Women’s World Day of Prayer


The combined service organised by the Aberdeen Dutch Reformed Church, Vrye Gereformeerde Kerk (VGK), and United Congregational Church of South Africa for the worldwide women’s day of prayer was very successful. Those who attended enjoyed the special fellowship, and felt that they had learned a lot.

The event opened with prayer and a welcome from organiser Estelle van Wyk.

She explained about the origins of this special day, which is celebrated in 190 countries around the world. This year Slovenia is the Writer country. They chose the theme: “Come- everything is ready” based on Luke 14:15-25, the parable Jesus told of the Feast that was organised and the guests that made excuses. The focus this year is to pray for Slovenia, but also all the people who are shunned by everybody: the disadvantaged, homeless, disabled, molested and molester, victor and victim, and the outcasts of the society.

Van Wyk also briefly gave a description of the country Slovenia, and of its culture, specifically about the women in the country.

Maria Jegels from the Congregational Church  then prayed for the needs of Slovenia. Madelyn Scheepers read from the scriptures and the spiritual dancers group, led by Maria Jegels, did a prayer dance.

Esme Finnis gave a sermon from the scripture and Rachel Jantjies prayed for the women of the world. Cathleen Kalaka from the United Mission Church performed a beautiful song, followed by a short talk for the school children, from Yvonne Frazenburg of theVictim Support Centre. Linda Williams (VGK) then prayed for the women in South Africa. The congregation sang Amazing Grace and Estelle van Wyk prayed for Aberdeen and district.

Esme Finnis ended the service by saying grace, and  prayed specific for women.

As well as women from the community, the grade 7 girls from Kamdebo Primary School attended the service, accompanied by Melanie Rheeder, a volunteer at the school. The organisers were very impressed by the girls’ behaviour and devotion, and a special moment for all was when the girls started spontaneously to sing as the congregation waited before the service started.  At the end, a child asked if she could pray for the parents, which was very touching.

The girls then left, each receiving an ice lolly, and the women were treated to tea and coffee in church.

From next year this event, scheduled worldwide for the first Friday in March, will continue to take place in the Dutch Reformed Church, but all churches in the community will be invited to be part of the organisation. Representatives from all the churches are asked to contact Margie du Plooy at the church office on 049 846 0027 to leave their details for next year’s planning.

Central v Aberdeen return match


A closely- fought contest was played out on the Collie Koeberg rugby fields last weekend, when Aberdeen arrived in Graaff- Reinet for the return game against Central.

The Aberdeen team arrived full of confidence and well prepared to avoid a repeat of the thrashing of the previous week’s game in Aberdeen, which the visiting Central side won 65 -34.

Central were under pressure from the visitors for most of the game. Aberdeen first tasted blood by scoring the first points against the home team: the visitors scored three tries, catching the Central defence on the wrong foot. Central players were rattled at first by the better Aberdeen team, but kept their composure and fought on.

It was indeed a very competitive game, as neither team was prepared to give up. Aberdeen also punished Central with successful penalty kicks to stay ahead on the score board.

Despite the pressure, the home team kept up attacking the advantage line, and showed belief in their structure systems to dominate with the forwards.

In the last five minutes, the hosts started to get a grip on the game and the score edged to a nail-biting 21-23. Attack after attack from the Central forwards in the last minute of the game saw the Aberdeen forwards pressured into playing the ball on the ground, and the hosts made the most of the penalty awarded, and won the game  24-23. The captain of Central, Juventis Jooste, was nominated as the man of the match.

After the game, both teams conveyed good wishes to their opponents for the forthcoming rugby league season. Central players and management were grateful to the local supporters who showed belief in the team’s capability until the final blow of the whistle.

Old Aberdonian shines in SAPS


A young lad who grew up in Aberdeen many years ago is now one of the top operational managers in the South African Police Service.

Sam Kilian was born in PE, but moved to Aberdeen with his sister and parents Stanley and Susie when he was a small boy. He started his schooling career at Aberdeen Primary School, and then moved to Volkskool in Graaff-Reinet, where he matriculated in 1980.

