Bantering Weekend Greetings from the Dumping Grounds

First of all don’t misunderstand: We love our village and the people in it!!!

But when it comes to politics it’s a different story ….. ‘Hear’ us out.

Recently we went to the annual meeting of the Stanford Ratepayers Association. This village ‘institution’ is revitalised after the old committee ‘chucked the whole show’. Revitalised also to keep the political opposition (=ANC) out; hence no committee-members from the ‘coloured’ and ‘black’ areas. It’s election year in South Africa so there is a lot at stake and, after all, 60 percent of the incoming municipal rates are sourced from the ‘white’ side of the village. We were at the meeting with a mission (will come to that). To get an idea of the committee we suggest to look at a Youtube of the old British TV-series ‘Dad’s Army‘ (Enjoy!!! 😉 ) The meetings starts promising with the mentioning of the chair person that the committee has two female members who are there to take care for the drinks and snacks. Anyway when it comes to the point it turns out that the ratepayers don’t have any input in the spending of whatever money; that has already been decided by the local Ward and the municipal council.

So what are we doing over there?

Now it becomes interesting ….

There are some ward members present and they explain that the whole budget is already spend; partly towards their own personal interest (they don’t mention that explicit… 😉 ). One, for example, explains the plans for a ‘Waterfront’ like attraction along the Klein Rivier; it’s her ‘pet-subject’ and she has been brooding on that for years….. blah, blah, blah. And that goes on and on. But what about ‘grass roots’ projects such as health and education? Nada!!!

BruynstrGreetingsNow our point: we are living along a gravel road at the edge of the ‘white’ side bordering the ‘coloured’ area. Last year the Ward decided to re-gravel the road as cheap as possible so that became very dusty gravel (not analysed on hazardous contents) and that also applied for the road along the ‘coloured’ primary school 150 odd metres from our place. We love gravel roads (it’s the country side we chose for) but this gravel is dusty and some people like to race with their vehicles on this road because there are no speed-bumps and no signs which notify them of the maximum speed limit (=60 kmh but; on tarred roads in the village where most ward members are living it’s clearly signed with 40 kmh!!!). Some speedsters don’t even see the stop signs at two crossings … Personally we think that the speed limit for gravel roads in the village should be 20 kmh (we live in the country side; rural pace please!). That sat aside: we and our neighbours plus others from within all walks of life within the whole village collected over 300 signatures including names and addresses and these were handed over to the chair person of the Rate Payers Association (who is also a ward member) and publicly in the meeting he denies ever seen them neither did he see (so he said) the budget friendly proposal for reversed one-way traffic signs which will significantly decrease the amount of traffic through our road…. And what more: medical tests at the mentioned primary school show that the lungs of many children are affected by the dust…

But what do those people consider as important except ‘pet-subjects’?

Ah… here is one from a member of the local ‘conservation trust’: He complains about the horrific horizontal pollution of the planned gantry-crane the municipality is planning somewhere in the ‘well done’ area along the river as part of the extension of the existing sewage system so people over there are not tempted anymore to pump the contents of their sewage tanks into the river in order to avoid municipal sewage removal costs. The gantry is needed for lifting manhole covers during inspections and is only about 2 (read  TWOmetres high. We’ve never heard the conservation ‘trustees’ mention the out of tune (with desired Victorian character of the village) buildings and structures. Let alone mentioning them the DUMPING GROUNDS of Cape Nature Conservation near our village with ASBESTOS scattered around (wonder if our gravel comes from that plot….). 

Wishing you all a great weekend from the Dumping Grounds (photos shot without permission of Cape Nature Conservation):

New York, New York. Here comes Stanford!

