SASSA help available


Local councillor Eldrige Ruiters is calling for awareness for undocumented (those who have never been issued a birth certificate) people over the age of 60, without access to their old age grants of R1600, to come forward.

Not many potential beneficiaries are aware of a section of the SASSA regulations which allows those who have applied for identity documents from the Department of Home Affairs to receive their pensions whilst still waiting for the documents. This regulation makes provision that people should not be denied access to social services, while issues with Home Affairs are being resolved. “We know many in our communities, specifically farm workers and older people without formal education are suffering because of this” said Cllr Ruiters.

To be eligible, the person must have proof that they have applied to Home Affairs for an ID document. This should be taken to the SASSA office, and SASSA will then generate a temporary ID number which will be valid for three months. The applicant then has access to the old age grant for those three months. It is hoped that by then their formal documentation from Home Affairs will have been received, and they can apply for the old age grant in the normal way.

Everyone, especially  those in the farming communities, is asked to pass this information on to their employees, and anyone else they know who is struggling to access their old age grant because of lack of documentation. For clarity and guidance, SASSA champion Jonathan Tarentaal can be contacted on 044 923 8502 in Graaff-Reinet District or Cllr Ruiters on 072 546 3409

Flash Cash winners

Abrie van der Merwe opened Flash Cash loans in Aberdeen in September last year. To reward their loyal clients, a lucky draw was held in December, just in time for Christmas. Seen in the photograph is Veronique Saayman, who won the first prize of a Christmas hamper, with staff member Jane Rademeyer. Angelo Neveling won the second prize of a hotplate.

George Ngeju retires

Well-known Aberdeen teacher George Ngeju retired at the end of last year after 22 years and 10 months at Aberdeen Secondary School.

Ngeju, who celebrated his 60th birthday last September, started his schooling at Luxolo Intermediate School in Aberdeen, completing his high school education in Queenstown. He worked for in the construction industry for Murray and Roberts for five years before deciding on his vocation as a teacher, and then studied at the Cape College of Education at Fort Beaufort. He obtained a senior primary teaching diploma in 1992, and later studied further during his time at Aberdeen Secondary through the University of Pretoria and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

After qualification, Ngeju did casual work for three years, then was appointed to Aberdeen Secondary in 1995 to teach Life Orientation, which he did until his retirement. He was the school’s treasurer for the last ten years.

He has no plans to leave Aberdeen, and said that he is still “full of energy” and would be very willing to help out at the school as and when needed.

Aberdeen Secondary School matric results

The Class of 2017 matriculants at Aberdeen Secondary School scored a 35.2% pass rate, a disappointing drop from the 47.5% achieved by the 2016 group.

Of the 54 full-time learners in grade 12 last year, 19 passed. One pupil achieved a bachelor pass, enabling her to study a degree course at university, and six qualified to study for a diploma course at a college or university. The remaining 12 earned a higher certificate, enabling them to study at a TVET College (formerly FET college), such as Eastcape Midlands College in Graaff-Reinet. In addition to this, a total of 15 learners have qualified to write the supplementary exams during the course of February and March.

Letitia Mintoor was the top achiever, achieving the school’s only bachelor pass, and also the only distinction, in Afrikaans Second Additional Language. She is hoping to still be able to enrol at a tertiary institution for this year. When asked the secret of her success, Letitia replied that she received a shock when her marks dropped in grade 11, admitting that she did not work as hard as in previous years. From the beginning of her matric year, she was determined to regain her former level, and worked consistently throughout the year, attending every single extra class offered. Those efforts certainly paid off.

All the successful students without exception deserved their good results, and worked very hard to achieve their goals. Most of them are unsure of their future plans at this stage.

Principal Timotheus Webb is very disappointed with the poor pass rate. From the first term last year, the school put into place various intervention programmes, including extra classes after school on a regular basis. Many of the teachers also gave up time in the holidays, giving extra lessons during both the Easter and winter breaks. Not all of the learners took advantage of this extra help, and the teachers’ efforts were frustrated in many cases by the lack of interest shown. Webb is determined to persevere with these interventions, and it is hoped that the Class of 2018 will once again restore the reputation of the school.

Although the results overall from last year’s matrics were not good, Aberdeen is proud of the 19 youngsters who passed, some of whom overcame very difficult circumstances. Their positive attitude and commitment, and the teachers’ efforts, have been rewarded!

Aberdeen library



There will be some important changes next year at the Aberdeen library. The whole system is being upgraded and computerised, and members will need to reregister to be able to use the facilities. To do this, they need to take along their ID book or card, and proof of residence.

In line with all the libraries in the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality, the opening times will also change. From January, the library will be open from 9am till 5pm, Monday to Friday. It will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The library will no longer close at lunchtime, which will be of particular benefit to the many school children who use the facility, who previously had to wait for the library to reopen at 3pm.

Congratulations to graduate

Janaine Pieterse, well known to many in Aberdeen, was thrilled to attend her graduation ceremony in East London recently.

She studied for three years through SANTS Private Higher Education Institution, attending lectures every second weekend in Graaff-Reinet, while still giving one hundred per cent in her post as grade R educator at Aberdeen Full Service School.

With her Grade R Teaching Diploma under her belt, she is now a fully qualified teacher, rather than just a “practitioner”.

