Socks Box for primary school children

Members of staff at the Penny-Farthing Engineering office in Aberdeen have launched a project which they hope will make a difference to some local primary school pupils next term.

Sabelo Mbi, Wellness Champion at Penny Farthing, noticed with dismay how many young children have been going to school without wearing school socks in this very cold weather. He approached Site Agent Lawrence Lekgari and Route Manager Danre Gerber, and together they came up with the idea of the “Donate a pair of school socks” campaign. They have asked all the subcontractors that are working under Penny Farthing Engineering to donate at list one pair of school socks, and in just a few days have collected over 40 pairs.

The aim is to collect more than 200pairs of socks before the children go back to school, and present them to needy youngsters during the last week of July. Penny Farthing would love to get the community involved in this very worthwhile project -the socks can be bought in Pep Stores for a little over R10, so it should be very easy to add a pair or two of socks when shopping. A box has already been placed in the store to make it easy for the public to help in this drive. Long grey socks can be worn by pupils at all three schools, and white ankle socks for the girls. Staff at Pep Stores have willingly agreed to help anyone regarding sizes needed. Socks may also be dropped off at the penny Farthing Office in Ziervogel Street.


Meran Arnolds (assistant site manager from SMEC SA) with Penny Farthing employees Leonard Beyers (Traffic Safety Officer), Sabelo Mbi, and Marco Botha, assistant site agent.

Garden club potters


By popular request, members of Aberdeen Garden and Social Club spent another morning pottering around with clay at their June meeting.

After the business matters had been dealt with, host Estelle van Wyk demonstrated the basics of slab work with clay. Members had been asked to bring their own rolling implement, and a wide variety of rolling pins, from marble monsters to offcuts of pipe, were duly produced. The enthusiastic potters were shown first how to roll the clay into an even base, and then given some ideas for “toppings” to embellish their work.

Once again, some really creative items were produced, and the members enjoyed learning another new skill.

Continuing with the recent craft theme, next month’s meeting, on July 12, will be hosted by Marianne Meyer, who has recently discovered the satisfaction of painting. There will be an exhibition of her work, and the opportunity for everyone to paint their own picture. No previous experience is needed, and   the “old hands” will be more than willing to share their knowledge.

As Marianne will be preparing canvasses ahead of time, she has asked that those coming to paint should please book with her at the latest by Monday 9 July. Visitors are welcome, and members who would prefer just to socialise may obviously do so! She can be contacted on 072 275 4581.

Being in the depths of winter, instead of the usual spread of eats there will be hot soup and bread for sustenance.

Nostalgic visit to Aberdeen


Early last year, Gaby Noble of Cape Town decided to take out a subscription to Country Life magazine, after browsing through an issue in her dentist’s waiting room. Little did she imagine that, just a few issues later, she would see a photograph of her mother, identified only as “Miss Lucky Legs”!

The photograph, identical to one in Gaby’s possession, was featured in an article by Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit about the famous Pagel’s Circus and large private zoo that form part of the history of Pagel House in Aberdeen. The photo, taken in 1951, is in an album of black and white circus memories given to Lyn Dugmore, the current owner of Pagel House. Very few of the photographs have captions, and it was Lyn who gave the scantily-clad acrobat her nickname.

“Miss Lucky Legs” was in fact Gaby’s mother Evelyn Roth, who performed in Pagel’s Travelling Circus, after which Pagel House is named. Once she had got over the amazement of seeing her mother’s photo in the magazine, Gaby contacted Lyn, and last week visited Aberdeen with her husband to find out more about her mother’s link to the town.

Evelyn was born in Germany. Her father left the country before World War Two, fearing for his life as he was Jewish, and settled in what was then South West Africa. Twelve years later he sent for his wife and children.

Evelyn had been a performer in Germany, part of a troupe of acrobats, and also as part of an Estonian dance group. It was here she met her husband, who had fled from Estonia.

When she arrived in South West Africa, the family were desperately short of money. She joined the circus to bring in some income, and also to help her learn English and Afrikaans. She mainly performed as an acrobat, but was very versatile, also working with the lions in their cage, and bareback riding- as well as turning her hand to sewing clothes for the chimpanzee! Gaby recalls being enthralled by her mother’s tales of circus life, and telling her mother at a young age that she also wanted to join the circus- an idea which was gently but firmly squashed.

