Women’s month event in ward 1

The DA in ward one (Aberdeen) held a special event on Thursday 31st August to celebrate women’s month. The theme of the day was “Women- building each other up”.

Women officials representing SAPS, the traffic department , social development, health and education were invited to speak to the members of the community.  Andrew Mentoor read the report sent in by teacher Eleese Darries, as she was unable to attend. Beverley Tentenie from SAPS,  Sindy Dumakude from the Department of Social Development, and Sr Gogo from the Masikhane Clinic spoke about the work of their departments.

Prudence Jacobs from the traffic department gave an informative talk on personal development, drug and alcohol abuse.

After the talks, the 80 women present were divided into five groups, with the officials as group mentors. They discussed how women specifically can impact in these areas to improve the departments, and reported back to the gathering after their discussions.

At the conclusion of the event, all present were treated to a wors roll or hamburger, with a drink.

Aalwynhof bazaar

Taking advantage of the mild spring weather, the organisers of this year’s bazaar at Aalwynhof Old Age Home decided to spread the stalls between the car park area and the main residents’ lounge. This proved to be very successful and helped avoid some of the usual congestion which occurred in the past when everything was crammed into the lounge.

The bazaar was officially opened by Ds Abe Beyers at 10am, but as always happens, visitors started arriving well before then and indeed did brisk trade from soon after 9am!

In the shade under the carports, tasty curry and rice, the ever-popular bazaar puddings, and a group of volunteers manned the braai fires, keeping a regular flow of cooked meat going for the braai platters. A small amount of frozen meat was also available for purchase.

Inside the lounge, a few tables were set up for the café, which served a selection of snacks with tea and coffee. A long table was filled with whole cakes to buy – not filled for long, as these were snapped up quickly! A team was busy cooking pancakes, and had been given many orders ahead of time. Twice, the batter ran out and more had to be made, and eventually at midday the team called it a day. The two tables of handicrafts included many knitted goods and hand-painted wooden ornaments, which also proved popular.

Well over R21 ooo has been raised so far, with more donations still to come. Organiser Buks van Niekerk and her team all worked very hard, and would like to thank all who contributed towards making the day a success- not least the people of Aberdeen who came to support on the day.

Hannelie’s 50th

Hannelie van der Westhuizen, well known to Aberdeen residents as the proprietress of the popular Kamdebo Stal, reached her milestone 50th birthday on 7th September. Whilst a 50th birthday of itself is not an unusual or particularly difficult target to reach, what made Hannelie’s celebration newsworthy was the fact that close to 130 people joined her for the party!

More than half of the guests had travelled for many hours to come to Aberdeen for the birthday celebrations last weekend, including about fifty family members from as far afield as Groot Marico in the North West province and Cape Town.

The birthday dinner was held at the Aberdeen Club, which was beautifully decorated in true Karoo style by Hannelie’s son Dirk, assisted by her sister Rietta. The meal started with a bread table with an assortment of spreads, which was followed by Karoo lamb chops and boerewors with hot vegetables and salads. The meal was rounded off with a selection of sweet treats.

Another noteworthy event is that Hannelie herself did most of the catering, with a little help from some close friends. She is well known locally for her baking, and in the five years since she has been running the Padstal (as it is known locally) she has gained a reputation in particular for the traditional boerekos menu served on a Wednesday lunchtime.

Hannelie was born in Rustenburg, but moved with her family to a farm in Skuinsdrift in the Groot Marico area in the early 1970s when she was a young child. She moved to Aberdeen in 2006 with her husband and sons, when her husband bought the local Verspreiders supermarket, and in 2012 she brought her culinary talents to the Padstal.

Colour run at Aberdeen Secondary

To celebrate the first day of spring, learners and teachers at Aberdeen Secondary School took part in a Colour Run, organised by teacher Bianca Gerber and the grade 12 group. No great level of fitness was needed, as they just ran around the block, but everyone had tremendous fun as the runners were bombarded with paint! The pupils were delighted with the great spirit shown by their teachers, all of whom took part with enthusiasm.

After the run, snacks and braaivleis were sold on the grass, and the learners enjoyed some dancing and generally had fun.

The purpose of the day (other than having fun!) was to raise money for the special day coming up when the matrics will receive their exam numbers.

IDP meeting Aberdeen

Last Thursday, a few dedicated residents of Aberdeen’s Ward & gathered at the library hall to hear a most interesting review of the Ward Development Priorities, as identified in the municipality’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP).

