Bambinos reading week

Retired teacher Maria Lewies spent an afternoon with the Aberdeen Bambinos recently, taking to them about the importance of reading. She also spent a lot of time chatting with the children, asking them what they wanted to do when they grew up. Each child was given an old Huisgenoot magazine, from the supply donated by Aberdeen Books, and some of the older ones were able to read out articles of interest for them all.

The Bambinos have been blessed with many generous donations recently. Pick ‘n Pay in Graaff-Reinet regularly donates dairy produce such as tubs of yoghurt- these are a real treat for the children, many of whom have never tasted yoghurt before. In the past, charity volunteers from Aberdeen have often found that Graaff-Reinet businesses prefer to support Graaff-Reinet charities. The Bambino organisers are very grateful that the owners of Pick ‘n Pay recognise that many Aberdeen folk shop at their store, and are willing to reciprocate by donating to Aberdeen charities.

Ladies from the Aberdeen VLV have also been very generous with donations on a regular basis of meat and bones for soup for the children, which are greatly appreciated. During the week of  Mandela Day, the children were given mugs of soup with home-made bread which was an ideal warmer during the cold weather.

At present the Bambinos are meeting at least once a week at the home of Jane Saaiman, one of the founders. Ideally they would like to have their own premises, and are appealing to anyone who may have contacts for an old container for them to use.

Church brigade


Many residents of Aberdeen were curious last Saturday to hear the sounds of a brass band!

The youngsters in the band are part of the Brigade from the United Reform Church of South Africa, in Aberdeen to help the local church establish a Brigade.

Visiting members of the Brigades in Graaff-Reinet, Middelburg and Jansenville worked with the local members, who have been trying for several years to establish a Brigade as a way of occupying the local children. So far Captain Iris Maggie Joubert has 20 youngsters in the Aberdeen brigade, ranging in age from 8 to 25, all keen to be part of the disciplined unit.

The visitors with a selection of drums and brass instruments marched from Lotusville to Aberdeen town, performing for a while outside Pep Stores, where they gathered quite a crowd of onlookers. The Aberdeen Brigade members proudly marched behind the band.

On Saturday night, a concert was held at Kabouterland Creche, where over 600 people enjoyed singing, dancing, acting and music. As well as providing entertainment, the aim of this was also to raise some desperately-needed funds so that the Aberdeen Brigade can buy instruments.

On Sunday, despite the rain, the Brigade members marched through Lotusville to the church, this time in their smart uniforms.

Joubert is very keen to keep the momentum going that was generated this weekend, and to maintain the enthusiasm of the youngsters. To this end she is appealing to anyone who can help in any way to generate funding. She can be contacted on 073 274 1426

Mandela Day in Aberdeen


At least six separate events were held on Mandela Day in Aberdeen.

First to get started was a project organised by the staff of Superstore, who took three huge pots of soup to the Masikhane Clinic first thing in the morning to warm the patients and staff. Buks van Niekerk was responsible for making the soup, and Shaun Saaiman, Gavin Brits, Chandre Jackson and Maritza de Beer cheerfully ladled out one hundred cups of soup, which were much appreciated by those waiting in the cold. Riaan Barnard delivered the staff and soup to the Clinic, before returning to man the store with owner Umelda van Rensburg. “We thought of this a few months ago, as many of the patients come to the store after visiting the clinic, and they are usually cold and hungry” said Maritza.

As she does every year, 85 year old Catherine Frazenburg of Lotusville, set up a soup kitchen at the home she shares with her daughter Yvonne in Jones Street for local youngsters. Children ranging in age from just one year to 15 years gathered from early on at the ladies’ home, all eagerly waiting to see what “Ouma” would have for them this year. They proudly held up a banner, and sang Happy Birthday to Madiba before tucking into their soup.

A group of workers from the municipality undertook to give a facelift to the house of Henry Magewu of Sithandiwe Street, Thembalesizwe. In his early 90s, he is one of the township’s oldest residents. The team of workers, including Speaker Cllr Thembisa Nonnies, painted the outside walls, cleared the yard, and inside the house.

A sports day was organised at the Thembalesizwe Community Hall by a combined group from Social Development, the Victim Support Centre, and Sports and Recreation under the leadership of Masterboy Blaai. Over forty people enjoyed games of touch rugby, netball, tennis and boxing. Soup and bread, very welcome after the morning’s activities, were served to all who participated.

Cllr Eldrige Ruiters and his team delivered packs of fish wors to the Masikhane Clinic staff and patients.  They then cooked up hot meals, using the fish wors and delivered these to needy families in Lotusville and Thembalesizwe. Cllr Rudy Jacobs and his team delivered fish wors to Alwynhof Old Age Home, the Aberdeen Hospital and elderly residents in town.



