Arbor Month Celebrations

 

Arbor Month was celebrated in Aberdeen this week, when the town was chosen to receive 120 young trees from the Sarah Baartman District Municipality.

Historically, Arbor Day was first celebrated in South Africa in 1983, then it expanded to being Arbor Week in 1996, and this year, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries declared the whole of September as Arbor Month. The theme for this year’s Arbor Month is Forestry and Sustainable Cities.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of trees in South Africa, particularly those indigenous to the region. Special programmes have been run in schools to encourage pupils to appreciate the benefits of trees in the environment, and the Sarah Baartman District Municipality chose Aberdeen to be the recipient of young indigenous trees to be planted in the area.

The local schools and crèches, as well as public facilities such as the hospital and clinic, churches, library and parks were identified as suitable sites, where trees planted this week would give shade and help reduce climate change for future generations.

On Monday, Akhona Tshaka, a senior forestry development officer from the Department of  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries arrived from King William’s Town to officially hand over and plant wild olive, celtic, rhus, and yellowwood trees. She was accompanied by Zanele Dyayiya, communications manager from Disaster Management in the District Municipality, who was able to explain the role of trees in helping to prevent natural disasters.

These officials, together with representatives of various beneficiary organisations within the two wards in Aberdeen, visited the four schools, each of which received six saplings. At Aberdeen Secondary School, Akhona herself, together with principal Timotheus Webb, did most of the digging for the hole for the first symbolic tree to be planted. The group then visited the other three schools.

Trees for the remaining sites were delivered by Cllr Willem Safers and Clive Kombani, the Area Manager in Aberdeen later in the week.

On Tuesday, a function was held at the library hall where visiting dignitaries,  including Cllr Notizi Vanda (Portfolio Councillor for Community Services) and the Speaker of the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality, Cllr Thembisa Nonnies, who represented the Mayor. School children from Aberdeen Secondary School and Aberdeen Full Service School marched to the hall, accompanied by vehicles from the Traffic Department. The children filled the hall, along with a few parents and other members of the community, and mostly listened attentively to the procedings.

Cllr Safers directed a programme which was both informative and entertaining, with main speaker Akhona Tshaka emphasising to the children their role in preserving trees, and passing on information to both the older generation and, in future, their own children. Cllr Safers emphasised a local example where children must play a vital role in educating others in the community, regarding the Fonteinbos Nature Reserve. This area is sadly being systematically stripped of trees every winter, when members of the community go and cut down trees for firewood.

Entertainment during the meeting was provided by choirs from Aberdeen Secondary School and Luxolo Intermediate School, as well as a very thoughtful drama piece performed by an immaculately dressed group of youngsters from Kamdebo Primary School.

Garden and Social Club

 

After many craft activities and outings, this week Aberdeen’s Garden and Social Club went back to their “roots” with a visit to a compact but beautiful garden in Aberdeen.

The enclosed garden of Rabie and Almarie Gericke, hidden away in Cathcart Street behind high walls, revealed an interesting small garden, complete with a sparkling pool for relaxation during the hot summers.

The garden contains a profusion of wild garlic, creepers and roses, and Rabie gave a short but informative talk on the improvements and changes he has made since moving to the house. There were many questions from the members, not only on the development of the garden, but also about the pool and the maintenance required to keep it in such pristine condition.

Chairlady Estelle van Wyk then gave a most interesting talk on indigenous weeds, which included many samples of weeds carefully bagged and presented with information on each specific species. She emphasised the symbiotic relationship of the weeds, and enlightened the members to the health benefits of different varieties. Who knew that the humble dandelion is full of vitamin C, and minerals including iron, magnesium and calcium? Most weeds are in fact edible, and can add a tang and health boost to a salad. One long-time member was so impressed by the health properties of the weeds, that she asked to take home all the samples to plant in her own garden!

The October meeting is an outing to Montego in Graaff-Reinet, which is already fully booked. Details were also given about a trip to Nieu Bethesda in November, which promises to be a real highlight of the year.

CARE cake sale

 

Aberdeen’s animal welfare organisation CARE held a cake sale in the town centre recently to raise funds towards their vet bills.

Thanks to many generous donations, this proved to be a bumper sale, with three big tables laden with cakes and savouries. As always, the town was full of people on the first Saturday of the month, and the cakes were all sold soon after 11am.

CARE organiser Maureen MacAndrew would like to thank all those who supported the sale –the helpers on the day, those who donated cakes, and not least, the customers. Special thanks must go to Mabel Joubert, who after some marathon baking sessions made enough to fill two whole tables on her own!

Aalwynhof community outreach for Women’s Month

 

Whilst cleaning out some store rooms at the Aalwynhof Home for the Aged recently, one of the governing body members came across some disused wheelchairs and crutches. As the equipment is not being used by Aalwynhof, the governing board decided to reach out into the community and donate it to the Masakhane Clinic in Lotusville. The five wheelchairs, including one which is fully reclining, and two pairs of crutches, are all in very good condition. Diane Nel, chairperson of the board, contacted Dr Olive Muller, the clinic’s doctor, and the clinic management, and they were all very excited to be offered the equipment as the Home’s Women’s Month outreach.

Diane Nel, Willemien Caricato, and Christa van Rensburg represented the Aalwynhof governors at a small ceremony last Friday, and Sr Yulindi Lewies, Operational Manager, accepted them on behalf of Masakhane Clinic. Dr Muller, who is once again the Aalwynhof governors’ “Woman of the Year”, was unfortunately unable to be present for the ceremony.

The clinic serves over 16 000 patients every month, from all sections of the Aberdeen community as well as staff from the farms in the area. For elderly and frail patients, just physically getting to the clinic can be a challenge, and some say they are charged as much as R40 for a lift in a car or taxi. The clinic management plans to give a wheelchair to one or two of the most deserving cases, and the remainder will be stored at the clinic, to be available to transport those unable to walk to the clinic for their appointments.

