Saturday, July 28, 2007

Helena - A Tribute

Prince Albert was enriched by Helena Marincowitz. It is with great sadness that her many friends heard of her passing on Monday, 9th July. It was like a much loved tree which over a lifetime had showered only goodwill and had finally fallen. She leaves a huge legacy.

Helena was a people person. All who came into contact with her attest to her genuine warmth, her personal concern for their welfare, her enjoyment of a funny situation, her love of life. She was a visible presence in the community life of Prince Albert, no matter where one was placed socially or what your circumstances, she committed herself to improving the life of others and supported good causes.

Having travelled abroad, Helena held a world view that was able to adapt to the changing situations around her, recognising what was valuable and what was worth fighting for. Many were unaware of the hardships and challenges she had to work through, while she remained uncomplaining, never bearing a grudge.

As a person of vision she worked hard in seemingly impossible situations to record and promote Prince Albert’s socio-cultural and architectural heritage. Her well-researched books and articles, too numerous to mention here, are dedicated for all time as a legacy to this town. Many of the illustrations in her books were hand-drawn by herself, down to the last detail. She was meticulous and generous about giving recognition in her books to those who assisted in their production.

Helena loved the written word and had a natural instinct for writing. Together with Dr Jan van Heerden, she helped to launch the flourishing Prince Albert Writers’ Guild, which maintains much of the inspiration she brought to it.

Writers’ gatherings were always enriched by her contributions, whether about an Afrikaans or English author or about the importance of archiving ‘local memory’.

The Prince Albert Cultural Foundation was sparked into life through her enthusiasm. Having brought together all the local initiatives which have recognised the unique attributes of this Karoo town, the Foundation has grown from strength to strength, and is the platform through which its cultural life can be enjoyed and the conservation of its significant heritage can be achieved.

On hearing of her steady decline, and at a time of great uncertainty about her health, her friends wrote their personal tributes to her and compiled an album which perpetuates her involvement in the cultural affairs of Prince Albert and the district. This album is now an even more fitting tribute to the love she unwittingly instigated in others and can be seen at the Fransie Pienaar Museum.

Her pillar of support has been Oom Pat, who encouraged her throughout in her research and authorship of a library of books, and brought his own particular wisdom to enrich the local content.

Helena, together with your family and many friends and colleagues, we honour your memory and console ourselves with the enrichment you brought to our lives. With that knowledge, may you rest in peace.

Helena, saam met jou familie, vriende en kollegas, eer ons jou nagedagtenis. Jy het ons lewens verryk met jou kennis en onblusbare entoesiasme. Ons vind troos in die wete dat jy nou in vrede rus. - Skrywersgilde / Writers' Guild

Murder Outrages Community

The communities of Leeu-Gamka, Merweville and Prince Albert were rocked earlier this month by the violent death of a young Merweville girl, Elizabeth Martiens and the charging of a Leeu-Gamka farmer and his wife with her murder. The event made headlines countrywide and residents of the three towns will no doubt follow closely as the details unfold in the national media. At the time of going to print, the wife’s bail hearing was to be held in Prince Albert on 20 July, while there was no indication whether the farmer intended applying for bail.

The State Prosecutor at the Prince Albert magistrate’s court, Mr Mervyn Saayman, confirmed the factual accounts of the case carried by the media to the Prince Albert Friend. Asked why it had taken three months to make an arrest, Mr Saayman said that the police apparently had no leads and the two accused had helped to trace the girl. Following the arrest of the farmer and his wife, further investigation led the police to the badly decomposed body of the girl in an empty water tank on their farm.

The Prince Albert court confirmed that a charge of indecent assault involving two minors had been laid last year against the farmer. The State Prosecutor at the Oudtshoorn Regional Court, Mr Tommy Verryne, denied rumours that the Leeu-Gamka police had lost the docket and that as a result the case had been struck from the roll of the magistrate’s court at Leeu-Gamka in June 2007. He said that the docket had mistakenly been sent to Oudtshoorn, rather than the police in Beaufort West as was required. Mr Verryne told the Friend that he had given instructions that the charge of indecent assault be added to the murder charge against the farmer.

A crowd of about 200 people, including a group of about thirty chanting learners from Prince Albert Primary School, and residents of our three communities gathered outside the court to get a glimpse of the two suspects when they first appeared in court on 16 July. Emotions ran high and posters directed outrage at the justice system and the vulnerability of children in South Africa.

Anger was aimed at the apparent ineptitude of the Leeu-Gamka police and what were seen by many outside the court as unnecessary, special arrangements to protect the accused from the furious crowd. Several pointed out that the three youths charged with the brutal attacks on two elderly residents of Prince Albert almost a year ago had been given no similar consideration. Others remarked on the professional manner in which Superintendent Masola and his personnel from the local Prince Albert police station handled the situation. Their approach had done much to calm things down.

When matters threatened to get out of hand, Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Ms Kholeka Mqulwana, who had travelled from Cape Town to attend the court proceedings, spoke to the seething crowd and, with obvious feeling, assured them that “Your anger is my anger. I am determined to ensure that justice is done”. She added: “The Prince Albert Station Commander has assured me that no dockets will be ‘lost’ ”. At the same time she appealed to everyone not to judge all farmers by the acts of one and stressed that people be disciplined and respect the law, reminding them several times that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
Mrs Magdalena Benjamin, Prince Albert’s Deputy Mayoress, who also was present in court on 16 July, stressed that she would hate the case to be reduced to a race issue. “As a woman, my heart goes out to both women involved: both the one who is grieving over the loss of her child and the other, who must have been forced by difficult circumstances to remain silent”. Mrs Benjamin wondered aloud about the future of the accused’s children.

Councillor Letitia Solomons of Leeu-Gamka said that people were furious over the Leeu-Gamka police’s apparent mishandling of the farmer’s alleged abuse of two minors in June 2006. She said that people were adamant that the murder could have been avoided if only the police had done the right thing.

