Aberdeen Secondary School awards ceremony

Principal Timotheus Webb voiced his disappointment at the poor attendance from parents at the recent awards ceremony at Aberdeen Secondary School, but that did not detract from the sterling achievements of many of the learners.

For the first year, two dux learners were chosen. In the GET phase, for grades 8 and 9, Ethan Job (grade 8) received the award, and Headgirl Marinda Maarman (grade 12) was the top achiever in the FET phase.

Academic diplomas were presented to learners achieving an average of over 60%, with a trophy and gift pack also given to the top learner in each grade.

Guest speaker Daniel Pieterse, principal of Kamdebo Primary School, presented these awards. Ethan Job was the top grade 8 pupil, with awards in six subjects. In grade 9, Caitlin Klassen achieved four subject awards.

In the FET phase, Linda Adams came top in grade 10, Shamér Riettels in grade 11, and Marinda Maarman was the top grade 12 learner, achieving first place in five of her seven subjects.

Cultural awards were given to pupils who participating in the debating teams, book review, general knowledge questions and traditional Xhosa poetry.

Three athletes performed exceptionally well through the season. Jadene Nysson achieved first place in the District event in the 1500m and 100m events in Graaff-Reinet, and second and third place respectively in Port Elizabeth. Breyton Boesak won the 1500m event at both venues. Hanniel Klassen won the 100m race in Graaff-Reinet, and came third in Port Elizabeth. The girls’ netball A and B teams also received a special mention.

It was a difficult year for the school, as two members of staff passed away after a period of illness. The headmaster’s address painted a rather dismal picture of the results at the school in general, with very few learners in the junior grades passing terms one and three. In these terms, the marks are from tests and assessments, and in most cases, the learners failed because they did not hand in assignments. Webb explained to the parents present how the Department of Education’s rules cover promotion from one grade to the next, which led to many learners progressing to the next year despite failing.

The principal concluded by congratulating those learners who had achieved good results, and encouraging the parents to support and encourage their children.

Farmers grateful for wonderful donations

A convoy of bakkies and trucks arrived in Aberdeen on Saturday, bringing very welcome relief of vegetable and grocery hampers for local farmers.

The donations were collected by a group from the Gamtoos valley, spearheaded by old Aberdonian Werner du Preez. “It was an absolute privilege to come back and help in the community where I grew up,” said du Preez. Two other major donors were Gamtoos Valley farmer Leon de Koning and businessman Marius Weyers.

Farmers, businessmen and other organisations donated sacks of fresh vegetables, cases of long-life milk, sugar, eggs, non-perishables and cleaning materials, all to help those who are struggling in the drought.

The project was coordinated locally by Hantie Marx, chairman of the Aberdeen Farmers’ Association (AFA), and members of the Association gathered with eager anticipation outside the Aberdeen Club on Saturday morning. Even the children were not forgotten, and all enjoyed cooling off with ice lollies in the heat.

Donations from a separate project were also handed out at the same time.

Carel and Marietjie Peach from Middelburg, Mpumalanga brought over 300 boxes of goods for farmers’ wives, each with a selection of treats and household essentials. Marietjie and her daughter Eljana started this project to give thanks after Eljana recovered from cancer, and the ladies decided they needed to give back to communities in need.

After all the members of the AFA had been helped, there was still a surfeit of goods. Substantial donations were given to Aalwynhof Home for the Aged, a children’s feeding scheme, the school hostel, and emerging farmers who have no other income. The remaining goods will be given to those in need, identified by church leaders.

One special recipient was Harry Mgui, a 92 year old retired foreman who now lives in Thembalesizwe. Mgui worked as a shearer, travelling from farm to farm all his life, and was delighted with his unexpected gifts.

Kamdebo Primary Diploma Ceremony

Despite loadshedding, the annual Diploma Ceremony for Kamdebo Primary learners went off smoothly last Friday with over one hundred learners receiving recognition for their achievements.

Cream of the crop was Urnestine Jantjies in grade 7A, with diplomas for seven subjects, and the trophy for the top achiever in grade 7.

Musical items were interspersed amongst the main business of the day, and the choir excelled itself this year with a perfect rendition of a moving hymn, accompanied by members of the recorder group.

The handing over of diplomas was performed by the class teachers, with gold, silver and bronze medal winners in each class in the foundation phase. In the rest of the school, the top three learners per year were recognised, as well as those with outstanding results in each learning area.

The following learners were awarded gold medals:

Grade 1: Zahra Naeem, Bruneshia Lewies, and Jeandre Andrew

Grade 2: Granton de Jager, Rolen Booysen, and Elvina Flippies

Grade 3: Amy Kalaka and Chriswudine Wit.

