Report on the GGEF outing to Hermanus, 20 October 2015

Committee members Anne Hill and John Laband accompanied 32 learners from Emil Weder High School to the Shark Research Institute, Whale House Museum and De Wet Huis on 20 October 2015. The school provided transport free of charge, and caterer Gertie Plaatjies was contracted to provide muffins and a delicious chicken and salad lunch for all the learners.

The learners were in two groups: Grade 10 and Grade 11. The Grade 12 class was writing final examinations, so were unable to participate.

The younger group visited the Whale House Museum on Market Square where they inspected the exhibition and then watched the audio-visual Whale Show which tells the fascinating story of the life of whales with special focus on the visiting southern right whales. The children were most impressed and came away with a strong conservationist sense of the threat whaling still poses to these marvelous creatures. They then went next door to the De Wet's Huis Photo Museum where they followed the history in pictures of Hermanus from fishing village to modern town. To consolidate, they visited the nearby Old Harbour Museum with its exhibits of the local fishing and whaling industry.  These last two museums were very effective in giving the children an insight into a community's substantial changes over time.

The senior group visited the Shark Research Institute where, after an informative introduction by a visiting Danish marine biologist and researcher, they viewed a variety of species of live shark specimens swimming in tanks. The more courageous students were able to handle some of the sharks, and the whole group was fascinated by both the experience of encountering these iconic creatures, as well as by the researcher’s commentary. After viewing the sharks and other marine creatures, the group observed a dissection of a shark that was part of a project to examine the effects of various food sources on sharks’ health. The session gave the students a first-hand introduction to marine biology and scientific investigation.

We thank the donors who made this valuable education experience possible.

Anne Hill

John Laband.  

Hermanus Shark Conservancy



2014 Educational visit to Eskom's Palmiet Water Transfer Scheme

On Thursday 16th October Marilyn and Angus Barker with Ann Hill took 23 of our bursary recipients, Mr. Rodney Cupido (Principal) and a representative of the Emil Weder High School Board to the Palmiet Water Transfer Scheme in Grabouw.

The group were welcomed at the Eskom Visitors Centre where an introductory video was shown explaining how the Power Station can generate 16, 5 kV of electricity during peak demand times.

The group were then given time to examine the excellent displays of posters and models which reinforced the information given on the video.

Grades 8 to 11 enjoying the learning experience

Mrs. Ann Hill getting to know our bursary recipients   

Mr. Rodney Cupido and Board Member also enjoying the experience

A short bus drive down the valley led to the power station and after a safety talk the group were taken into the power station

The lower reservoir is seen in the background from which the water is again pumped upto the top resevoir for use the next day.

The stator and rotor chamber where the electricity is generated by the water pressure.

The vastness of the chamber and equipment amazed all present.

The outing not only demonstrated one method of electricity generation it also showed the learners examples of the various career paths available in the field as Eskom is a source of university bursaries. After a delicious chicken and salad lunch the learners and teachers were bussed back to school in time to catch their normal transport home.  The visit was voted very interesting and enjoyable.


Barnard started his studies at Stellenbosch University where he failed (too much rugby) and was not readmitted. After two years working at a dead end job and fathering a son he realised that education was the only way up in the world. An accountant in Caledon recognised Barnard’s potential and offered him a job and to pay half his study costs for a Bachelor of Commerce (B. Comm.) via distance based education from the University of South Africa (UNISA). Barnard applied and was awarded a bursary by the Greyton Genadendal Education Fund which covered the rest of his study expenses.  

Barnard worked extremely hard, juggling family pressures, full time work and his studies and graduated in 2014.  The members of the Greyton Genadendal Education Fund were able to congratulate and commend Bernard for his tenacity and determination at the 2014 AGM. His wife, Veronique, was also thanked for her patience and encouragement of Bernard.

2014 Barnard has been offered a post with the Theewaterskloof Municipality. Barnard wants to re-register next year at UNISA for the Post Graduate Diploma in Accountancy.


On the 3rd October 23 learners ,all bursary recipients, were taken to the Abagold Factory in Hermanus. Miss Odile Petersen, our Emil Weder liaison teacher, and Mrs. Marilyn Barker accompanied the learners.

The educational outings have a twofold purpose. Firstly to broaden the world view of these severely disadvantaged learners some of whom rarely leave the rural Riviersonderend valley. Secondly to enable us in this informal environment to get to know the learners and for them to become comfortable in our presence and to find out why and what the Fund is about.

The Abagold Factory was chosen to illustrate how sensitive bio-systems are by showing them one in the Western Cape that is under severe threat. Abagold Factory breeds abalone (Haliotis midae), or perlemoen as the locals call them, for the gourmands of the world.  Abalone is a highly prized delicacy and supposed aphrodisiac in the Far East and is very lucrative.

The learners found out that an abalone or sea snail is an invertebrate animal called a mollusca.

Abalone is scarce due to their selective lifestyle and because they are poached. They are only found where there are cold water kelp and other seaweeds which they live on. Their sex life is also very different as they only breed for two weeks, when the moon is full, in spring when they climb up on rocks to mate. A male takes five and a female three years to come to sexual maturity. They are slow-growing and take eight to nine years to reach the minimum legal size of 114mm shell breadth before they were collected in the wild. In South Africa it is now illegal to take abalone from the sea. Abugold harvests their abalone at five years when they are anesthetised, killed and canned.

Abalone are poached by people in the local communities and are either paid or given drugs by large syndicates. The large sums paid make it worth the risks of fines and/or imprisonment especially for the poor. The role of abalone in the ecological balance of the kelp forests was emphasised and these forests are vital as they act  as a nursery for the fish on which the local fishing industry depends.

The learners showed their interest by asking many questions.

Lunch was enjoyed watching whales off the new harbour and getting to know each other.