Thursday, January 1, 2009

Zwartberg se nuwe hoof vol entoesiasme

- Denise Ohlson -

"Elke kind gaan steeds gesien en gehoor word,” sê Richard McKnight, nuwe skoolhoof by Hoërskool Zwartberg. “Leerders, ouers en onderwysers gaan gelyk-waardig en verdraagsaam behandel word - en dit is my beleid om dissipline eerder as ‘n opvoedingshulpmiddel te gebruik as vir straf.”

Ricky het saam met sy vrou Ronel en hul twee seuns Dicky en Francois – en Staffie Siebie en Kat – as koshuisouers ingetrek by Kroonhof. Met hul pragtige Kaapse houtmeubels in plek, die wasgoed op die draad en die TV gekoppel, is hulle sonder bogtery gereed vir die lewe in Prince Albert.

Ricky en Ronel het albei aan Stellenbosch gestudeer en het ook saam in Fraserburg en Douglas onderwys gegee – hy Engels en sy Afrikaans en Biblioteekkunde.

In Piketberg was Ricky departements-hoof en ook waarnemende adjunkhoof vir 640 leerlinge van graad 1 tot 12. Ronel het agt jaar lank by die Openbare Biblioteek gewerk.

Hulle was baie gelukkig in Piketberg, waar hulle sommer uit hul huis oor die straat kon stap skool toe. Maar toe die hoofskap in Prince Albert sy kant toe kom, was Ricky gereed om die uitdaging met oortuiging te aanvaar.

Nou is hulle hier, en die twee seuns, in graad 7 en 9, is ingeskryf by Hoërskool Zwartberg. Ronel, self ‘n koshuiskind uit Loxton, glo dat hoe langer jy jou kinders by jou het, hoe beter invloed het jy op hulle.

Ricky sê die skool se 2008 matriek-uitslae was uitmuntend en dat hy verseker die akademiese tradisie sal wil voortsit, maar dat hy ook wil roei met sport. Hy gaan ook probeer sorg dat ouers “versorg en betrek” word.

Hy het ‘n besliste langtermynvisie: Om die skool uit te bou tot ‘n instelling waar geen enkele ouer sy kind sal wil wegstuur na ‘n ander skool nie. Hy het vertroue in die materiaal waarmee hy gaan werk, en glo dat elke leerder sal baat by sy puik span onderwysers se ondervinding.

Hy wil graag begin deur gesprekke te voer met alle rolspelers. Dit is sy eerste prioriteit. Ja, hy voorsien lang ure van een-tot-een gesprekke vir die res van die jaar.

Ons nuwe skoolhoof praat met oortuiging en passie. Hy weet hef-aan lê voor, maar is vasbeslote om mense saam met hom te laat trek om die Zwartbergwa deur die skooldrif te kry. En al weet hy nie veel van boerdery nie, is die skool onder sy hoofskap verseker dat daar hierdie jaar weer ‘n oes op die skool se uielande gaan wees.

Hierdie seun uit Robertson se voete staan sterk en stewig geplant op die Karoo-aarde – en hier wil hy en sy gesin wortel skiet en voortreflike vrugte dra tot voordeel van die skool en die hele gemeenskap.

Zwartberg se 340 leerders - daar is vanjaar 28 graad 1‘s, 10 graad 8‘s en 34 in matriek - en hul ouers kan daarop staatmaak dat die nuwe hoof en sy personeel met pasie en toewyding in hul poste staan.

My Christian Perspective

- Lorna Verran –

A s Christians we should ask ourselves the following questions:
Who created me?
Whom do I ultimately trust?
Whom do I look to for ultimate truth?
Whom do I look to for security and happiness?
Who is in charge of my future?

Our answers give us good indications of where God features in our lives. This reality check leads us to the FIRST and SECOND of the Ten Commandments where God commands that we should “Worship no other gods” and “You shall not make any idols”. Obedience to these commands creates a balance in one’s life and everything takes its rightful place.

A god is not an idol of wood and stone but is whatever people put first in their lives i.e. takes the place of God. In a subtle way, many of us worship other gods by building our lives around something other than the one true God. We need to recognize this and change our focus. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt.6:33

There are SO MANY values we can allow to become gods to us. Wealth, identity, work, power, popularity, possessions, pride, appearance, intellect, knowledge, self-sufficiency and even food can become gods when we concentrate too much on them for meaning, security and dependence. No one sets out with the intention of worshiping these things. But by the amount of time they occupy in our lives, they can grow into gods that ultimately control our thoughts and energies and creating a dependence on them. Should we reach times of crisis and desperately call out to these “gods”, there will only be silence. They can offer no true answers, no guidance, and no wisdom. Or should any of these gods be taken from us only an empty shell is left.

Rather invest your life in the living God whom you can never lose – and is all you can take with you one day. So let us begin the New Year by giving God central place in our lives.

Starry Splendour over Prince Albert

- Hans Daehne -

The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) started with a partial solar eclipse on the 26th of January and the rest of 2009 will have many more observational highlights like the lunar eclipses in August and December.

To make the most of the IYA2009 the astronomical fraternity world-wide has decided to offer as many persons as possible a Galilean experience by letting them look through a telescope at the wonders of our universe. This will also be the case in Prince Albert when Astro Tours together with the Starfriends of Prince Albert will hold open viewing evenings at suitable venues. More information to follow.

The aim is to let Prince Alberters acquire a basic knowledge of and appreciation for the starry splendour above their heads, as the motto of the IYA says: The Universe – yours to discover.
Venus, the bright “Evening Star” at the moment, will become really bright (mag. - 4.5 ) after sunset in February and should be observed with dedication as she will disappear from the evening sky in March to become the “ Morning Star”.

Mars and Jupiter are already morning objects and the latter is also getting brighter as the months go by.

Saturn, in retrograde movement in the tail area of Leo, is on its way to its opposition to the Sun in March, and is visible with increasing brightness after sunset for the whole night in February.

Full Moon is on the 9th and New Moon on the 25th of February. The Full Moon will work its appearance more and more to the beginning of the month until in December there will be room for two Full Moons in one month ( 2nd and 31st ) with a partial lunar eclipse during “ Blue Moon” - a really “once in a blue moon” occurrence.