Superintendent Masola told the Friend that Prince Albert police would make child neglect its focus from now on. “We have to fight this evil,” he said, “and we hope that the Justice Department will support us in our struggle.”

Helena Marincowitz: 1931 – 2007

- Dawid Rossouw -

Wat ‘n uitsonderlike mens! Sy sal gemis word omdat sy ‘n prominente rol oor ‘n lang tydperk op vele terreine gespeel het en ‘n verskil gemaak het, maar sy sal onthou word vir wat sy nagelaat het, ‘n duidelike, rigting-gewende voetspoor.

Of dit nou in die beheerraad van die skool, die kerkraad, VLV bestuur, die museum se beheerraad, ouetehuis, Stigting Simon van der Stel of watter baie ander organisasies sy ookal gedien het, haar opinie is gerespekteer en haar dryfkrag het geïnspireer.

Met ‘n graad in huishoudkunde was sy goed toegerus toe sy haar saam met Pat op Sleutelfontein gevestig het. Haar rol as boervrou het sy uitstekend vervul en ook nog kans gesien om ‘n leidende rol in Klaarstroom en Prins Albert te speel, veral in die VLV. Met spin en weef, kleur van vesel het sy meester-stukke gelewer. Ragfyne borduurwerk deur haar flytige hande is nie net in SA bewonder nie, maar het ook internasionale erkenning verwerf.

Geleidelik het haar wye belangstelling op die kultuur en argitektuur begin fokus. Sy was ‘n ywerige, kundige en meelewende Voortrekker offisier. Saam met die Volstruise is staptogte onderneem, naweke op die berg geslaap, inlywingseremonies beleef en kentekens verwerf. Die jeug-kultuur aktiwiteit het met haar kennis en entoesiasme op Prins Albert geblom en haar liefde vir kinders sal voortleef in Voortrekker-gedagtes.

Helena en die museum is een. Van ‘n eenmansbelangstelling het sy die museum laat groei tot gemeenskaps trots. Haar wonderlike vermoë om baie dinge te doen en ander die eer te gee, is kenmerkend. En wanneer sy self nie iets kon doen nie, het sy haar oorredingsvermoë gebruik en is haar versoek met liefde uitgevoer. Sy kon glo in ‘n saak en dan werk, dink en praat sy voluit en deins vir niks terug nie.

Haar insig dat die karakter van Prins Albert in sy kultuurbate behoue moet bly, het meegebring dat baie geboue hier as gedenkwaardighede verklaar is, dat vervalle en geskende geboue outentiek gerestoureer is en vandag die bewondering van besoekers afdwing en beslis ‘n bydrae maak tot toerisme en dus ekonomiese groei. As stigter en rolspeler in die estetiese komitee het sy die hande van die munisipaliteit versterk om geboue te bewaar. Haar uitdrukking dat as een van ons historiese geboue sou verdwyn, dit sou lyk soos ‘n voortand wat vermis word, was reg in die kol, gepas. Terloops, aan die suidekant van Orton se winkel staan ‘n muur wat halfpad afgebreek is. Haar opdrag was : “stop dit”. Mag die muur ‘n stille getuie wees van haar stryd om te bewaar wat eie aan Prins Albert is.

Mense sê as iemand met ‘n wye kennis te sterf kom, brand ‘n biblioteek af. Helena het haar kennis vir ons in ‘n brandkluis gesit toe sy oor jare ywerige navorsing gedoen het en meer as 15 boeke nagelaat het. Wat ‘n skat!

Helena se krag het gelê in haar geloof in haarself, geloof in haar Skepper en haar geaardheid dat as sy nie iets goeds kan sê en doen nie, doen of sê sy dit nie. Gevolglik het sy wye ondersteuning en vriendskapsbande onder ons bruin-, Afrikaans- en anderstalige gemeenskap gehad.

Gepas sal tydens die Heritage South Africa Symposuim (10 en 11 Augustus) ‘n toekenning op hoë vlak aan haar gemaak word. Dit sal die kroon span op ‘n ryke en vrugbare lewe in diens van haar Meester en gemeenskap.

Ons eer haar nagedagtenis en bid haar man, Pat, en kinders vertroosting toe.

Christian Perspective

- Keith Goudie -

To those among us who recently lost loved ones, we offer the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. May it be a comfort to you. To those who are ill or suffering in any way, may the prayer be a light to you in their thoughts and prayers.

“Lord make me an instrument of Your peace; Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; and where is sadness, joy. Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

This universal prayer will be found in Afrikaans in Liedboek – Nr.284.

Redaksionele Kommentaar

Kindermolestering en geweld teen die weerloses in ons samelewing het weer skerp in die kollig gekom met die ontdekking van die lyk van die dertienjarige Elizabeth Martiens in ‘n plaasdam in die Leeu Gamka distrik.

Die Vriend het die saak so feitelik en deeglik gedek as wat in die omstandighede moontlik was. Ons harte gaan uit na almal betrokke by die aangeleentheid, en, soos hulle, verwag ons dat die regstelsel die gemeenskap nie sal faal nie.


Gedurende die afgelope paar maande het Prince Albert verskeie inwoners aan die dood afgestaan. Inwoners wat, almal uit eie reg, hul stempel op ons gemeenskap afgedruk het.

Hier by Die Vriend vier ons hul lewens en spreek ons ons meegevoel uit teenoor hul familie en vriende.


Dankie aan al ons lesers wat gereageer het op ons beroep in die uitgawe van Februarie 2007 vir “interessante, onderhoudende en nuuswaardige bydraes“. Dit het ongetwyfeld bygedra tot die positiewe kommentaar betreffende die gehalte en diepte van berigte wat die afgelope paar maande in Die Vriend verskyn het.

Hoewel alle bydraes gunstig deur ons redaksie oorweeg word vir publikasie, kan ons ongelukkig nie elke berig wat ons ontvang publiseer nie – en soms moet bydraes verkort en/of geredigeer word. Praktiese oorwegings, spasie, styl en algemene koerantpraktyk is immer die bepalende faktore.

