Pen pictures follow of people whose lives have been touched by the HCET, and who have enriched the Trust in turn. By Sue Morrell Stewart
Dawid and Tysie Allens
Dawid and Tysie Allens have lived on Hanglip Farm, the farm of Maeder and Lesley Osler, for the past 28 years. They previously lived in a small house at a remote ‘veepos’ (livestock station) with two rooms and no running water (they had to collect water from a windmill dam 1,5 kilometres away). Their furniture consisted of a bed made of fence poles, a wool bale stuffed with grass, and boxes to sit on.
Since moving to Hanglip, and becoming involved in Trust activities, their lives have improved on many levels. Both attended adult literacy classes offered by the Trust, and Dawid did a woodwork course which enabled him to furnish their home. Tysie completed a sewing course, and now runs a small sewing business. She also co-manages a spaza shop which supplies farm staff with basic provisions.
Dawid and Tysie now live happy lives and have enjoyed watching their children and grandchildren develop into fulfilled people. They are extremely proud of their three-bedroomed house with electricity and running water, two cars and 16 head of cattle, and can face the future with confidence.
Angelina and Delia Allens
By the time the HCET was set up in 1989, Dawid and Tysie’s eldest daughters, Angelina and Delia, were supposed to attend primary school, but could not do so as the closest school was 10 kilometres away and they could not walk that far. Fortunately for them, the initial Hantam ECD class was soon extended to the Foundation Phase, and they began to attend the new school on Grootfontein Farm, benefiting from the Trust’s transport system. A third daughter, Paula, followed in their footsteps.
All three Allens daughters eventually graduated from the Trust school and went on to further education and training, benefiting from Trust bursaries in the process. Angelina returned to the Trust as an intern ECD teacher, completing her training in 2012 and then teaching the junior special needs class. She died of septicaemia in 2013, but her daughter, Michel, lives with her grandparents and also attends the Trust school.
Delia went on to study hospitality at Motheo College in Bloemfontein. She is married, and manages a bakery in Johannesburg. Paula trained as an auxiliary social worker, and works in Prieska.
Dawid and Tysie have three foster children who have also graduated from the Trust school. Lolly is an ECD intern, Sakkie is an apprentice farm worker, and Hendrik is studying hospitality at the HCET Hospitality school in Colesburg. All of Dawid and Tysie’s grandchildren are also attending the Trust school.
Richard and Siena Fieck
Who would believe that the confident man who now chairs the HCET’s school governing body and plays a key role in Hanglip farm management previously had such an uncertain youth?
Richard Fieck initially attended a number of schools, and his education suffered. He was one of the first learners to start at the Trust’s farmhouse school and soon showed great academic promise. His teachers had high hopes for him when he went on to complete his schooling at Colesburg High School, but he dropped out of school to ‘seek his fortune in the city’.
However, he soon returned to Colesburg to look for a job, and he and his wife, Siena, have now worked on Hanglip Farm for nine years. He is a valuable member of Maeder Osler’s farm management team, with a sound knowledge of grazing and farm routines. Each farm labourer at Hanglip is given an animal when they start working there as a contribution to their pension, and Richard now owns four head of cattle, having recently sold some of his herd to buy a car.
Siena works in the Oslers’ household but also runs a spaza shop, together with Tysie Allens. She loves clothes and home décor and has tastefully decorated their five-roomed house. Their son Ricardo and daughter Sivuye both attend the HCET.
Thembakazi Matyeke has been with the HCET from the start. In 1989 she was one of the first ECD teachers to train with Jane Evans in Viljoenskroon, and she, Nombulelo Matyeke and Lettie Martins started the first ECD classroom at Vlakfontein Farm a few weeks later.
Her classroom was housed in an unused farmhouse. Resources were limited, and equipment was made from paper-mache and recycled containers. Different classrooms were demarcated with brightly painted tins, and the only toys and books were hand-me-downs from local farmers.
Today Thembakazi teaches five- and six-year-olds in a Grade R classroom on the HCET campus furnished with bright posters and furniture and a wealth of equipment and books. However, the educational principles and methods are much the same. Children are encouraged to learn basic concepts in numeracy and language, and are given plenty of freedom to indulge in creative play.
‘I never thought I would enjoy teaching so much, but I just love working with children and seeing them grow,’ says Vuyokazi Katise, an HCET alumni who has returned to the Trust and discovered great satisfaction in her job.
Vuyokazi teaches four- to five-year-olds in a classroom just across the quad from the classroom where she finished Grade 9 a few years ago. She began to attend the Trust school when her parents moved to Hanglip Farm from a stud farm elsewhere in the district, which had been sold. Her father, Abie Katise, became the school groundsman and driver, while her mother, Eunice, worked in the Hanglip household.
Vuyokazi finished high school in Colesburg and then completed a four year diploma in human resources at Motheo College in Bloemfontein. However, she soon discovered this was not what she wanted to do, and returned to the HCET.
When I visited her classroom, she was teaching learners about transport. In one corner, children were cutting and sticking down circles, triangles and squares to make cars. In another, children were colouring in shapes, delighting in naming the colours and shapes as they went along.
Lelo sat on a chair in another corner, dwarfed by a giant book she was ‘reading’ to a group of friends gathered around her. Vuyokazi explained that although the school had books in Xhosa, Afrikaans and English, choice of language was not really important at this stage as the focus was on pictures and encouraging learners’ ability to tell their own stories. Everyone was having fun learning basic concepts in a stimulating environment.
Niekie Pretorius and family
Niekie and Sandra Pretorius live on a farm about 22 kilometres from the HCET campus. Niekie holds an M Sc degree, while Sandra is a qualified pharmacist with a master’s degree in community pharmacy.
Besides farming, Niekie started teaching at the HCET school in 1994, and became its headmaster in 1999. Sandra managed the Trust’s primary health clinic from 2000 onwards. It was registered as a community pharmacy in 2005.
This clinic is a major community asset, as people in the surrounding area no longer have to travel to Colesburg for health care or prescription medication. Sandra managed both the clinic and pharmacy with enormous skill and professionalism. She has recently been offered the position of head of pharmacy in the Northern Cape, which is a senior government position. The experience she gained managing the HCET clinic over the past decade played a major role in her being head-hunted for the position.
The couple has two sons who attended Grades 1 to 7 at the HCET. They then went on to complete their senior phase schooling at Marlow College in Cradock. The eldest son, François, is completing his honours in B Sc Agriculture at the University of the Free State. The yongest is studying electrical engineering at the University of the North West, where he has been offered a bursary.