Bambinos party

 

Aberdeen Bambinos, a child care and education group in Lotusville, Aberdeen, recently celebrated its second birthday, and organisers Jane Saayman and Leonie Bedaar decided to combine this milestone with the children’s Christmas party.

The Aberdeen branch of the WAA has been very involved with the Bambinos, and this year five members of the WAA joined the Bambinos for the Christmas party, which was held under the trees in Jean Watermeyer’s shady garden.  The children, accompanied by their leaders, walked together in a neat crocodile from Lotusville, and were impeccably behaved.

Lea van der Vyver welcomed the children, and explained the programme for the afternoon. The children opened the proceedings by singing the Lord’s Prayer, which was very touching.

A Christmas book, donated by Bargain Books, was handed to each child and Annalie Lategan told the story (in Afrikaans) while the children listened and followed the story in their own books. Although the lift-the-flap book is really designed for younger children, it is in English, which is not the children’s first language, and for many of the children it is the very first book that they have ever owned. There was great excitement as each child very carefully looked behind each flap to see the hidden picture as the story progressed.

Lategan also read the Christmas story from a Children’s Bible.

Afterwards WAA members shared out the beautifully decorated cupcakes they had brought for the appreciative children, and they all enjoyed a slice of the birthday cake baked by Saayman with their cooldrinks.

The Bambinos ladies are very grateful to the WAA for their continued support, both in arranging events and for regular donations of groceries, meat and vegetables for the children. Jean Watermeyer has really been a driving force behind this involvement, and she herself rarely returns from a Graaff-Reinet trip without a boot full of donated yogurts and other almost-expired goods that have generously been donated by Pick n Pay.

According to their constitution, the Bambinos group is not just about feeding the children healthy food, but also aims to promote the importance of education and instil discipline and respect for themselves and others. Several members of the WAA have commented on the excellent behaviour and discipline of the children in the group, and congratulated the leaders on their valuable work.

Found dog reunited with owner

 

This beautiful friendly little dog, obviously much loved, was found wandering the streets of Aberdeen at the end of last week. A kind soul is currently showering it with love, but somewhere there must be a frantic owner searching for their beloved pet.

The notice above, with a photographer of a little black miniature Yorkie, was posted on the Advertiser’s facebook page last Tuesday morning. Just half an hour later, Aberdeen resident Natasha Groener saw the post, and phoned the contact number that was given. After being given the third degree in security questions to identify that it was really her dog, she was able to collect her beloved Zulu that afternoon.

It appears that Zulu, an “inside” dog, had somehow got out of the house, and wandered off in the direction of Lotusville. He was found by Sr Beulah Vermaak near the Masikhane clinic, who contacted Maureen MacAndrew of the local animal welfare group.  As no reports of a missing dog had come to MacAndrew’s attention, she asked local animal lover David Millar to look after the little dog until his owner could be traced. The dog was wearing a smart harness, and had recently been groomed, so was clearly not a stray.

Millar had some flyers printed, with the dog’s picture but no other identifying details, and was busy distributing them locally when he received the call from Groener. She was very relieved to locate Zulu, and is extremely grateful to all involved in the chain of his care, as well as the Advertiser for posting on facebook.

Although Zulu had been spoiled rotten during his brief holiday weekend, the ecstatic welcome he gave Groener when she went to collect him left no doubt that he was reunited with his rightful owner!

WAA Christmas function at Aalwynhof

The ladies of the Aberdeen branch of the WAA treated residents of Aalwynhof Home for the Aged to a delightful morning of entertainment and treats last Thursday, 29 November.

WAA members Estelle van Wyk and Annalie Lategan read a poem and the Christmas story respectively, and Tiané Lombard shared her magnificent voice, performing two songs. Stalwart Gina de Beer played the piano and led the residents in singing along to old favourites, which is always greatly enjoyed.

Delicious eats prepared by the WAA members and special friends were served with the morning tea, which was a real treat for the Aalwynhof folk and the other invited guests.

After Lea van der Vyver delivered the closing, Frieda Strydom thanked the ladies of the WAA on behalf of the residents. Each resident was given a bookmark and slice of Christmas cake as a parting gift.

APK street sale

Despite the rather wild and windy weather, the APK Street Sale in Aberdeen was a great success, with all the food being sold out.

Customers and the church volunteers were at times almost engulfed in swirling smoke and dust, but this did not deter the hungry customers who were very appreciative of the group’s efforts

Art exhibition and Celebrations at Georg Restaurant

 

On Saturday 1 December Georg restaurant in Aberdeen celebrated a double event.

The first, in the afternoon, was the opening of the exhibition (Water-) Colours Of The Karoo by Curt Marthezé with 14 exquisite new water colour paintings, beautifully presented in stylish framing by the artist himself.