Juveniles change plea

The Friend has learned that two of the three juveniles charged with the vicious attacks last year on the late Mrs Helena Marincowitz and Mr Jack Botha have in recent days changed their pleas from guilty to not guilty. The third accused has received a sentence of eight years, five of which have been suspended. According to Superintendent Masola of the Prince Albert police, all three are being held in Huis Outeniqua in George, the only place of safety for juveniles in this part of the Cape.

Starry Splendour Over Prince Albert

- Hans Daehne -

In August the days will already become noticeably longer since they started to lengthen by one minute in the morning and one minute in the evening from the 7th of July.

This is the time for the rich winter constellation Sagittarius in the dense part of the Milky Way above our heads at night; but the Archer is difficult to recognize as a man’s trunk with bow and arrow and a lower body of a horse.

It is much easier to look for a teapot with lid, handle and spout under the Scorpion where the Milky Way seems to split. This is the direction of the centre of our Milky Way galaxy and in this area of the sky we can find at least 20 Messier objects i.e. open clusters, globular clusters, double stars and nebulae that are awesome through binoculars and telescope.

Near Sagittarius is a clear little arch of star, like a crown, hence its name: Corona Australis, the Southern Crown.

For naked eye observations just after sunset the grouping of bright Venus, Saturn and Regulus in Leo make a beautiful attraction during the first third of the month.

Venus will be at inferior conjunction with the Sun on the 18th of August that means she will be closest to Earth (43mil. km = 0,29 AU) but not visible to us. At the end of the month Venus will reappear as the striking Morning Star.

New Moon is on the 13th with Full Moon since the" Blue Moon" in June at the end of the month.

The Full Moon will also be at its closest approach to Earth (perigee) which is usually a more favourable configuration for rain in the Western Cape.

Jupiter in the east is opposite Venus and being very bright just after sunset helps to indicate the Ecliptic, the plane that the planets and the Moon describe around the Sun.

Saturn can only be observed for a short while after sunset at the beginning of August thereafter it will get too close to the Sun on its way to its conjunction with the Sun on the 21st of August.

Looking north a configuration like a large cross can be seen. This is Cygnus, the swan, thus also called the Northern Cross.

The Sun is our most observed star with six unmanned solar telescopes spread over the Earth, studying the Sun continuously. One of these automatic telescopes is at Sutherland where it tracks the Sun automatically and measures the oscillation of the Sun caused by the gravitational pull of the passing planets. There are also eight dedicated satellites keeping the sun if their focus to measure solar flares, sun spots and the ejection of solar energetic particles that cause beautiful Auroras in the polar regions but that are dangerous to Earthlings and especially astronauts. Never look at the Sun with unprotected eyes or through unsuitable equipment!

The beloved Southern Cross is now positioned on its side with the pointers above it, all of them on their way to disappear behind the Swartberg mountain soon until January but the outstanding Magellan Clouds high in the sky will make up for this.

Keep the stars in your eyes!

“What do Tourists Really Want?”

- Sue and Richard Dean -

This was the question Caroline Gelderblom was able to answer when she addressed the Gourtiz Initiative meeting in Oudtshoorn on 20 June this year. Her answers were based on surveys with tourists and tourism service providers in and around Oudtshoorn in winter and summer last year and will help the industry recognise gaps in service provision and identify new market opportunities. Most tourists (80%) to the Little Karoo are South Africans (60% Afrikaans speaking). Foreign tourists are mainly from the UK, Germany and Holland.

Tourists ranked natural beauty, peace and the friendliness of local people highest in selecting the Oudtshoorn area for their vacation, whereas golf, hunting and quad bikes were among the lowest ranked attractions. Most preferred mountains to vlaktes, nature to cultivated lands and villages to cities.

Gravel roads did not discourage tourists from visiting rural parts of the Karoo. With the exception of the Kunstefees visitors, most tourists said that they preferred gravel to tarred roads, provided that they are well maintained and signposted.

What tourists do enjoy is the “niks”, the wide open spaces, mountainous landscape, birds and wildlife, but few notice the plants. Perhaps this reflects how we are marketing our destination? Both the Little Karoo and the Prince Albert area just inland of the Swartberg have an extraordinary variety of succulent plants (vygies, plakkies, melkbosse, nenta, ghaap), many of which are found nowhere else in the world. For example, Bijlia dilitata (Prince Albert vygie) is found near our village and nowhere else on the planet!

A tourism marketing survey in the Oudtshoorn area showed that ostriches are mentioned more often than is warranted by the tourist interest. So were sunny skies – especially as many tourists said that they did not visit for the weather, which was either too hot or too cold! Only 7% of tourist pamphlets mentioned the extraordinary succulent plants of the area, and only 1% of pamphlets mentioned that some of these were found nowhere else in the world. Development and marketing of tourism activities focussed on natural assets, including plants, geology and fossils, could open new opportunities for tourism service providers in our village.

Tourists to Oudtshoorn complained about begging children, poor municipal services and unsightly large signboards. Despite challenges of this kind, new and appropriate tourism activities together with skills training opportunities offered by government, present great opportunities for Little Karoo tourism development.

This is true for Prince Albert as well. So let’s use our plants, friendly people, spectacular landscapes and available training opportunities to develop a sustainable, cultural and nature-based tourism industry for our village.

Let’s not offer our tourists casinos, trail-bikes, bill-boards when they are looking for natural beauty and peace of mind that are missing from city life. If we get this right, we will all benefit.

Letters - Briewe

Who is Mr Errol Appleby-Smith?

On the morning that the artist started carving the blue gum stumps I tried to contact someone of ABSA, Johannesburg, to try and save what could still be saved of the trees. I spoke to Mr. A Bothma and Letisha van Dyk. During the afternoon Mrs Ludolf phoned me and told me that ABSA were under no obligation to consult the residents of Prince Albert.