Many old Aberdonians will remember Sam’s parents. Stanley, who passed away in 2003, worked in the Aberdeen Hotel, and also wrote for the Aberdeen Pos newspaper.  Susie worked for 36 years at the Aberdeen Bottle Store for 36 years and was always ready with a cheerful smile for customers. In 2006 Susie moved to Benoni, to a purpose-built cottage at the home of Sam and his wife.

After school Sam joined the South African Railway Police in 1981, where he first trained at Esselen Park in Kempton Park for six months before being posted to what was then Jan Smuts International Airport. He rose to the rank of warrant officer with the Railways Police, working with the mobile units on trains. When the Railway Police amalgamated with the South African Police in October 1986, he continued to work on the East Rand, achieving the rank of Lieutenant in 1987.

Police service is in the Kilian family: Sam is one of five cousins who joined the service, following in the footsteps of his uncle Andries Horak, who retired as a Lieutenant General and who also comes from Aberdeen.

Sam has been in the service now for 38 years and has spent his career in the East Rand near Johannesburg. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier on 1 December 2015 and is currently the Provincial Commander for Gauteng Police Emergency Services. He has several units under his command, including the Flying Squad, K9, Mounted, Accident, 10111, Negotiators, Water Wing and Divers. He is also a trained hostage negotiator.

In 2018 he was awarded the best operational manager for level 13 and 14 managers in Gauteng, and following on from this, he was also nominated for the National Excellence awards, at an event  which was held in Mpumalanga in January 2019.

Here he was awarded the first Runner up in the category Best Operational Manager level 13 to 14.

Garden Club visit to Oudedrift


Last Thursday the Aberdeen Garden and Social Club enjoyed a wonderful outing to a local farm – truly back to the roots of the original Garden Club.

Oudedrift, about half way between Aberdeen and Graaff-Reinet, is in a most beautiful setting, and the fact that such a lush garden could be seen in the middle of the Karoo during such a devastating drought is testimony to the love and care shown to the property.

Harold and Catherine Steven-Jennings bought the farm 34 years ago.  It had been used as a cattle breeding farm, and thus was not set up in a form usable for them as sheep farmers, entailing a great deal of conversion work.

 Members were fascinated by Harold’s account of the history of the farm, and how it is worked. He grazes his stock using the ‘wagon wheel’ format – a central hub of a watering point surrounded by wedge-shaped paddocks which all lead to the water, and the stock is moved from paddock to paddock around the ‘wheel’.  This ensures that the ground and fodder has time to regenerate after it has been grazed, and the animals break up the surface and manure the ground to assist in germination of new shoots.  When good rain falls, the stock moves more quickly, as the fodder grows fast, but in times of drought movement around the paddocks slows.  Research shows that herds of wild animals – those who have not been interfered with by humans – actually graze in this manner intuitively.  Because of his desire to work as holistically as possible, Harold prefers not to destroy predators on his farm, other than the occasional rogue.  He brings his stock in to shelter at night for protection, and is currently investigating the possibility of bringing in a Maluti mountain dog to assist him to look after his sheep.

Catherine’s well-presented talk showed her passion for conserving and renewing the soil in as natural a manner as possible.  Years ago she discovered books by Japanese farmer Masanoba Fukuoka called ‘The One Straw Revolution’ and ‘The Road Back to Nature’ and his ideas form a basis for her methods of growing both her vegetables and her flowers.  The results are certainly magnificent.  She works as organically as possible without using chemical fertilisers and only minimal pesticides if absolutely necessary.  Her main pesticide is a mixture of khakibos and garlic, which deals with most pests.  Her methods of making and using compost were explained and demonstrated to the guests.  The group was fascinated to hear that at one time she had a problem with kudu jumping into the vegetable garden and helping themselves, and has solved the problem using strings of flashing Christmas lights on the surrounding rose-covered fence.

The farmhouse rests comfortably under a canopy of huge white ash and oak trees, which were already established when they moved to the farm, and which have grown massive and stately.  Even in this time of drought the garden is full of colour and growth, and the garden is truly a place of peace and tranquillity.  Many members of the group particularly remarked on this and said they didn’t want to leave!  This was truly a ‘garden club’ meeting where we could relax under the trees, learn about a different way of life which places real importance on going back to nature, whilst enjoying a sumptuous tea provided by members.

The next meeting, on 14 March, will be held at the home of Tony ad Judith Dardis, at 7 Ziervogel  Street in Aberdeen. The subject is the revitalisation of Aberdeen and recycling.

