Community News


RUDOLPH PLATO: HIGHLY RESPECTED PRINCIPAL, RUGBY PLAYER AND COMMUNITY LEADERRudolph Plato was born in Swellendam on the 9th of August 1941 as the eldest son of Daniël and Jacoba Plato. His father worked as a railway official and they lived in one of their houses next to the railway line. The family consisted of ten children of whom four are still alive.

Their parents gave them the best possible education, despite their meagre income. As a result, all the children became well-qualified professionals (mostly teachers), with one son obtaining a Master’s degree. The youngest, Dan, is the current mayor of Cape Town. Rudolph attended the St Luke’s Anglican School in Somerset Street up to Grade 8 (Standard 6). He attended Emil Weder High School in Genadendal to complete his Matric in 1961. He worked for two years in Worcester before enrolling at Bridgton College of Education in Oudtshoorn to obtain the Primary Teachers’ Certificate at the end of 1965. He later went to Hewat College of Education to do the Primary Higher Teachers’ Certificate. Afterwards he enrolled at Roggebaai College of Education to obtain his Advanced Primary Teacher’ Certificate (Fourth Year) by means of distance education. Therefore, he was well-qualified for all promotion posts at primary school level.

He married Mildred Pekeur on 29 May 1963. They had four children (Wendy, Dion, Gail and Roché) of whom the youngest son, Roché, recently passed away at the age of 40 six years. This was very traumatic to the whole family. Mildred taught at various schools in the district and spent her last teaching years at Swellendam Secondary School as the subject head of English. Rudolph spent all his teaching career as the principal of a farm school. He started at Olivedale Primary School, moved to Proseskop Primary School and concluded his career at Uitvlug Primary School in 1993. Rudolph has fond memories of those years. He is intensely private and hardly speaks about the additional contributions he made to help his learners who were very poor and often needed extra material assistance. Nevertheless, it is clear that he motivated several of them to persevere and become successful citizens.

A short while ago Jeffrey Philander, one of his ex-learners, visited him and told him that he had obtained a Doctorate in Philosophy. Rudolph excelled as a rugby player and a leader in this field. He played this sport at primary school and when he entered high school he really bloomed, and this continued until he stopped playing. In addition, he was often chosen as the captain of his teams. His leadership skills were put to good use in all the teams for which he played, like those of Emil Weder High School, Bridgeton College, Oaks in Swellendam, SWD Union, SWD League and SWD. He participated in the Rhodes Tournament in 1965 in Port Elizabeth as an SWD League player and the one in Johannesburg in 1967 on behalf of South Western Districts. He was so talented that he would certainly have become a Springbok if he had peaked twenty years later. Not only did he do well as a player, but also as an administrator and community leader. In 1995, when Swellendam Rugby Club and Oaks Rugby Club became one, after much negotiation, he was elected to become the first president. He stayed in this position until 2006. In 2016 he was asked to become the honorary president of this club. Until today he is highly respected not only by the rugby community of the town, but also the rest of the Swellendammers.

He received several accolades, like the Unsung Hero Award which the Railton Foundation bestowed on him in 2018. This is not surprising because he has displayed outstanding leadership qualities from a young age. For example, he reacted strongly to bullying. At high school already the weaker and younger learners knew that they could go to Rudolph, if they were bullied. Those responsible for their distress, could expect serious trouble if they were not prepared to mend their ways. Furthermore, he believes that a leader should take the lead and display courage in order that the followers would be inspired to do their best in the interest of everybody involved. His health is currently not good, but this town would want him to regain his strength because his bold and positive influence has for a long time served the inhabitants well. Communal success is highly dependent on a shared vision, often initiated by a committed leader, like Rudolph Plato.


KOSIE SEFOOR: SELF-STYLED MUSIC PIONEER AND COMMUNITY BUILDER Jacobus Nicolas Sefoor was born in Krombeksrivier in the district of Heidelberg on 3 June 1954. He started his schooling at St Barnabas Anglican School at the age of six and had to travel by train to get to school in town every day. On 23 August 1965, his family moved to Swellendam where he later met Patricia Bloemfontein, whom he married on 16 December 1978.

The tradition of Christmas choirs developed over many years when families who gathered during Christmas time, started to sing Christmas carols and make music together with guitars, violins, banjoes, piano-accordions, concertinas and harmonicas (“mondfluitjies”). (Before the advent of television, people were very creative in regard to spending time with family and friends.) Most households had a solid supply of ginger beer and ginger biscuits which were distributed among the music-makers. Sometimes the cooldrinks were replaced by something stronger. Later some families joined others and formed Christmas choirs. These were highly respected community structures, which demanded a high degree of respectability from their members. Members who smelt of liquor when they reported for duty, were summarily sent home to sober up. The Christmas choirs gradually started to function throughout the year because their services were needed at funerals, nation festivals and other special occasions.