Around 5.00 pm on the same day I received a call from Mr Errol Appleby-Smith of ABSA who asked me to send him all the information (letters of objections, photographs, Council letter of approval etc.) The address he gave me was: P.O. Box 7735, Johannesburg, 2000. I asked him to fax the address to me which he did not do. The information was sent to him by express mail but was returned to sender about ten days later.

I phoned Mr Appleby-Smith again to tell him that the envelope had been returned whereupon he gave me another address: ABSA Tower East, 1st floor, Office Chief Executive, Johannesburg, 2000. I again asked him to fax the address to me but he did not do so.

The information was again posted to Mr Smith but surprisingly enough it was again returned to the sender! After this when I tried to phone him he did not answer his phone.

Mrs Botma of ABSA branch, Prince Albert, has confirmed that Mr Appleby-Smith works for ABSA but she can't find out what his position is.

Who is Mr Appleby-Smith at ABSA?

Bodo G. Toelstede

Mr Appleby-Smith Responds:

It is with regret that I have learned about Mr Toelstede's difficulty to communicate with me. I have on several occasions communicated my correct PO Box number to him. I have ascertained that the number he used is 775 instead of 7735. This explains why his communication did not reach me. I have subsequently communicated to him on email and sent him my correct address.

Communities are very important to Absa. The bank has not divorced itself from Mr Toelstede's complaint regarding the cutting of the trees. We have been told that the correct procedures were followed and that the individuals who were involved in the project obtained the correct approvals through the appropriate channels.

We were under the impression that we were giving the community something which could be treasured for generations to come. We even received praise from some members of the Prince Albert community for our involvement in the creation of the artworks.

Absa is environmentally conscious and I personally consulted universities to ascertain the threat the alien Blue Gum trees pose to the South African flora and environment. I am satisfied that the Prince Albert Council made the correct choice. However, I am still concerned if Absa was involved in a process which did not consult the community appropriately and I will be the first to apologise on behalf of the Absa Group if that is the case.

I have again invited Mr Toelstede to communicate the community's complaints to me as soon as possible so that we can find a solution for the problem together.

Errol Appleby-Smith
Communication Manager:
Office of the Group Chief Executive
Absa Group Limited

Bedanking: Charmaine van Eck

‘n Maand gelede het ons ‘n beroep op Prince Albert en sy mense gedoen. Finansiële bydraes het begin instroom. Die reaksie was werklik oorweldigend! Ons mense het hul harte en beursies oop gemaak vir ‘n baie siek vrou.

Intussen het die Van Eck gesin ‘n eggenote en moeder aan die dood af gegee.

Dankie!!! Baie dankie aan al ons inwoners wat in die geweldige moeilike en hartseer tyd daar was vir Johan en sy kinders met oproepe, eetgoed, ‘n drukkie, blomme en kaartjies, maar bowenal het u gebede hul deur hierdie moeilike tyd gedra.
Dankie Prince Albert. Ons dorpie se mense gee nog om vir mekaar.

A Good Deed:
How far that little candle throws her beams.
So shines a good deed in a naughty world. (Shakespeare)

Debbie Badenhorst & Chantelle van Eck

Bedanking: Audrey de Wit

Graag wil ons as gesin baie dankie sê aan al my ma se vriende wat haar gereeld gaan besoek het in Huis Kweekvallei.

Baie dankie aan almal se liefde en omgee vir haar deur die jare.

Ek is ook dankbaar vir haar laaste lang kuier van Februarie tot Mei 2006 by ons in Aliwal Noord. Ek, Christelle en Ilse het haar behoorlik bederf. Sy het baie uitgesien na haar volgende kuier by ons in Oktober 2006 maar het begin September ‘n beroerte aanval gehad. Dit is juis hoekom ek haar tydelik by ons en daarna by die Katolieke nonne versorg het. Ons kon haar daagliks besoek en help met die versorging.

Met haar versorging by die Katolieke outehuis in Aliwal het sy gereeld gehoor hoe die Duitse susters ( nonne ) Blye versekering, Jesus is myne sing. Dit was haar gunsteling lied.

My ma was ook ‘n groot liefhebber van klassieke musiek en het veral baie van Rachmaninov en Tchaikovsky se werk gehou. Sy het ook baie van William Shakespeare se boeke gehou en kon lang aanhalings uit haar kop doen.

Ook ‘n groot dankie aan almal wat betrokke was by die tuin by Huis Kweekvallei. Dankie dat dit na haar vernoem is. Ons is net so trots daarop as wat sy sou wees.

Edelweiss Wessels en gesin
Aliwal Noord

Dankie aan ons ondersteuners

Daar was aan die einde van Mei 2007 ‘n baie groot behoefte by die Bejaar-de Sorg Sentrum. Verskeie persone het donasies gegee. Hiermee wil die komitee van die Sentrum graag die volgende persone bedank:
Mnr Willie de Bruin, Mnr Serfontein van Konings, Mnr Stander van die groentewinkel and Mnr Senekal.

Ons wil u verseker dat dit hoog gewaardeer word. Baie dankie dat u bereid was om ons nood te verlig. Ons het nog donasies nodig, aangesien ons nog nie uit die rooi is nie.

Mev Dulcie Claassen

'n Nuwe Naam!

Ontmoet “SARA-MARI” du Plessis, Hennie du Plessis se "tweede" vrou. Die naam "MARA" behoort tot 'n hoofstuk van haar lewe wat afgesluit is deur vergifnis.

Please meet "SARA-MARI" du Plessis, Hennie du Plessis' "second" wife. The name "MARA" belongs to a chapter of her life that's now closed through forgiveness.

Sara-Mari du Plessis

Museum News: Autographs

One morning whilst going through drawers and cupboards that haven’t been opened in years, I discovered an old autograph book from the 1890’s. When Jonathan arrived, I show-ed it to him.