We are not much in favor of all kinds of photography competitions for which you have to pay an entrance fee to participate. But now we made an exception (on invitation BTW). Although there is a jury that makes the final decision people can also vote for us online. The more votes the bigger the chance to win the JACKPOT of 75,000 US-Dollars. If we should win it (which is most probably beyond any imagination) we donate one third to the NGO Food4Thought here in Stanford, South Africa. This community based NGO runs, for over 10 years now, a pre-primary school in the informal settlement Die Kop that is virtually fully privately funded with well trained teachers, born and bred in Die Kop. The school is one of the best of its kind in the Western Cape. The NGO is fully accountable and periodically independently audited and complies therefore even for funding from the USA (strict regulations over there when it comes to funding South African projects).

As theme for the photographic competition we choose for the village we are living. The main picture in the linked page is THE one which will circulate in the jury and in diverse (online) media; the smaller ones are there  for illustrating how we see and enjoy Stanford through the lens.

Thanks for voting!

At the bottom of this page you can comment (also welcomed)

Herman :)

P.S. the thumbnails below are made at the pre-primary

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Greetings from all who love their school!

Students of Funimfundo in informal settlement Die Kop near Stanford certainly love their school!

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Ready Steady and Go

Sport Day for School kids in Stanford.


The Graduates

The future of South Africa starts with people like those of the location (township) Die Kop in Stanford. The community (privately) supported pre-primary school is one of the best in South Africa. And Helen Zille (prime minister of the Western Cape) is seemingly not aware of it and neither is South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma …. If every school in South Africa has the same (or similar) drive behind it … well guess that than the education standard would be more or less the highest in the world.

Seeking Knowledge


One of the best pre-primary schools in the Western Cape is here in Stanford in the informal settlement ‘Die Kop’. The young children live 5 kilometers away from the regular governmental funded pre-primary school and that is not the 7 kilometer needed to have access to the official school bus system. Add to that the busy road the children have to cross, etc., etc. Except for a grant of 11 Rand per child per school day of the department of Social Development (for food, salaries staff and other running expenses) the funding is purely sourced in the private sphere; in- and outside South Africa and as far as the Rotary Club in Knoxville Tennessee in the USA.

Without this initiative of the NGO Food 4 Thought the parents would have kept their young children at home. Now the children have the opportunity to grow into further education. Food 4 Thought was founded in 2004 and initiated by ‘Black” and ‘White’ villagers including a significant input of mothers of the settlement.

An old municipal building was privately upgraded (new windows, proper sanitation, paint, etc. etc.) by the initiative takers and since than the school and the support from third parties have been growing. And still it needs quite an input of the participants to organise things like daily meals and drinks for the children, maintenance, dealing with ‘officials’ and so on. But the initiative in one that bears fruit and deserves wider acknowledgement within the Western Cape.

The name of the school is Funimfundo and that is Xhosa for Seeking Knowledge.


The Riding School

People of all walks of life are priviliged to live in a place like Stanford; we’ve said/written it before. Under the ‘dull’ first look of Stanford there is vibrancy inline with the good village life. One of the activities is horse riding at Bagatelle Horse Riding School and as the name says Bagatelle also offers horse riding lessons for adults and children. Owner Jake Uys (related in some kind to a few famous South African celebrities) is the local horse-wisperer and he does a great job. His ‘outrides’ goes through the properties (vineyards and fynbos) of neighbouring farms and in slow pace for the magnificant views changing around every corner or bend along the different routes.

When we were there we did not even know that this opportunity existed (just had to photograph a few horses for a magazine illustration) and that is where we met Jake (Cell: 079-4689060) just busy with a few pupils.

Before the lesson starts the ‘students’ first have to brush the horses (also after the lesson) and saddle the animals. And than they go on the ride with Jake guiding and telling/advising about (riding) horses. Very entertaining. Kids of all ages (up into the eighties) love it. A must for horse-loving village visitors as well. And the rates? Well …. in comparison with the tourist hotspots in south Africa….. these are a ‘bagatelle’!

This kind of activities BTW also (as does amongst others also canoeing and hiking) attracts tourism that avoids masses but goes for pure quality.