Pieterse started teaching at the then Aberdeen Primary School in 2011. Despite having more than 50 children in her grade R class, she has always shown just the right mix of firmness and kindness to give these young children a wonderful start to their school careers. She is also very creative, and is always keen to be involved in any functions at the school.

Intombi Stoann

Talented young designed Max Daters, originally from Aberdeen, was recently honoured for her achievements when she was selected to be part of the Pitching Den at the Standard Bank Top Women Conference 2017. This was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Port Elizabeth in November, and gave Max the opportunity to pitch her business to potential investors.

Max, who was born in Aberdeen, attended Kamdebo Primary School, and went on to matriculate at Cillié High where she said modestly she “learned a few basics of sewing”. She later went to study Fashion Designing at Damelin College for two years, and graduated in 2011.

She started her business, under the name Max Stoann Designs, straight after graduation, and after something of a struggle initially, she has found her niche and the business is now thriving. At the beginning of this year, the company was rebranded as Intombi Stoann, which means “woman hard as a rock” –and Max’s determination has certainly proved to be rock-like!

She has a business partner, Lukhanyo Sweli who is from Graaff Reinet, and he is the marketing guru in the company. They also employ a lady on a part time basis.

The company’s biggest drawcards are the matric farewells and this year they dressed about 20 matriculants from Aberdeen, Steytlerville and Port Elizabeth. This is a field they would like to expand next year. They have a smart casual range called EVOKE that caters only for ladies, most of our garments are custom made to fit their clients perfectly. Most of the company’s clients are in Graaff-Reinet, and they order on a regular basis. They have also taken the brand to Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Max’s family is still in Aberdeen and she enjoys going home to visit when her work allows. Oftenshe has to go home for work and thus spends less time with them than she would like, but she says they are very understanding! “My grandmother’s lounge literally turns into my work studio, but she doesn’t mind” she said ruefully.

Often Max and her team pack up their machines and go to their clients to work from their homes for a few days.

Max’s goal for 2018 is to build a Manufacture House in Missionvale, in Port Elizabeth, to help the youth in the community learn various skills as well as how to run a business. They are going to be doing a lot of fundraising to raise money for machines and everything else that will be needed for the Manufacture House in 2018.

NGK carol concert


Over 100 people attended the Christmas Carols evening at the Aberdeen Dutch Reformed Church last Sunday. The church had been beautifully decorated by Christa Beyers and Joan Barnard, with elegant and colourful floral arrangements by Lydia de Jager.

As well as the congregation in the church, the concert was also broadcast through live to Aalwynhof Old Age Home, where many residents gathered to enjoy the Sunday evening’s entertainment.

Dominee Abe Beyers introduced the congregation to the group Die Stemme, three very talented men from Somerset East. Originally Tiaan Lötz and Sid Watson performed very successfully together, and then about five years ago, the group was enriched by the addition of the powerful voice of Prieur de Plessis.

The very professional concert included a variety of mostly traditional carols and Christmas songs, starting with Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, performed by Prieur. There were a few smiles in the audience at the thought of a snow-filled Christmas in the heat of the Karoo! Prieur later showed his language versatility with a verse of the traditional carol O Come, All Ye Faithful in Latin, and a verse of Silent Night in German.

There were several opportunities for the congregation to join in the carols, with the words projected onto a screen at the front of the church. A few of the songs were unaccompanied, but most featured the accomplished Sid on the keyboard.

The theme for the evening was “What is Christmas with Christ?”, and Tiaan introduced several of the items with passages from the Gospel of Luke. He also spoke briefly on the theme, encouraging those present to not be afraid, but to live a life full of joy and full of hope.

Gospel Ambassadors


Although they did not win the competition, the Aberdeen Gospel Ambassadors made a very favourable impression at the Imvuselelo Gospel Development Extravaganza Finals in East London last Saturday.

The group travelled to East London on Friday afternoon, and attended rehearsals that evening. For various reasons, a decision was made to change their competition song, to another featuring all three languages commonly used in the region, so some time was spent polishing this up.

Saturday morning was again spent at rehearsals, but the men were able to enjoy a break after lunch and spent some time at the beach.

The event started at 8pm on Saturday, and all 11 choirs were of an exceptionally high standard. Several well-known guest artists also performed in the show, and the choir very much appreciated the experience of working with established talented performers.

Next year, all the choirs who reached the finals (with the exception of the winners) will automatically qualify again.

All participating choirs received a certificate and a trophy, in recognition of their participation in the finals. Derick Erasmus received the trophy on behalf of the Gospel Ambassadors.

Garden club picnic

Members of the Aberdeen Garden Club enjoyed a wonderful end-of-year picnic last Thursday on the aptly- named farm Uitkyk. On a previous visit to the farm, it was raining- a blessing for the farmers, but a disappointment for the visitors who were unable to see the view after which the farm was named. On Thursday, however, the skies were clear, and the view from Aberdeen to the mountains bordering the flats of an enormous escarpment could be fully appreciated.

The picnic area was set up on the beautifully manicured garden in the shade of the magnificent trees, and hosts Jannie and Christelle Nel went out of their way to make the guests feel welcome.

There was a wonderful variety of food for this Michelin star Karoo picnic, including delicious home-made products such as pickles, jams, and bread, and as always when people “bring and share”, there was far too much to eat!