Aberdeen Secondary matrics reunite after 20 years

Several members of the class of 1998 of Aberdeen Secondary School held a nostalgic get-together during the recent holiday period to celebrate twenty years since leaving school.

Ten people, including two couples who had met whilst at school, attended the reunion, and enjoyed reminiscing at the school itself before going to the home of one of the group for a braai. A few members of their matric class have passed away, and these former friends were remembered in prayer. Many memories were shared of the time when Andy Gradwell, who is well-known in both Aberdeen and Graaff-Reinet, was principal of the school.

Of the ten, only two still live in Aberdeen: Martiens Baartman, a security officer at Aberdeen Hospital, and Magdelena Oliphant, a grade one teacher at Aberdeen Full Service School.

The remaining former pupils, Nicolene Klaassen, Silva Klaassen, Mary-Jo Flippies, Alrich Barends, Johan Klaassen, Tom Paulse, Geraldine Jansen and Elgreco Klaassen, all work in Cape Town, and had come to Aberdeen over the Christmas period to visit family.

Aberdeen revitalisation

 

After the success of the initial art project to revive Aberdeen, a great deal of interest has been generated amongst residents in improving conditions in the town, both for tourists and residents.

A meeting was held last Thursday at Aberdeen Self Catering, arranged by Jurgens Strydom and Archibald Norval, to discuss ways to uplift the town and particularly the central business district. The meeting was promoted as a combination of a ratepayers’ association, for service delivery problems, and for ideas to promote tourism and possibly a local business chamber.

Norval chaired the discussion, and one of the first areas to be considered was the strengths and weaknesses in the town at present. It soon became apparent that the people of Aberdeen are key factors in both areas: there are many incredibly talented people in the town with a diverse interests and skills, and if these can be harnessed in a positive manner, there is great potential for development in the town. However, a widespread apathy and unwillingness to get involved is also prevalent.

As always, the generally poor service delivery level of the municipality was raised, with the lack of supervision of workers as well as poor leadership being mentioned. Facilities such as the caravan park and gardens are in a poor state, and the ever-present litter was also discussed, with proposals for recycling facilities.

It was pointed out that the Ratepayers’ Association is no longer active due to lack of commitment and interest, and there has been no tourism office in town for over a year.

One of the key suggestions proposed by Norval was that members from different communities need to be grouped together and made responsible for designated areas in town. He cited the example that members from Lotusville, the farming community and the businesses could form small groups to fix up for instance all the gardens of the town.

A novel idea was that from within the group of interested residents there should be a “shadow manager” for different municipal disciplines to be appointed to watch over what is seen to be the mismanagement of municipal funds and poor execution of tasks.  Suggested portfolios included EWP labour, rubbish dump management, bore holes and water pump management, traffic rules and road signs, maintenance of buildings, and cleaning of the irrigation water furrows.

Strydom explained that the idea is to create many portfolios and give EVERY member a task – this should not be a place where passive members can come sit and complain about the active members not doing a good enough job. “Everybody must take part in some or other town issue and drive that issue for the good of all” he said.

There were about 40 people at the meeting, many of whom are not normally seen at community meetings, and they were certainly given some food for thought.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 23 January at 18:00, at Aberdeen Self Catering

Aberdeen Full Service School welcomes new teacher

Amy Saptoe from Willowmore is the latest recruit to join the teaching staff of Aberdeen Full Service School.

Amy, who is a Funza Lushaka bursary recipient, studied at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, and was awarded her B.Ed degree at the end of last year. As a specialist in maths and science, she was much in demand!

She applied for the post in Aberdeen to be relatively close to her home town, and likes the fact that it is a relatively small school with manageable class sizes.

As she finds her feet, she is keen to get involved in extra mural activities at the school, and although not a particularly sporty person, she thoroughly enjoyed her introduction to school athletics on Tuesday. During one of her teaching practices, she worked at a school for children with special educational needs, and feels that she will be able to use this experience to help with extra lessons for the weaker learners.

Multiple joy on first day of school

The first year for learners at Aberdeen Full Service School (formerly Aberdeen Primary) is grade R, and teacher Cathy Petersen has her hands full with a class of 41 learners, many of whom were extremely nervous and tearful on their first day last Wednesday!

Amongst the learners are twins  Alunamba and Altshitshi Ntsibolane, and triplets Davadene, Elisia and Luciandra Grootboom!

Furrows cleanup

 

The Leiwater Action Group (LAG), the residents who have been working towards solving the problems of the Aberdeen furrows, took the initiative on Monday 7 January to clean up one stretch of furrow in town.

Starting with the empty plot next to Foodzone, the group then spent a few hours clearing the furrow running alongside the front of Usave and Carmen Villa, and then down Porter Street to Grey Street.