Curt has drawn pictures and made paintings from an early age, and counts himself as a traditional artist. He still has his first few efforts! He grew up in Windhoek, in the days when it was a small town, and moved to Aberdeen about four years ago. His work was first hung in a public gallery in Graaff-Reinet at the Sense of Place group exhibit in 2016, and later at the same venue as part of an exhibit entitled Colour.

He has had formal training in the past from other artists, and now makes the most of the immeasurable professional and current learning environments online. He is inspired by the small town of Aberdeen and the surrounding area, with the ever-changing subject matter, and loves nothing more than to set up his easel and work in the dusty veld near the mountains.

Curt’s works are enjoying increasing recognition for their vibrant luminous colours and capture of the essence of the unique landscapes and people of the Karoo.

He lives and paints in Aberdeen, painting mostly in plein air. His style is a classic realism with fine detail and a sure sense of colour that catches the essence of the Karoo ingeniously.

The opening was well attended by art lovers from Aberdeen, Graaff Reinet and the wider surrounds, who enjoyed discussing the works with the artist. Two pictures were sold on the same day.

Thereafter Georg celebrated its one year anniversary exactly to the day with a party and live music provided by Ross MacLennan and Georg Ritschl, the owner of the restaurant.

The waiters and kitchen staff excelled themselves throughout the events, keeping the food and drinks flowing.
It turned into a jolly celebration that went on late into the night.

 

 

NGK Carol service

 

Members of the worship group of Graaff-Reinet’s NGK visited Aberdeen and joined the local congregation at the town’s NGK on 25 November for a wonderful evening of Christmas carols and dramatic presentations.

After a short video and song, the Graaff-Reinet group started their performance with a dramatic presentation by Ds Ben van Tonder. His tale of the composition of the much-loved Christmas carol Joy to the World led into a rendering of the carol, with alternate verses in English and Afrikaans.

The Graaff-Reinet group, comprising singers ranging in age from scholars to pensioners, performed in many different combinations, including a men’s choir and ladies’ choir, which added to the interest for the congregation. There were also many opportunities for members of the congregation to join in, which most did with gusto.

A variety of instruments was also used to change the pace and feel, with Ben van Tonder and DJ van Wyk on guitar, and Fredre Lategan on piano. Local organist, the church’s beloved Tineke Anderson, came out of retirement and accompanied a few of the carols, and the versatile DJ van Wyk also strummed away on his ukulele for some items.

In between the familiar popular carols was one composed by the group’s pianist Fredre Lategan, who is originally from Aberdeen. The haunting Maria se Wiegeliede was performed by the ladies in the group.

There were also readings from Aberdeen’s dominee, Abe Beyers, and Dick and Estelle van Vyk.

Near the end of the concert, an Aberdeen choir performed two items, and much credit should be given to Gina de Beer for her perseverance in getting the group together. They performed Silent Night, and a Sotho song, Salani, both of which were very well received.

One tough little hamerkop chick!

 

A young hamerkop chick, which fell from its nest in the garden of Pagel House last Tuesday, was given over to African Dawn Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday for further rehabilitation.

The young chick, estimated to be about three weeks old, was found on the ground under the willow tree where the birds nest, after either falling or being pushed out by a sibling. Pagel House owner Lyn Dugmore rescued the young chick, but had no idea what or how to feed it, so quickly sent out messages to everyone she knew who she thought might be able to help.

The first suggestion was Pronutro, but this proved to be very difficult to get down the bird’s throat due to its stickiness- the young chick has no swallowing reflex. She was then put in touch with African Dawn, a bird and wildlife sanctuary at Thornhill, which also caters for bird rehabilitationAn expert talked her through the whole feeding process, including how to hold the chick with its head tipped right back to open the gullet and then push the food down. Lean mince, moistened with water, was the suggested food, or meal worms- Lyn used very finely chopped pieces of kudu steak, which went down a treat!

On Saturday, Lyn was ecstatic as the chick reached its next milestone, when it would take small pieces of meat from her hand. Much as she would have loved to keep the chick to raise herself, she realised that it would not be practical, and on Sunday she bid a sad farewell to young Kopertjie when he was taken to African Dawn, where it will initially spend  some time in quarantine.  In the sanctuary’s 20 years’ existence, it has never had a young hamerkop chick, so staff and volunteers there are very much looking forward to the challenge of rearing the young bird.

Three years ago, the Pagel House hamerkops were also in the news, when a record six young chicks were hatched from a single breeding pair. There were no chicks in the last two years, but Lyn thinks there is at least one other still in the nest now as the parents are active around the nest, bringing food. Normally the young fledglings only leave the nest when they are fully grown, somewhere between 40 and 55 days. Guests at Pagel House mid December may well be in for a treat!

A morning of magic in Nieu Bethesda

 

A group of enthusiastic members of the Aberdeen Garden and Social Club set off bright and early for Nieu Bethesda last week- so “bright and early” in fact that they actually arrived at their hosts’ home a full hour ahead of schedule!

This was no problem however for Belinda du Toit, and the guests happily looked around her Stoep Retreats property and settled in the garden with drinks while she fetched some delicious freshly- baked bread. Everyone was very keen to sample the bread, which was made from flour that had been stone-ground in the restored mill in the village, using local rainwater.

Her husband Charl, a minister, is involved in many projects in the town, and is passionate about the upliftment of the community. He is an extremely accomplished violinist, having started playing as a young boy, and also has a thriving business restoring violins and making bows. He enthralled the guests with a mesmerising rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, followed by part of the incredible classical masterpiece Czardas. Many of the visitors spent some time examining Charl’s bow in detail, and were fascinated in his description of the personal nature of each performer’s bow, which has to be made to suit the performer’s personality and playing style. An interesting fact that members learned is that wood for violins always comes from regions with a cold climate, as does the horse hair used for the bows. South African horse hair is apparently too thick!

Belinda and Charl were presented with a young lemon tree as a thank-you gift, and this was received with great delight.

After the talk, members made their way to the old mill, which Charl was instrumental in restoring. Work started about four years ago, and now he regularly makes stoneground flour to sell, and for his own bread. After sampling the bread earlier, he had several eager customers for the flour! To demonstrate the working of the mill, Charl first diverted the water to run over the mill, and then showed how the wheat kernels were put through the mill stone several times, to get the texture required. The many pertinent questions that were raised reflected the visitors’ genuine interest in the process.

Members were then free to wander around the town for a while, before meeting up for lunch at Die Waenhuis. A wonderful meal was enjoyed by all, who enjoyed not only the delicious food, but also the relaxed and friendly atmosphere. After many compliments to the chef and staff, it was time to return home, after an outing that most agreed was one of the most fascinating of the year.

Luxolo prizegiving

Luxolo prizegiving 2018

The new open-air hall at Luxolo Intermediate School proved to be a perfect venue for this year’s prize-giving ceremony, with plenty of shade for all on a very hot but calm day.

The guest speaker was a past pupil of the school, Monwabisi Ruiters, who is a senior manager at the State Information Technology Agency. “We hope that his achievements from humble beginnings will inspire the learners to continue studying and aim high” said Principal Jan Mathiale.

This theme, of aiming high, with support from parents and family, was echoed in speeches from the chairman of the SGB and Mathiale himself.

Diplomas were presented to children who had achieved high marks over the first three terms of the year, as well as for participation and excellence in sporting and cultural activities.

The sportsman of the year award went to 10 year old Renaldo May in grade 5, who represented the Eastern Province at national level in the 1200m athletics event.

The top achiever in each grade also received a diploma, listing their top subjects, and then the top learner in each phase received a trophy.

Top learner in the senior phase (grades 7, 8 and 9) was Singalakha Maphekula, in grade 8. As well as the impressive Elizabeth Frazenburg trophy, she received a prize of R1 000. She was the most outstanding pupil in Xhosa, English, mathematics, life orientation, social science, natural science, economic and management science and technology.

In the intermediate phase (grades 4, 5 and 6) Ambesa Nqipha in grade 6 came out on top, with the highest marks in Xhosa, English, mathematics, life skills, social science and natural science and technology. She received a trophy, as well as diplomas.

Finally, the foundation phase award went to Ayolisiwe Nombula in grade 3, with top marks in Xhosa, English, life skills and mathematics.

The educators and parents are very proud of all the learners who have worked hard throughout the year, and hope that the recipients of these awards will inspire others to give of their best.

generous donation allows for spays in Aberdeen

 

Thanks to a generous donation from a lady in Gauteng, Camdeboo Sterilisation Initiative (CSI) in Graaff-Reinet was able to sponsor a sterilisation campaign in Aberdeen last week.

Dr Hildidge Beer and Sr Hilda Mills from EberVet pet care group in Cape Town spent two days in Aberdeen, and during that time, 37 dogs and 19 cats were sterilised at the Sopkombuis in Lotusville.

 

The local arrangements were all made by Maureen MacAndrew and her team from CARE, and a great deal of work was needed behind the scenes leading up the event as well as on the days concerned. Maureen would like to thank Manfred Hansen for transporting the dogs and cats to and from the venue, Val Denham and Zola Miller for administrative duties and general assistance, Ursula Snydert who helped at the pre-op tables and Wilfred Deysel for his invaluable assistance in field work and identifying the needy animals in the townships. The gentle strength of Andries Williams was also greatly appreciated.

 

One man, Anthony Frolick, brought his dog for sterilisation, and then stayed on and volunteered his help – those present were very grateful for this, as he was able to manage the few aggressive dogs with confidence. He has now been recruited as a member of the CARE team for future projects.