Working together, sharing the work load, the funny and difficult situations of our kind of job, we paged through this old, precious book and discovered the most beautiful poems and drawings. We read through poems written by well known residents of Prince Albert, like Dr. John Mearns, district surgeon from 1879 to 1901. Jonathan looked up and said: “I think you should write about this autograph book when you do your next article for the paper.” At that stage I didn’t think much of it, and for heaven’s sake, what could I possibly have to say about an old book with lovely poems and pen sketches from years gone by?

Now, everything has changed! After his fall, Jonathan was hospitalised for a week. He never regained consciousness, and passed away. We are all in a state of shock. Phones are ringing, sad and worried friends come and go, and when I sat down to take a breather, I noticed the autograph book lying on my desk.

I then realised that, right now, the whole museum is like an “autograph” of Jonathan. Everywhere I look, everywhere I go, there’s a reminder of him: The good laughs we had, he and Virna eating toffees while they did the minutes from the previous Board Meeting, the chats on the stoep with visitors, helping me with my computer problems, or handing out information about our town that he loved so dearly.
Jonathan was a “walking encyclopaedia” and we could ask him anything about Prince Albert, he always had an answer ready.

In memory of Jonathan, I would like to share some of the old poems with you.

Make a little fence of trust
Around today;
Fill the space with loving work,
And therein stay.
Look not through the sheltering bar
Upon tomorrow;
God will help thee bear
What comes,
Of joy or sorrow.
(L. Hugo 1890)

The End of a Perfect Day
O would some power thee give us
To see ourselves as others see us,
It would from many blunder free us
(J.M. Helman, 1910)

Jonathan was forever correcting my English, and as a tribute to him, my article this month is in English. Thank you, Jonathan, you were a good teacher.

Museum greetings
Debbie Badenhorst

In Memoriam: Jonathan Alfred Rolfe: 3 August 1950 – 1 July 2007

- Judy Maguire –

Many Prince Alberters have been left with a stunned feeling of disbelief and unreality at the untimely death of Jonathan Rolfe. Prince Albert is just not the same any more without him. He was one of the town’s most well-known and best-loved characters – one of a kind, unique. It was impossible to drive through the village and not see Jonathan on the Museum veranda, usually in tee-shirt, jeans and sandals, cigarette between his fingers, smiling and twinkling at you from behind his glasses.

His kindness, open-hearted generosity and helpfulness were legendary, and his friendliness attracted people of all ages and from all walks of life. He was known by everyone and so did he know everyone, and was quick to offer an interesting “take’ on everything that was going on in town. He was a ‘front of house’ person par excellence and his absence from the Fransie Pienaar Museum will be particularly keenly felt – it is strangely empty now without his cheery presence, and even seems dark. He will continue to be sorely missed.

Jonathan was born in Cape Town and went to school at CBC in Seapoint. After matriculating, he first worked for a bank before transferring to the Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery, where he worked for many years. After that, he worked for Gilbey’s – also for many years - before retiring to Prince Albert. A little-known fact about Jonathan was that he had green fingers and enjoyed growing roses and orchids in his pre-Prince Albert days. Despite his friendliness, he could be a very private person.

Jonathan loved Prince Albert and his home – always open to everyone – at ‘The Views’. He enjoyed having his family, friends and animals about him and was one of those rare beings – relaxed, happy and contented. His front – and back – stoeps were the friendliest most welcoming places in town, and friends often gathered there to chat.

He was inordinately proud of his wife, Joy, his daughter Trish, and his niece Zara, and nothing was too much trouble to ensure their well-being. Our hearts go out to them at this sad and lonely time. We townsfolk can console ourselves with the memory of the warm and human presence that his friendship, generosity and kindness brought into our lives. It was an enriching experience to have known this very special person.

Health Minister: Province will strengthen Hospital’s Services to the Community

In welcoming the Prince Albert Hospital’s personnel into the family of Provincial health workers during his visit to the town on Thursday, 28 June 2007, Dr Pierré Uys, the Western Cape Minister of Health, committed his Department to strengthening and supporting a number of services offered by the Hospital, among them the ambulance and the X-ray services.

Dr Uys, who was accompanied by a delegation of senior officials of the Department of Health, praised the valuable role the Hospital played in the community, particularly in serving the poorest of the poor.

The Provincially Aided Hospital which was officially opened in September 1978 became a Provincial hospital on 1 April 2007. At a lunch to meet Hospital staff, Dr Uys admitted that Government systems and procedures would take some getting used to but reassured personnel that they would benefit from being Provincial employees in terms of salary and allowance structures and the training offered by his Department.

He stressed that Hospital employees were now part of a team where each person’s role was valued. Dr Renette Crous, the Regional Director of Health for the Southern Cape and a member of Dr Uys’ delegation, also thanked the Hospital’s staff for their commitment to service delivery in spite of recent upheavals and for not joining the nationwide civil servants’ strike in June.

A senior Hospital official confirmed that the training opportunities that were now open to Hospital personnel were a great advantage. At the same time, the official regretted that in spite of rural allowances and the many positive aspects of living in Prince Albert, the Hospital still could not fill key posts that had been vacant for a while.

This the official felt was due to “local housing prices being out of reach of people on civil servants’ salaries.” According to a Health Department official travelling with Minister Uys, the Department hoped to be able to appoint a new Hospital Secretary by the end of July. Ms H Botha has been Acting Hospital Secretary since January of this year.

Brett The Vet - The Big Five

The Big Five

The slogan 'Think globally, act locally' continues to take on more relevance particularly in remote places like Prince Albert. Progressive and enlightened ideas concerning every walk of life can be assimilated and applied by each and every person who wants to contribute to a harmonious and productive community.

By our attitudes and ways we are able to demonstrate we care for the world around us, and also for the creatures with which we share it. There is growing international awareness of the sentience of animals, with many countries beginning passing legislation to bring about a 'legal duty of care' to protect animals.