 Central rugby v Aberdeen



Graaff-Reinet’s Central Rugby Club had a remarkable opening game against Aberdeen last weekend  to open the rugby season.

The match took place at the Aberdeen sports fields on Saturday, and Central beat the home team with a convincing 65-34 win.

The thorough preparation of Central’s new coaching team under the leadership of Aswell Adams bore fruit as Central were dominant in all areas of the game.

Central scored an impressive nine tries with ease, and fly half Mandy Sauls was succesful in all his kicking efforts.

Ben Koeberg, the scrum half for Central, scored three tries and was crowned the Player of the Game.

Hento Davids, President of Central Sport Club, is very proud of how the Central players performed, giving 100% effort, and believes that the Aberdeen players still in shock after the trouncing they received!

Central will play Aberdeen again in a return fixture this coming weekend at the Kolie Koeberg (?sp)stadium.

Anyone interested in joining the growing Central club is welcome to come along to join the practice sessions, which are held every day Monday to Thursday at 18.00 on the grounds of Kolie Koeberg.

Davids hopes that the team’s supporters will come out in their numbers on 2 March to watch the return game against Aberdeen, and would love to see a strong contingent of supporters with the visiting team.

Central are still looking for sponsors from businesses to get involved in what promises to be a busy season that will produce some outstanding rugby.

Botter Ossies walking again

Last March, three friends who walked short distances together regularly for exercise took on the challenge of a 21km walk to raise money for charity. Close to R15 000 was raised for Aberdeen charities ranging from soup kitchens, churches, animal welfare and the elderly.

After a year, the Botter Ossies are hitting the road again to raise funds for Aberdeen. The ladies are asking their friends to sponsor their efforts as an encouragement, and each sponsor can choose where their money will go. A local organisation or project will benefit when someone specifically donates towards that cause.

The original Botter Ossies are Hannelie van der Westhuisen, who runs the Kamdebo Padstal, Umelda van Rensburg from Superstore and the Aberdeen detective office, and Debbie Barnardt, formerly of Aalwynhof and the NGK office and now teaching at Kamdeboo Primary.

This year, on 17 March, they will attempt to walk 25km to Grootvlakte farm, and the three stalwarts from last year have been joined by Lizemari Jordaan, a bookkeeper at Gerber Botha and Gowar.

Sponsorships can be per kilometre, or a once-off amount as a donation, and can be pledged with any one of the ladies. Forms are also available at the Padstal, Superstore, and Vroutjie se Koutjie.

Umelda and Hannelie in particular have been training hard this year, covering a distance of about 3km every morning, walking and jogging. Lizamari is walking on the farm for her training, and Debbie’s time in the classroom running around after 43 grade 3 children is certainly keeping her fit!

Kamdebo Primary’s star athlete

Roelene de Klerk, an 11 year old grade 6 learner at Kamdeboo Primary School in Aberdeen,  participated in the Sarah Baartman District athletics championships in Port Elizabeth on 15 February.  Roelene came first in the shot put event, winning a gold medal.

Her performance was good enough for her to qualify for the provincial championships to be held in  Cradock on 1-2 March. Her coach Niel Pienaar, and indeed the whole school, is extremely proud of Roelene’s achievement.


Young Roelene de Klerk from Kamdebo Primary School continues to make her school and community proud.

She won gold in shot put event for girls aged eleven years in Cradock at the provincial championships last weekend.

On Tuesday, Roelene received the news that she has been awarded provincial colours, and will be competing at the national championships, representing the Eastern Cape, in Germiston from 14 to 16 March.

She also achieved first place at the district championships last year, in her first year of shot put, but that time her distance was not good enough to qualify for the national championships, but her hard work and dedication this year has paid off!

According to her coach, Niel Pienaar, Roelene is an excellent all-round athlete and is also a very good netball player.

Aalwynhof Valentines Tea


The Board of Aalwynhof Home for the Aged organised a wonderful Valentines’ Day Tea last week as a fundraiser for the home. Tickets were sold at to local supporters, many of whom dressed for the occasion in striking red and white outfits.

For the benefit of the home’s residents as well as the guests, the patio was arranged with comfy seating. Guests were welcomed with a cold drink in either white or red in  wineglasses.