The first Christmas Choir in Swellendam was the Young Christians, which existed from the fifties. At times it was dormant and at some stage it merged with Golden Stars. In the late seventies it became the Progress Christmas Choir. After his father had cycled to Heidelberg to take the seven-year-old Kosie to a Christmas Choir competition, his love for this kind of music was born. In that year he became a member of the Church Lads Brigade and a server in his church. In 1967 he joined the Young Christians Christmas Choir and he and his brother were taught to play the trumpet and saxophone by Mr Wessel Letter, a local businessman and qualified teacher. Other trainers of the band members were Messrs Goliat Edom (a.k.a. Boetie Suiker) and Johnny Jacobs (a.k.a. Johnny Kaptein), who attended to strings and drilling. Unfortunately, Mr Letter who was classified as “African”, was banished from Swellendam because it was known as Coloured Preferential Area. Kosie was devastated when in 1969, after a successful band competition in Riversdale, he saw his mentor’s family with all their belongings in the train on their way to the Transkei. The cruelty of the Group Areas Act as displayed in this case, left an indelible mark on his young mind. Nevertheless, it inspired him to continue building on the foundation that was laid.

Kosie worked in Cape Town for a while and returned to Swellendam in 1979, when he was recruited by Mr and Ms Scholtz to join Progress Band. He can be regarded as a self-taught musician who spent hours improving his skills in order to help the youth to become accomplished in that field. He gradually took over the leadership of the band and sometimes had to fight the battles alone. However, he openly acknowledges the assistance he and the band received from various sources. At a time when they desperately needed to upgrade their instruments, they approached the Railton Foundation with a list of equipment that was required. They received R250 000 and had to account for every cent that they received. Ms Cathy van Eeden (who helped them in many ways) and Mr Bruce enabled the band to get exposure on Cape TV. The Swellendam Secondary School has for many years allowed them to store their instruments there. These are just a few of the people and structures that have helped Kosie and his band to remain a valuable resource to the whole community of Swellendam.One area where help is needed now, is the training of the youth to play marimba instruments.

A few years ago, the Railton Foundation gave Progress enough equipment to start a marimba band. It is not possible for Kosie to attend to this responsibility, too. All his free time is occupied with training the young people and writing music for the band. During this lockdown period he is daily engaged with preparation of new material. Anyone in town, who can help, is requested to contact and offer their services. It would be a huge plus if Swellendam could have its own marimba band. His cell number is 082 956 9459.We salute Kosie Sefoor for his sterling work to keep youth from the streets and provide the whole community with quality music. As a result, his band has won many prizes and trophies and, in this way, he boosted the self-confidence of the local young people.


JIMMY ELLIS: AN ICON AND ROLE-MODEL2 March 1946 – 23 November 2017James Ellis (known as Jimmy) was the eldest of six sons of James (Jimmy) and Alice Ellis. His father was a cobbler and the family was not rich, but the parents made sure that their children got the best possible education.Consequently, one of them obtained a first degree and three, more than one academic degree and became educators.

Jimmy entered school at the age of four years. Due to ill-health he was often absent from school and was forced to repeat the first year. The way it was explained in those days, is that he moved from small Sub A to big Sub A. Although this was a huge disappointment, it clearly gave him a solid foundation for the rest of his schooling because he always did very well in his studies. He was often first in his class or among the first five. His Matric class, by the way, also was the best of Emil Weder High School in Genadendal for many years.

In 1964 he went to study at the University College of the Western Cape to become a minister. The professors and ministers that formed the selection panel, decided in their wisdom that he was not suitable for that profession. The reason for their decision, was his honesty. When they asked him about his relationship with God, he answered that he was still working on it. They felt that he was not close enough to Him and suggested that he rather become a social worker and in the meantime work on that relationship. In reality he was more ready than many that were accepted solely on the basis of their own assessment of their status. Honesty, which was his hallmark, did not seem to be the best policy in this regard.Despite this disappointment, he became an excellent worker in the vineyard of his Master.

In the VCS (Association of Christian Students) he made a huge contribution by performing a range of tasks on behalf of the organisation and becoming the chairperson of the national executive.During that time, he developed strong bonds with different churches. In his own church, the URC, he did not neglect his duties. Over the years he was part of three parishes in which he was a Sunday School teacher, catechism teacher, member of the church council and the diaconate. Furthermore, he served for five years as the Deputy Chairperson of the Synodal Committee for Diaconal Services.