After two years of circus life, Evelyn then went to live in Cape Town, where she was a regular performer at the German Club. Gaby and her husband Alan still live in the family home in Cape Town.  She has a wonderful scrapbook of memories of her mother, full of press cuttings of her activities, including an article about her performing as a clown in Cape Town.

Sadly Evelyn developed a brain tumour in the 1960s, and passed away in 1979, at the age of 49.

Last week was the first opportunity that Gaby had to visit Aberdeen, and she spent two days at Pagel House with Lyn Dugmore, browsing through Lyn’s album of the circus and getting a feel for her mother’s life in Aberdeen. Lyn was also delighted to add to her own already extensive knowledge of the history of her home. Gaby and Alan also spent some time with Aberdonian Gina de Beer, a wonderful raconteur who has memories of Aberdeen stretching over 80 years.

Aberdeen NGK basaar


Our church bazaars have people power, to unite members of different congregations and even of different faiths. A recent article in the Advertiser referred to the churches in Graaff-Reinet, but in Aberdeen, the cross-faith support is even more noticeable at the annual Dutch Reformed Church Thanksgiving Fest. This is possibly because it is the only church in town with a large enough congregation to be able to hold a bazaar! –but every year, people from all sections of the community are seen queueing at the door well before the official opening time.

Members of the local community, and those from further afield, are invited to join the church to celebrate another year of blessings and grace, and find themselves some wonderful treats. The doors will open at 10am on Saturday 7 July –for those who arrive a little early and the workers, coffee and snacks will be available outside before the doors open.

All the popular bazaar items will be on sale: cakes and pancakes, delicious curry and rice, a cafe with something light to eat and tea and coffee.  There will be a selection of the ever-popular bazaar puddings, raw frozen meat sales and of course the famous braaivleis, where the succulent chops and boerewors are sold by weight, with a selection of salads.

Aberdeen rugby news


Aberdeen Rugby Club claimed an easy victory over Harlequins of Somerset East on Saturday 9th June.

Both the first and second reserve teams recorded walkovers, due to the opposition being unable to field a team.

Despite the game starting late due to the late arrival of Harlequins, the entertaining play from the Aberdeen 1st team promised a big score. This was fulfilled with a half time score of 28-0 in favour of Aberdeen. The second half saw even more action, with the final score being a convincing win of 54 -12 for Aberdeen.

Rara Cloete scored three tries, Spoggie Erasmus and Arlen Jantjies one apiece, and the nippy scrumhalf Nigel Klaasen touching down twice. Aberdeen’s answer to the Springbok’s RG Snyman, Romario Saayman, also scored.

Cloete took over the kicking duties as Scaarnek, the regular fly half, was injured, and he played a magnificent game. He converted all tries and amassed a total of 29 points. For this achievement he was the undisputed candidate for Man of the Match.

Many of the Aberdeen players were selected for the Karoo Sub Union team that played in Paterson, beating EP Metro, which reflects the strength of the Aberdeen team. In the first half of the season, they have only lost two matches.


New principal for Kamdebo Primary

Daniel Pieterse, who has been acting principal at Kamdebo Primary School since the beginning of the year, was formally appointed as principal from 1st May.

Pieterse was born and bred in Aberdeen, and in fact the first school he attended as a small boy was Kamdebo Primary!  He matriculated at Spandau Secondary, and then completed a Diploma in Education IIISP at the South Cape Teachers College in Oudtshoorn.

He then moved back to Aberdeen to take up his first post, teaching standard three maths and science at Kamdebo for eight years. He was then redeployed to Aberdeen Primary School, where he taught maths and science to grades six and seven from 2009 until 2014. For the last quarter of 2014, he was acting principal at the school.

Pieterse applied for a head of department post at Kamdebo, which he took up in July 2015. After the retirement of Pieter Safers at the end of last year, Pieterse was appointed as acting principal.

Since his return to teach in Aberdeen, he has been involved in many areas of the community, as well as at the school. He has been very committed to promoting sport in schools, both locally and provincially, and is an executive member of the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA) in the Eastern Cape. He is also chairperson of the Sarah Baartman Schools Football in SASFA, and treasurer of the Sarah Baartman District Sports Council. Locally, he is the CEO of Everton Football Club, in Aberdeen.

