Kamdebo Primary celebrates Valentine’s Day

Teachers Chene Muller and Hildene Vermaak organised a wonderfully festive Valentine’s Day celebration for the learners.

In the intersen phase, Mr Valentine was Caleb Loxsen, Miss Valentine Trulicia Afrikaner, with runners up Nevine Juthe and Aaliyah Knoesen.

Foundation phase winners were Je T’aime Darries and Maurice Finnis, with runners up Jennifer van Wyk and Rawchin Carlse.

New staff Aberdeen Primary

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!

Garden Club quiz morning

The February meeting of the Aberdeen Garden and Social Club was held at the house of Noelene Palmer on 13 February, and 13 members attended.

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.


Vicky Wilbraham, David Millar, Noelene Palmer, Ina Stofberg and Sonette Muller enjoying tea

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.



New acting station commander Aberdeen SAPS

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.

New teachers Kamdebo Primary

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)

Garden club 2020

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 club.

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.

Aberdeen Secondary welcomes new teachers

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.

Singing and dancing in the rain

The spontaneous joyful celebration of rain after six years of drought has made Aberdeen farmers Gert and Pietie van Rensburg into instant internet stars!

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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.”

Congratulations to Aberdeen Secondary Matrics

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.