He was multi-talented and excelled in many spheres of his life. He was artistic and had green fingers and his gardens were always in splendid condition. He often shared plants with others. A yellow Mandela’s Gold Strelitzia, was his most treasured one, therefore, he planted it next to his front door. The reason was twofold: The plant is unusually beautiful, but, like so many others, he also had the highest regard for Pres. Nelson Mandela, and he treasured his photograph with this icon, whose leadership qualities he tried to emulate.

After completing a BA Social Work degree, he worked as a social worker for one year. Thereafter, he joined the Sociology Department of UWC and after four years was appointed as a lecturer. In the meantime, he studied further to complete a B.A. Hons. in Sociology.Jimmy was offered a scholarship to study in the United States of America where he obtained a Master’s degree and a Ph. D. In doing so, he became the first person in his community in Swellendam to become a Doctor of Philosophy. If one takes into consideration the disadvantages he faced during his life, even while studying in America as a father of four children, this achievement can only be regarded as a testimony to his intellect, faith, courage and determination.

After many years of service in the academic world, he accepted the post of Director of Community Development and International Relations at RAU, which later became the University of Johannesburg. During his career he visited many countries and was highly regarded for his competence as a researcher, lecturer, manager and drafter of documents. Furthermore, he served on many academic boards and important community structures and performed duties like being a political commentator on RSG, an Afrikaans radio station.

After having retired, he was approached to manage the internalisation office of the Free State Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein. After a year, he, unfortunately, became ill and was unable to continue with this work. Nevertheless, he persisted in doing valuable work in the community. He, for example, did the 2016 Research Report of the Railton Foundation in Swellendam and researched the history of the well-known Maranatha Male Choir in Cape Town, which he presented as a beautiful photo study.

Jimmy had a strong sense of justice and was very involved in human rights matters at political and moral levels. The forced removal of his family from their home in Murray Street due to the Group Areas Act, contributed to his strong abhorrence of apartheid. This caused him to suffer much humiliation, including being detained without trial for a while. That did not deter him from remaining involved in the Struggle. Among other things, he was part of the Kuils River Reconstruction and Development Forum and for a short while served as the chairperson of the Kuils River branch of the ANC in 1992.He had a keen sense of humour and often used it when addressing audiences, formally or informally. Therefore, he was a good orator and storyteller. People, especially youth, loved to listen to him speaking on a variety of topics. His love of young people was evident in his church and community work. He was often involved in organising youth camps and meetings.He was a good singer and knew the music of his time very well. Furthermore, he was always fashionably dressed, whether it was in bell bottoms, stove pipes or Mandela shirts.

The highlight of his life was marrying Hettie Ferguson. She gave him a base from where he could become everything he wanted to be – and that was a lot. Together they tackled many challenges and reared their children and all those they accepted responsibility for, in the best way possible. They, for example, reared three family children, who successfully followed their chosen careers. As practising Christians, they knew exactly where to find their spiritual, moral and intellectual inspiration. Jimmy died happy because he had his family, including his much-adored grandchildren, around his bed. His daughter Henriette, who was still on her way from her dentistry practice in Zambia, was the only one who could not be there. He had the privilege to say goodbye to each one of them, ask Hettie to kiss him and lastly form the word L. O.V.E. with his lips because he could no longer speak.

The man who could not become his community’s first dominee, became its first Doctor of Philosophy. The one who was held back in Sub A, became an outstanding academic. The person that was often disregarded by intellectual and social snobs, became a role-model to many young people struggling to find a place in the sun. Consequently, the Railton Foundation Swellendam posthumously honoured him with an Unsung Hero Award in 2018.

Jimmy concluded the 2016 Railton Foundation Report with a quote from Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem If, to inspire the staff and management to continue with their important work, at a time when he was facing huge challenges with his health.If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone,And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’(… you’ll be a Man, my son!)Jimmy Ellis was indeed a man. May his memory never cease to inspire those who knew him, students and teachers, followers and leaders, young and old to live life to its fullest as he has done.


Steward van Wyk, die nederige professor, wat groot hoogtes bereik het.Steward van Wyk is ‘n Swellendammer in murg en been, alhoewel hy op die wêreldverhoog bekendheid as ‘n voortreflike akademikus verwerf het.