Organiser Judith Dardis was thrilled with the support from members of the group, with several people donning their boots and gardening gloves and getting stuck into the dirty and often backbreaking task. LAG chairman Dick van Wyk,  and members Richard Davison, Ian Reed, Gordon Stewart with Marshall Kombela and Ronaldo Ndongeni, and Tony and Judith Dardis with Frans Maartens, all worked with a committed determination rarely seen in those who are actually paid to do this work. Beth Chaplin, who is not even part of the group or an irrigation water user, came to assist, and donated some black bags, and a donation was also received towards the expenses from Jean Watermeyer.

Three local men, who had been waiting around for casual work, also pitched in and helped as volunteers and worked extremely hard. They were paid a small amount at the end and were very appreciative.

Usave management also were very supportive: manager Linden April donated black bags; Samuel Jansen found boxes for glass shards; and branch manager Marian Simon brought out very welcome ice-cold water for everyone who worked.

Despite repeated promises from the municipality – including one given that very morning – no tractor and trailer were provided to remove the rubbish.  Tony Dardis and Dick van Wyk used their personal vehicles and made several trips to the municipal dump. 

Several residents commented on the stark contrast in the efforts of this group and those of a team of municipal employees who were supposed to be working on the open ditch in Porter Street between the post office and the magistrate’s court, but were mostly just sitting or standing in the shade. “It seemed as though the municipal workers and their supervisor were mocking the LAG group for their efforts” said one angry resident, who overheard a worker tell Tony Dardis contemptuously “You are never going to get water. Never again.”

Although it is the responsibility of the municipality both to clean up rubbish in the town and to clean and maintain the water furrows, most of the blockages of the furrows in town are due to litter that has been carelessly dropped in the streets or even in the furrows themselves. “The rubbish found in the furrows was mainly cooldrink bottles, crisp packets, sweet wrappers, alcohol bottles, takeaway containers, plastic wrappings and straws – all due to people just dumping their litter” said Judith Dardis, expressing her frustration.  “These are noticeably luxury goods, not staples, consumed on the street and the wrappings just dumped”.

Mothers’ Union prayers for travellers

The Mothers’ Unions of two Aberdeen churches, the VGK and St. Peter and St Paul, spent some time in prayer on Monday 7 January at the junction of the N9 and the R61, just outside Aberdeen.

Known locally as The Cross, during the holiday season this junction sees an almost non-stop stream of vehicles, including many taxis shuttling passengers between Cape Town and the former Transkei. Sadly many lives are lost every year on these two stretches of road.

There were 18 mothers in total, and they were joined by Oertel Fik, driver of a local taxi as well as Lunga Jacobs and traffic officer Prudence Jacobs. Many drivers passing the group hooted and waved to show their support, with one bakkie even stopping to show appreciation.

The main focus of the prayers was safety for the travellers and for the rain that is so desperately needed in the area

Aberdeen Secondary School matric results

The Class of 2018 matriculants at Aberdeen Secondary School scored a 35% pass rate, on a par with the results of the 2017 group.

Of the 40 full-time learners in grade 12 last year, 14 passed. There was also four progressed learners, but unfortunately none of these passed.

Two pupils, Tamia de Vos and Valentino Saayman, achieved a bachelor pass, enabling them to study a degree course at university, and seven qualified to study for a diploma course at a college or university. The remaining five earned a higher certificate, enabling them to study at a TVET College (formerly FET college), such as Eastcape Midlands College in Graaff-Reinet. In addition to this, a total of 10 learners have qualified to write the supplementary exams in June.

All the successful students without exception deserved their good results, and worked very hard to achieve their goals. Most of them are unsure of their future plans at this stage.

Principal Timotheus Webb is very disheartened with the poor pass rate, especially after all the efforts put in by the teachers to help the learners. From the first term last year, the school put into place various intervention programmes, including extra classes after school and on weekends on a regular basis. Many of the teachers also gave up time in the holidays, giving extra lessons during both the Easter and winter breaks. Not all of the learners took advantage of this extra help, and the teachers’ efforts were frustrated in many cases by the lack of interest shown. Webb is determined to persevere with these interventions, and it is hoped that the Class of 2019 will once again restore the reputation of the school.

The strategy for this year’s group will be to place a high emphasis on informal tasks, and to assist the learners to study independently with a sense of responsibility. Of the 32 matriculants in 2019, only nine of them actually passed grade 11, with the rest being progressed learners (ie those who only passed four subjects). These nine are strong candidates, and every effort will be made to motivate them to persevere and give of their best.

Although the results overall from last year’s matrics were not good, Aberdeen is proud of the 14 youngsters who passed, some of whom overcame very difficult circumstances. Their positive attitude and commitment, and the teachers’ efforts, have been rewarded!

One young man with reason to smile is one of the top learners, Valentino Saayman. His grandmother, Margaret Smith, was at the school with Valentinoto collect his results, and is thrilled that all his hard work has paid off. He was the top matric student at the school’s prizegiving, and achieved an average of 53% in his final exams. Tamia Devos, with 53.5% in the finals, just pipped him to the post to be the school’s top achiever in the final exams.

