My Farewell Party 30th Nov 2010

  • June 29, 2011 1:50 pm

Farewell Party, with the soccer kids, at the Wonderkop community

On 7th November 2010, I left South Africa. It was a very sad occasion but something I knew I had to do.  Being in South Africa on my own & volunteering  for 3.5 years had taken it’s toll. I was emotionally exhausted & it was time to do something different.

On 30th October 2010, Vincent my soccer coach & the soccer kids arranged a farewell party for me, that they funded. Each person had to pay R25 for their food & drink. R25 would buy 3 loaves of bread so this was a lot of money for the kids.  I was very touched by the great number who attended. People usually only attend events like this when they are free.

The event took place in the square where Vincent, my soccer coach, lives. He asked the permission of the 32 fellow shack owners & they were all very pleased to host the event.

All the inhabitants of the square also wanted to take part in the festivities so they also paid R25. Vincent said that one man gave R50 & he wasn’t even going to attend the party. I felt very honoured by this.

The benches were borrowed from the shacks in the square. The good behaviour of the children never ceases to amaze me. They all do what Vincent says, well the youngsters do.


Duma, Michael & a parent preparing the punch in Vincent's shack

The older boys had asked if they could have alcohol at the party. It was to be the first time that they’d had an alcoholic drink. Two buckets of punches were mixed, one for the over 17s & parents & the other for the youngsters. Initially the older ones didn’t believe that there was alcohol in their punch until it hit them later :) There was no trouble at all, everyone just had a great time.

The kids all love to dance. They take it in turns to perform. Water had to be thrown onto the 'dance floor' to reduce the dust.


The food was cooked just outside of the square, see the red arrow. We had quite a job keeping the flies away.

The R25 bought each person a piece of belly pork, a beef chop plus a cool drink. There were no vegetables. Needless to say I didn’t partake of the meat as I’d brought my salad & water with me – some things never change :)

The little children in the square joined in, as did the adults.


The girl in yellow is a fund raiser for the P4 Academy. Vincent (in red) gave a beautiful speech that made me cry.

When I left SA, the older girls were planning on organising a raffle to raise funds for the P4 Academy. I had to explain to them how a raffle worked.

The kids LOVE their meat. They don't eat it very often so it was a real treat for them.


Vincent also used the day as an awards ceremony for the 'Best Player' etc

The boys were very proud of their medals.

The youngster were transfixed by the whole event. NOTHING like this had ever happened in Wonderkop before.


Vincent was the hardest person to say goodbye to. When I first met Avela he barely reached my shoulder. The ladies didn't believe that their punch was alcoholic until it was too late :)

The party was very special for me. The older kids all had a few words with me & I know that I’ve had a positive impact on their lives. I hope that I’ll see them all again one day.

Volunteering in South Africa was an amazing character building experience for me & I know that I made a difference.

Presented to King of Bakgatla Sept 2010

  • June 29, 2011 10:29 am

Special Church service at Moruleng Stadium

On 26th Sept 2010, I was at the Moruleng stadium, which is where England played their warm up game against the Platinum Stars. My soccer boys were playing against the Platinum juniors. It was their first time playing at such an amazing venue.

Moruleng Stadium - 1 hour drive from Wonderkop

There was a special church service taking place before the game. It was for all the different churches in the local area. The King & Queen of the Bakgatla tribe were there. It was the Bakgatla tribe who owned the stadium. Their money came from the companies mining on their land. South Africa is a place of extremes, there are the VERY rich areas & the VERY poor areas.

As usual, I was the only white person in the stadium so I stood out a little :) I was approached & asked if I’d like to meet the King & Queen of Bakgatla. Of course I said “yes”. However if I’d realised I was going to have to sit through a 2 hour service without having a clue what was being said or sung, I might have declined.

The King & Queen making their entrance, following in the footsteps of the English football team :)

I was seated very close to them

They were all dancing. They certainly enjoy themselves during their church services

The King's sister - I sat next to her.

Church & God are Very important for the people of South Africa

All the churches have different uniforms

At the end of the service everyone looked at me. It was my time to be presented to the King & Queen. I felt like quite a fraud plus very under dressed as I was wearing shorts & a t-shirt. Obviously the King had no idea who I was but everyone seemed pleased that I’d attended their service.

The King's sister. The royalty in this area appear to be well educated & so their tribe prospers from the mining on their land.

Unfortunately the King of the Bapo tribe, which is where Wonderkop is located, is uneducated & an alcoholic. As a consequence the mining royalties have been put into fund that is controlled by the government waiting for the Bapo tribe to produce some business plans. In the 3.5 years that I was there none of this money was used for the good of the people, which is sad.