Steward is op 23 September 1959 as die sesde oudste van nege kinders van wyle Johannes en Beatrice van Wyk te Suurbraak gebore. Sy ouers het lank aan die N.G. Sendingskool op Suurbraak onderwys gegee, en het later as skoolhoof en assistent-onderwyser aan die Laerskool Sandkraal in die Buffeljagsrivieromgewing diens gedoen. Hulle het ook vir korter tye aan die Primêre Skool Bontebok in Railton skoolgehou. Van hul kinders bly steeds in Swellendam: Eleanor, getroud met John Riddles, Hadia, getroud met Mudien Mowzer en Nathan wat met Jesmine getroud is en in die ouerhuis in Cooperstraat woon.

Na voltooiing van sy laerskoolopleiding aan die N.G. Sendingskool Suurbraak het Steward na Kaapstad vertrek om die Hoërskool Spes Bona in Athlone, by te woon. Na matriek het hy aan die Universiteit van Wes-Kaapland gestudeer, waar hy ‘n BA-graad met onderskeiding in Afrikaans en Nederlands in 1980 verwerf het. Daarna het hy beide sy B.A. Honneurs in Afrikaans en Nederlands, asook sy M.A. cum laude verwerf. Laasgenoemde het gehandel oor Elsa Joubert se bekroonde roman Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena.

In die middel tagtigerjare vertrek hy na Nederland waar hy Literatuurteorie aan die Rijksuniversiteit Utrect bestudeer. In 1999 behaal hy sy doktorsgraad met die titel Adam Small: Apartheid en Skrywerskap. Hy beywer hom vir die literêre erkenning van Adam Small en die vestiging van dié skrywer se nalatenskap en speel ’n kernrol in die besluit van die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns om die Hertzogprys vir drama aan Small toe te ken. Van Wyk is self die ontvanger van die SA Akademie se Elisabeth Eybersbeurs in 2001, wat hom in staat stel om navorsing in Nederland te doen en Eybers persoonlik te ontmoet.

Hy het vir ‘n kort tyd onderwys gegee, onder andere, aan die Sekondêre Skool Swellendam in 1984, voordat hy in 1988 as junior dosent aan sy alma mater aangestel is. Hy is tans volle professor en hoof van die departement Afrikaans en Nederlands aan die Universiteit van Wes-Kaapland. Hy is ook die vise-dekaan vir Navorsing en Nagraadse Studies aan die universiteit. Hy dien verder in die direksie van die Stigting vir Bemagtiging deur Afrikaans en die Helpmekaar Studiefonds en is ’n raadslid van die Afrikaanse Taalmuseum en Monument. Hy is ook die voorsitter van die Jan Rabie en Marjorie Wallace Bestuurskomitee. Van Wyk is die ontvanger van verskeie toekennings, insluitende die Sarton Medalje in 2017 as internasionale erkenning van sy navorsing deur die Universiteit Gent in België.

Hy is getroud met Emmerentia, ’n opvoeder verbonde aan die Hoërskool Rusthof in die Strand. Die egpaar het twee dogters: Tamryn, ’n prokureur werksaam by ’n firma in Johannesburg, en Taylin, ’n vyfde jaar mediese student aan die Universiteit van Kaapstad. Steward van Wyk is inderdaad ‘n Swellendammer op wie die hele dorp kan trots wees. Hy is ‘n aktiewe bydraer tot geakkrediteerde tydskrifte, medeskrywer van etlike publikasies, resensent van bekende werke en gesogte akademiese redenaar. Die erkenning wat hy ontvang, is die resultaat van jare se harde werk en die doelgerigte omskepping van mislukkings in uiteindelike suksesse. Die Railton Stigting eer hom omdat hy as eenvoudige plattelandse jongman, die groot stad met al sy uitdagings aangedurf het ten einde sy ideale te bereik. Sy verhaal kan as motivering dien vir mede-Swellendammers wat graag wil uitstyg, maar vrees dat hulle onsuksesvol sal wees. Die Stigting wens hom alles van die heel beste vir die res van sy loopbaan toe.


ESME TITUS: OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC AND MANAGER OF NURSING SERVICES Esme Kennel (néé Titus) was born in Bloemfontein in the Free State, but is regarded as fully-fledged Swellendammer because her family relocated to Swellendam when she was four years old. She attended St Luke’s Primary school and proceeded to Belgravia High School in Cape Town to complete her school education.

Esme’s father, Michael Titus, was an accomplished carpenter, who worked as a foreman for a company that built hospitals and prisons in the Overberg. Her mother, Irene, was a nurse in training who became a homemaker. When they arrived in Swellendam her family of five children lived in a very small house until their father had built them a house in Cooper Street, which was later bought by George Muller. Unfortunately, her parents separated one month before the final examinations and they were accommodated by Jeanie Montague (the grandmother of Lionel Arries) until the end of the school year. Consequently, they went to live with their uncle, Joe Titus, and his family in George and later Crawford. This period was very unsettling to all of them, but their uncle and aunt treated them like their own children and looked so well after them that they remained with them until they got married.

