About 150 teachers representing 28 different schools
attended a two-day “Onniesymposium” at Glenburn Lodge in Muldersdrift on the 2nd
“We did this to give back to those in the education system,”
said Marilet Vosloo, a Fairland Primary School teacher.
Onniesymposium is the brainchild of a group of Fairland
Primary School educators who attend Rian Truter’s education summit in
Stellenbosch each year. “One is so inspired after the summit,” Vosloo said. As
the educators were sitting in the airport about to go home, they wondered: ‘Why
can’t we bring the summit back to Gauteng?’
And so the first annual Onniesymposium was born.
“Fly high, spread your wings” was this year’s symposium
theme, said Vosloo. Each teacher received a gift bag containing a red Superman cape.
The symposium hosted seven keynote speakers, one of whom is
the only Down’s Syndrome woman with a teaching degree in South Africa. Others
included a communication specialist and university professor. The first speaker
got the guests to put on their capes and dance on their chairs.
Teachers won prizes of spa packets, manicures and monetary
gifts. Etienne Venter, the principal at Unika Primary School, won a spa packet
at the event. “The symposium was a great way to see how others view life in
education,” said Venter.
“It’s a difficult career to be in sometimes,” said Vosloo,
“but you chose this career; you were called on to be a teacher.” The symposium
gives educators courage and energy, so that they can make a difference when
they step into class again on Monday, she said, and “Be the best teacher for
South Africa’s children.”
The main sponsor of the symposium was Fundi, which is “a one-stop-shop
for all things educational,” said Sue-Anne Groenewald, the company’s business
development manager. Fundi aspires to create a ‘cashless campus method’ where
children don’t need to bring cash to school. “The children pay via a Fundi
wristband, card or app,” said Groenewald.
“Fundi believes in all things educational,” she said. “It’s important to support our teachers, principals and deputy heads.”
Over 3000 people attended a weekend-long bridal expo at
Oakfield Farm in Muldersdrift on the 29th of June where over 150
exhibitors showcased their wedding services.
“It’s Gauteng’s biggest bridal expo,” said Siann Upton, Oakfield’s
marketing director of seven years, who organized the entire event. With 72
acres of gardens and fields Oakfield Farm has more than enough space to host a
massive annual expo to make every bride’s dreams come true.
Twenty-two years ago, Upton said, Oakfield started hosting a
small open day for engaged couples, which eventually evolved into a large
bridal expo. The event usually occurs in January and June. The summer expo
attracts around 6000 people, she said.
More people showed up to this winter expo in comparison to
previous years. “We spent more money on marketing this time,” said Upton.
Members of Oakfield Farm start organizing the event months
prior to its occurrence, said Greta Ogborne, Oakfield’s brand manager, and it
takes two weeks to set everything up.
This June event started at 10 am and required a R100
entrance fee. The expo housed clothing sales and food and drink services.
“It’s all for the brides,” said Ogborne. “They need to plan
their big day, and this gives them the opportunity to explore everything they
need all in one place.” It is a combination that is sure to ward off bridezilla
symptoms and pre-wedding anxiety.
Ingrid Vorster, who went to the expo out of curiosity, said
she was surprised at how big the event was. “It had all the services for a
wedding under one umbrella,” she said. Vorster wished that she had known about such
expos before she had her own wedding.
Some might think that this event is only for those who say “I
do,” but it also secures potential clients for businesses that organize
weddings. Hermione Ballinger, from a wedding and events magazine, said that her
business secured over 100 new clients within three hours at the expo. The
exhibitors were dress designers, décor managers, photographers, lawyers and others.
“Our exhibitors come from small businesses,” said Ogborne,
“and this expo helps them get their name out there.”
Ilze Fourie advertised the Farm Inn Estate at the expo to
showcase their wedding venue and said that they had gotten many leads at
previous Oakfield events. “It’s good leads. It’s not just people passing by,”
she said. “It’s definitely worth our while.”
“We get fully booked,” said Cheree Pritchard, a baker from
Jeanette’s Cake Creations. This company has baked wedding cakes as high as 1.1
meters tall and has been attending the Oakfield expo for over two years. At an
expo like this, Pritchard said, people can share ideas and businesses can
develop partnerships. “A nice web connection is formed as you get to meet new
people that might lend you a helping hand if you ever need one.”
The expo also showcased the talents of DJ’s and musicians. The
Blu Earth Marimba Band performed during the weekend’s expo. The band members
play marimbas for background music at weddings, said Khabonina Motaung, the band
promoter. “We believe in the uniqueness of the marimba instrument,” she said.
