Animal welfare in Aberdeen

Maureen MacAndrew (77) has been involved in animal welfare work for many years, running the branch of the Karoo Animal Protection society (KAPS) in Ladismith before moving to Aberdeen in 2005.

At that time, there were kennels in Aberdeen run by the SPCA, and Maureen was an active volunteer with the organisation. When the SPCA closed due to lack of funding, Maureen’s sister-in-law, Lynn Holdt stepped in, and with Maureen’s help, ran a very successful operation until she passed away in 2013.

Maureen then took on full responsibility for the local township animals’ welfare, started the Camdeboo Animal Rescue Enterprise (CARE) and opened a charity shop to raise some much-needed funding. This shop is open every morning, manned by volunteers, and relies on donations of mainly unwanted household goods to resell.

Although legally the SPCA is the only organisation that has the power to confiscate abused animals, Maureen’s determination and forceful manner when encountering ill-treated pets has saved many animals neglected or abused by their owners.

Almost every day she deals with cases of sick or injured dogs and cats, provides dip, and deworms puppies. With sponsorship from KAPS, she has arranged for the sterilisation of 60 dogs and 30 cats so far this year.

Being in the Karoo, Maureen comes across cases not usually seen in the cities. One of the more unusual rescues this year involved relocating a monkey that had been kept as a pet, on a lead, to Monkey Matters in PE. She also keeps an eye on the working donkeys in the town, ensuring they have suitable bits, and helping with treatment of minor injuries.

Earlier this year, she was instrumental in saving an orphaned donkey foal. The mother was found in town with lockjaw, and died just a few days after being found by Maureen. With help from a local animal-lover, who hand-feed the foal after its mother died, the young donkey thrived, and was adopted by a local farmer.

Very few owners pay anything towards the costs involved in caring for their sick animals, and finances are always tight. Anyone who would like to help is asked to donate directly to Camdeboo Vet Clinic, Standard Bank account 082 528 799, using the reference CARE.

APK street market

Members of Aberdeen’s APK held a successful street market last Saturday in the town square.

Just after 7am on a hot Karoo day, those working at the sale started setting up tables and lighting braai fires. Despite having to compete with another mini bazaar and several informal vendors, the team’s lamb wors and sosaties sold quickly. Curry and rice was as popular as ever, and the traditional ‘bazaar puddings’ were quickly snapped up by those craving something sweet.

There was another church’s outreach group singing very close to the APK gazebo, which sometimes made it a little difficult for the church volunteers to hear the customers’ orders, but in true Aberdeen spirit, everyone just smiled and got on with what they were doing!

The men cooking the meat certainly felt the heat, but valiantly continued until the last piece of wors was cooked. Packs of raw meat and sosaties were also sold, that had been donated by members of the church and a local farmer.

By 1:30pm everything was sold out except for a few packets of raw meat – this mutton is available from Vroutjie se Koutjie.

The organisers are very grateful to all who braved the heat to support the event.

NGK Aberdeen has record attendance

The service of song held in the Aberdeen Dutch Reformed Church on Sunday was a most moving occasion. Close to 700 people filled the church, eager to share in the experience – more than double the largest congregation previously recorded this century!  As well as local folk, many had travelled from surrounding towns, and even as far as PE, Beaufort West and Cape Town. They were not disappointed!

Annelie Botes and her team from Port Elizabeth interspersed traditional Christmas carols and the nativity story with thought-provoking excerpts on the sadness and futility of war.

A group of local children participated as shepherds and angels, under the guidance of Joan Barnard, and retired teacher Dick van Wyk was the narrator for the event.

Several people joined in the theme of wearing a uniform, with local farmer Freek Janse van Rensburg’s impressive collection of medals on his army uniform standing out. The service opened with a parade of those in uniform, led by the haunting sound of Amazing Grace on the bagpipes, played by Russell Mitchell from PE.

Singers Deon MacKay and Talitha Kotze held the congregation spellbound with their magnificent voices, often accompanied by Jaco Rademeyer on the recorder and Annelie Botes on the organ.