The meeting was chaired by ward councillor Rudy Jacobs, with the IDP presentation given by the municipality’s IDP Manager Leonie Fouché. Reflecting on the poor attendance, Fouché started off with an apology on behalf of the municipality. Requests had been made to the Aberdeen office for the meeting to be widely publicised by means of notices distributed to households and loudhailing, but this had not been done.

The presentation started with a map showing the full extent of the ward, which stretches from Adendorp in the east to Aberdeen in the west. The development priorities and critical issues that had been identified by the small group of concerned residents last year, and some feedback on progress (or lack thereof) was given. Those present were asked to consider the priorities of the issues, which included the state of the streets and stormwater drains, the cemetery, traffic control measures, the provision of a children’s play park, tourism and traffic signage, and public toilets. After some discussion, the order of priority for some of the issues was adjusted, with the three most important matters being the streets, cemetery, and public toilets, in that order.

The absence of a ward committee in the area was highlighted as a problem by Fouché, and it seems that as yet there is still no date set for the election to take place, nearly six weeks after the original election was abandoned. She commented that by this stage, the ward committee members should be familiar with the problem areas and able to give their input.

It was of great concern that in general, very little progress has been made in any of these areas. Fouché explained that some of the problems, with roads for example, are not always the municipality’s responsibility. The huge debt of R91m that was inherited when the municipality was established last year also obviously has a profound impact on all areas.

The clarity and professionalism of the presentation was greatly appreciated by those present, and Fouché kept the meeting on track and focussed.

A few other matters of local interest were relayed to the community by Cllr Jacobs after thhe presentation and discussion.

Celebrities in town

Clement Pedro, Chef and Food Stylist on SABC 3’s Afternoon Express show, was in Aberdeen last weekend to attend Hannelie van der Westhuizen’s 50th birthday celebrations with his partner, food stylist and blogger Megan Daniels. Van der Westhuizen’s son, Dirk, is the set designer and floor manager on the show, and invited his friends along to experience some true Karoo hospitality!

They travelled from Cape Town to Aberdeen on the bus, and hired a car in Graaff-Reinet. Clem was thrilled to have the opportunity to cook for the extended van der Westhuizen family on Friday night, preparing a delicious and tasty lamb and springbok curry for 30 people, using all local ingredients. This was greatly appreciated by all.

This was the first time that Clem had visited the Karoo area, and he really appreciated the stillness and tranquillity. The clear starry sky was a sharp contrast to the skies over Cape Town! He also appreciated the distinctive and varied architecture of Aberdeen, and was most appreciative of the friendliness of the people he met.

Megan had travelled through the Karoo as a child, but had no recollection of the trip, so it was like a first-time experience for her too. She also loved the peace and quiet after the frantic pace of city life, and the couple is determined to come back and spend more time in the region. They were able to spend a few hours at the Valley of Desolation, and are looking to explore more of the area on their next trip.

She will no doubt be featuring the Karoo in an upcoming post travel blog on www.eatwithme.co.za

St James’ and St Mary’s welcomes temporary minister

Members of the congregation of the St James’ Anglican Church in Graaff-Reinet are pleased to welcome Rev Arthur Gilbert and his wife Dolly to the town. Rev Gilbert has been appointed as Interregnum Minister to temporarily fill the vacancy created by the sudden and unexpected death of Canon John Weldon in July, and was initially appointed until the end of the year, when it is hoped that a new minister will take up a position in the church.

Rev Gilbert is from Kimberley, and is currently the Canon Pastor at the Cathedral Church of St Cyprian’s Cathedral. He has held this position for the last four years. He has been in the ministry for over 40 years, and trained at the Federal Theological Seminary. This college was situated in Alice during his first year of training, before moving to Umtata and then Pietermaritzburg.

He and Dolly have two daughters, and a seven year old granddaughter Shylah, who is obviously the apple of her grandfather’s eye! They all stay in Kimberley, and Rev Gilbert is very involved with family life. For family reasons, he has now reduced his time away from Kimberley, and will be returning to his home town at the end of October.

Rev Gilbert has already visited some of the outlying chapels of St James, and last Sunday took the morning service at St Mary and All Saints in Aberdeen. After the service, the couple enjoyed meeting some of the congregation at a lunch kindly hosted by John and Jean Watermeyer.

DA ward 7 donation


On Tuesday, the Aberdeen Ward 7 DA branch held a women’s month event at the Aberdeen Primary School hostel. The branch donated 28 packs of sanitary towels to pupils from grades 5-7 who are staying in the hostel. These towels will be kept at the hostel to provide help to girls who sometimes go through their menstruation cycle not having towels and are often too shy to say that they need them. Cllr Rudy Jacobs opened the gathering, and Eleese Darries, the DAWN representative in the branch, gave a short speech to educate and give the girls guidance.