The Five Freedoms Welfare Code is designed to give domestic animals a humane scope of natural ‘freedoms’ which encourages people to recognise the needs of animals in their care and to honour them as sentient beings. In Prince Albert there are many instances where animals are deprived of some or all five freedoms.

This may be due to lack of education, awareness, or consideration. That is why it is up to every one of us who understands the meaning of the Five Freedoms to practise them and to explain to others who
may not have considered basic freedoms at all. The illumination that emanates from grasping this concept is life transforming.

The Five Freedoms are:

Freedom from hunger and thirst
Freedom from discomfort
Freedom from pain, injury, disease
Freedom to express normal behaviour
Freedom from fear and distress

Now, it is quite simple to see if an animal is deprived of one or more freedom: If there is no food or water available this will be evident. Discomfort can be caused by anything from lack of bedding material or space to move or sleep, to the lack of shade or shelter provision.

The injured and diseased are easily recognised, and animals can feel pain in the same way that humans do. The expression of normal behaviour in animals is open to interpretation.

Common sense dictates that a dog on a chain cannot run or play; a budgerigar in a small cage cannot fly; battery hens cannot perch, preen, dust bathe or walk around and scratch for worms; cattle in feedlots cannot graze; and neutered animals cannot mate (effectively).

Fear is often misinterpreted as respect, particularly in dogs. Cowardice in man is manifest by using fear in obedience training rather than the generally accepted method of rewarding good behaviour.

There are still people who refuse to consider animals as sentient beings. The current law in this country states that animals are 'property'. We have nothing to lose by giving animals the benefit of any doubts that exist, and so much to gain by developing a sense of awe and grace.

Landbou nuus

Die afgelope ses maande was nie sonder opwinding nie. Prince Albert Landbou Vereniging het weer soos laas jaar relevante sake in vergaderings aangespreek. Ons het ook ‘n paar nuwe lede bygekry. Vergaderings word so gestruktureer dat elke boer daarby baat vind, ongeag sy boerderyvertakking.

Gereelde maandvergaderings word soms vervang met boeredae waar lede op ‘n praktiese manier inligting bekom. Ons besoek mekaar se plase en gee raad aan mekaar op persoonlike vlak.

Lede kry ook die geleentheid om met kundiges wat op sulke dae teenwoordig is, te gesels. My persoonlike ondervinding is dat ‘n mens meer leer op die manier as wat jy ure sit en luister.

In die begin van die jaar is ‘n Besproeiingsdag aangebied. In Maartmaand het ons ‘n Kleinveedag aangebied met die volgende kundiges: Dr Philip Botha van Outeniqua Proefplaas oor aangeplante weidings; Dr Sue Milton-Dean oor korrekte bestuur van natuurlike weiveld (bewarings-ekologie); Charl du Plessis, landbouvoorligter, oor veeproduksie; Dr Hannes van der Merwe oor wolvesel verwerking. Selfs die veeboere het iets geleer.
In Meimaand het ons ‘n Steenvrugtedag aangebied, weer eens met kundiges van buite. Daar was baie vrae en bespreking rondom wintersnoei wat nou begin; Andrew Hacking het ons bietjie herinner aan die basiese beginsels. Die jongste beskikbare bedryfsyfers was ook onder bespreking, en dit het beroerd gelyk om die minste te sê; Jacques du Preez van die OABS was hier die man met die syfers.
In die onderskeie bedryfsvertakkings moet al hoe meer gemeganiseer en arbeid tot die minimum beperk word om produktiwiteit te verhoog. Hoekom sukkel met swak arbeid as jy goeie masjiene kan gebruik teen heelwat laer koste? Dit is ongelukkig die rigting waarin ons gedwing word in vandag se omstandighede. Voorbeelde hiervan is kanonspuite wat self loop en stop (geen meer spuite wat geskuif word nie), terwyl ander werk in dieselfde tyd gedoen word. Elektriese skaapskeermasjiene, krane wat met radioseine oop en toe gaan, mikrospuite en druppers wat nie verstop nie; (Johan Swart van Agriplas het ons kom vertel van die nuutste op die besproeiingsfront). Trekkers het nie eens meer bestuurders nodig nie, want sateliete word gebruik om hulle in die regte rigting te stuur.

Kommersiële landbou is in ‘n oorlewingstryd gewikkel. Insetkoste skiet die hoogte in op elke terrein van boerdery en die inkomste krimp. Ons ding mee met kommersiële boere in ander lande wat nie weet wat dit is om sonder subsidies te boer nie. . Nou ontstaan die vraag: watter kans het opkomende boere om hulle op plase te kan vestig in hierdie ongenaakbare globale omgewing en dit ten spyte van regeringshulp?

Wonder bo wonder bly die boere op ‘n snaakse manier positief. Dit is mense wat nie weet van “gaan lê” nie; moed opgee bestaan nie in ‘n boer se woordeskat nie, hoewel ons al baie op “moedverloor se vlakte was”. ‘n Boer is ‘n snaakse ding, miskien binnekort ‘n rare spesie (definitief ‘n bedreigde een!), hy probeer gedurig “aan die hemel vat” en dit is wat ons landbou aan die gang hou. Almal moet eet! Dit is tyd dat mense buite die landbou dit besef. Hou op met klippe gooi en met swak en onwaar beriggewing die landbou skaad. Onthou, landbou is die fondasie van elke gesonde ekonomie regoor die wêreld.

Jacques du Plessis

In loving memory of Anton Beukes: 25th August 1962 - 30th June 2007

Father to Evan – Ruan and Anton and partner to Louis. Friend to all who crossed his path Anton was lovingly known as our Handy Man. With no job too small he was always willing to assist and was meticulous in his work.

Anton could turn his hand to anything from gardening to wood work – he had just completed the most beautiful shaded veranda at the back of Die Kuierhuis.

Anton was my friend and no matter the time of day he was always there to help me, he was a reserved man who held himself to himself. Anton was kind, gentle, caring and considerate; all you have to do is look at the beautiful garden he has created.