Grade 4: Ezra Jacobs

Grade 5: Amber de Jager

Grade 6: Maurizio de Jager

Grade 7: Urnestine Jantjies.

Top achievers grades 4-7 Ezra Jacobs, Amber de Jager, Maurizio de Jager, Urnestine Jantjies

The learners who had participated in various cultural activities were also acknowledged, including the WOW spelling competition and the Junior Landcare event.

Top sports girl was Roelene de Klerk, who gained provincial colours for shotputt when she represented the Eastern Cape at the South African Schools championships earlier this year. Breyton Prins won the award for the top rugby player.

The school was very grateful for the loan of a generator for the sound system, which was used for the musical items but unfortunately could not turn the ceiling fans. There was great relief for all when the power came back on soon after 11am!

Recorder Jamboree in Aberdeen

On Saturday, a Recorder Jamboree was held at the Thembalesizwe New Apostolic Church (NAC) in Aberdeen, featuring budding musicians from Thembalesizwe, Lotusville, Rietbron and Willowmore. Over 60 children, backed by 16 more experienced adults, took part in a recorder workshop in the morning which culminated in a concert for the public in the afternoon.

The children in the beginners’ group started recorder lessons in January, under the guidance of talented musician and teacher Esteline de Jager. The youngest participant is only seven, although most of them are two or three years older. 

During the last few months, Esteline kept in touch with the recorder teachers in Willowmore and Rietbron, sharing audio clips of the concert programme. Saturday morning was the first time that all the youngsters from the different congregations had ever played together, and the polished performance in the afternoon was testament to the enthusiasm of the youngsters and their teachers.

The recorder players at the concert were accompanied by the piano or organ for most pieces by Esteline’s husband Roberto, Area Music Leader for the NAC. Members of the advanced recorder group gave some depth to the items, and a small percussion group also accompanied some of the pieces. “We formed the percussion group for those children who couldn’t be part of the recorder class,” said Roberto, explaining that they were either too young, or started too late in the year. The group proved very popular with the audience, especially the well-timed clash of Avian Flippies’ cymbals.

The musicians displayed excellent discipline throughout, performing with a professional demeanour way above their years. The young spectators in the front pews were entranced, mimicking the recorder players’ movements and swaying along to the rhythm. “This was wonderful to see, as one of our aims with the concert was to excite others to want to join in,” said Esteline.

The event was compered smoothly by Chris de Jager, District Rector of Aberdeen.

Domestic animals benefit from Gift of the Givers too

When the Gift of the Givers visited Graaff-Reinet last Tuesday with fodder for farm animals and more water for residents, other needs were not neglected.

Maureen MacAndrew, who runs the CARE animal welfare organisation in Aberdeen, was delighted to be given some warm blankets for injured dogs in her care. This was coordinated by local CARE supporter Sandra Boshoff, whose brother-in-law Mario Ferreira is with Gift of the Givers.

Work readiness programme in Aberdeen

A successful two-week workshop was held in Aberdeen recently, where 15 adult learners were able to participate in a work readiness programme through The Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority (CIETA).

Local resident Lee-Ann Kekana, the ward 7 committee member representing women, the youth and persons with disabilities, was the course facilitator. Originally from Port Elizabeth, she first moved to Aberdeen 12 years ago, has worked with the Klipplaat development Forum, and is very keen to be involved in upliftment projects.

The learners were from all sectors of the community that she represents, included some with learning disabilities. The participants are all currently unemployed, and most did not matriculate at school.

As well as preparing them for paid employment, the course also offered basic life skills such as time management and personal finance.

All those who took part in the workshops found it very helpful, and are looking forward to receiving their certificate of attendance.

Ward 7 councillor Rudy Jacobs spoke to the learners on the last day of the course, offering words of encouragement, and thanking them for their willingness to upgrade their skills.

Aalwynhof AGM 2019

members of Aalwynhof’s board with Ds Abe Beyers:
Hannatjie Rudman, Melanie Rheeder, Ds Abe Beyers, Willemien Caricato, Antoinette Moore, Diane Nel, Christa van Rensburg

It has been a difficult year financially for Aalwynhof Home for the Aged in Aberdeen, and this was conveyed in the report from the chairlady of Aalwynhof’s board, Diane Nel, at the recent AGM.

Aalwynhof is a registered NPO and receives state subsidies, but there were several occasions during the past year where the subsidy was paid up to four months late. This meant that the ACCV, which manages the Home, has had to lend Aalwynhof money to meet the salaries account.