 

Feed for Aberdeen

 

 

Over the past three years, the Aberdeen district has been through a horrific devastating drought which has led to huge losses in production and has had an enormous impact on the community itself, particularly the farmers and their employees. This desperate situation has not gone unnoticed by caring organisations in the country.

On the morning of Sunday 16 December a convoy of thirteen links arrived in Aberdeen under police and traffic escort bringing fodder for the farmers in the Aberdeen, Fullarton and Rietbron districts. Amidst a fanfare of hooting horns, the trucks made their way to the Dutch Reformed Church in the centre of town, with many locals gathering to watch and cheer the arrival.

 

The consignment of fodder was put together by a number of organisations which saw the urgent need to bring relief to these farming communities.

 

Naude Pienaar of Agri NW set the ball rolling, and handed over to Anrina van Heerden of the Caring Daises to run with the project.  A number of other organisations were involved in this huge relief effort: Gift of the Givers, Agri SA, Boere in Nood, Save the Sheep, Waterfall Farmers Association, and Manna vir die Boere.  The convoy of vehicles was sponsored by Vibro Bricks and Paving, and fuel donated by Texan Petroleum.

A special word of thanks must be conveyed to all the drivers and support staff who took on this journey of about 1 200km from the North West province.  “We as a farming community cannot thank them enough for their time and the commitment that they showed for our community” said Colleen Ogilvie, secretary of the Aberdeen Farmers’ Association.

 

 

After a symbolic church service of thanksgiving conducted by Ds Abe Beyers in the Dutch Reformed Church, the convoy and all the farmers left for the farm Louisan owned by Louis (Hommie) Slabbert and his son Louis (Jnr) to unload the fodder, which was then collected by the farmers.  A monetary donation was given by the farmers, which will be given to the organisations to ensure that other communities in need can in turn be helped.  The drivers and support staff were treated to a Karoo braai and salads before heading home again.  The local farmers and their staff were given a hamburger and cooldrink organised by Toesie Slabbert, Colleen Ogilvie and Irene van Schalkwyk, and sponsored by the local Farmers’ Association.

 

The Aberdeen Farmers Association would like to thank the Slabberts for the venue,  Derick & Umelda van Rensburg for the cooldrinks, Dirk van Schalkwyk for the sheep and Louis Slabbert, Johan Lategan and Fanie de Jager for their tractors, as well as those who brought along sails and scales.  Great teamwork ensured that the distribution ran smoothly.  Thanks too to Estelle van Wyk and the ladies from the church who organised the very welcome coffee and snacks for the drivers and support team before to the church service.

 

“Our community has been humbled by the help and generosity of the general public in the country who have helped us in time of need” said Dickie Ogilvie, Agri EC councilor and vice chairman of the local Farmers’ Association.  “Words cannot describe our feelings of gratitude.”

Garden club Christmas party

 

On Thursday 6 December, 26 members of Aberdeen’s Garden and Social Club got together for a wonderful year-end Christmas lunch at the Aberdeen Club.

The function was organised by outgoing chairlady Estelle van Wyk with David Millar and Meredith Kraut, and the attention to detail that the trio has shown throughout the year was brought to a fitting conclusion with this meticulously-planned event.

Guests were welcomed with a choice of two fruit punches, and Estelle’s festive rustic table decorations were set off beautifully by the black tablecloths. Christmas carols played softly in the background, adding to the atmosphere.

The business part of the event was dealt with swiftly at the beginning, as Estelle gave a summary of events through the year. In her bilingual report, she was proud to add that the club is one of the few that comprises both English – and Afrikaans-speaking members. She was pleased to report that the club is in a healthy financial position, and was able to sponsor the venue hire and meat for the Christmas lunch. After thanking those who had helped her throughout the year, she in turn was thanked for all she has done for the club, and especially for her willingness to step in and take over at the last minute.

As Estelle was not available to stand for 2019, nominations were taken for the post of chairperson, and votes were counted whilst the guests tucked in to the tasty range of starters. It soon became clear that nobody was prepared to take on the reins on their own, so a committee, consisting of Judith Dardis, Jadre Lategan, Marianne Meijer, David Millar, and Sonette Muller, was tasked with combining their skills and energy to produce a programme for 2019. As one member was heard to remark,  ”Estelle will be a hard act to follow”!

Members were treated to little gifts, handmade by Jadre Lategan and Sonette Muller, and some lucky draw prizes were handed out.

The socialising and eating then began in earnest, and the varied selection of meats and salads, followed by festive desserts, reflected both the care in choosing the menu, and the willingness of all members to contribute a specified dish towards the feast.

Planning is already underway for next year’s meetings, with confirmed dates for a visit to the pop-up Ginger Beer Garden restaurant at Aberdeen Self Catering on 17 January, and a farm outing to Oudedrift on 14 February. Prospective members are welcome to contact Judith Dardis on 084 591 7301 for more information.