History

The partnership between Kleinood farm and Weber Gedenk Primary evolved in a very natural way and somehow seems as if it was always meant to be. Weber Gedenk is where all the children of the people of Kleinood farm receive their primary education. When we decided to become involved with the schools of the area we originally decided to work with the high school. We made an appointment, but on the day the headmaster was not available and we decided, on the spur of the moment, to visit the primary school. As chance would have it, the headmaster, Mr. Bernard Williams was available and we spent a pleasant morning and very valuable time with him. It was also during this time that we realised that our family is closely related to the Rhenish pastor, Weber, who was the father of James Town and Weber Gedenk Primary School.

“The Rev. J Weber bought a piece of ground, Jamestown, which he divided into plots and sold to coloured families, in order to alleviate the housing shortage. In 1903, fifty plots had been sold, and by 1924 most of the people had paid for their plots, and the ground now belonged to them fully. In 1923 a small church was inaugurated, which initially also served as a school. In 1925 a second teacher was appointed.’ (The Rhenish Mission Society of South Africa Elfriede Strassberger.)

After this short visit to Weber Gedenk Primary School in February 2010 we decided that the school should become the pivot point of all our social development programmes. The school identified its most pressing needs and together we decided how best to approach and coordinate these projects.

Weber Gedenk Primary is a small school with a wonderful history, but also because of our infamous political history, bears the burden of endless social problems. It is a semi rural government-funded school, with children that mostly come from poor and often troubled households and thus few amenities to create an ideal educational environment. For a parent body with little or no educational background to support it, it is very hard to give or understand the support a government funded school needs to survive and create the necessary structures and amenities for a 21st century educational institution. Because the government does not own the property on which the school is built it is also not willing to aid in the upkeep and development of the buildings or grounds.

Although Libby and Gerard initiate and manage the projects in deliberation and conjunction with the needs of the school quite a few other role players have also come on board as the collaboration developed over the years.

Ever since his arrival on Kleinood, Joey Plaatjies has been involved with and concerned about the welfare of the children of the Blaauwklippen valley. He has seen and experienced the damage alcohol can do and has initiated various schemes to eradicate the violence, abuse and hardship he sees around him.

He spends a lot of time and energy exploring the different avenues in which he and the farm could be actively involved in improving the lives of these children and giving them reasons and the tools to survive their often troubled lives. Joey has become a father figure to many of the children in Weber Gedenk Primary school where he is especially involved with the special needs class. He has also organized sports days, a go-cart building competition and race, works in the garden with the children and helps to run all the community projects for Kleinood.

Other members of the Kleinood team, some of whom are parents of children at the school, have also joined in and helped to establish a healthy relationship with the school. However, it is no longer only Kleinood, but also friends from Germany and the wider Cape Town and Stellenbosch communities that have become involved and contribute where and what they can.

The children of Jan van Riebeeck High school joined in 2011 in a joint initiative with the ATKV. They upgraded the playgrounds, provided facilities in classrooms, provided stationary, art materials and the beginning of a small library. This has so far been only joy and a wonderful success story at that. Jan van Riebeeck competed against many schools in a national ATKV-Handevat competition and managed to walk away with the first prize of R30 000.00 towards the Weber Gedenk coffers. The school will now use this money to further develop and upgrade their classrooms.

"After this short visit to Weber Gedenk Primary School in February 2010 we decided that the school should become the pivot point of all our social development programmes."