She married Frank Kennel, an educator who became the principal of Grassdale Senior Secondary School in Grassy Park, fifty-two years ago. They have three daughters and three granddaughters. Two daughters live in England and Indonesia, respectively. The eldest one lives close to the parents in Cape Town, after having lived in the United Kingdom for nine years. Esme qualified as a registered nurse by doing diplomas in General Nursing and Midwifery. Consequently, she completed a Diploma (UWC), a Bachelor’s degree (Community Health and Education) and an Advanced Diploma (UNISA) ; two Honours degrees, as well as a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (University of Stellenbosch), while building her career and being an efficient wife and mother. Apart from these qualifications she did shorter courses in fields related to computers, information engineering, epidemiology and community eye health. She even did a course as a Foot Care (Chiropody} Practitioner at SMAE College in Berkshire in the United Kingdom after she retired.

This lady was not only a diligent student but has just never stopped studying. She worked as a general nurse and midwife; lecturer at UWC; chief nursing service manager in the Department of Health responsible for School Health, Psychiatry, Day Hospitals and Geriatric Care and retired as a deputy director (DD) of health in Nursing; Information Management, HIV and Aids, Health Promotion and Chronic Care and Geriatrics. In this regard she received an award for Eye Care from the Minister of Health. She served on various provincial and national boards and committees, was a moderator and examiner for two universities, was invited as a guest lecturer in Comparative Policy Analysis (the subject of her Master’s thesis) at the University of Stellenbosch and wrote several policy documents relating to nursing in this country. She is still rendering a domiciliary foot care service for persons with diabetes. Furthermore, she did locums as a professional nurse at Wynberg and Sun Valley Pharmacies till recently when Covid 19 started and her husband became frail.

Her community activities have been extensive. She served as a member, vice-chairperson, chairperson or secretary of the following Non-Profit Organisations: Community Partnership Programme (CCP) Kellogg’s Foundation; Epilepsy SA; Resource and Development Foundation; GH Starke Home for the Aged; Grassy Park Centre for Mentally and Intellectually Challenged Persons. She worked closely with the Diabetes Association and did a lot of Diabetes and Cancer awareness programmes. She joined the Newlands Lions Club in 2006 and has served it in various senior positions. Consequently, she has received an International Gingko Award (as the Lion who Best Exemplifies Move to Grow); A Louis Volks Award and a Melvin Jones Award. She served on the Parish Council of St Saviours Church Claremont, was a sides person and reader and sang in the Church Choir, the Gleemoor Ladies Choir and the Symphony Choir in Cape Town.

She is a keen reader and loves music. She is learning to play the classical guitar and hopes to write Grade 5 theory of music when exams reopen after Covid 19. She loves crafts, knitting, sewing, crocheting and cooking. She has become a keen gardener while at home during retirement. At the age of 74, she ensures that her husband, who needs constant care, is well looked after. In addition, she is preparing to provide foot care to patients in a room that she has converted into a treatment centre in her home. Esme exemplifies a spirit that is sorely needed by the youth of today. Her indomitable drive to be good at what she does, has carried her to levels which she might not have known about when she grew up in Swellendam. The many challenges she has faced in her life, did not weaken her, but inspired her to become a more committed Christian and to make the most of the opportunities she is given.


SOPHIE TREU, DIE MELKTERTKONINGINVAN SWELLENDAM 7 November 1925 – 15 Julie 2020Sophie Treu (geb. Olkers) is op 7 November 1925 op Heidelberg gebore, waar sy haar kinderjare deurgebring het. Na voltooiing van haar primêre skoolopleiding het sy in Swellendam gaan werk. Daar het sy met Douglas, seun van Adolph Treu, gesiene bouer van die dorp, getrou. Hulle het twee seuns, Melvin en Dolf, gehad. Sy was ‘n aantreklike mens, innerlik en uiterlik, gevolglik was sy geliefd deur die Swellendammers. Sy was ook diep godsdienstig en beginselvas.Haar man was ‘n knap vakman, wat self hul woonhuis in Railton gebou het. In later jare het hy hom toegespits op die restourasie van ou meubels.

