Thanksgiving Fest celebrated in Aberdeen

All roads led to the Dutch Reformed Church hall in Aberdeen last Saturday for the annual Thanksgiving Fest.

 Organiser Luise de Jager was thrilled with the turn-out of visitors, with many travelling from Graaff-Reinet, Murraysburg and even further afield. All the tables were laden with assorted baked goods and fresh produce, most of which had been generously donated for the festival.

As always, the longest queues were for the meat! The frozen meat tables were stacked high with assorted cuts of mostly venison and lamb, which were snapped up. The team cooking the braai meat battled to keep up with the demand, as several people came armed with their own large containers for take-aways. For the first time this year, venison sosaties were on the menu, and as De Jager explained, these small tasters gave many people the opportunity to sample a meat which was new to them. There were some requests for goat, and they hope to be able to offer this as well next year.

Those with a sweet tooth were catered for with an abundance of cakes, puddings, and pancakes.  Many took advantage of the coffee shop set up in the centre of the hall, and enjoyed catching up with friends and sampling some of the treats.

The organisers would like to thank all who contributed towards the success of the day- those who prepared food, gave donations, and worked on the day, as well as the members of the wider community who came along to support the event. Financially and socially, it was even more of a success than last year.

Success for schoolboy rugby star

Cadan-Wade Finnis, a past pupil of Kamdebo Primary in Aberdeen, continues to excel in rugby.

He participated in the recent u.18 South African Academy week in Bloemfontein, where he was selected as vice captain of the Eastern Province team.

He plays as outside centre (number 13). The team won two out of the three games played, including trouncing the Pumas 80-14. Cadan scored four tries in this match, and was awarded Man of the Match. He also received this honour in the game against Zimbabwe.

Cadan represented EP previously in the u.12 and u.16 age groups.

He is currently in grade 12, and hopes to study further next year. During the tournament, he was approached by several provincial Academy teams, and is at present considering all options.

Together for 59 years

Basil and Mabel Joubert of Aberdeen celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary last week, 59 years and five weeks after they first met.

Mabel Nel was 17, and already engaged to someone else, when she first met Basil (26) in the canteen at the South African Railways office in Germiston. Mabel was on her lunch break, and Basil was visiting his brother, who also worked for the Railways. According to Basil, his brother pointed out Mabel as the local flirt, so he went across to introduce himself by giving her a kiss. “All I got back was a slap across the face,” chuckled Basil ruefully, when he recounted the story!

Things obviously improved from this inauspicious start, and six days later, Basil moved into the spare room at Mabel’s parents’ house. After just five weeks they were married. With a twinkle in her eye, Mabel said that it would have been even sooner, but her father insisted that they must be married in church, so they had to wait for the banns to be read.

Their first home was a small flat in Kempton Park above a butcher’s shop, and then they graduated to a house on the Modderfontein dynamite factory, where Basil worked. Their three sons were all born during this time.

They moved around the northern provinces of the country for 26 years before retiring to Jeffreys Bay in 1995. After ten years, they decided that they wanted to be somewhere quieter, and 14 years ago they moved to Aberdeen.  They spent about 18 months renovating the large property they had bought, and for several years ran it as a guest house. A major attraction was the lush English-style garden, which was a favoured spot for many bridal parties’ photo shoots. Mabel is proud to report that her garden won the very first garden competition held in Aberdeen.

Soon after their arrival in the town, they started the first Ratepayers’ Association, with Basil as Chairman. Mabel was also Chairlady of the Garden Club, and an active member for many years.

Basil often helped the older residents out as a general handyman, usually charging nothing or very little for his services. He now spends a lot of time reading, while Mabel still enjoys working in her garden, as well as reading, knitting and embroidery.

Frustrations for the blind in a small town

Life changed for ever for Sheila May one morning in 2007, when she was shot in the face at work in Cape Town.

Sheila, from Aberdeen, was 24 at the time, with a young child. She was left totally blind after the accident.

Once discharged from hospital, she was referred to a rehabilitation centre where she was taught various coping skills to live relatively independently. Her mother in Aberdeen looked after her child.

She studied courses including public speaking, office administration, and computer literacy, and was able to travel around on her own in Cape Town with her cane.

In 2010, her mother’s health deteriorated and Sheila returned home to look after her son. She has found the lack of both facilities and stimulation incredibly frustrating.

“I am not looking for pity, but would love some practical support to be able to be more independent,” explained Sheila.

She has computer skills and a laptop, but the special adaptations to her machine to allow her to give verbal commands only accepts a male voice. Perhaps there is a computer expert who can help adjust the settings? Another item on her wish-list is a Perkins braille typewriter. With the correct equipment, Sheila feels she could become a productive member of the community again. She keeps busy with church work, but is frustrated that there are no projects in the municipality for the blind.