Orion with the “maternity ward”, the Seven Sisters, the red giants Aldebaran and Betelgeuse, the Magellanic clouds and the Southern Cross are still splendid sights. In February they will be joined by the largest globular cluster, Omega Centauri, and the most colourful open cluster, the Jewel Box.

Keep the stars in your eyes!

Brett the Vet - Once Upon a Crime

On a beautiful midsummer’s night when the crescent moon was aligned in a triangle with glowing planets, my little dog, Max vanished on my farm just after dark. I searched along the river, in the forest, up the koppie and around the house but he was gone. The following evening I retraced our steps for the umpteenth time with Beauty, the other dog living with us on the farm.

There were no clues explaining his disappearance, until we reached the house. Beauty started twitching uncontrollably; within minutes she was suffering excruciating convulsions. Immediately, I knew she had swallowed poison; I needed to act quickly to save her life. A teaspoon of salt poured into the back of her throat induced vomiting instantly. After administering antidote intravenously, she calmed down, and recovered fully after a few days.

A week later I found Max where he’d crawled away and died in fits of agony. He was riddled with maggots, some of which had died around his stomach, indicating evidence of the poison that killed him. He was the sweetest creature I’ve known, whom everyone adored. It breaks my heart to know that he was indiscriminately murdered. My dogs are my family and his death has been a devastating personal loss.

The horrific realization that animals are not safe even on my remote, organic farm highlights their vulnerability and the fate of so many innocent creatures. The disappearance of carnivores in the area, like the otters (not seen for two years), raptors, birds, mongooses, polecats, jackals, and many more, fills me with sadness and despair.

The gratuitous violence committed against life wild and free is thoughtlessly condoned among certain people. Lethal poisons are freely available. Poisoned bait is widely distributed, can be placed anywhere, and is evidently easily shifted to other locations: Poison will kill every living thing that ingests it - so even a child could find poison, eat it and die.

People ask me for advice on how to protect their pet dogs. Watching them 24 hours a day is no guarantee. Muzzling them may work. Training a scavenger to not eat carrion is difficult. The prohibition of poison, discouraging and scandalizing its use is the only practical solution in the long term. Cruelty to animals is a criminal offence. It is unacceptable that farmers are tacitly exempt from barbaric behaviour where they are custodians of land that should be abundant with life.

Everyone who cares can make a difference through positive action. Concerned members of the public should appeal to farmers, retailers, restaurateurs, and government to stop encouraging the routine use of poison in farming. Consumer demand for ethically produced food is increasing rapidly. All the major supermarket outlets are responding, providing essential information about food origins.

Some modern, informed farmers understand the complexities of predator control. They no longer use cruel and antiquated lethal methods because they try to maintain the vital ecological balance of the environment. There are many proven methods to protect sheep legally that don’t threaten the community or the natural balance of life. Only when farmers proudly insist on farming humanely with genuine compassion,weto see real progress in agriculture.

I urge farmers to stop using poison (and gin traps), and to adopt the non-lethal options open to them. Information describing effective, proven alternatives is available from many sources, including the Landmark Foundation (tel 083 324 3344) which has published a book, Predators on Livestock Farms.

Cape Nature Conservationconjunction with The Endangered Wildlife Trust (tel 011 486 1102) has issued a manual on holistic management with details of non-lethal predator control, created specificallyguide.

Dr Brett Bard BVSc MRCVS

Letters / Briewe

Villa Kruger?

Groot was ons verbasing toe ons tydens ‘n uitstappie na Skapies-einde se kant ‘n groot uithangbord met dié opskrif aan die heining van die voor-malige Aloe Cottage gevind het:

Villa Kruger
Sterfteplek van die Boerepresident
Paul Kruger

In geskiedenislesse in hoërskool in Duits-land het ek geleer dat hierdie volksheld, wat ook in Duitsland hoog aangeskryf word, na driejarige ballingskap in 1904 in Clarens, Switzerland, oorlede is. Die fraaie Vrystaatse dorp Clarens is hierna genoem.

Dit is te bevraagteken of die woord “Villa” vir hierdie huis van toepassing is.

Lutz en Veronika Diegel

Brilliant Prince Albert Police

On Monday morning 12 January at about 8am, we received a call from our neighbour to say we had had a burglary at our house in Prince Albert. Distressed by the news we then contacted the Police in Prince Albert. They proceeded to tell us that not only were they aware of the break-in, but that they had already apprehended the suspects, as well as recovered all our stolen household goods!

We were overwhelmed! Overjoyed and amazed!

At 5am on Monday morning, a patrol vehicle had stopped a suspicious vehicle, discovered the stolen goods, and arrested the two thieves. All this happened before we even knew we had been robbed!
We cannot express enough gratitude and thanks to all the staff involved both on the ground, as well as at the Police Station. Their regular patrols, sharp its,and prompt action certainly contribute to making Prince Albert one of the safest towns in South Africa.

Our sincere thanks once again.

Gordon and Caroline Midgley

Save Our Leopard Tortoises

On Monday 12 January, travelling the R407 into Prince Albert, a guest to the town witnessed a Blue 4x4 with GP registration plates travelling at high speed intentionally drive over a Leopard Tortoise crossing the road. Their words to me were “they had ample space and time to move across the road and not harm the tortoise”.

I ask myself - why in the world would anyone do such a heinous thing to a creature that hurts no man or beast. How wonderful it would be if the Department of Roads and Cape Nature Conservation chose to do something about the protection of these gentle giants of the Mountain by placing warning signs along the road.

Although Leopard tortoises (Stigmoc-helys), commonly known as a Mountain tortoise or Bergskilpad, are a familiar sight in our area and are not presently threatened, the day will come when they are on the endangered list – last year travelling the R407 each day I counted over 30 tortoises ranging from hatchlings to older ones that had been killed and maimed by vehicles & trucks.

According to Tortoises, Terrapins and Turtles of Africa by Bill Branch, a hatchling Leopard tortoise weighs approximately 23 – 50 grams, at 7 years old itwill weigh about 1kg; thereafter the body mass will double every 2 – 3 years so you can work out the average age of the ones we take for granted.