Sophie was self ‘n besonder talentvolle bakster en het pragtige blommerangskikkings gemaak. Sy het dus etlike pryse met haar gebak en blommerangskikkings op huisvlytkompetisies gewen. Omdat haar gebak van hoogstaande gehalte was, het sy op aandrang van dorpenaars daarmee begin sake doen. Haar besigheid het so gefloreer dat plaaslike inwoners, insluitende plaasboere van die omgewing, en persone uit omliggende dorpe en stede tou gestaan het vir haar klein gebak, melkterte asook trou- en verjaardagkoeke. Wat haar storie so merkwaardig maak, is die feit dat sy van soggens vroeg tot saans laat feitlik alles alleen gedoen het. Dolf, haar seun wat al die jare by haar gewoon het, het haar met sommige kleiner take gehelp. Toe haar man weens sy sensitiwiteit vir stof om gesondheidsredes nie meer sy werk kon doen nie, het sy die huishouding onderhou en na hom omgesien. Sy het egter nooit gekla nie en blymoedig met haar klante en andere omgegaan.

Na haar eggenoot se oorlye, het sy by Melvin in Kuilsrivier gaan woon. Die Kapenaars het baie gou van haar talente bewus geraak en sy het tot haar neëntigste verjaardag met die bedryf voortgegaan. Haar melktert was so gesog en uniek dat sy nooit die beslag in die teenwoordigheid van ander persone voorberei het nie. ‘n Paar jaar gelede toe sy besef het dat haar kragte afneem, het sy haar niggie, Juliana Treu, genooi om uit Swellendam na Kaapstad te gaan om te leer hoe sy dit doen. Sy het vir haar gesê dat sy die vorige nag nie geslaap het nie omdat sy met die Here oor hierdie besluit geworstel het. Dit was vir haar so ‘n intens emosionele stap dat sy vir Juliana gesê het om te kyk wat sy doen, maar nie ‘n enkele verduideliking gegee het nie. Die niggie het haar mooi dopgehou en pas nou daardie kennis toe en verkoop haar melktert tot in Struisbaai. Sy is so trots op die eer wat hierdie legende haar aangedoen het, dat sy vasberade is om die geheim te bewaar totdat sy dit eendag met een van haar kinders sal deel.

Sophie Treu het nie haar pligte teenoor haar kerk en die gemeenskap vernalatig nie en het op n stadium selfs as voorsitter van die Rooikruistak van Swellendam opgetree.Op Woensdag 15 Julie het sy op die ouderdom van 94 jaar in haar geboortedorp, Heidelberg, sag heengegaan. Die Railton Stigting betreur haar oorlye, maar eer haar as iemand wat Swellendam trots gemaak het deur haar innemendheid, talentvolheid, vlyt, geloof en deursettingsvermoë. Artikel: Basil F. May


ELISE PIKE, ANOTHER REMARKABLE AMBASSADOR OF SWELLENDAM Elise Jonathan was born on 17 March 1940, as a member of the well-known Pike family in Swellendam. She and her twin brother, Stanley, were reared by, their grandparents, Rachel and Abraham Pike, in Berg Street. It is significant that three separate households related to the Pikes, lived in this street at the time. When their grandmother died, a few months after their fifth birthday, they had to go and live with other family members. Two years later their bachelor uncles, Peter and David Pike, accepted responsibility for them.

When the Nuwedorp, of which Berg Street was an integral part, was declared a White area, they moved to Lind Street, a part of the original Paddavlei. To their shock they were again forced to vacate their neat cottage after ten years because of the Group Areas Act. The fact that they were twice forced to leave their home because of the racial policies of this country, left a deep scar on them, as well as the uncles, who were very private and highly respected members of the community. The twins were generally well-cared for and enjoyed most of their childhood.

They attended St Luke’s Anglican School until they completed Grade 8. Thereafter, Elise went to Cape Town to attend Zonnebloem Training School to qualify as a teacher after four years. On completion of her training course, she started teaching at her Alma Mater, St Luke’s Primary School. In 1967 she married Simon Jonathan, an educator from Cape Town, and left the town to join him. He eventually became the principal of Wespoort Primary School in Mitchells Plain, while Elise taught at Sullivan and Hyde Street Primary Schools in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. She furthered her studies on a part-time basis and completed an additional teaching qualification at Hewat College of Education.