One part that brought many tears was a video of scenes from the Angolan border war, and a reading from Botes about the pain experienced by families left behind, desperately waiting for news of their menfolk. A story of a mother and how she lost a child moved many people, resonating with all who had lost a loved one from whatever cause.

Minister Abe Beyers explained that the vision of the Aberdeen NGK congregation is to bring peace and healing in the footsteps of Jesus. “The Christmas song service led by Annelie Botes on Sunday embraced this vision beautifully,” he said. “During the service, many people were able to relive their pain and suffering from the past, and then experience some liberation and feel the sorrow lifted away. We are very grateful that this wonderful opportunity was able to bring so much peace.”


 He thanked organisers Christelle Nel and Miems van Loggerenberg, as well as all those who worked together to make the day a memorable event. “Annelie Botes promised that the church would once again be full for the service, and we were sceptical: how were we going to motivate people to come to Aberdeen? And yet it happened,” concluded Beyers.

Kamdebo grade Rs graduate

Last Friday Kamdebo Primary School held a graduation ceremony for the grade R classes.


As well as some songs from the children, the parents were treated to a slide show of photos of the learners busy at work and play, which they thoroughly enjoyed. During one item, a group of grade 7 girls had candles to illustrate that the grade R learners are the light for the future.

After the event the learners were given party packs, drinks and cake, and refreshments were provided for the parents and guests.

Happy ending for Optel

When Aberdeen resident Frans Diedericks went to offload garden rubbish at the local dumping ground last month, he did not expect to end up with a rescue dog.

Whilst at the tip, he noticed an extremely thin and dirty brown dog, running around loose and desperately searching for food and water. The dog’s plight touched his heart, and on his return home he told his wife Bets what he had seen. They went back to the tip three times that same afternoon, trying to locate the dog, without success. The people in the area all claimed to know nothing about the dog, and there was no sign of any owner.

Very early the next morning, the couple went back, and found the dog scratching around in the area where rubbish was being burned. They caught it and put it in the back of their bakkie, and took it to Maureen MacAndrew, who runs the local animal welfare charity.

“The dog was badly affected by mange, and must have had at least a hundred ticks on it,” said MacAndrew, who immediately cleaned up the dog in a dip bath. The tips of both of the dog’ ears were missing, and it is thought that they had been burned whilst it was scavenging.

As it was so badly infected with mange, the Diedericks’ were reluctant to take the dog home initially, for fear of infecting their other dogs. For two weeks, MacAndrew kept it isolated in her kennels, dipping it every day and making sure it ate the nourishing food which the Diedericks’ supplied. The dog responded well to the treatment, and the couple decided to adopt her. The Graaff-Reinet SPCA arranged for the dog to be sterilised at welfare rates, and she was returned to her new home yesterday.

“We called her Optel, which means ‘pick up’, and she is such a clever dog,” enthused Bets Diedericks. “She has a lovely nature, and has settled down nicely with our other dogs. She no longer attacks her food bowl!”

Kamdebo Primary debs

The Kamdebo Primary School Debutantes raised a record amount of over R100 000 for school funds this year.

The Aberdeen library hall was transformed into a tropical paradise for the Debutantes’ Ball last week, with vibrant- coloured drapes flowing from the ceiling. The children were all dressed according to the Hawaiian theme, and many of the teachers and parents also sported bright garlands and even a few ‘grass’ skirts.

Teacher Janaine Pieterse led the debutantes in a selection of energetic hip-shaking dances, greatly enjoyed and appreciated by the parents and guests. Graaff-Reinet band La Petit provided music, and also stayed on for the parents’ dance afterwards.

All the debutantes received a gift bag in appreciation of their efforts, before the climax of the event, the announcement of the top six debutantes.