So please when you see a Leopard tortoise on the road, take 5 minutes to stop and ensure it crosses the road safely. It is not recommended that you pick up the tortoise - they know where they have to get to. If you see a vehicle damaging a tortoise, take the registration number and report it to CapeNature Conservation.

If not you then who – If not now then when…….

Lisa Smith

Words of Wisdom

Stemming from recent correspondence in our local paper – may I share with you a few lines from the Farmer’s Weekly of about 1960.

“When buying a new farm:
Lay in a good supply of coffee.
Get a comfortable chair.
Sit on your stoep and watch your neighbour – for a year.”

Dick Metcalf

Have Passport … Will Travel?

Queen Vic’s “Quest for a Passport” in October’s Prince Albert Friend reminded me of my own recent request to renew a nearly-expired Passport, a slight difference being the long wait of six months for the renewal.

There were three different venues, the first adjacent to the Library, the second unexpectedly far of. The kindness of Mr Riaan Coetzee saved me the very long walk by giving me a lift in his car, and the third when a friend offered to find the venue indicated in North End.

At the venue opposite SPAR I sat alone in a large room containing stacked tables and chairs, but was joined, briefly, by a woman who chose the very next chair to mine, proceeding to rub her tummy and said “I am hungry, will you give me R3.00?” The Home Affairs official arrived, took my fingerprints (which had been forgotten on the previous visit) and I then asked, politely but firmly if my Passport could be posted. The reply was equally polite but firm, “No”, but, a few weeks later I received a personal phone call advising me the Passport would be available for collection at a certain date and time. As I now have a valid passport for the next ten years … QUO VADIS?

Beryl Rimes

The People Shall Speak

Sorry, Mr Speaker, but you (November/December 2008) appear to have missed the point of my letter about the Council’s lack of performance. Our elected Councillors should stop their petty political postulating and instead act for the good of the people they are supposed to be representing. Ms van der Mescht and Mr Rossouw can confirm that I tried – to no avail - to meet with a Council representative after the first two totally unproductive Council meetings. Hence my letter to the media.

In a democracy, people should be able to disagree freely with the party line and voice their disagreement in public and in the media. This is a vital principle and the cornerstone of democracy. However, I agree that in his final article in the Sunday Times, David Bullard pushed the boundaries of press freedom a bit too far.

I must say that I am really proud of how our new 15 year old democracy is maturing, with people expressing their dissatisfaction with non-service delivery and how corruption is being exposed. The recall of the President and the formation of a new political party, COPE, in readiness for the forthcoming general election in March or April 2009 are also positive developments.

Our Councillors throughout the country had better take note of the voice and the will of the people and start giving a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay or they might find themselves out of a job. Let’s put Prince Albert first and make us all “Proudly Prince Albert”!

John Mckenna

Thank You All

To all my wonderful family and friends, a huge thank you for being there for me, for your love, comfort and amazing support at this very sad time.

Victoria Raft

Ugh, Off Olive Oil

We have just returned from yet another wonderful trip to Prince Albert. We dined at our two favourite restaurants on the main road. Wonderful food and great service as always. What I could not believe was that when we asked for olive oil at the table, we were served with rancid oil on both occasions.

This is not good for the town that strives to be the Olive Capital of South Africa.

Kobus Pool

Cats, cats, cats

Many people are complaining about the problem of too many feral cats in Prince Albert. Lynette Brand, our local animal welfare volunteer was telling me how people pitch up on her doorstep demanding to know why she has not sorted out the problem. The perception is that Lynette’s work is funded by the Municipality.

Here are the facts:
  • Lynette operates purely on a volunteer basis.
  • She operates from her home.
  • She offers a basic clinic service where she tends to sick animals and provides vitamins, de-worming and dips.
  • She has funded all her work out of her own personal savings, which are now depleted.

What Lynette does receive, is R2000 a month from the Municipality for the sterilization of dogs only from under-privileged homes. There is no funding whatsoever for the sterilization of cats.

Cobus Ferreira (Animal Health Technician) and Brett the Vet have been very helpful with diagnosis and suggesting treatments. Brett also did a lot of sterilizing of stray cats covering the costs himself as the promised funding was never forthcoming.

Lynette would love to extend her clinic and is currently looking for premises. If anyone can help out in any of the following ways, she would be most grateful:

  • Premises for her clinic.
  • Cages to keep the animals separate from each other.
  • A safe cat trap to capture the strays for sterilization to prevent further breeding.
  • Any donations towards her work.
  • And most of all, some understanding from the public.

Next time you want to ask ‘What has someone done about the cat problem in Prince Albert?’ first stop and ask yourself, ‘What have I done to assist with the cat problem in Prince Albert?’

Yolande Singery

Museumnuus: Spoke

Die spreekwoord sê: “Elke huis het sy kruis.” Ek wil byvoeg: “…en ‘n spook!”

Die gebou waarin Fransie Pienaar se versameling gehuisves word, was vanaf 1906 tot 1951 die gesinswoning van die Haaks. Gedurende April 1957 word dit Prince Albert se eerste hospitaal. In 1982 trek tannie Fransie met haar kosbare versameling na die gebou.

Ten minste een keer per jaar stap ‘n blondekop dame van Kuilsrivier in die museum in, betaal haar ingangsfooi en beweeg dan onmiddellik na die Porseleinkamer om haar spook te gaan groet! Ek ken nou al die ritueel en stap maar net geduldig agter haar aan en wag…

Gewoonlik gaan staan sy so ‘n rukkie stil asof sy wag vir ‘n sekere gewaar-wording of gevoel om oor haar te spoel. Na ‘n paar minute sal sy dan met my begin praat en verduidelik dat die spookvrou in ‘n lang swart rok geklee is, dat haar swart kappie feitlik haar hele gesig bedek en dat sy ‘n pragtige wit “broderie anglaise” voorskoot aan het.

Opgewonde sal sy dan vir my beduie (asof ek enigiets kan sien!) waar sy nou staan, en dat sy nou na die Babakamer (so genoem uit die hospitaaldae) toe beweeg! Sy sal nog byvoeg dat die spookvrou oor iets buk of lank op een plek stilstaan.