It was a winter wonderland last weekend on Fanie Marx’s farm Geduld, in the Camdeboo Mountains about 60 km from Aberdeen.

Three visiting  farmers from Hotazel in the Northern Cape, who were staying at the farm for hunting, were thrilled to be in the snow, as it is many years since they have seen any!

Kleintjie Marx commented that last year in July they also experienced snow, but not as much as this recent fall.

Tragic death of John Weldon

Just a few days after the moving and memorable celebration of his 50th wedding anniversary, the Rev Canon John Weldon, Rector of St James’ Anglican Church in Graaff-Reinet, passed away suddenly last Thursday at the age of 75.

John and his wife Denise left Graaff-Reinet early last Thursday morning, eagerly anticipating a two-week break with their daughters and their families in Johannesburg. After a couple of brief stops along the way, they pulled into the Ultra City at Kroonstad for a short break. They bought takeaway coffees, and just as they got back to their vehicle, John gave an exclamation and collapsed, falling heavily to the ground. Members of staff at the Ultra City, as well as other travellers, were quick to respond. A member of the Shell staff administered CPR, sadly to no avail. The cause of his sudden death is not yet known.

Denise was obviously distraught, and was comforted by staff and other members of the public. She was able to contact her family, and a friend in Graaff-Reinet, and was taken to wait in relative comfort at the local hospital. There members of the Kroonstad Anglican community, alerted by the Bishop, sat with her until her daughter and sons-in-law arrived from Johannesburg to fetch her. She was full of praise for the kindness shown to her by these total strangers.

The support that she has received from her family and friends has been tremendous, and she has been overwhelmed by the many messages and phone calls she has received. Through the wide reach of social media, she has received messages of condolences and encouragement from friends and ex-parishioners from near and far, all of which have been a great comfort to her.

A memorial service for John will be held at St Paul’s United Church in Mulbarton, Johannesburg, on Thursday 13th May. Denise and family will then drive to Graaff-Reinet next Wednesday, and a Requiem Mass will be held for John on Friday 21st July at St James Church. The service will be conducted by Bishop Brian Maharaj of the Diocese of George, assisted by John’s life-long friend Rev John Davis, who so recently took the marriage reaffirmation during John and Denise’s Golden Wedding celebrations.

A full tribute to John will appear in the Advertiser in a future edition.

The Weldons celebrate 50th anniversary

Last Saturday, John and Denise Weldon of Graaff-Reinet celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in style!

They were joined by friends from Graaff-Reinet and further afield as they renewed their vows during the Sunday service at St James’ Anglican Church, where John is Rector. The renewal of the vows was conducted by life-long friend Rev John Davis, who travelled from Kenton-on-Sea with his wife Joan to participate in the celebrations. John and Yvonne Denby from George, another couple who have been very special friends of the Weldons for many years, were also present for the weekend.

After the service, about 60 people joined the Weldons for a special buffet lunch served in the church hall, the centrepiece of which was a magnificent cake made by Chinelle Marais.

John and Denise met in Grahamstown in 1964 when Denise (nee Packer) was studying at Grahamstown Teachers Training College and John was at St Pauls Theological College. Their first meeting was actually at St. Pauls College on the first occasion that women were allowed into the college!

John Weldon is originally from Zimbabwe and moved to East London when he was seven. Denise, who was born in Port Elizabeth, grew up in Uitenhage. They were married on 1st July 1967, at which time John was at St. Cuthbert’s Church in Port Elizabeth and Denise was teaching at Albert Jackson School in PE.

At the end of 1967 John became rector of All Saints Church in Kabega Park and Denise obtained a post at the convent in Kabega Park. At the end of 1969 they moved to Adelaide in the Eastern Cape where John was the rector – by this time their first daughter Jo-Anne had been born. Two years later their second daughter Deborah Lyn was born in Adelaide. When Deborah was two, Denise went back to work and taught at the Adelaide Primary School for two years before daughter number three, Susan, was born in November 1975. Son Peter was born in June 1978 and he was only two weeks old when they were asked to move to St. James’ Church in Graaff-Reinet , where they stayed until 1982.  In 1980 Denise started a nursery school in the church hall which is now Union Pre-primary.

From Graaff-Reinet, the family moved to Mondeor in the South of Johannesburg where John was rector of Christ the King Church for eight years. After that he was rector of the church in Eldorado Park and then St. Marys Church in Rossettenville, during which time he was also chaplain to the local children’s home. Denise had a little nursery school at their home in Mondeor for a few years and then worked at Mary Help of Christians Nursery School in Johannesburg from 1990 until she was retrenched in 2001.