Their two children both qualified as medical doctors and continued their studies to become specialists. Reagan became a psychiatrist and is in private practice. Glenda is a radiologist and shareholder in a highly successful practice in Cape Town. Their achievements can partly be ascribed to the solid moral and educational foundation their parents gave them. Simon sadly died five years ago, but Elise continues to live a dignified life based on the values she learnt as a child and expanded with her husband, who was a highly disciplined and principled man. It should further be noted that the children of Stanley, who died a year ago, also did very well. David is a chartered accountant and Nathan, a mechanical engineer. Swellendam can rightly be proud of the achievements of Elise and her family. They are proof that the roots which this town provides, are strong enough to catapult its natives and their offspring to unimaginable heights, regardless of the hardships they endure. *Article by Basil May, President of Railton Foundation Swellendam


SWELLENDAM BURSARY FUND BIRTHDAY The Swellendam Bursary Fund is proudly celebrating its fifteenth birthday on Sunday 25 October 2020. During this period, it has spent R1 923 880.63 to assist 246 university and college students to enrol at institutions throughout the RSA. The Fund does not prescribe to students regarding the institution they wish to attend, except that it must be accredited by the relevant authorities. For that reason, bursary recipients have studied at UWC, CPUT, Stellenbosch, Hugenote College, the University of the Free State, Nelson Mandela University, Boland College, Northlink College, the University of Johannesburg, North West University and others.

More than 150 of these students have completed their studies and many of them have returned to Swellendam to contribute to the economy of the town and help with the development of the youth. One such person is Alrique Fortuin who studied at North West University in Potchefstroom and completed his B Ed degree at the end of 2019. He is teaching grades 4 to 7 at VRT Pitt Primary School. His father, Alexander Fortuin, a local gardener, died when Alrique was in Matric. His mother, Estelle Fortuin, does housekeeping at a guesthouse. Consequently, the family has consistently had to make do with meagre financial resources.

The bursaries he received from the Swellendam Bursary Fund every year, alleviated his plight because it helped with essential costs. Nevertheless, there were times when he had very little food, but refused to seek assistance from his mother who had to attend to urgent expenses at home. These circumstances did not deter him from studying diligently. In 2016 he obtained 5 distinctions, in 2017: 6, in 2018:7 and in 2019, his final year: 6. Consequently, the Swellendam Bursary Fund awarded him the Eugene van Niekerk Merit Bursary for outstanding academic work in 2018.

Throughout the years he has assisted with the youth work of the Apostolic Faith Mission Church, to which he belongs. Before Covid 19 he trained the spiritual dancing group and helped with the preparation for the Christmas play. Although he assists his mother financially, he also contributes anonymously when there is a need among his learners. Alrique acknowledges the role that his grandmother, whom he often visited in Buffeljags River, has played in his life. He also clearly practises the Swellendam Bursary Fund dictum of paying forward what you have received from others.Covid 19 has negatively influenced the fund- raising of the Bursary Fund. Donations would be gladly accepted and can be deposited into the following banking account:Bank: ABSA Swellendam (Branch Code: 632005)Account Name: Swellendam Bursary FundSavings Account Number: 9203339354Code for international payments: ABSAZAJJ).Certificates indicating that a tax-deductible donation has been made, are issued on request. Endowments and debit orders are also very welcome.

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DAWID FIELIES:A YOUNG ACHIEVER WITH A PASSION TO EDUCATE Dawid Fielies was born on 4 November 1990 and was raised by his grandparents, David and Gertruida Beyers. They gave him much love, but had very little money because David (Senior) was a general worker (responsible for cleaning and running errands) at the Swellendam SAPS Stock Theft Unit and his wife was a housewife At a youg age Dawid resolved to be the best he could be in whatever he chose to do.

He completed his Matric at the end of 2009 and immediately commenced his studies for a B Ed degree at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (Wellington Campus). He worked tenaciously to ensure that he would not have to repeat a year and miss the opportunity to obtain a solid qualification. Consequently, he regularly obtained two or three distinctions in his examinations. After completing his degree, he accepted a post as an educator at Bontebok Primary School from January 2014. Two years later he went to teach at the newly established VRT Pitt Primary School. As a result of his diligence and versatility the management of his new school promoted him to head of department within eighteen months of appointing him. Soon his abilities became known at a higher level and in April 2019 he was seconded to the post of School Safety Coordinator of the Overberg Education District until December 2020. In this post Dawid has four officials working under him.

Furthermore, he liaises closely with the Department of Social Work, the SAPD Brigadier and the Overberg District Municipality to assist youth at risk and deal with related matters. He is also serving as the vice chairman of the Bontebok Park Forum. He has already bought his second house, which is in Paddavlei, a beautiful part of Swellendam. He regularly supports his grandparents financially and donates a substantial amount to the Swellendam Bursary Fund on a yearly basis. This is remarkable because he is comparatively new in his profession.