‘n Moontlike verklaring vir die spook-vrou wat dan konsuis die heeltyd tussen die twee aangrensende vertrekke rond beweeg, is dat sy waarskynlik in dié gebou gesterf het. Wie weet, dalk het sy destyds ‘n baba hier agtergelaat wat deur iemand anders versorg en grootgemaak moes word.

Nog ‘n moontlike verklaring vir die spookvrou wat nie tot rus kan kom nie, is dat sy dalk haar baba in dié gebou aan die dood afgestaan het. Die twee vertrekke waar die spookvrou rond beweeg, was tog destyds die Kraamsaal en Babakamer van die hospitaal.

Die vraag is net: Het hierdie dame van Kuilsrivier ‘n spesiale gawe ontvang om dwalende geeste te “sien”, óf, is dit sommer maar net haar ryk verbeelding wat met haar parte speel?

Al wat ék weet: Volgende jaar dié tyd, stap die blondekop weer hier in om haar spookvrou te kom groet!

Debbie Badenhorst

LIFE IN KAROO COUNTRY… or, Random Acts of Kindness

Life on a Karoo farm is filled with accidents of Nature! Baby birds blown out of nests, mountain tortoises hauling themselves into our water troughs, a hungry duiker who could not resist the luring food laid out in a porcupine trap.

Very occasionally, one of our ewes will spurn her lamb and I am amazed at my ability, great-gran that I am, to still mix formula and bottle-feed the orphans. No more baboons are imbibing in our water tanks but every day I gently pluck thirsty honeybees from various fountain over-flows. The cobra in my kitchen had to be persuaded to seek mouse morsels in the shed instead. Coming from a long line of doctors, I am developing amazing veterinary skills to deal rather with injured animals.

These small acts of rescue pale beside the photos of the miraculous saving of 155 lives aboard the US Airways plane that landed in the Hudson River in January. The skill of the pilots astounds and the accolades they received are well earned.

I can attest to the fact that my countrymen in Bermuda always have a fleeting, perhaps sub-conscious thought of going down into the cold North Atlantic Ocean when we board our flights. We have no choice but to fly over 1,000 km of icy cold water to reach the nearest land.

Americans, luckily, have little thought of the perils of oceans whilst jetting around their enormous country. Many years ago, my father boarded a flight from Boston to Los Angeles and was utterly befuddled when woken by a stewardess trying to make him don his “Mae West” – the common name for a life-preserver jacket in those days.

Only when finally sentient did he understand that the plane had not reversed direction to the Gulf of Mexico but that his aid as a physician was being sought to tend to the famed movie-star herself. Her abundant upper physique was so constricted by layers of horsehair corsets that she was in acute respiratory distress. Dad had the honour of loosening her sartorial restraints!

Stories of (human) rescue in the Karoo abound but usually entail directions, shelter, (potable) water, a hearty meal and the ubiquitous helping hand changing flat tyres.

If we think of the oceans, it is most often to drive to the beautiful coast, seeking solace from the heat and dust of our semi-desert. The tales of dramatic and timely aid given to those ‘in peril on the sea’ are of boundless courage and valour. The wreck of the “Birkenhead” off Gansbaai contributed the ultimate measure of maritime gallantry: “Women and children first”, an injunction even applied on a sinking aircraft last week.

The southern African waters have claimed so many ships and lives. At least these disasters were not man-made. Whenever the economy faltered, wily Bermudians in the 18th century lit signal fires on our highest promontories thereby luring ships onto the treacherous reefs; in all cases, crew and passengers were successfully ‘rescued,’ along with the providential bounty.

Alas, even the most selfless and energetic efforts at rescue do not always succeed. All attempts to reach “Le Souzenance,” a French merchantman returning from the East Indies in 1871, floundering in a violent storm off Quoin Point, failed.

There were no survivors and in the following days, a number of their sorrowful bodies washed ashore. The good and kindly citizens of Hermanus gave them all, including one small, red-headed, curiously hairy man, a most proper Christian burial.

It was not for many years that this charitable community understood they had consigned to God’s good care the innocent soul of an orang-utan.

Water - Die Munisipaliteit Verduidelik

Op die Vriend se navraag oor bekommernisse oor die toestand van die dorp se water, het die Waarnemende Munisipale Bestuurder die volgende persverklaring uitgereik. Ons wil hom bedank vir sy spoedige reaksie op ons navrae en ons nooi graag ons lesers uit om enige kommentaar en idees oor hierdie belangrike aangeleentheid met ons te deel.

Die Raad besef die erns van die waterprobleem terdeë. Daar word voortdurend aandag gegee en beplan om die kwaliteit, veral t.o.v. kleur en smaak, te stabiliseer.

‘n Vaste span amptenare vergader op gereelde basis om alle ondersoeke en resultate te bespreek.

Die getal pypbarste, die feit dat al die pype en almal behalwe een reservoir die afgelope jaar nie gespoel is nie en moontlik ook die verhoogde byvoeging van boorgatwater kan ‘n invloed hê.

Alhoewel ons outomatiese chloor-toedieningsapparaat doeltreffend funk-sioneer, is dit ‘n raaisel hoekom die chloorvlakke op verskillende plekke varieer. Chloorlesings wat geneem word behoort die hoogste te wees naby die toedieningspunt. Daaglikse toetsresultate wys op die meeste plekke normaal te wees.

Plekke waar die water die meeste gekleur is, toon ‘n verhoogte chloorlesing. Dit is nie normaal nie. Die vermoede van kenners is dat nagvloei/gebruik afneem en die chloor die neerslag in die pype losmaak. Sodra die spitsvloei in die dag toeneem – veral op Maandae – word die afsaksel in die waternetwerk versprei.

Opnames is reeds gemaak oor al ons pypleidings se ligging en ouderdom, sowel as plekke waar lekkasies voorkom. Gebreke in die verband geniet aandag. Handleidings vir alle waterinstallasies word in die vooruitsig gestel sodat kundigheid nie net in enkele persone se hande is nie.

Daar word ook beoog om in samewerking met Caledon-water (met 40 installasies onder hulle beheer) ‘n omvattende kwaliteitsontleding te doen.

Wees verseker dat geen steen onaan-geroer gelaat sal word om ‘n oplossing vir die probleem te kry nie.