New Spaza shop in Wonderkop – Aug 2010

  • December 13, 2010 7:50 am
Tandy & her husband Tera open a Spaza shop near to Wonderkop Stadium

Vincent & Tera built a 6m x 2m from old timber & corrugated iron for their Spaza shop & home. Tandy buys a box of tomatoes, onions & eggs from shops in Marikana. People come to buy one tomato, one egg or a scoop of snuff.

Tandy outside her new shop

When she started Tandy was Very new to the world of retail. One of the soccer kids mother’s baked scones & asked if Tandy would sell them for her, she said that she wanted R1 for each scone. Tandy proceeded to sell them at R1 each so made nothing for herself.

People come to the hatchway to buy things

Initially I bought her some stock & gave her ideas –  like buying large boxes of washing powder & decanting it into small plastic bags.

Layout of shop & shack. In total they measure 6m x 2m

Behind the curtain is their single bed. The plastic bags on the top shelf are filled with washing powder.

The black tubs with yellow lids, on the bottom shelf, contain snuff that the ladies buy by the scoop. The telephone is owned by a relative & is used to sell airtime. Everyone has cell phones but the price of calls are very expensive.

On the left of the table is the small paraffin stove where Tandy does her cooking. There's no water in the shack.

Tandy’s shop is making her some money but she has to be open from 6am to 10pm. Luckily she now has her crochet & knitting to do when there are no customers.

Tandy is now quite the ‘business woman’ & she can tell you how much profit she makes on each item. She’s come a long way in a few months & I’m very proud of her. Who knows what this will lead to for her.

Plastic Bag Sun hat – Oct 2010

  • December 1, 2010 8:29 am

I was fascinated by this idea of using plastic bags & decided to be more adventurous. This was the result of my crocheting a hat. I was very pleased with my efforts.

You'd never think that it was made from plastic bags

I used PEP & Spar carrier bags

The hat stretches to fit your head. I never wore it in the sun though so I don't know how hot it gets.

I left the hat with the team at Hospice Rustenburg because they wanted to get their outreach centres working on similar projects.

Knitting with PLASTIC bags – Oct 2010

  • December 1, 2010 7:36 am

During a visit to my Aunt’s in August 2010, I told her about my latest project in SA - knitting.  I knew that I’d collected a lot of wool for SA but I was concerned about what happened when this had run out. My Aunt’s response was ‘PLASTIC BAGS’. My initial reaction was of disbelief but after a few moments on Google I was a believer.

This bag was my first attempt at knitting with plastic. I was Very surprised & pleased with it. Others who I showed it to were amazed by the results.

I knitted the bag from 2 Andrex toilet tissue 12 pack bags.

I showed Tandy how to cut the plastic bags into a single strip for knitting.

I initially started this mat using a black bin bag. Tandy then took over & look what she created. I'm very proud of her.

Tandy encouraged Khaya to also knit with plastic. He can't wait to go back to the Eastern Cape to show his parents, but this wont be for several months yet.

Learning to Knit – Aug to Nov 2010

  • December 1, 2010 7:12 am

Ladies in Wonderkop learn to knit

During her stay in South Africa, Mary taught some ladies from Bapong how to knit. They made scarves out of 100% SA wool, then Mary sold them in the US so the ladies were paid for their work.

Mary with the ladies from the Bapong knitting co-op.

Mary was going to teach my ladies in Wonderkop how to knit but her stay was cut short so it never happened. I didn’t want to disappoint these ladies so I decided to check if I could still knit. I hadn’t knitted for 40 years but I was pleased to discover that I could still remember.

The first ladies that I taught in my shack, using Mary's needles & wool

During my August 2010 stay in England, I asked if anyone had any wool or needles that they’d like to send to SA. The response was amazing but the needles weighed over 4kg.

This is what I brought back from England. Thank goodness for vacuum pack bags. Luckily my baggage allowance had been increased to 42kg.

Gladys, the maid at the farm, could already knit but I gave her wool, needles & patterns. She was very pleased to be re-introduced to it.

Marvellous received some of the wool & needles. She made the pink baby hat & bag.

Marvellous taught her step-daughter to knit

I taught Tandy to knit. During my trip to England she practised very hard. I only given her one ball of wool – she forgot how many times she undid her knitting so that she could try again.

Tandy with the wool & needles

Tandy was a very keen student. Because of her dedication I decided to focus on her so that she could then teach others. Which is why I gave her the remaining needles & wool.

Tandy knitted this hat without a pattern or any help from me. In the donated wool there were small balls of fluffy wool that I said would make a good scarf

Tandy taught her cousin, Khaya, to knit. He was very proud of his "growing" scarf.

I also taught Tandy to crochet. She was very proud of the crochet square on her lap

Tandy told me that I’d shown her that she could work with her hands. Next year she hopes to learn to sew.

P4 receive soccer kit from UK – September 2010

  • November 25, 2010 8:02 am

Bedworth Liberal Club give kit to P4 Academy in Wonderkop

During my visit to England in September 2010, I was given a soccer kit to take back for my soccer kids. Luckily my baggage allowance had been increased to 42kg because I’m a frequent flyer with Emirates.