“It just gives a different vibe to a wedding.”
The Oakfield expo increased the band’s exposure. “We would
love to be a go-to band for many functions,” said Motaung, “and Oakfield is the
perfect platform to make that happen.”
Oakfield also provided excellent security on their premises.
“We have roaming security guards, undercover guards and guards stationed at the
entrance,” said Upton. The Oakfield members also took safety measures to ensure
that their guests’ vehicles didn’t get stolen.
“Overall, everything was smooth-sailing,” said Upton.
Oakfield aspires to remain one of the biggest wedding influencers in Gauteng with each annual bridal expo. For more information on the Oakfield Farm, contact their office at email@example.com .
Logwood Village in Muldersdrift has thrived
these last few years with residents exploring society and Special Olympic
Games, despite South African stigmas on mental health.
Logwood Village is a residency for
intellectually disabled adults, according to their website, with over 20
Logwood Village’s 51 staff workers provide
a safe and loving home for all the residents.
“The people who work here are experts in their field,” said Wolhuter.
Families who rely on state facilities for
their loved ones only receive sub-standard care, according to an Independent
Online article. Every Logwood resident, however, gets state-of-the-art care
and living arrangements, Wolhuter said.
Logwood has three types of living.
Independent living consists of two to four residents in a home. A care
facilitator lives with those in semi-independent living. Those in high-care
living receive 24/7 assistance.
“Our philosophy is to bring the world to
us,” said the director, “which can be done by giving our residents in-house
The Village has three workshops. In the
income-producing workshop the residents work on labor-intensive assembly work,
which includes packaging, folding serviettes, assembling electrical appliances
and electric fence bobbins and attaching medals to lanyards. Sixty women from
the Video informal settlement on Elandsdrift Road work alongside these
residents in the income-producing workshop, as part of Logwood’s outreach
program. Logwood also provides these women with income and basic healthcare.
Logwood is accredited by SMETA (Sedex
Members Ethical Trade Audit), said Wolhuter. SMETA is a standard of improving
ethical supply-chain practices, according to their website. With this accreditation, the
residents can sell their products to Sedex members. A portion of the profits
are used for the residents’ families who cannot afford the Logwood fees, said
Wolhuter. Currently residents are making squares for Mandela Day blankets.
Besides work, the residents partake in
sport to keep them active, she said. Activities include swimming, horseback
riding, golf, yoga, dancing and more. Emmanuel Maqashalala, a resident, said
that his favourite activity is soccer and that he practices at four o’ clock
almost every day.
Bocce is another favourite sport amongst
the residents. Rosemarie Waidalich plays it often and says that it is one of
the few sports that she can participate in. Bocce is an Italian game closely
related to bowling, according to the Special Olympics website. The
objective is to roll the bocce ball as close to the target ball as possible,
Three Logwood Village residents
participated in the Special Olympics overseas in swimming, aquatics and golf,
said Bonita Bondesio, Logwood sports and activities coordinator, and Andrew
White won a gold medal in golf.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver (John F. Kennedy’s
sister) founded the Special Olympics in 1968. All the Special Olympics
participants are intellectually impaired. The Special Olympics organization
thrives on donations and has an office set up in South Africa, explained
Everyone at Logwood gets the opportunity to
participate in sports, said Bondesio. “If you can run 100m in 30 seconds or in
eleven seconds, it doesn’t matter, everyone gets an opportunity to
Opportunities also arise for residents to
partake in external activities outside of the Village. Maqashalala celebrated
his 21st birthday at Burger King. “We try to make their 21st
as special and memorable as possible,” said Lennon Chikumbirike, the Logwood
The staff provide the residents with transport
to be with their families during the holidays, said Wolhuter. Rosemarie
Waidalich sometimes visits her mother’s family in America.
Community members are also encouraged to
volunteer at Logwood, said Wolhuter. “We are very careful when it comes to
selecting volunteers as our residents can be quite vulnerable,” said the
director. Volunteers are usually parents of the residents and one of them helps
with adult education.
Although selecting volunteers is a tough
process, it is also challenging for Logwood to find volunteers in the first
place. “When we send requests out to the community, we don’t get much feedback from
them,” said Dawn Engelbrecht, Logwood’s administration manager. “Some don’t
know much about Logwood and others are discouraged by stigmas.”