D J Rossouw
Wnde Munisipale Bestuurder

Buyers Snap Up Industrial Erven

- Linda Jaquet -

Sixteen plots put up for sale by the Municipality in Prince Albert’s industrial area on 1 December 2008 were snapped up by buyers that same day. The majority of buyers were local residents, who paid R50.00 per square metre for the plots that ranged in size from just over 500m² to approximately 1000m². Remaining plots were sold to buyers from Johannesburg and Cape Town.

In selling the plots, the Municipality hoped that small industries run in backyards in residential areas would relocate to the town’s industrial area.
A condition of sale was that the plots must be developed as industrial businesses within two years. If not, owners will be obliged to sell them back to the Municipality for the price that they paid. The plot reserved by the Municipality for black empowerment was not sold.

According to Dawid Rossouw, Acting Municipal Manager, monies received from the sale of the plots will cover costs incurred by the Municipality, such as land surveying and provision of basic infrastructure. Based on the success of this sale, the Council is considering putting a further 10 to 15 plots in the industrial area on the market.

Two important posts to be filled soon?

- Linda Jaquet -

Prince Albert should have a new Municipal Manager in the next month. This is the aim of Dawid Rossouw, who has been Acting Municipal Manager since March last year. Rossouw, a former Mayor of Prince Albert, was persuaded out of retirement specifically to manage the process of appointing the most senior official in the Municipality. At that time, the Municipal Council assured Rossouw that his services would be needed for only two months.

However, the town’s hung Council disagreed over the appointment of a candidate from a short list of applicants, following a rigorous selection process conducted by an independent consultant. As a result, the position was advertised again towards the latter part of last year. It is understood that eighteen people applied for the post, among them Newton Wicomb, a former Municipal Manager, who resigned the position in August 2007 after his suspension by the Council for non-performance.

The Municipality also advertised the post of Community Services Manager for a second time late last year. The post has been vacant since the resignation of Edwin September less than a year ago. At the time, September was due to appear before a disciplinary hearing convened by the Council.

The Municipality received thirteen applications for the position, which it also hopes too to fill in the near future. In the meantime, in the middle of December last year the Council appointed September as Acting Community Services Manager, apparently to deal with a backlog at the Municipality. The Friend believes that September has also applied for his former position at the Municipality.

A seven-member panel comprising officials from the Department of Local Government, the Central Karoo District Municipality and the City of Cape Town, as well as two Prince Albert Councillors, were due to assess the short-listed candidates for both vacant positions and make their recommendations to the Council during January

Cleaning the Swartberg. Should we take charge?

- Alf Joubert -

On one of those truly splendid days we were travelling back to Prince Albert via the Swartberg Pass. It was the 12th of January 2009. On reaching The Top we discovered that over the festive season many people had visited the lookout point.

True to a good upbringing they had “tried” to place their litter in the bin provided but alas could not – it was filled to the brim. The next best thing of course would be to take your litter away with you. But suspecting that the drum would be cleared “soon”, more rubbish was either forced in deeper in or just left next to the drum.

Needless to say the “soon” did not happen and the wind carried much of the rubbish into the surrounding bushes. This sad tale repeated itself at every other viewpoint down the mountain. At Eerstewater the situation was really very bad. In fact, shocking.

Although my family and I cleared this spot (gathering five black bags of rubbish and broken glass) before we could enjoy a picnic there on the 30th of December, the latest mess here was unbelievable.

Realizing that two weeks have passed and no official finger had been lifted to empty any bin on the mountain, I took a snap decision to do something about the matter.
On the 13th of January I organized a private cleanup. With the help of Jan September we started from The Top and four hours of labour under a blistering sun resulted in eight bags of litter. And we had not even touched Eerstewater!

We called it a day and returned to Eerstewater three days later assisted by Abraham Mars. Three hours and ten bags of rubbish and broken glass later we felt reasonably pleased with a task well done, by no means perfect as there is still an infinite amount of broken bottle pieces to be picked up.

During the two days I met quite a few tourists as far afield as Texas in the USA, who were blown away by our spectacular mountain. Hopefully they will now leave the country with a good and “cleaner” picture of Prince Albert and encourage their friends to visit us.

The mountain is our lifeline and if this tourist umbilical cord should be cut because the people responsible are not doing their part to clean up “our” mountain, private people will have to step in to protect Prince Albert’s precious heritage site.

What is Renu-Karoo?

- Richard Dean -

In common with Outa Schoeman and his ideas of "creating something out of nothing", we've long dreamed of a biodiversity-based business that can provide employment, interest a wide range of people in the natural environment of Prince Albert, contribute to tidying up the village, and earn an income. Analogous to the concept of the phoenix, a bird of ancient Egyptian mythology that rises from the ashes and symbolises renewal, our vision is a business that turns refuse into compost to grow a wide range of indigenous plants, revitalise gardens and grow food, and which will breathe new life into tired Karoo veld using seeds collected from our seed orchard and roadsides.

Over the past two years, thanks to assistance from the Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation (UK) and from the Plant Conservation Unit at the University of Cape Town, helpful cooperation from the Prince Albert Municipality, advice from Western Cape Agriculture, LandCare, Pat Marincowitz, Leon de Wit and many others, and hard work by ourselves and our employees, parts of the dream are becoming reality, and the phoenix is rising.

The red-roofed shed on the land below the sewage ponds is the business centre from where Renu-Karoo will market indigenous plants, seeds, compost and potting soil. A start has been made with the indigenous nursery – and 60 species of local trees, shrubs and succulents are now available for gardens, landscaping and veld restoration. In addition to our plants, 15 tons of compost are in the making and compost and potting soil will soon be offered for sale. The Renu-Karoo seed pickers have collected 40 kg of Karoo bietou and skaapertjie seed from the seed orchard just beyond the sewage works, and a further 80 kg of seed (including ganna, kapok, bloubuffelgras, vingerhoedgras) from the roadsides. Most of these seeds have already been sold for restoration of damaged veld, old lands and mining sites around the Karoo.

We started this business with very little knowledge and are learning every day by trial and error – but also through more formal education. Sue and three employees, Wilfred Luttig, Meraai Isaacs and Mexalene Jaftha attended a plant propagation training course at the Working for Water indigenous restoration nursery near Patensie in early December and hope to put their training to good use in the nursery, as well as to train and advise others interested in growing plants. For example, over the December school vacation we gave a plant propagation workshop for school learners.