The poor state of the roads in Aberdeen means that Sheila cannot walk in the streets on her own. Another frustration is that the ATMs do not have braille dots on the keys, so she is unable to do her own banking.

In familiar surroundings, Sheila copes very well, and is able to clean her modest home, do the laundry, and cook. “Everyone is very surprised when they see me hanging out my washing,” she said with a smile. She also demonstrated that she can peel a potato, and how she uses her hand and the sound to check when pouring water.

There is some help available. The Graaff-Reinet library receives copies of DSRAC’s Vuk’uzenzele braille newspaper, and as a result of enquiries made by the Advertiser, a copy will be sent to the Aberdeen library for Sheila. Plans are also in progress to arrange for her to receive a specially adapted CD player for audio books, which can be borrowed from the library.

A final farewell to an Aberdeen stalwart

Friends and family of the late Anna Featherstone gathered at the Aberdeen Dutch Reformed Church earlier this month to celebrate the life of a woman who had spent over 60 years in the area.

Anna first moved to the Aberdeen district as a young bride in 1957. She joined her husband Tony on the farm Zeekoeigat, where they lived for almost fifty years.

She is still remembered by many Aberdeen residents in their sixties as their former standard two teacher! Aberdeen Primary was the first school where she was employed after qualifying as a teacher, and she taught the standard two class and was responsible for physical education. She stopped teaching for a while after she was married, but then returned to her profession, with spells at Union High, Nieu Bethesda and Kendrew Primary.

She and her late husband were always very involved in both the social and sporting life of the town, with both of them also usually holding office at some stage within the clubs. Anna was also a longstanding member of the WAA, Garden Club and Anglican church, and worked for several years as a volunteer with the Aberdeen Publicity and Tourism Office.

In November 2013, a month after her 81st birthday, Anna moved to Edenhof retirement village in Graaff-Reinet. She spent a little over three years there, before returning to Aberdeen to Aalwynhof Home for the Aged in 2017 when she was no longer able to live independently.

Anna enjoyed being part of the Aalwynhof community, and was able to participate in many activities until she had a mild stroke in 2018. Sadly, she also suffered from dementia, and a more serious stroke in May this year left her bedridden until she passed away on 25 May at the age of 86.

She leaves her children Marcine, Norman, Prudence and Garth, as well as six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Her children remember her as a loving mother who was a perfectionist and always had a project in hand, be it painting, woodwork, gardening or sewing. One memory that has stuck with her children is that at the beginning of every school holiday, they would be given a dose of Epsom salts to help get rid of all bad tempers and cleanse their bodies!

Aberdeen VLV Kuns Oggend

Aberdeen VLV se Junie 2019 vergadering fokus op die kunste.

Lea van der Vyver verwelkom almal en Annalie Lategan open met ‘n stukkie oor God se liefde vir ons.

Eerste aan die beurt is Aberdeen se eie internasionale glaskunstenaar, Marguerite Beneke, wat ‘n loodglas demonstrasie doen. 

Sy verduidelik die verskil tussen loodroeie en koperfoelie om die glasstukke te omraam, asook die verskil in die eienskappe van helder en gekleurde glas wat gebruik word.  Elke stap word verduidelik soos die sonvanger gemaak word – van die knip van die glasstukke wat moet pas, die soldeer van die koperfoelie, die was en daarna die patina opverf om die afronding te doen.  Lede vra ywerig vrae wat Marguerite geduldig en deeglik beantwoord.

Met die voltooiing van die kunstige sonvanger, word ‘n gelukkige trekking gedoen en Christelle Nel en Judith Dardis ontvang elkeen ‘n sonvanger wat deur Marguerite Beneke gemaak is.

Na tee en verversings wat kunstig deur Annalie Lategan en Luise de Jager voorsgesit is, vertel Annalie Lategan (Saamroeper Kunste en Handvlyt) die interessante verhaal van Leonardo da Vinci se lewe.  Hy word beskou as een van die grootste skilders van alle tye.  Nie alleen het hy geskilder nie, maar was geniaal met ‘n wye belangstellingsveld in o.a. wiskunde, wetenskap, ingenieurswese, argitektuur en literatuur om ‘n paar te noem.  Hy het ook verskeie uitvindsels gedoen, waarvan die meeste sy tyd vooruit was en nie gepubliseer is gedurende sy leeftyd nie.

Abu Dhabi comes to Aberdeen

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Sixteen members of the Aberdeen Garden and Social Club were treated to a slide show presentation of the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is located in Abu Dhabi, at the June meeting.

The meeting was hosted by Dick and Estelle van Wyk, who had lived and taught in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for nine years, using the many long weekends to explore the delights of the region.