Pieterse was elected to represent the portfolio of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture on the ward one ward committee.

His interests and positions of responsibility are spread over many areas. He is the treasurer and an elder of the Uniting Reform Church in Lotusville, branch treasurer of SADTU for the Central Karoo region, and the deputy chairperson of the Aberdeen Secondary School governing body.

Giving back to the community academically, Pieterse is one of the founding members of the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign. This group of teachers give up their time to assist their past pupils with their high school subjects, particularly in their matric year. Another important role of the group is to help these learners with applications for further study, especially those wishing to become teachers themselves.

In his personal life, he married fellow Aberdeen Primary teacher Janaine Saaiman in2013, and they have one young daughter. He also has two other daughters, one in grade eleven at Aberdeen Secondary, and his eldest (26) who is an educator in Cape Town.

When asked about his vision for the school, he started by praising his predecessors for the legacy they have given him to build on, and wished to thank his Holy Father, and all those who have prayed for him. He is also very grateful to his wife and family for their support, as well as the staff, SGB, parents and learners at the school.

He firmly supports the ancient proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child”, and aims to create an environment for the learners, educators, non-teaching staff, community, parents and local government departments to all work together to be part of the education of the whole community. A target of five years has been set for the school to be one of the best in the district on all levels –not just academically, but also culturally and in sport. An example of how this is already underway is the newly-formed choir, who will sing the national anthem at assemblies.

Within that five year target period, Pieterse also hopes that the school will be able to acquire some form of transport for the children.

It is encouraging and somehow fitting to see a past pupil of the school achieve the pinnacle of principal of the school, and with the full support of the school and wider community, the school should go from strength to strength.




Soccer girls

A team of under 13 soccer stars from Aberdeen represented the Sarah Baartman District at the Provincial Winter Championships in East London last weekend.

These girls certainly did their schools proud: Kasey Winnaar, Kesha Marthinus, Donadine Beyers, and Domeniqa Grootboom represented Aberdeen Full Service School; Caithlin Saayman, Davidene Plaatjies and Kay-Lee de Vos attend Kamdebo Primary; and the Luxolo contingent comprising Okuhle Ngalo, Felecia Blayi, Elvirisha Adams, Ncumisa Yoyo, Emihle May and Singalaka Mapekula.

The girls were accompanied by coach Janaine Pieterse from Aberdeen Full Service School, and manager Namhla Quza from Luxolo Intermediate.

The Aberdeen girls played against teams from other districts. They lost their games by a narrow margin, but they all played their hearts out and showed great sportsmanship.

The main purpose of these games was to select a team to represent Eastern Province at the National Championships. Davidene Plaatjies, who plays in goal, and midfielder Felecia Blayi were both honoured to be selected to represent their province, and their schools are extremely proud of their achievement.


Meagan Leslie, who is in her third year teaching at Kamdebo Primary School, recently received her honours in Learner Support. She studied for this through distance learning at North West University, over two years.

Meagan is originally from Willowmore, and after matriculating, she studied at NMU in Port Elizabeth, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and English in 2014. She stayed on and was awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, cum laude, the following year.

After a short spell in a governing body post at a school in Willowmore, she moved to Kamdebo Primary, where she has a permanent post, teaching English to grades six and seven.

She had tremendous support from her family, particularly her parents and late grandmother, for her studying, and from God, and is proud of her own persistence and determination to achieve her goals.

Aberdeen Secondary outing to GRT


The grade 12 learners of Aberdeen Secondary School who are taking Afrikaans as home language had a most enjoyable outing to Graaff-Reinet on 10th May.

The main reason for the excursion was a chance for the learners to see a live performance of their Afrikaans prescribed novel, Onderwereld, in the City Hall, along with other schools from surrounding areas. The learners were thrilled to recognise two members of the 7de Laan cast on stage!

As well as the play, the Aberdeen group also visited the Graaff-Reinet museum, and the Valley of Desolation, as well as the College for Tourism.  They would like to express their appreciation to the mayoral office for all the arrangements

The author of the book, Fanie Viljoen, was be in Graaff-Reinet the following week to discuss the book with learners and teachers, and the Aberdeen matrics, and their teacher Janine Lewack, felt that they gined a lot from this