In 2009 two Nature Conservation students, Rudi Swart and Aneléh Vorster, from the Saasveld Campus of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University will be working full time with Renu-Karoo Veld Restoration staff as part of their experiential training. We hope that Rudi and Aneléh will enjoy their year in Prince Albert and find it a friendly place, and that they will join our employees in making a great contribution to Renu-Karoo and to village life through their involvement in veld restoration experiments, seed collection and testing, plant propagation, compost making, marketing, education and tourism. Our phoenix has indeed risen at least some of the way. The challenge now is to keep it on the up.

Prince Albert … Verlede …Kwepers en Granate

- Dawid Rossouw -

Van ons beste stories het waarskynlik saam met die ouer geslag uitgesterf en is saam met hulle begrawe. Tog het goeie stories behoue gebly - hulle moet net afgestof en met nuwe smaak en kleur vertel word.

Wat daar is wat nog nie vertel is nie? Die storie van ons heinings!

Prince Alberters was altyd bekend as selfversorgende mense. Die groot erwe en waterbeurte getuig daarvan. In die “ou dae” is grense aangedui met kweper- of granaatheinings; pragtig groen in die somer, vol kleurspatsels in die bloeiseltyd – en wat ‘n toegevoegde waarde was die eksotiese vrugte nie!

Ryp granate het jy as kind geëet tot jou hande en tande pers gekleur en gevlek was. Granaat-eet is mos ‘n kuns, amper soos “pick-up-sticks”- waar jy geen stokkie mag roer nie. Met granate is die uitdaging om nie ‘n enkele pit te laat val nie. Probeer dit gerus; dit laat jou só konsentreer, jy vergeet sommer van die lewe se alledaagse beslommernisse.

Kwepertyd kon jy skaars wag dat die wollerigheid van die vrugte se skil verdwyn en die geel die vaalgroen kleur begin verdring, want dan, weet jy, is die vrug reg vir eet! Om die vrug sappiger te maak, is dit gewoonlik op ‘n klip of die sementstoep gekap – stukkie vir stukkie al rondom – totdat dit sag en vlesig was. Met jou tande het jy diep in die heerlike vlesigheid ingebyt en die lewe was salig as jy jou pad oopgeëet het tot by die jellie om die pitte. Dit was lekkerder as vandag se gekoopte lekkernye. Deesdae se kwepers het egter nie meer daardie jellie nie…

Kwepers is natuurlik ook ingemaak en later as bykos geëet. Konfyt is gekook… en steeds was daar ‘n oorvloed kwepers en granate. Genoeg om in die solders te bêre. Die vrugte is met stele so agt tot tien duim lank gepluk, en die soldertrap op gedra. Dit is nie op die soldervloer neergesit nie, nee, die stele is ingesteek tussen die dwarslatte wat die dakkappe aanmekaar gehou het en die dekriet van die dak en daar het dit gehang tot diep in die winter. Die kwepers en granate het gesond verouder en die lekker geur daar op die solder is sekerlik iets wat ‘n hele paar Prince Alberters nog met nostalgie kan onthou. Vir my kan geen parfuum ooit so lekker ruik nie.

Sien u wat ek bedoel, dat ons selfversorgend was? Van die veelsydige kweperheinig is ook die wonderlikste medisyne gepluk… Medisyne wat die stoutste kind kon soet maak; die luiste leerder volpunte in ‘n toets kon laat kry! En het dit nie baie plesier verskaf as die latte weggesteek kon word om jou bas te red nie?

Granaat- en kweperheinings het nooit volgens grenspenne gegroei nie. Soms het hulle meer na die noordekant oorgehel as gevolg van die heersende suidewind; soms eerder na die kant van die eienaar wat dit die beste versorg het.

Nou het die kosbare plante verdwyn en die drade wat hulle vervang het, is net gespan, min of meer, daar waar die heinings was. Verstaan u nou hoekom daar dikwels in ons dorp gestry word oor erfgrense?

Kom versag al die streng drade en hoë mure – kom ons bring die granaat en die kweper weer terug!

Almal is wenners in die Kersfeesliggie Kompetisie

- Ellen Joubert -

Wildekanisland se Kersfeesliggie Kompetisie het 13 inskrywings gelok en ‘n span beoordelaars is op die aand van 23 Desember 2008 die strate in om die inskrywings te beoordeel en hulle aan al die ander liggies te vergaap.

Aangesien die kompetisie deur Wilde-kanisland gehou is, was daar natuurlik beoordelaars onder die ouderdom van ses ook op die paneel. Hierdie jonger beoor-delaars het sommer gou aan hulle kollegas uitgewys dat dit eintlik glad nie moontlik is om een wenner te kies nie – daar was heeltemal te veel inskrywings wat elkeen die verbeelding aangegryp het, glimlagte op die gesigte van die aanskouers gesit het en vreugde in die harte van almal wat wou kyk, gebring het.
Einde ten raad het die paneel beoordelaars besluit om toekennings te maak aan alle inskrywings wat besonders was.

Toekennings vir die kategorie “Eksep-sionele Kersfeesliggies van Prince Albert” is gemaak aan die Visagies van Buitekanstraat nr 493, Eric en Rudy van Peppertree Cottage en Chrisna en Rudy Ferreira – beide van Christina de Wittstraat, Juliana van Markstraat 37, Mev Theron van Crosbystraat nr 4, Leonie en Kobus Moolman van Markstraat 109 en Mnr Rudolf April van Kareestraat 391.

Toekennings vir die kategorie “Pragtige Kersfeesliggies van Prince Albert” is gemaak aan Die Kuierhuis, Prince Albert Country Store, Elsa en Heila van Nuwestraat nr 13, Dalene en Riaan Coetzee, Yvette Breedt van Lah-di-Dah, Gawie en Lettie Breytenbach van Kerkstraat nr 10 en Onse Rus Gastehuis.
Wildekanisland is dankbaar vir almal wat die skool ondersteun het met inskrywings vir die kompetisie. Bo en behalwe die inskrywings was daar ongelooflike mooi liggies die hele dorp deur – van die een ingang in Christina de Witstraat regdeur tot waar die Kersfeesliggies in Rondomskrik huise by die ander ingang tot die dorp vreugde gebring het.