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The mosque is the largest in the country, and is absolutely beautiful. The members of the club were entranced by the details of the intricacies of architecture and decoration of the incredible building. The hosts also related the history of the mosque, and what is contained in the complex. One fascinating fact which brought home the sheer size of the structure is that the mosque is large enough to accommodate over 40 000 worshippers!  The main prayer hall also has the biggest hand-knotted carpet in the world.

It was a fascinating glimpse into unimaginable riches of the UAE and, judging by the response, was thoroughly enjoyed by all.  Afterwards everyone socialised over a delicious tea. Despite being a cold day, members and guests were made warmer by an interesting presentation and good company.

Retirement from clinic after 40 years

Nursing Assistant Jennet Ralawe recently retired from the Masakhane Clinic in Aberdeen after 40 years of service to the local community.

Jennet started her nursing career at Midland Hospital in Graaff-Reinet in 1971, where she was one of the first nurses to be enrolled by the South African Nursing Council. After two years, she was transferred to Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, where she spent a further two years.

In 1979 she moved to Aberdeen, initially employed by the Cacadu District Municipality, and since 2011 by the Department of Health.

Jennet worked on the mobile unit with a professional nurse, visiting the farms in the district on a regular basis. She was a wonderful role model for her colleagues, always punctual, and will be remembered as a very caring part of the clinic’s team. She was always only a phone call away for her farm patients, and her cheerful nature lifted the spirits of many a patient.

 She was honoured at two special functions.

On Friday 31 May, about 50 friends and colleagues attended an official function at the Library Hall, organised by colleagues Florence Africa, Gladys May and Maureen Venter. Several representatives from the local District Office in Graaff-Reinet were present, and spoke fondly of Jennet’s sterling work over her 40 years of service. Local farmer Garth Featherstone arranged sponsorship from the farming community, and many local businesses also made donations towards the function.

Professional Nurse Eileen Lamprecht, who retired last year after seven years of service at the clinic, was also a guest of honour at the event.

On 5 June, members of the Aberdeen Farmers’ Association also held a farewell function for “Sister Jennet”, as she was affectionately referred to by all. “She is a well- known face to the farming community, bringing the mobile clinic and much- needed medicines to the farm workers” explained Petro Marx, on behalf of the Association.  

After a welcome from Hantie Marx, chairperson of the Association, Petro shared impressions of Jennet from her co-workers. They described her as a motherly figure, good hearted and totally unique, and someone who always put other people’s needs in front of her own. 

Speaking on behalf of the Aberdeen farming community, Petro indicated that Jennet’s smile and warm, humble personality will be greatly missed. 

People at the meeting shared their memories of Jennet. For some such as Linda van der Merwe, the clinic bus’s unexpected visits on farms serve as a very welcomed surprise, especially for those farmers’ wives on the more remote farms who did not get a chance to talk to someone as often as they would like.

Jennet also shared some of her memories for the time she served with the clinic bus, and there was a great deal of laughter at some of the stories she told.

Drones and farmers

Drones are seen by many as a “hobby gadget”, but some local farmers are finding the technology increasingly useful in their day to day operations.

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The camera function seems to be the most helpful, and a farmer in the Aberdeen district who makes regular use of his drone commented that he mainly uses it for inspections of water troughs and small herds of animals. With the drone, he can take photos of a herd and count it later on. “Further to that, I assist my workers in gathering sheep and cattle” he explained. “I equip them with radios and direct them to the whereabouts of the animals, which is particularly useful in the bush areas. This enables the farmer to be able to gather the animals in a shorter time. He went on to say that to a limited extend, he also uses it to chase animals, but that is done with caution regarding nearby fences.

Like most technology, the functions available on drones are increasing all the time, and the price has dropped considerably since the early models first came onto the market. Another local farmer commented that he bought one of the early models, and in fact has found that its limited functionality and range have actually meant that he has ended up using it more as a toy!

Later models with infra-red allow expansion to night surveillance and crop management, and can be helpful for security.

Useful hints from the farmer who is successfully using a drone include careful research on the flight time of the batteries, and a range of at least 3 to 4 km from the base. With the extreme heat, and often high winds, that are experienced in the area, it is also important to look for a drone that can stand weather conditions.

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Whilst some feel that the size of many Karoo farms and the distances involved are limiting factors, those who have done their research and found models to suit their needs have commented on the great advantages in saving time and effort. The opportunity for scenic photographs of the landscape is an added bonus!

Aberdeen Clean

Despite the bitterly cold start to the day, there was a reasonable turnout of residents to help at the monthly “Clean Aberdeen” session last Saturday.

A few people worked in the town centre, but the majority, including some school children who volunteered, concentrated on the Klipplaat road out of town. This road passes between the townships of Lotusville and Thembalesizwe, and is one of the main routes into the town. It is without doubt the worst from a litter point of view, not helped by the wind which blows a great many empty plastic bags from the townships.

Young and old worked together well, and a satisfactory collection of filled bags was testimony to their hard work!