THURSDAY, 25 OCTOBER, ACTIVITIES IN AND AROUND THE RAILTON GRAVEYARD
Bontebok Primary School, the school that was most severely affected by the 1975 School Bus Disaster, held their annual memorial service at the school. Thereafter, they went to the collective grave in the Railton Graveyard and had a wreath-laying ceremony there.
Relatives and other members of the community visited the graveyard during the day and placed some flowers on the graves. It was also clear that the Municipality had cleaned the area around the graves beforehand.
Messrs Basil May, Riaan Jonas, Sydney Setira, Nicholas Myburgh,
Philip Evertson, Llewellyn Satira and Harry Zass at the
18:00: A WREATH-LAYING CEREMONY
A simple wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Bus Disaster Memorial in front of the municipal offices in Voortrek Road. The names of all the victims were read out and Pastor Philip Evertson did a prayer and a brief sermon. Thereafter, Mr Nicholas Myburgh, Executive Mayor, laid a wreath on behalf of the Swellendam Municipality and Messrs Harry Zass, Riaan Jonas and Basil May did so on behalf of the Swellendam Bursary Fund.
Mr Sydney Setira then spontaneously shared his experience in regard to the Bus Tragedy.
He was punished because he was caught smoking Benson and Hedges cigarettes and was
not allowed to go with to Genadendal, despite the fact that he was an enthusiastic and relatively
good sportsperson. It was clear that he had been very disappointed at the time, but later
realised how fortunate he really was to still be alive. Somebody mentioned that it was ironic
that cigarettes had saved his life. This little bit of history has hitherto been unknown to most
19:00: MEMORIAL SERVICE
Father Mario Hendricks offered the St Luke’s Anglican Church for a brief memorial service at 19:00. The audience was addressed by
Messrs Harry Zass (the chairman of the Bursary Fund), Nicholas Myburgh (the Executive Mayor) and Jan Jansen (a survivor of the Bus Disaster and a former Executive Mayor of the town). Farren Plaatjies, Swellendam’s nightingale, also rendered a beautiful song.
Farren Plaatjies enthralling the audience with her item at the memorial service.
Father Hendricks gave a short sermon and asked the congregation to form a circle to demonstrate support for the families who lost loved ones, whom he requested to call out the names of their relatives that died in the 1975 accident. He then conducted a ceremony using water to symbolise the healing and cleansing power of faith. This was a truly fitting and uplifting event, especially to those who have experienced the painful effects of the death of a loved one.
SWELLENDAM BURSARY FUND BREAKFAST ON SATURDAY 27 OCTOBER AT 10:00
The Swellendam Bursary Fund had a full house at the annual Bursary Fund Breakfast in the Swellendam Secondary School Hall.
Part of the audience at the Bursary Fund Breakfast
A video message by Marlene le Roux was played and her apology for being unable to honour her promise to speak at the function was warmly accepted. Jay-Marie Scheepers, the winner of the Marlene le Roux Essay Competition, then did a ballet dance at her request, to show how well Phyllis Spira and someone else taught her, since she was very young. Thereafter, the chairman of the Bursary Fund handed her a book which Marlene wrote and sent to her and another one that was co-written by her.
The chairperson of the Bursary Fund handing over a book given by
Ms Marlene le Roux to Jay-Marie Scheepers the winner of the essay
The audience was deeply touched by the presentation of the guest speaker, Ms Ashra Norton, the Founding Director of the Leadership College, which provides free quality education to learners from Manenberg, and Two Oceans Graduate Institute, that offers a B Ed (Intermediate) degree to rural and urban students. She comes from a family of nine siblings that was moved out of District Six because of the Group Areas Act and forced to go and live in Manenberg. The enrolment of the College has grown to more than a thousand learners who are provided with free uniforms, stationery and meals at school. The matric results are outstanding and their ex-learners do very well because of their well-rounded education, which includes community service. The graduate institution has enrolled more than 100 students for the B Ed degree, including 17 in Swellendam at the beginning of the year.