Met die toekennings hoop Wilde-kanisland om almal aan te moedig om met liggies vreugde te gee in Kersfeestyd of om moeite te doen om die liggies deur die hele dorp te volg en die vreugde te ervaar wat dit bring.

Hoewel die Munisipaliteit nie ingeskryf het vir die kompetisie nie, het die beoordelaars besluit dat hulle ‘n sertifikaat van vermelding moet ontvang vir die liggies wat in die strate aangebring is.

COPE, a force to be reckoned with?

- Linda Jaquet-

On the evening of 19 January, COPE’s local interim committee members introduced themselves to Prince Albert’s residents and outlined their party’s basic principles.

Interim Chair, Gregory “Bakke” Griebelaar, formerly an ANC activist, told the well-attended meeting that the ANC had done nothing for the town and that COPE had learned the importance of leadership knowing what the people wanted. He said that COPE wanted to make a difference and apologised personally for “what I have done in the past” and committed himself to not making the same mistakes again.

The party’s Vice-Chair is Jan Jaftha, while Willie de Bruin holds the portfolio of Secretary. Neville Claassen is responsible for Media and Marketing. The committee also includes several party organisers, among them local farmer Deon Gouws. The party’s declared aim is to have a person on each street in Prince Albert not only to mobilise support but also to ensure that people’s concerns are listened and attended to. The party claims to have recruited 40 000 members in the Western Cape since it was founded three months ago.

Elize Visser, COPE’s Central Karoo representative, gave a lively outline of the party’s founding ideas, with an emphasis on discipline and respect for others, non-racialism, economic growth and job creation, an apolitical public service, recognition of skills and experience, the importance of service delivery and the need to strengthen South Africa’s democracy.

She noted, however, that Prince Albert’s interim committee had no female members and challenged the committee to appoint equal numbers of men and women.

Heritage - Consider the Lilies of the field

- William Penfold -

An important constituent of our collective heritage is the ‘nothingness’; the lovely open spaces between the buildings that allow us all to truly breathe and take in the beauty of our surroundings. In this town, we have no need for high walls, for solid, demarcating fences of ‘sparre’ and the like, all of which help to place us in boxes effectively revealing our previous association with the tired old suburbia of city life and which excludes us from the joys of open space.

A stroll down Deurdrif Straat, commencing at Kerk Straat will reveal to you the absolute wonder of small town living. The combination of nature left to its own devices and new buildings integrated with old is an absolute joy to behold. The far distance shows the old road seen as a perfect continuation of the existing, curving away to the left and disappearing into the hazy hills. A close look shows clever planting around an Edwardian house with the old barn left as it has been for yonks. Next, a new house where the owners have cleverly screened their pool for privacy by strategic planting of suitable shrubs. On the left, a divine old double storied, flat roofed barn housing an old workshop with a lovely sense of ‘organised chaos’.

Beyond this, an ancient leidam with lilies and reeds followed by sheep grazing contentedly in a long undisturbed field. Opposite, lies a cottage of charm, surrounded on three sides by farming activity of one type or another. The now famous Karoo Kombuis quietly goes about its business in a largely untouched old cottage of beautiful proportion. Crossing deBeer Street, an enormous round leidam lies sedately behind a pretty farm wall reminding us all of the amazing gift of plentiful water this town has been able to enjoy and thrive on.

Now, the real treasures begin. A beautiful gabled cottage, which, by the grace of God (and no insistent property developers), enjoys a view over four or so town farms right into the entrance of our famous and beautiful Swartberg Pass. The farms stretch way down the road and allow the stroller to breathe, sigh, and wonder at the beauty of it all.
There is more to come! We wander past Chris Akkerboom’s old house. Now unoccupied except for the fields which are alive with red and yellow Bishops, sharing their vlei with other birds and animals. An old pink flowering rose intertwines itself with the thorny acacia in a strange marriage of beauty and protective aggression. The entire property border is of shrubs, grasses and flowers forming a natural and adequate screening and home to countless small creatures.

At this point, you look over your right shoulder and espy parts of a rural village of exceptional charm presided over by a handsome kerk with solid bell tower and sombre chime. The road finally peters out after little cottages of quaint rural setting, at an old causeway where weavers have made their homes over the ponds of the Dorps River.

This describes but one of the beautiful roadways, paths and walks that we are blessed with in this town of ours. This is our heritage. Would that it can remain this way for us and future generations to cherish.

Footnote: It is common, although it need not be so, for articles of a heritage nature to be contentious. It most certainly generates comment and discussion and that is a good thing for those who otherwise are unable to express their feelings. At no stage is any comment in these articles designed to be of a personal nature and if this impression is gained by any reader, I apologise for any implied affront. I am overwhelmed by the positive response from all sectors of our community to these articles and I know of only one dissenting voice. Whilst those who encourage far outweigh those who don’t, I shall endeavour to continue with the articles as long as subject matter allows. I confirm that all comment is my own for which I stand fully responsible.

Me BADISA Gekroon

- Ilze Koorts -

BADISA Prince Albert het vanjaar vir die eerste maal ‘n Me BADISA Kompetisie aangebied. Nastassja Claassen, aflos-gemeenskaps-ontwikkelingswerker, het die kompetisie in Prince Albert, Klaarstroom en Leeu-Gamka (die bedieningsareas van BADISA) van stapel gestuur. Uitdunne is op Klaarstroom, Leeu-Gamka en Prince Albert gehou, waartydens vyf finaliste uit elke dorp gekies is. Onafhanklike beoordelaars is in al drie dorpe gebruik. Die kriteria waarvolgens elke deelnemer beoordeel is, was: ritme, houding, toepaslike drag en spontaniteit.