The Weldons bought a house in Aberdeen in 1999 and used it for holidays until John retired in October 2006, when they moved back to the Eastern Cape. He initially conducted Sunday services on occasion at St. Mary’s and All Saints in Aberdeen, and then once a month when Rev Gerald Buisman was rector at St James’. He also took services on occasion in the Methodist church in Aberdeen.

The Weldons returned to Graaff-Reinet unexpectedly in August 2012 when the newly-appointed rector, Gillian Carter, passed away suddenly after two weeks in the Parish. Initially the appointment was for three months, which was then extended for three years – and they have now been there for five years! Once the Bishop can find a replacement they will return to retirement in Aberdeen.

“This weekend was very special and we both feel so blessed to have reached such a milestone and we give thanks for the wonderful friends we have gathered on our journey” said Denise. “We have so much to be grateful for and want to thank everyone who helped to make this occasion such a blessed one, especially those who came and shared the occasion with us”.

New Usave for Aberdeen

Exciting things are happening in the centre of Aberdeen, and the old Verspeiders building has been completely revamped and modernised inside in preparation for its launch as a Usave supermarket later this year.

For over twenty years Verspreiders, also known as Hyperfoods, earned and maintained a reputation for supplying staple products at reasonable prices to Aberdeen residents and the farming community. Early last year the owners, Paul and Sharon Landman, sold the building in anticipation of their retirement to Hartenbos, but continued to run the store there until October, when the building became empty.

Pretoria-based businessman Roelof van der Merwe, who has strong roots in Aberdeen, bought the building, and work started in earnest earlier this year to restore the façade and upgrade the interior. Rumours abounded in the town as to exactly what van der Merwe was going to do with the building, but it soon became known that a Usave store would be opening on the property, with initial estimates that it would open in March.

The parking area outside the building was resurfaced at an early stage, and local residents watched with interest and approval as the rather tired-looking exterior was spruced up, with attention to detail on the stonework and fresh paint. New palisade fencing was erected around the building, in a style in keeping with the period, and secure storage areas were created outside for trolleys.

It is the inside however where the most drastic changes can be seen. As Shoprite wanted a more open space, the builders had to completely take out all the inside walls, and huge castellated steel beams were fitted to carry the inside weight of the roof structure. The finished product is a bigger retail area with an extended receiving and prep area on the side where new coldrooms and freezer rooms still need to be fitted. There is also a new staff toilet and kitchen area at the back of the store. In the process the builders had to dig a new drain to accompany the new bathroom area, which involved a fair amount of digging in Grey Street.

For security purposes all the inside doors and windows had to be closed off by brick. However the old shutters and doors were left in place, adding character to the outside of the building. The builders had to take out all the old cement flooring and redo all the floors. New floor tiles and ceilings were installed, the electrical installation had to be replaced, and new water connections established. They also had to build a very well secured back office from where the core of the shop will be managed.

“What I thought would be a quick and small project became a huge overhaul of this magnificent old building. I believe this centre stone of Aberdeen will be of historical value for another century to come” said van der Merwe.

Usave is a division of Shoprite, and is the group’s youngest supermarket chain, focussing primarily on the needs of lower income customers. According to their website,”… the brand removes the cost of packaging and regular store frills and trimmings and passes this saving on to the customer. This gives customers the price advantage associated with bulk buying, without the need to buy in bulk.”

Van der Merwe confirmed that the shop will sell the normal supermarket lines, including groceries, toiletries, fruit & vegetables, electronics and stationery. To the disappointment of many, there will be no bakery, but the usual supermarket brands of bread will be available. There will also not be an in-store butchery, but frozen meat will be stocked. Also in the store will be a Money Market kiosk where customers can transfer funds, buy bus tickets, cash government pay outs, and buy basic over-the-counter medication.

According to Shoprite, they will start with the shopfitting this month, and plan to open for business on Friday 1st September. Aberdonians are eagerly awaiting that date!

Aalwynhof residents entertained

Blind Gospel singer and motivational speaker Len Viljoen from Worcester one again entertained the residents of Aalwynhof recently on a visit to Aberdeen. On what is becoming a regular stop of his touring itinerary, Len interacted with the residents and sang several of his popular songs. He also spoke about his days in his school choir, and reminded those present that just because a person is blind, it does not mean that they are also deaf and unable to make decisions for themselves. He is often frustrated when his father is asked “Would Len like a cup of tea?”!

On his last visit, just before Christmas in 2015, he had introduced his audio Bibles to Aberdeen, and he once again had these available, as well as copies of his CDs. Len buys the audio Bibles directly from the manufacturers in Stellenbosch, and distributes to those in need, free of charge if they are unable to afford it.