After the official welcome, the idea originally was to get one of the residents to tell her own special love story – but this had to be vetoed as it was too passionate!

 Zenda Delpoort then read a most beautiful love poem written by Breyten Breytenbach,   Allerliefste, Ek Stuur Vir Jou N Rooiborsduif, which was very moving.  Hostess Diane Nel explained that it had been voted as the most popular Afrikaans love poem in a recent poll.

 Guests were served with delicious eats, tea and coffee  – timed to beat the loadshedding at 11:00.

Finally a hilarious short story by Dana Snyman was read by Nel.  “As so many of the residents used to love reading, but are now unable to read any more,  this was a special treat for them,  and the members of the audience were in stitches” said Nel.

The board and management of the home would like to thank all of those who helped to make the morning such a success.

Tribute to an Aberdeen Icon

Well-known Aberdeen resident Constance Vos, known to all as Connie, passed away on Sunday 27 January, exactly five months short of her 85th birthday.

Connie grew up in Oudtshoorn, as one of ten children. She completed a secretarial course at the local college after leaving school, and one of her more interesting jobs, before coming to Aberdeen, was with the SABC in Sea Point, Cape Town.

In 1965, Connie, her husband Jack, and sons Johann and Jacques moved to Aberdeen, seeking the dry climate of the Karoo for the boys’ health. Jack took over from the local attorney, and the estate agency, for which Connie was to become so well known, was part of the practice. The couple worked together as a team, and although Jack was the one with a degree and formal qualifications, Connie was a very precise businesswoman who, according to her friend Gina de Beer, knew as much about the law as her husband!

About seven years after their move to Aberdeen, their daughter Constance was born.

Connie continued with the estate agency after her husband retired at the age of 75. She kept on selling houses until the age of 80, and many people in Aberdeen today are in the town because Connie persuaded them to buy a house, in what was always described as “the best part of town”!

Her daughter Constance recalls that Connie also bought the local pharmacy, which was called Die Medisynekas, and had that for a few years. It was run as a pharmacy, but no prescription medicine was sold. This was in the early 1990s. Jack passed away in 2001, at the age of 85, and Connie continued with her business interests and social activities, active until the end.

Connie and Jack had three children, and two granddaughters, Chantal and Adele, both of whom are married. Her great grandson (Adele’s child) is four months old, and just two days before Connie died, Chantal found out that she is pregnant. Sadly she never had a chance to tell Connie about this.

Connie loved to read and do crossword puzzles, and even played bridge in her younger days. She was an avid traveller and went on a few overseas trips, including the final voyage of the Astor with a group of friends.  She also loved train trips and went on a Blue Train tour once as well as the Afrikaans story teller and TV personality Tolla’s train.

For a number of years, every Christmas has been spent in Cape Town on an extended holiday with Constance and Eugene, who would willingly come to Aberdeen to fetch her, and bring her home after a month or so.

Connie lived life to the full and was very passionate about her work and family.  She was always very loyal, dedicated and professional. She was a unique human being, in every way. She had a good sense of humour and loved to laugh – indeed her distinctive laugh is one of things that her friends and family will remember.

Although she was generally healthy, she had a history of heart problems, and had suffered a stroke many years ago.

Connie died of a heart attack on Sunday 27 January, shortly after her return from what was to be her last Cape Town trip. “We are very fortunate that there has been no suffering, and that she was able to keep her independence for so long” said Constance. “She never wanted to go to an old age home or retirement village or even moved closer to us here in Cape Town. She wanted to stay in her house for as long she lived, and she did.”

A memorial service was held on Thursday 31 January, attended by friends and family. Unfortunately her son Jacques, who works in Dubai, was unable to be present, but he sent a tribute, which was read to the mourners by Johann.

Fonteinbos dam

The dam in the Fonteinbos reserve, just outside Aberdeen, was an arid wilderness at the end of November, when some members of the local Leiwater Action Group went to inspect the area.

Below the dam wall, a stagnant pool, full of reeds, was the only water to be seen.

Last week, after the magnificent rain that had fallen (53cm on a local farm), some of the group went back to the reserve to see what effect the rain had had.

The previously dry dam bed was now covered with an expanse of water, and a large expanse of (very muddy) water could be seem below the dam wall.