Mental disability stigmas evolve from fear
or ignorance and can be combatted through education and increased contact with
the mentally impaired, according to a Health24
Four out of every 100 South Africans have
some form of intellectual disability, according to the
South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP).
Stigmas arise because people do not understand that people with intellectual
disabilities have trouble learning, understanding and processing information,
according to SACAP and a Camphill
article. It is a permanent condition, not a disease or illness.
Logwood has a quote on one of their
workshop windows that reads: “Every day may not be good, but there is something
good in every day.” And so, the Village tries to make their residents’ days as
joyful as possible.
“When you get here, it’s a feeling of unconditional love,” said
Engelbrecht. “It’s not an institution; it’s a home away from home.”
About 300 people enjoyed a day of fun
completing a doggy obstacle course with their canines at a Muddy Puppy event at
The Wedge Outdoor Park in Muldersdrift on the 31st of March.
Oneplan Pet Insurance hosts the Muddy Puppy,
which is usually a 4 km fun run or walk offering loads of hindrances and many
mud baths, according to their website.
The pet insurance company was originally involved in obstacle racing for humans
when they opened a training centre at a dog-friendly place, said Lesley
Delport, owner of the Muddy Puppy. “We were setting up one day and we happened
to see some woman going over an obstacle with her dog. So we decided to combine
And that is how the Muddy Puppy was
This was the first time that Oneplan held
the event at The Wedge, said Delport. The five-hour long affair started at 7 am,
when people arrived with their pets. “We can have up to 600 dogs at an event in
the morning,” Delport said. Dog-lovers pay a R160 entrance fee, while their
dogs get to tag along for free, according to an ad on the Muddy Puppy website. A
lot of regulars showed up to support, Delport said.
“I didn’t really expect to see so many
people,” said Warrick Ward, owner of The Wedge. “It was actually a pleasant
surprise. A lot of guys came out to have a look at it.”
He said he was also quite surprised that
the dogs were so well-behaved and that no fights broke out.
“We’ve actually been very lucky,” said
Delport. “We’ve had scuffles at the most.”
The organization created a color-coding
system to keep the dogs from barring their teeth at each other. If a dog is
temperamental or unsocial, they wear a red or yellow bandanna around their neck
and all the other owners know to keep their pets at a safe distance, she said.
“People respect that.”
Search and Rescue participants were also at
the event to ensure the safety of individuals as well as Man’s Best Friends.
“We work with many guide dog associations,” said Delport.
The Muddy Puppy supports a different
charity for each event, she said. These charities include SA Basset Adoptions,
Cause 4 Paws, Wollies Animal Project, Yorkie Rescue South Africa and many more,
according to their webpage.
The dog charities are usually in charge of
washing the dogs after the race and they charge R30 per canine, Delport said,
with all the proceeds from the dog baths going to the chosen charities.
The charity supported at The Wedge was The
Society for Animals in Distress, which is the single-largest professional
welfare veterinary care provider in South Africa, according to their website. A percentage of the
day’s profit also went to this charity. Each time someone entered the race,
they indirectly helped save a domestic animal from a needy community.
The race consisted of a 2 km walking trail
with some mud slides, a muddy dam, a slip-and-slide and small obstacles for the
dogs to jump over or crawl through. The dogs could also get splashed with
“I’ve never done anything like this with
the dogs before and I didn’t know how they were going to react,” said Anna
Huysamen, a participant.
Her dogs refused to go over some of the
obstacles, Huysamen said. They sometimes crawled underneath instead of jumping
over, she said.
Onlookers could hear the chants of many owners
encouraging their dogs to jump over hindrances, while their pets ignored them
and maneuvered around the obstacles.
“My favorite part was when we had to walk
through the muddy water,” Huysamen said. “I fell into the mud a few times, but
I still had a great time. I know my dogs enjoyed it as much as I did.”
Every time dogs finished the race, they
received medals and had their pictures taken.
“All in all, it was a very successful day,”
said Ward, adding that he hopes to accommodate the Muddy Puppy again when it
returns in the summer months. He also said he plans to have a better trail that
stretches onto the rest of the property. Some of the participants had to
complete the course three or four times, he said. “Next time we’ll have one
trail where some can run 2 km and others can track over 5 or 6 km down one
There are no upcoming events planned, according
to the Oneplan website. The Muddy Puppy is held about seven or eight times
during the summer months, because of the mud obstacles, said Delport. They also
host in Durban and Cape Town. For more information contact the Muddy Puppy
coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org