Ms Swanepoel received the items on behalf of the school and expressed her gratitude for the thoughtful donation. Also present were the branch chairperson Andrew Mentor, Valerie Denham the deputy chairperson, and branch secretary Zola Miller.

Drought relief for Aberdeen farmers

Well-known Abereen farmer Louis Lategan, with assistance from Burre Burger’s Drought Relief Programme, has been able to bring many loads of desperately-needed animal feed to the area for the drought-stricken Aberdeen farmers.

Lategan himself has suffered badly during the current drought, having lost over 1 000 merino and angora lambs due to the hungry ewes aborting. Out of the 120 small orphaned lambs that were being hand-reared, they could only save six. He has also lost almost his entire quarter horse stud, including eight mares. It is the driest it has been in his memory on his farm, Wynlaagte, between Aberdeen and Willowmore, and when Aberdeen town and Graaff-Reinet have had some good rains recently, in his area there has not been a drop.

A while ago, Lategan set up the whatsapp group Boere Nood, which has members throughout South Africa who are prepared to help each other out during any farming crisis such as fires, drought or violent attacks. He spread the word about the drought crisis in the Aberdeen district through this group, and many people throughout the country have contributed with generosity, either donating feed, cash, or transport. Jaco Mulder of Wolsak Transport in Cradock joined in the programme and has been responsible for a great deal of the transport, much of it at his own cost.

The first truck with mealie stalks came from Matt Philps of Hofmeyr, transported by Wolsak Trust. A second load came from the Vermaaks of Hofmeyr, delivered by CM Trans. A total of 22 sacks of pellets came from J P le Roux of Karoowaters. Lucern was donated by Paul de Koker and Etienne du Toit – fuel for this load was donated by Henry Schamrel of Sanlam in Cradock.

Tritan Logistics also helped with transporting soya beans from Leandra, donated by Henk van der Merwe, and Fanie van Rensburg from Sasolburg brought more at his own cost. Rikus de la Rey of Leandra also donated 48 grass bales.

Cash donations towards fuel costs have been received from Graaff-Reinet and as far away as Kwa Zulu Natal, and from these, Lategan will be able to pay for the expenses of another six trucks carrying donated feed which it is hoped will be arriving in convoy on Saturday morning. There is also a possibility of 4 000 small grass bales from Pietermaritzburg, partially sponsored by the PMB Farmers’ Association, which will be very welcome.

Throughout the many videos and voice messages shared on facebook and whatsapp by Burger and Lategan, their faith and belief in the power of prayer is evident. “We are very grateful for all the prayers for our area, and ask the people to please keep praying for us” said Lategan.  Anyone who is able to make a financial contribution towards the drought relief, however small, can contact Lategan on 082 847 7846 for details of the bank account set up for the non-profit organisation.

Garden Club


Close to twenty people braved the bitterly cold weather and gathered at the home of Tony and Judith Dardis last Thursday for the August meeting of Aberdeen’s Garden Club. The couple are relative newcomers to Aberdeen, but have quickly become involved in the community, and were very willing to share their rather unusual areas of interest.

After the introduction, Tony shared his knowledge and experience of his hobby of brewing beer. He showed all the equipment that is used, and demonstrated how the concentrate is mixed and heated before being placed in a fermenter to brew. After about two weeks, the beer is then ready to drink, and will keep (in glass quart bottles) for several months – if it has not been drunk by then! An interesting fact they he has noticed is that the beer takes longer to brew in Aberdeen than when they lived in Johannesburg, and their only conclusion I that the different altitude probably is the cause of this. Tony gets his ingredients from Johannesburg, and brews five different types of beer. Three of these were available for tasting, and much appreciated by those who sampled them. There was great interest shown in the talk and demonstration, and a few people have already apparently approached him for help in getting started with brewing for themselves.

Judith then took to the floor and shared her passion for the benefits of reflexology, touching on the history and methods, and concentrating on the benefits. She emphasised that reflexology does not cure ailments, but aims to aid the body to heal itself. It can bring relief from a variety of symptoms, and is particularly valuable for stress relief. She also spoke a little about reiki and massage in general, and although reiki is subject that few of those present knew much about, there was a great deal of interest in this treatment, and it is proving to be a very popular therapy. Her passion for the subject was very clear to those present, and her professionalism and expertise was obvious to all.

After the talks, everyone enjoyed some delicious home- made soups, served with bread and croutons, as well as other savoury snacks.