a 43.5% pass
rate, up from the previous year’s 35%.
Ten of the 23 full-time learners passed, of whom six
qualified to study for a bachelor’s degree, and three qualified to study a
diploma course. Those who were unsuccessful are all eligible to write
supplementary exams in June.
The good quality passes achieved by most of the learners is
a reflection not only of their efforts, but also the dedication of the
teachers, many of whom gave up their holidays to give extra classes.
The top student is Marinda Maarman, who achieved
distinctions in English FAL, history and life orientation. Marinda is the first
pupil this century to achieve three distinctions! This articulate young lady,
who was the school’s head girl last year, attributes her good results to a
great support system and hard work throughout her school career. She plans to
study education of UFS, specialising in languages.
Maphelo Ntsibolane is another matriculant who plans to study
education, in Cape Town. “I studied very hard, and didn’t even sleep some
nights,” she said. She explained that she wanted to make her parents proud, and
to emulate her successful sister.
Mkulile Botmani wants to make the most of his passion to
engage with people, and plans to study industrial psychology at UWC. The desire
to be a role model to his younger brother motivated him to achieve.
Benito Steenkamp, another with a bachelor pass, overcame
many hurdles during his matric year, including the death of his grandfather
during the June exams. His dream is to study sound engineering, but due to lack
of finances, has decided to first complete an office administration course at
college, for which he has a bursary.
Although obviously disappointed that the school achieved
less than a 50% pass rate, Principal Timotheus Webb is pleased that the
interventions initiated by the school in 2019 seem to have paid off. Extra
study sessions were offered to learners throughout the year by the teachers, as
well as weekend classes and winter school provided by the Department of
Education in Graaff-Reinet.
The school faced many challenges during the last year,
including the serious illness of three teachers, who later passed away. All
three teachers were absent for prolonged periods due to their poor health,
which put tremendous pressure on the school’s management team as their workload
and responsibilities were drastically increased, and some classes were
inevitably left without teachers.
At this stage, the school is still not fully staffed for
this year, although Webb hopes that this will be finalised soon. He would like
to see more involvement from the parents this year, with improved communication
and support for the children from their families.