Several other guests enjoyed Len’s short appearance, with about 25 people gathered in the lounge to enjoy time with the residents and Len

Rugby tournament


The E.P.R.U Sub-Union Tournament which was held in Aberdeen on Saturday 1st July was a great success. The aim of the tournament was to provide a platform for club players to showcase their talent. Only one sub-union, Sundays River Valley, couldn`t attend the tournament and sent apologies.


The first match was played between Uitenhage and Districts and P.E Metro. The match was won by P.E. Metro with a score of 24 – 5. They scored four tries and two conversions against the one try of Uitenhage and Districts.


The Karoo Sub-Union team, which comprised eight members of the Aberdeen Rugby Club and seven players from Middelburg, played against Koukamma and won 48 – 43. The Karoo team scored eight tries and five conversions against the seven tries and four conversions of Koukamma.

Kouga played against Sedra and won 30- 0. Kouga scored four tries, two conversions and two penalties.

The last match was played between Karoo Sub- Union and an Invitation side. Karoo won 48-7 and scored eight tries and two conversions. The Invitation side scored only one try and one conversion.

About 500 spectators attended the tournament, despite the chilly conditions, and thoroughly enjoyed the exciting rugby. The event was concluded with an after- match function for all Karoo Sub-Union clubs, Karoo Sub- Union Executive, referees, caterers and EPRU Executive.

The Vice President of EPRU, Mr E Februarie, thanked all participants for the successful and well organised rugby tournament.

Stephen Moore

Well-known Aberdeen resident Stephen Moore (42) was tragically killed in a motor accident in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Moore, a long distance truck driver, had returned from a trip to Durban on Saturday afternoon, and only took time to shower and change before setting off for the Wildsfees near Kirkwood with his daughter Steph-Mari. There they met up with Stephen’s ex-wife Antoinette, with whom he was still good friends, who was already at the festival with friends of the family. The three Moores left the festival very late in the evening, initially with Stephen driving, heading for Port Elizabeth where they were going to stay the night with the family friends. Being tired from his long trip back from Durban, and not feeling well, Stephen asked his daughter to take over the driving soon after they left Kirkwood, and he went to sleep across the back seats. They travelled on the back road between Addo and Motherwell, which is in poor condition with many potholes and patches. It is unclear exactly what happened, but in the early hours of Sunday morning, as they neared Motherwell, Steph-Mari lost control of the vehicle, veered onto the gravel at the side of the road, and the car overturned.

Despite the fact that she was wearing her seatbelt, Steph-Mari fell out of the car, slightly injuring her leg, and was unconscious for a short while. Antoinette, who was in the front passenger seat, did not lose consciousness, but was unable to get out of the car. Residents from nearby dwellings in Motherwell rushed to the scene to help, and one person lent Antoinette a phone to contact the family friends, who were travelling a few kilometres ahead. The police and ambulance services were called, but sadly Stephen had passed away at the scene of the accident from multiple injuries.

Stephen was born in Aberdeen, attended school in the town, and was very proud of his Karoo background. He and Antoinette had just the one daughter, but he also had three stepchildren, who he treated as his own. His stepson Riaan Barnard, who lives in Aberdeen, has always looked up to Stephen as his father figure, as he was very young when his mother married Stephen. He remembers his stepfather as a very caring person. Steph-Mari, who moved to Port Elizabeth a few months ago with her mother, had returned to Aberdeen two weeks ago to spend time with her father –time which will now be especially treasured. She had only passed her driving test the previous week, and he was extremely proud of her for this achievement, sharing his delight on his facebook wall that she was now a “legal eagle”. At the moment, Steph-Mari is understandably nervous about getting back behind the wheel, but is determined to honour the faith that her father had in her and start driving again soon.

Stephen worked for local farmer Hannes Gouws for about seven years, transporting livestock to Durban. He loved his job, and would often share photos of his travels with his many facebook friends. He was very involved in the organisation of a reunion of Aberdeen High school pupils a few years ago, and his enthusiasm and obvious love for his home town helped attract many other past pupils to the event. He was a very sociable man, who loved spending time around a braai with family and friends, often playing the guitar. Motorbikes were also a passion for him, and even when he no longer owned a bike, he still loved attending local gatherings of bikers.

Stephen’s father died in 2000, but his mother, Yvonne, still lives in Aberdeen. His also leaves his sister Yolanda Smith, from Baviaanskloof.

A memorial service will be held for Stephen in the Aberdeen Dutch Reformed Church on Friday 7th July at 2pm.