“We seem to give them back to You -
O God, Who gave them to us.
Yet, as You did not lose them in giving so do we not lose them by their return
Not as the world gives, do you give, O Lover of souls.
What You give, You do not take away, for what is Yours is ours also if we are Yours.

And life is eternal and love is immortal,
And death is only an horizon and an horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.

Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see further: draw us closer to Yourself that we may know ourselves to be nearer to our loved ones who are with You.”

The Heritage South Africa Symposium (10 and 11 August 2007) – an update

Arrangements are forging ahead for the Heritage South Africa Symposium, and the programme is all but finalized. The overall theme is “The Heritage Timescale” and sessions deal with a broad spectrum of heritage which covers many issues from rock art to contemporary questions concerning our cultural identity, and what this is and means.

The first session explores the seemingly well-entrenched “Mermaid Myth” of the Karoo and its connection or otherwise to the so-called ‘mermaid paintings’ in the rock art of this region. The speakers in this session are Poem Mooneys, the ‘Stamvader’ of the Attaqua Khoi and Dr Jeremy Hollmann, rock art specialist, who has spent much time visiting each and every ‘mermaid’ painting site and has carefully researched the original meanings of these images. Poem Mooneys is au fait with many contemporary beliefs within the Khoisan communities of the Little Karoo as well as elsewhere.

The second session deals with ‘Village Life” and speakers in this session are Annalize and Maré Mouton, editors of the popular cultural and natural history magazine ‘Village Life’. Their contribution examines the role every household can play in conserving heritage and looks at family histories and appropriate future repositories for such fragile heritage – are Museums the right place?

Derek Thomas will also speak in this session and examine Prince Albert as a cultural landscape – the threats to its continued existence and sustainability into the future and strategies for its conservation and management.

Session three is entitled “Making the Intangible Tangible” and Christine Thomas will speak about her work in focusing attention on the old Gamkaskloof tradition of asking riddles – an aspect of intangible heritage that has all but disappeared. She will also explain the ‘capturing’ of the intangible heritage around the displaced Prince Albert communities of Rooikamp and Nuwerus, and the multi-pronged approach by means of which this has been rendered tangible. A short town walk around this neighbourhood with Christine and Baba Lekay, a former resident, is associated with this session as is a visit to the Fransie Pienaar Museum to view the Rooikamp exhibition.

It is hoped that session four, parts one and two, will generate much discussion around the “Question of Culture”. What gives us cultural identity? What signifiers are clues to this? How does culture change? Are we culturally disoriented or culturally homeless? Speakers in the session (Part 1) are Crain Soudien, educator and specialist in culture and museums in Africa, and Cheryl Carolus, businesswoman par excellence.

Speakers in session four (Part 2) are Gerrit Brandt and Zane Meas (Neville Meintjies of “Sewende Laan’ fame). With this diversity of academics juxtaposed with media folk and a fascinated audience from many regions of South Africa, it is hoped that discussion will be lively.

The excursion will be to the old property Remhoogte and Klaarstroom and will examine South African War links to these outlying heritage areas. Dr Taffy Shearing, a professional historian, has agreed to share her knowledge of this segment of history with us.

For those that would like to register, please contact Virna Gouws at the Fransie Pienaar Museum on 023 5411172 or Judy Maguire on 023 5411 713 or questar[@] It is possible to book for individual sessions at R50 per session which includes tea but not other meals. A limited number of ‘bursary session tickets’ are available at R15 – these are intended for the staff of local guesthouses, restaurants, tourism bureau and for those who are interested in going into heritage or tourism. There are also a few fully sponsored session tickets – for the last two categories, please contact Judy Maguire directly.

Please note that the venue has changed – the symposium sessions will now be held at the Hoërskool Zwartberg hall. Booking forms are available from the contact persons noted above. For out-of-town folk, please note that booking is brisk and accommodation will be at a premium because of it being a long weekend and there is to be a wedding in the town. Book and register without delay to avoid disappointment.

Is PA the Cleanest Town in the Western Cape?

- Linda Jaquet -

The Prince Albert Local Municipality has again entered this year’s Cleanest Town Competition run by the Western Cape Government’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. Judging will take place in August and September by a panel whose members’ visits to participating municipalities are not announced in advance.

In 2001 loods die Nasionale Departement van Omgewingsake en Toerisme “Die Skoonste Dorp Kompetisie”. Die doel hiervan is om Suid Afrikaners bewus te maak van netheid en afvalbestuur in hul buurt. Hul hoop om mense aan te moedig om 'n aktiewe rol te speel om hul om-gewing netjies en skoon te hou. Die kom-petisie verleen ook erkenning aan die rol wat die munisipaliteit speel in volgehoue netheid, en die rol wat herwinning speel in werkskepping en die generering van 'n inkomste vir werklose mense. Verlede jaar se wenners was die Swartland Munisipaliteit en die Stad Kaapstad.

The 2006 Competition’s adjudication panel complimented the Prince Albert Local Municipality on the neatness and cleanliness of the three towns which it runs. It was less complimentary about the Municipality’s waste management, particularly in Leeu-Gamka and Klaarstroom and commented on an apparent lack of community buy-in to waste separation projects, which had, as a result, failed. It also made several recommendations on how to improve the operation and management of the landfills at all three towns.

Mnr Edwin September, waarnemende munisipale bestuurder, het aan die Vriend gesê dat die munisipaliteit gedurende die afgelope jaar moeite gedoen het om die paneel se aanbevelings in vervand met afvalbestuur te implementer, sodat hul voldoen aan amptelike vereistes. Ondanks dit het inwoners van Prince Albert die Vriend meegedeel dat verbranding van vullis nog steeds aangaan en dat daar nie verdeling tussen tuinvullis en huishoudelike vullis by die stortingsterrein is nie.