Vincent, founder & coach of P4, was very excited by the new kit

Khaya & Avela inspecting the new kit. Khaya is Vincent's cousin & Avela Vincent's nephew. They both live with Vincent in my shack

All the boys want to see what I've brought them

Everyone wants to try on the new kit

They play on a gravel pitch that was a rubbish dump. The donkeys often come & watch.

P4 Academy Under 19s

When I first met these boys they were smaller than me. But that was 3 years ago

I don't know why they wanted a photo of their jersey number

They LOVED the long sleeves because no other team has them

My friend Bev has made them blue bibs

P4 Under 12s. They were presented with a Peugeot pen & a pencil. They're proudly wearing medals that they won the previous week.

This is where the kids sit while waiting to play

School Uniforms 17 – 5th October 2010

  • November 25, 2010 4:41 am

Majakaneng Primary receive new tunics


After Amir sold his shop he still had school uniform stock that he hadn’t been able to sell. Amongst this was 123 tunics that he bought & badged for a school that had closed. He let me buy all these tunics with the £500 that had been donated by my family & friends. Amir only received about half what he had paid for the  tunics but that was better than nothing.

Fatima, Amir’s wife, removed the pockets that were badged.

Some of the girls who received new tunics

Everyone was very excited

I would not be able to do this in the UK

Surprised little faces

Happy faces – wave

I woz there :)

The next group – Thank you

This girl is 9 or 10 years old but only the smallest tunic would fit her

Books 4 Schools – July 2010

  • November 25, 2010 2:57 am

Old books given to 6 schools

Amir from whom I purchased school uniforms

After Amir sold his shop he still had thousands of old school books that he hadn’t been able to sell.

The Department of Education in South Africa tells every school that they must have a library but they don’t give the schools any money to buy the books.

An ex-colleague gave me money for these books.

Harry, from the farm, helped me bring the 60+ boxes to my cousin’s house. Luckily the house has a very large covered outside area. We were exhausted from the lifting & Harry asked me who would want such old & dirty books. I suddenly wondered if I’d made the right decision.

Some of the books

I've already sorted & delivered 10 boxes.

I had to empty & sort all the boxes. It took me about 3 weeks & I was really wondering why I was doing it all – would they be of use???

Kgwanyape Primary received 10 boxes. Jerry, the principal, is in the doorway.


Leokeng Primary received 4 boxes. Photo taken in their library!!!!!!!

Machadam Combined received 5 boxes.

Maruatona Primary received 2 boxes, principal is seated

Seroophata Primary received 10 boxes. this enabled them to start their library.

All the schools were very excited by the books. Some teachers said that they’d used these books when they were at school & they were better that the current ones.

Thlapi-Moruwe Intermediate received 4 boxes

Thlapi-Moruwe environment group

In the boxes were some good quality Kodak books on photography & art. Rita, from the farm, is an art teacher at a fee paying school. This school was very pleased to take possession of these books & put them into their library.

Books are very scarce in the state schools. You never see kids leaving school with armfuls of books. Even the Matrics  (17 – 18 year olds) have to share a book between 3 in class & they can’t take them home. The teachers give thethe children assignments to research topics but there are no close libraries for the kids to use. The kids have to  take a taxi to their local town which is a 45 minutes drive away & costs R24, which is equivalent to 4 loaves of bread. Some families don’t have enough money for  food so what chance have the kids got????

USA play soccer with P4 Academy – June 2010

  • June 27, 2010 4:49 am

P4 Academy at Wonderkop played soccer with 3 American lads

Currently there are 5 extra people at my cousin’s house in Mooinooi. One of the reasons for their visit is to watch the World Cup games but also to meet the community.

Everyone had a great time meeting my kids & playing soccer with them.

The red soccer kit below was purchased by the parents of the P4 Academy. This is a FIRST. The parents normally just send their kids to soccer & don’t take any part in it. Now they even attend some of the games. Which is a great boost to Vincent their soccer coach.

Gavin, the goalie, is only 13 whereas the South African lads are at least 17 years old.

Andrew & John are 21. They're both much taller than South African lads of the same age.

The above blue kit was borrowed from another club in Wonderkop. Both teams were P4 players. It was a mixture of their under 15s, 17s & 19s teams.

Gavin was probably one of the youngest players so was rather nervous. Have you spotted the grounds men at the back? The goats :)

This is the 2nd time that the American lads have played at Wonderkop. The 1st time was against the team UJS & John's opponent only reached his waist. He found it very difficult to tackle him because he was scared of injuring him.

Andrew in action

Gavin preparing himself.

There were a lot of spectators.

The locals were wondering what the white people were doing. I don't count because they've seen me hundreds of times :)