This small gesture from the Aalwynhof board will certainly make life a little easier for some of the most vulnerable and needy.

Donkeys in Aberdeen

 

The sight of donkey carts driving through the town is not uncommon in rural Karoo towns, and Aberdeen is no exception. Stray donkeys wandering loose in the town are becoming something of a problem however, with residents complaining that their gardens are being ravaged by the hungry animals.

Donkeys taking up temporary residence on a stoep is not such a common site however, but these two, seen at an empty house near Karoo Moons, seem ready to receive visitors!

artist from Aberdeen-Anje Cronje

 

Anje Cronje (20) is the only visual artist and youngest person to date to win the Sophie Mgcina prize for upcoming artists.

This prize is named after the actress and coach Sophie Mgcina, who is best known for The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena. Not only did she play the two lead roles in the stage production, but also composed the music and directed the orchestra.

Originally from Aberdeen and currently studying architecture in Bloemfontein, Anje’s artwork reflects the expressions and life of some Aberdeen residents.
She says that she learns about the people around her through her artwork, and sees the beauty of every person with their interesting faces. Anje modestly says that she tries to capture this on paper, and judging by the acclaim she has received, she has succeeded admirably in making people aware of the faces, cultures and traditions around her.

An exhibition of her work has been on show this month at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, as part of the month-long Women’s Day celebrations at the theatre complex. All the artwork currently on display was drawn in Aberdeen.

Eric Miyeni, actor and filmmaker of Cry the Beloved Country amongst others, bought Anje’s first work of art!

Anje’s mother Cornelia, herself a talented artist, is extremely proud of her daughter, who has been able to laugh and persevere through some extremely challenging times.

 

Garden and Social Club outing

After a few months with “crafty” meetings, the Aberdeen Garden and Social Club enjoyed an outing last week to Bulrivier Safaris, about 50km from Graaff-Reinet.

The group of 18, which included some guests, set off promptly at 9am after some early morning coffee and banana loaf. By following the excellent directions given by hosts Jurgen and Melissa Smith of Bulrivier, the convoy of cars arrived at the reception area soon after 10am.  All enjoyed the drive through the scenic farmlands, with sheep grazing right alongside the road.

After a sumptuous breakfast, which included a tasty homemade venison sausage, the group drove about 7km to the Kalkkop crater. Here Jurgen gave a very interesting talk on the history of the crater and when it was first discovered.  The crater is fascinating, although there would at first sight be little to see without a knowledgeable guide. There is a weathered circular ridge visible, with a low hill formed inside what would have originally been a depression when the crater was first formed by the meteorite. Smith explained that many groups of students have visited the site, and there are questions being raised about the site being far older than first thought. The drill casing can be seen in several areas.

Next on the itinerary was a game drive, on the way to the safari lodge and tented accommodation. The visitors were fascinated to see that hot water for the luxury tents is obtained by lighting a fire under the boiler!

The Garden and Social Club group was apparently the most people that the Smiths had hosted at one time, and the effort and enthusiasm shown by the couple was appreciated by all.

Next month’s outing, on 13 September, will be to a garden in the heart of Aberdeen – more details can be obtained from chairlady Estelle van Wyk on 081 785 4216.

Women’s Day event at Kabouterland

Women’s Day last Thursday saw a celebration in Lotusville organised by Stella Kamfer, one of the founders of the newly registered NPO Aberdeen Childcare Centre. The event was held at Kabouterland Creche, and the theme of the afternoon was “The Masks Women Wear”.

Around 100 ladies present enjoyed short talks from various speakers, songs, and a spiritual dance to the hymn “You raise me up”. Afternoon tea and eats were provided, and each woman present received a crown, to remind her of the value that Christ sees in her life.

Women’s Day at Kamdeboo Primary

The Soul Buddyz (peer counsellor) group at Kamdeboo Primary led the school in a Women’s Day celebration last week.

Everyone in the school, teachers and pupils alike, was asked to wear some sort of headgear – a “doek” for the girls, and a hat of their own choosing for the boys. There were some very interesting creations!

It was decided that this would continue for ever Friday during August, to raise awareness of some of the issues facing women in South Africa.

Farmers award to Capt Qashani

The Aberdeen Farmers’ Association committee decided to honour people in the community who they feel serve the whole community with outstanding commitment.

The first person to be honoured with this award is SAPS Station Commander Captain Advocate Qashani. He was presented with a certificatefor dedication and excellence by Vice Chairman Dickie Ogilvie at the Farmers’ Association meeting on 18 July. During his many years as Chairman of the Association, Ogilvie had many dealings with the Captain, and the two men built a very good relationship due to the Captain’s positive approach and consistent high standards.

Capt Qashani replied at length, stating that since his permanent appointment as Station Commander in September 2015, Aberdeen SAPS started to improve service delivery rendered to Aberdeen community, realising that the image of the SAPS had to be improved to gain community trust. He said that the Aberdeen Community had shown interest working with police under the his leadership, and was proud to say that he was always with his foot soldiers on the ground, leading by example to fighting crime.

“I cannot forget the entire SAPS and PSA members working under my command which made this community trust possible” said Capt Qashani. He also thanked the entire community which has assisted the police in fighting crime in Aberdeen.

“We as SAPS in Aberdeen appreciate this trust with pleasure and we are committed to serve our community with pride, considering SAPS code of conduct, in ensuring the safety of our community” he concluded.

Current Chairman Hantie Marx, who took over the post of Chairman from Ogilvie in April, said that he was delighted to be able to give recognition in a small way to the excellent service received from the Captain by the farming community. “It is just a small token to give credit and say thank you” said Marx.