Omdat hul die belangrikheid van die gemeenskap se ondersteuning besef wat betref die herwinning van afval, sal die munisipaliteit ‘n werkswinkel op 7 Augustus om 14:00 in die Biblioteeksaal hou om idees te kry van die dorp se inwoners oor hoe om 'n vrywillige afvalbestuursplan te ontwikkel en te implementeer.

Another positive development is the Town Council’s decision to support a public-private partnership in a project managed by Sue and Richard Dean that will convert garden and household waste collected in the town into compost. The project aims to create a number of jobs, transfer knowledge and contribute to sustainable development and improved health conditions in the town. The project could eventually be one of several falling under the auspices of a proposed waste management forum, which could see local artists using recycled material, and used glass and tins being sold to a recycling concern in Oudtshoorn.

Veldtog teen hondesiekte

Gedurende Junie het ons plaas-like veearts, Dr Brett Bard en dieregesond-heidstegnikus, Cobus Ferreira, honderde honde in Prince Albert ingeënt ná die uitbreek van honde-siekte.

Aan die begin van die veldtog is baie honde dood as gevolg van die hoogs aansteeklike virus. Die meeste honde is ingeënt in ‘n poging om hul teen die virus te beskerm, en om verdere ver-spreiding van die siekte te voorkom.

Volgens Dr Bard is daar nou ná die inentingsveldtog ‘n groter bewustheid onder die mense om hul diere vroeg-tydig te laat inent teen dodelike siektes, soos hondesiekte. Hy het dit benadruk dat dit elke honde-eienaar se plig is om hul honde te laat inent.

Dr Bard bedank die farmaseutiese maatskappye, Schering-Plough Animal Health, Virbac, Intervet and Pfizer, wie elkeen 100 dosisse entstof geskenk het, asook die Prince Albert Munisipaliteit wat gehelp het om die veldtog te borg.

BADISA Visits Seekoegat Primary School

- Linda Jaquet -

It was one of the chilliest, windiest Mondays this winter, but BADISA social workers Cecilia Cedras and Rozane Spogter were determined to go ahead with their planned visit to the rural Seekoegat Primary School, to do a number of things. Firstly, they wanted to tell the thirty or so learners at the School about what information, help and support they, as social workers, could offer them, about the dangers of alcohol, drugs, and HIV/AIDS.

To strengthen their message, BADISA enlisted the talents of two highly skilful communicators. Community activist, Jeff Armoed, who spoke first, was frank in his interaction with the youngsters on HIV/AIDS and Inspector Farrell Januarie of the Prince Albert Police gave a lively and often graphic talk on the risks posed to young people by alcohol and drug abuse.

Then Cecilia and Rozane needed to hand over to the learners aged between seven and thirteen, several boxes of warm clothes donated by a private English school, thanks to the good work of our Thursday Group.

The visit to Seekoegat Primary was all the more urgent following news of the rape of a ten year old pupil at her home some weekends beforehand. Thanks to the concern and efforts of the School’s dedicated headmaster, Mr Fortuin, its two educators and three administrative workers, BADISA had been quickly contacted and had promptly assisted and supported the young girl and her family.

The Chapelry of St John the Baptist celebrates 111 years

- Ailsa Tudhope -

The weekend of 23rd - 24th June was a time of reflection and celebration for the people of St John’s. On Saturday the Parish Council and Lay ministers met for a workshop in the church hall.

Father Peter Minaar, the rector, based at St Jude’s church in Oudtshoorn, drove through to discuss a variety of issues including Spirituality, Church structures, the Diocesan plan to gather local history and Stewardship.

Spiritualiteit en die plaaslike kerk-struktuur is gedurende die oggend bespreek. Na ’n smaaklike ete is die voorbereiding vir huwelike en doop en Rentmeesterskap bespreek. Kennis is geneem van die plan om die Bisdom van George se geskiedenis te versamel. Gedurende die vergadering is Eva Marsch genooi om by die Kerkraad aan te sluit. ’n Sertifikaat van inhuldiging tot die posisie van lekepredikant aan oorlede Dawid Bezuidenhout is aan sy dogter, Emmie Willemse, gegee.

Sunday saw glorious celebratory flowers in the foyer, thanks to Renee Finn, which welcomed the parishioners who packed the church for a Sung Eucharist to celebrate the Feast Day of St John the Baptist and the little church’s 111th year.

Three babies were baptized, the choir sang an anthem: God is Love, and the congregation rejoiced and gave thanks for all that has happened in the building’s long history. Once again we were blessed with Chrisna Smit’s presence – how wonderful it is to have a pianist for these special occasions.

The Diocese of George is compiling a history of their parishes. If you have any information, interesting photographs or anecdotes about St John’s or its previous parishioners, Andrew or Ailsa Tudhope would love to hear from you.

Please phone 023 5411 211.

Hoërskool Zwartberg se slimkoppe

- Di Steyn -

Jaarliks word Graad 3 leerders deur die Nasionale Onderwys Departement van onderwys getoets t.o.v. hulle wiskunde- en taalvaardigheid. Die toetse word deur die Departement opgestel en deur hulle afgeneem sonder dat onderwysers enige inset daarin het en vooraf weet wat gevra gaan word. Hoërskool Zwartberg se graad 3 leerders het uitstekend presteer.

Every year Grade 3 learners nationwide are tested for their mathematical and language skills. The tests are set by the National Department of Education and teachers have no idea of the questions that will be asked. These are our results. Well done, children and congratulations to our teachers!

Syferkundigheid: - (Slaag%)
Kring 8 - 27.3%
OBOS: Suid Kaap Karoo - 24.7%
Wes Kaap - 30.9%
Hoërskool Zwartberg - 94.4%

Kring 8 - 40.2%
OBOS: Suid Kaap Karoo - 45.1%
Wes Kaap - 47.7%
Hoërskool Zwartberg - 94.4%

Baie geluk aan die graad 3 leerders wat so pragtig presteer het. Baie dankie aan Me J Munro, D Koorts en B Marais vir u harde werk in die grondslagfase. Baie geluk met u pragtige uitslae.