Janiel Pieterse, who brought in R20 000, was crowned Debutante of the Year. The runners up, in order, were Ezra Jacobs, Chelsea de Vos (the winner in 2017), Embruche Mesimela, Lucia le Roux and Indibabale Jacobs. These top six together raised almost R65 000, and with the addition of all the money raised through the year by the 34 debutantes to the ticket sales for the event and other donations, the total came to just over R103 000.

The school would like to thank all the parents and children who worked so hard to raise the funds, as well as the sponsors and those who attended the function.

Aalwynhof reaches out

Aalwynhof resident Piet Vers likes to keep himself busy, and about two years ago he started making small simple wooden crosses, with a view to selling them to raise funds for the home. This innovative craftsman used the dead wood from an old palm tree in the grounds of the home, adding a leather thong to some, and painting others in bright colours. “I can make four or five in a day,” he said proudly.

As a way of reaching out to the community, manager Nico Kemp and chairperson of the board, Diane Nel, decided to donate a box of the crosses to the local Uniting Reformed Church (VGK), which has one of the largest congregations in Aberdeen.

“We have almost 600 members, including about 130 children” explained church elder Bettie Saaiman. On Monday, Vers presented Saaiman a box containing 150 crosses, which she said will be given to the children at a special service, before Christmas.

The management of Aalwynhof were delighted to be able to support such a vibrant and growing church, and hope that in turn, members of the church will support the work of Aalwynhof.

Santa’s Shoeboxes for Aberdeen children

There were many smiling faces when Kitty Viljoen, Graaff-Reinet convenor for the Santa Shoebox project, distributed boxes of delight to the recipients recently.

The individual centres and children may not be named, but 45 children from Graaff-Reinet and 50 children from Aberdeen were thrilled (and a little overawed in some cases) to receive what was for many their first personalised Christmas gift. A basic hygiene product such as their own tube of toothpaste was greeted with almost as much delight as a cuddly animal or toy car.

“One little girl tried so hard to get her presents back in the box afterwards, but she just couldn’t get them all to fit,” explained a smiling supervisor. The child solved the problem by putting her tiara on her head, and clutching her teddy bear under her arm!

About half of the boxes were given by local residents, who carefully selected the gifts according to their chosen child. The remainder received boxes as a result of the ‘virtual shoebox’ drive, whereby those in other areas were able to make a cash donation to enable local volunteers to shop and pack the boxes on their behalf.  A voucher for clothing from Pep Stores was included with each virtual shoebox, and the children are eagerly looking forward to choosing a new outfit for Christmas.

This is the third year that Viljoen has organised Shoeboxes for local children, and although it is a lot of work, she is already looking forward to year’s parties. “The joy and excitement on the children’s faces make it all worthwhile,” she said.

Aberdeen Primary Full Service School prefects for 2020

The prefect group for 2020 for Aberdeen Primary Full Service School was announced recently.

The school will be led by Head Prefects Gushwin Davids  (deputy head boy), Oyena Ngalo (head boy), Macbonay Nel  (head girl) and Wendoline Martens (deputy head girl).

The prefect group:

Patrishane Chenga, Jenai Karelse, Anele Pipes, Christail Skaarnek, Christolene Jaer, Beaudre Jantjies, Christiano Le-Roux, Kevin-John Motley, Gushwin Davids,  Adrian Jacobs, Evelyn Jaer, Ashwin Josef, Wendoline Martens,  Stoffel May, Thurdo Mdwane, Amor Mostert, Macbonay Nel, Oyena Ngalo, Bramuche Sedras and Rudene Stringer

Aberdeen Primary Debs Ball

Elrich Johnson, a grade 7 learner, was crowned as Debutante of the Year for Aberdeen Primary Full Service School at a glittering function held recently in the Aberdeen library hall.

Elrich, who was a clear winner, brought in an impressive amount of over R9 000. Anele Pipes (grade 5) was first runner up, and Caylib Baartman (grade 3) was the second runner up. Charlton Ellis in grade R won the prize for the most tickets sold.

A total amount of R40 550 was raised by the 26 Debutantes, and the school is very grateful to the parents for their support. The prizes for the winners were donated by local businesses.