He wishes to study further, but will do so once he has attended to his present financial responsibilities. Prof Thuli Madonsela recently said the following: “We urgently need to bridge the divide between the haves and the have-nots … One of these ways is through access to education.” In Dawid’s case the Swellendam Bursary Fund has in a very small way contibuted to achieving this goal. It is clear that Dawid has not reached his peak yet and could be considered for further promotions in the near future. His career path is just another shining example of what can be achieved, if those able to assist, look beyond their own desires and reach out to those who are less privileged. Article by Basil May: Swellendam Bursary Fund


FREDELINE MULLER: AN INCREDIBLE STUDENT AND VERSATILE PROFESSIONAL Since her childhood, Fredeline Muller had an insatiable desire to gain knowledge and become well-educated. As a result, she consistently excelled scholastically. In 1991 she did so well in her Matric examination that she gained easy access to Stellenbosch University in order to do a B Accounting degree. Once again, her results were good enough to allow her admission to the next level, an Honours B. Accounting degree at the same university in 1996.

She did various short courses, like an in-house training programme called The Leadership Development Programme for Junior Managers (2007). A Dale Carnegie Course on Effective Communications and Human Relations/Skills for Success followed in 2010, as well as an international training course, the Finance Excellence Programme for High Potential Middle managers in the United Kingdom (March 2011). In 2018 she did a course called Crucial Mentoring Conversations. From 2011 to 2014 she studied for a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Stellenbosch Business School. This was a highlight of her academic career because an MBA is a most sought-after degree. Many start the course but fail to complete the thesis.

Consequent on all her studies, Fredeline is registered as an Associate General Accountant (AGA) with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). She is clearly not only a diligent student, but also a highly intelligent academic. She started her professional career at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Stellenbosch as an audit clerk and was promoted to accountant Level 3 (January 1997- December 2000). She moved to British American Tobacco South Africa in January 2001 as a trainee manager and left the company as the Marketing Finance Manager for Southern African Markets (including 9 Southern African countries) in March 2011. When the wanderlust grabbed Fredeline, she decided to join BAT Mozambique as Finance Director from April 2011 to September 2011. For a short spell she returned to BATSA before Levi Strauss employed her as Financial Planning and Analysis Manager and then as Financial Planning Analyst for the Middle East and North Africa Region (2014-2016).

Her most recent corporate position was Acting Head of Finance at PZ Cussons Ghana in Accra. (2017-2018). She established her own business called Future-X Consulting (Pty) Ltd in April 2018 because she is a strong believer in creating and doing business with a purpose and is passionate to make a difference and empower others, especially those who have very little. Currently she is a business mentor, focusing on strategy, process improvement and financial literacy (including facilitating workshops, financial performance review, preparing forecasts and budgets). She works with and assists start-ups in the following industries: • Accounting & Tax Services • Agriculture Consulting • Hydroponic farming • IT Services • Long Distance Transport • Vending Machines She also works with established businesses in a wide range of industries, like fashion design and food technology. For the second year in a row she is part of a mentorship programme for students on the Small Business Academy Programme at the University of Stellenbosch Business School.• She also provided financial analysis services to 17 participants on an incubator programme. managed by Maven Solutions (Pty) Ltd, in the Western Cape. • She is a mentor on the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation IVC coaching programme and on a newly established programme for the Stellenbosch Network. She assisted LBH Holdings Incorporated on the ASISA/ EDGEGROWTH/ SAICA Enterprise Development pilot programme in the Western Cape and provided monthly financial bootcamp sessions to the 4 participants on this programme from April to October 2020.

In addition, she has facilitated workshops for highly respected programmes, like the ABSA Accelerator programme managed by Kamva and the Capital Greenhouse Business Development programme in August 2019 – with 11 small business owners.It is simply impossible to list all the expertise she has acquired or the experience she has built up over the years. She has worked in different environments to learn how to be a better professional and not to merely earn as much as possible. Her unassuming approach to life and the urge to be of service in areas where it is most needed, has motivated her to resign from lucrative posts and accept lower positions which posed more challenges.

Ten years ago, she approached the Railton Foundation to determine how she could be of service to her hometown. In consequence the Friends of Railton was formed to support the work of the Foundation. Soon after a very successful careers day was held, which was marked by the presence of Swellendammers who had done well in their careers. Unfortunately, when she went to work in Mozambique the partnership became unsustainable. She nowadays works from home and spends much time in Swellendam with her mother, with whom she has a very strong bond. She still has a deep love for this town and helps where she can. Fredeline is another Swellendammer who has performed well on the world stage but has never forgotten her roots. Article by Basil May: Swellendam Bursary Fund