Op Saterdagaand 13 Desember 2008 is die finale rondte van me BADISA in die VGK Saal, Prince Albert aangebied. Al vyf finaliste van elkeen van die drie genoemde dorpe het na Prince Albert gereis om te kom meeding om die kroon. Die meisies was almal pragtig. Daar is hard geoefen en hul het in die afdelings Slenterdrag en Formeel deelgeneem. Baie moeite is ook deur hul afrigters gedoen. ‘n Goeie opkoms is beleef en die gehoor het ywerig aan die kompetisie deelgeneem

Na ‘n moeilike keuse is Anneline Jonkers (Prince Albert) as me BADISA 2008 gekies. Haar prys is meer as R 500 werd. Haar prinsesse was Pokkies (1e prinses) en Samarin (2e prinses). Hul pryse is ongeveer R 100 – R 200 werd.

Baie geluk aan die wenners, maar ook aan elke pragtige meisie wat deelgeneem het. Julle het ALMAL pragtig gelyk!

Surgery in the Bush

- Abigail Modra -

A while ago Barry Meijer invited the Pastrana family of the Lazy Lizard and the rest of us in their extended family to spend three nights at Meijer's Rust, his spectacular farm situated deep in Meiringspoort. We eventually got our act together and scheduled the first night for Tuesday, 13 January.

When Tuesday evening arrived so did we, laden with sleeping bags, bed rolls, sunscreen, tents and an abundance of food. Enthused by the prospect of spending three days and nights at the top of the mountain and away from civilisation, we piled all our stuff into the trailer of a sturdy looking tractor and set off. Forty-five minutes and a bone-jarring ride later, we wished that we had packed more thoughtfully. However, all bumps and bruises were soon forgotten in the excitement of setting up camp. That night, the rain decided to join in the fun.

In the morning a rather bedraggled looking group huddled around the smoking camp fire, steaming mugs in hand while a fine drizzle tried its best to dampen our spirits. No such luck. We had a great morning until noon when something happened that shocked us. Rebekah Swanepoel was walking past a large rock with a cup of tea. Suddenly, she grabbed her leg and started crying. I thought she had just spilt tea on herself, but as she turned around I saw a large splash of blood!

Our two first aid kits came out and all our plasters were used to tightly close a gaping wound about 5 cm long on the back of Rebekah’s calf. We knew straight away that it needed stitches. Rebekah’s two aunts, Terry and Caryn, are trained nurses and decided to do the stitching right there instead of risking further injury riding down in the tractor.

Fortunately, we were able to get hold of the necessary medical supplies and the 'operation' went smoothly and without event. Bekah was very brave despite the pain and now has nine stitches. All of her brothers and cousins assisted with the surgery. As Granddad aptly put it we looked like "a bunch of vultures around a carcass". With all the trauma over we were able to enjoy the rest of the camp and it was a splendid holiday. We went on the adventure hike, swam in some of the beautiful river pools and enjoyed the regal views. It was truly an incredible experience and one to be envied.

Hoërskool Zwartberg se 2008 Matrieks kan glimlag

- Ailsa Tudhope -

Veertig van die een-en-veertig Matriek leerders van Hoërskool Zwartberg glimlag breed met hulle 2008-uitslae in die hand. 17 het toelating vir graad-studies behaal; 22 vir diplomastudies en een vir sertifikaat-studies.

Ses Matrieks spog met onderskeidings: Elmano Clarke, Andries Niehaus, Uvedin Sarels en Morné van Heerden is baie trots op hulle Wiskundige Geletterdheid uitslae en Loretha Willemse het ’n onderskeiding in Lewensoriëntering gekry.

Die ster van hierdie jaar se Matrieks is Jane Lee Gouws, met ses onderskeidings in o.a. Ontwerp, Visuele Kunste, Afrikaans Huistaal, Lewensoriënter-ing,Wiskundige Geletterdheid en Lewenswetenskappe. Jane Lee beplan verdere studies in die kunste.

Veels geluk aan al ons 2008 Matrikulante en voorspoed vir jul toekoms. Veels geluk aan die uitstekende onderwysers wat hulle ondersteun het.

Well done, Josh

Josh Fodor (right, front) is the latest Prince Alberter to be accepted at the prestigious Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology (CAMST) in Cape Town. Josh, who is now in Grade 10 and is a graduate of Hoërskool Zwartberg, joined fellow-Prince Alberters Johndry Miljiet, Sharon Abrahams, Shaldine and Shaldo Sass, and Angelo Roberts at CAMST at the start of the new school year. The Western Cape Department of Education established CAMST in 2004 to provide specialised schooling for learners with the potential to excel in maths, science and technology.

It is part of a broader strategy to increase the numbers of learners matriculating in these subjects and help overcome the desperate shortage of much-needed skills in South Africa.

The Government announced recently that we will have to import 35 000 skilled foreigners to address the growing skills crises.

Zwartberg Runners Look to the Future

- Brian Modra -

Zwartberg Runners had a busy holiday season, organising fun runs for the December Children school holiday programme sponsored by the Municipality.

The runs were well-attended by youngsters of various age groups, who were encouraged to keep on exercising and to believe in their own abilities. Terry Barnato reminded the young participants that one of South Africa’s top rugby referees, Jason Jaftha, was a Prince Albert boy, who started his career at Hoërskool Zwartberg.

Zwartberg Runners will be hosting an Open Day on Friday, 6 February, from 3pm at the Lazy Lizard. New and current members will be able to sign up or find out more about the club.

Terry Barnato, the club’s chair, told the Friend: “We'd love to see our membership grow. Zwartberg Runners is all about enjoyment, so if you are a budding athlete, a marathon runner, or you simply like to walk, or if you just enjoy the social side, then you will fit in well in the Zwartberg Runners.”

“There is no pressure on anyone to participate and your level of involvement can even be very casual. We also like to be involved in the community, and are open to suggestions about what we can do.”, she said.

The club is gearing up for its second Swartberg Half Marathon and 10km to be run on 16 May. Fund-raising raffles were held at the end of last year, in which two Christmas hampers were the prizes. The R2.00 raffle was won by Megan Lottering and raised a total of R388.00. Sandra Esterhuizen won the R5.00 raffle, which raised R2030.

Zwartberg Runners would like to thank all the sponsors for their contributions towards the two hampers: Bergwater, SoetKaroo, John Southern, National Garage, Spar, Lah-Di-Dah, Prince Albert Country Store, Lazy Lizard and the Zwartberg Runners Committee.