To the right or to the left, this is South Africa’s best koeksister

Solidarity Helping Hand’s Stove stories: Koeksister competition attracted bakers from far and wide including three former Huletts koeksister winners and a baker from the kykNet programme Koekedoor. But, the winners are Willa and Johanna Rademeyer from Parys.

The Rademeyers live in a retirement village in Parys and bake approximately 50 kg koeksisters each week. They form a formidable team and have been working together for many years to earn an additional income. The original recipe comes from a koeksister bakery in Vanderbijlpark. Willa prepares the syrup and dough, while Johanna makes sure that the colour of the koeksisters is perfect. They both love plaiting, but there is a slight difference in their methods that only a real koeksister expert will be able to spot.

“I plait to the right”, says Willa, “and Johanna plaits to the left”. Johanna will differ that she plaits to the right and Willa to the left, but no matter how you look at the koeksisters, they are at their best when you eat one (or three!).

Stove stories was launched in May this year to find the best koeksister in the country. The koeksisters from finalists from all over the country were adjudicated by a panel of judges of the South African Women’s Agricultural Union at the Hazelwood Food Market in Pretoria.

The winners receive a cash prize and their recipe will be used in job creation project in Pretoria West from where the koeksisters will be baked and distributed in bulk.

Christa Dormehl from Amanzimtoti received second prize and in third place was Julianna Griessel from Heidelberg. Gerda Swanepoel from Ermelo was the market favourite, who earlier this year became famous as a finalist in the kykNet programme Koekedoor.

For more information on the competition and to view the other finalists, please visit or call Anel du Preez, