Garden club at Karoo Moons

 

The members of the Aberdeen Garden and Social Club held their first meeting of 2019 in the delightful restaurant at Karoo Moons guest house.

Speaker and host Nico Kemp, who is the local agent for Eazi-Delish baking products, explained about his plans for the restaurant, which he plans to lease from the owners of Karoo Moons. During the Christmas holiday season, Nico and his partner Archie Norval ran a very successful pop-up ginger beer tea garden at Aberdeen Self Catering, and impressed both locals and tourists with their food presentation and quality. Nico explained that they would offer the restaurant as an upmarket events venue, as well as presenting a fine dining event probably once a month.

He also spent some time explaining about their part in th new project to revive the town of Aberdeen, which was of great interest for those who had not attended any of those meetings. There was also some discussion on his plans for recycling in the town.

Guests were served with individually plated “high tea” snacks, which were beautifully presented and suitably filling. An optional extra requested by mny was Nico’s special home-made ginger beer, with some of the more adventurous members opting for a ginger beer float, which was pronounced delicious!

 

Penny Farthing encourage cricket

 

Penny Farthing Engineering is a leading construction company that has operated from a base in Aberdeen for many years, and believes in giving back to the community in which they operate. In the last six months alone, they have assisted with an electric security gate at Aberdeen Full Service School, helped towards sponsorship of the Aberdeen Secondary School matric dance, and used their machinery last September to try to make the Aberdeen refuse tip accessible.

Recently, site agent Clive Nel and route manager Danre Gerber decided to follow up their own passion for cricket to make a start on some sporting facilities for the community, particularly the youngsters.

An unused area in the grounds of Kamdebo Primary school was identified as suitable, and a Bobcat from Penny Farthing was used to clear the area, which was very overgrown. Two cricket pitches were then laid, the regulation length between the wickets, and the aim initially is to have informal games on Sunday afternoons.

The pitch was “christened” on Sunday 20 January, when a Penny Farting team played against a team of very keen local residents, organised by some of the foreign national shopkeepers. Great fun was had by all, and although the level of skill was decidedly mixed, this did not detract from the sportsmanship and camaraderie that was experienced by all who took part.

There will be a pick-up game every Sunday, starting between 13:00 and 14:00, and all are welcome. Nel, who is an experienced cricketer and coach, would like to be able to offer training to interested youngsters in the near future too, as in his five months in Aberdeen he has seen that at present there is a lack of sporting activities for children. If there is sufficient enthusiasm and talent, he is keen to start up a cricket academy.

Promotion post for Luxolo teacher

 

A new Head of Department post was established at Luxolo Intermediate School this year, and teacher Namhla Nancy Quza has now been appointed as HOD for the foundation and intermediate phases, from grade R to grade 6.

Qusa, who joined the staff of Luxolo in March 2015, has been teaching isiXhosa home language to grades 4 to 9, as well as some natural sciences and life orientation classes. She is originally from Port Elizabeth, where she taught for a while before her move to Luxolo to her first permanent post in 2015. She completed her honours in isiXhosa last year at NMU, and now she is studying part-time for her master’s degree in the same subject.

Farewell Captain Qashani

The former station commander of Aberdeen SAPS, Capt Advocate Qashani, has been promoted to the post of Lieutenant Colonel at the police station in Libode, 28km from his home town of Umtata. He commenced his duties in the Umtata cluster on 2 January this year.

Captain Qashani was appointed to the post of station commander at Aberdeen SAPS in September 2015.

“When I came to the town, SAPS’ image in Aberdeen was not good, SAPS members had low morale, and the community did not really trust the police” said Qashani. He remarked that there were also many complaints against the police on a regular basis in terms of poor service delivery.

During his time in Aberdeen, Capt Qashani worked hard to improve the image of the police and regain the trust of the community. He feels that during his time in the town, he had made substantial progress in terms of achieving these goals, and appreciated the cooperation received from many sectors in the community.

In July 2018, he was presented with a certificate for dedication and excellence by the Aberdeen Farmers’ Association, with whom the Captain had built a very good relationship due to his positive approach and consistent high standards. Capt Qashani said at the time that the Aberdeen Community had shown interest working with police under the his leadership, and that he was proud to say that he was always with his foot soldiers on the ground, leading by example to fighting crime.

Capt Qashani said that he faced challenges during his time in Aberdeen, but he strove to maintain loyalty and integrity in all his dealings, according to the SAPS Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.

“Despite the fact that we had enough physical resources, we cannot forget that we had a short fall in terms of human resources” he said. “We were hoping for additional human resources or a possible upgrade of the station to one commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel instead of a Captain, in order to serve our community effectively” he continued, “but although our profile was submitted for consideration to provincial office, this has not yet been achieved”.  He concluded by hoping that the next Station Commander will take up the initiative to achieve this golden goal.

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”.