“Our income from donations has been drastically reduced,” explained Nel. “In the past, local farmers have been very generous, but with the drought, many of them are struggling to keep themselves afloat, and there is nothing over to donate.”

Aalwynhof is one of the smaller ACVV Homes, with an average of about 30 residents, and has an excellent reputation for care. Nel commented on the changing population of the Home: whereas in years gone by, many of the residents were fully involved in social activities at the Home, now the majority are less able to participate, and need more care. Several are bedridden.

Most of those present were shocked to hear that the Aberdeen ACVV currently only has six members. In the ACVV report, Nel gave a brief history of the organisation, which serves all sections of the community. Various fundraising and social functions held during the year were mentioned, with the main Bazaar (run by the ACVV in aid of Aalwynhof) bringing in increased profits this year.

The members of the staff were thanked for their care, and mention was also made of the Home’s patron, Dr Olive Muller, whose kindness and professionalism is appreciated by all.

Burre Burger helps Aberdeen farmers

The farms to the south south west of Aberdeen are amongst the worst affected by the drought in the region, and relief coordinator Burre Burger’s ‘Droogte Hulp’ project has provided a lifeline to many in the area.

For six years now, farmers Gert and Pietie van Rensburg have been struggling with the drought, and they have had to feed their stock every single day since 2016. They have lost more than half of their sheep and goats since the drought began, and just last week, Gert had to shoot two goats that were too weak to kid.

In October 2018 the van Rensburgs received their first delivery from Burre Burger. They share this bounty with 24 other farmers in the area, and make use of three different drop-off points. Each farmer who benefits from the donated load of feed takes along two workers to help with the offloading, and Pietie shares the feed out equally between the recipients.

“Burre calls me and tells me that there is a link of maize on its way,” explained Pietie. “I then decide whether to offload here on Herbousvelei or at the shooting range, and we meet together and I weigh the maize out into 50kg sacks.”

The feed varies, and can include silage, butternuts, grass bales, maize and oat bales. During this last year, Pietie has personally supervised the delivery of 51 loads.

“Each load brings hope and relief for a few days because we don’t receive any help from the government,” said Pietie. “Just when you are thinking there is no hope left and the feed is almost gone, I get a call from Burre saying there is feed on its way. Then we can breathe again for a few days.”

The farmers are all extremely grateful to Burger, and all those sponsors who make these donations possible.

Tribute to Majorie Rafferty

Majorie Rafferty, a dedicated teacher who gave over 40 years’ service to Kamdebo Primary School in Aberdeen, passed away earlier this month from cancer.

Marjorie will be remembered by many in the community as ‘Miss Margie’, a kind and caring teacher who was committed to many aspects of the school’s life. She served on the school’s governing body for many years, coached netball, and was always actively involved in fundraising events.

She was born in Somerset East, and left Spandau Secondary School with a standard 8 certificate. She trained as a foundation phase teacher, and studied further, once she was teaching, to upgrade her qualifications.

In 1975 she married Mervyn, and the couple had one son, Milroy, who for many years was the manager at ABSA bank in Aberdeen. Sadly, Milroy’s wife Jillian passed away from cancer in 2016, and Mervyn and Marjorie have been very involved in the care of their three grandchildren, Malcolm, Je Royce and Caleb. “Marjorie’s home and her immediate family were her pride and joy,” said her brother Clifton.

Marjorie was also very involved with the women’s fellowship group of the Dutch Reformed Church in Lotusville, and was very concerned about the less fortunate members of the community. She was a founding member and chairperson of the then Democratic Party in Lotusville.

Only her immediate family were aware of the seriousness of her illness, which started with a pain in her side last December. She had surgery to remove the tumour, and underwent chemotherapy for seven months. All this time, she maintained a cheerful façade, and her friends and even her brother had no idea of her suffering.

She leaves a rich legacy in the thousands of children who passed through her classroom over the years.

Marjorie is survived by her husband Mervyn, son Milroy, and grandchildren.

Heritage Day celebrated at Masakhane Clinic

Last Friday the staff at Aberdeen’s Masakhane Clinic celebrated Heritage Day with traditional dress, a prayer service, and a South African braai.

At 9am, pastor Malibongwe Sigwani led staff and patients in prayer for rain, and gave a short explanation on the meaning of heritage. Cllr Willem Säfers and other church leaders were invited as guests, to join with the patients who had come for their regular treatment and medication.

The members of staff were proud to show off their heritage in colourful attire, ranging from Xhosa outfits to South African hippy!

During the afternoon, after the last patients were seen, the team enjoyed a traditional braai to finish off the special day.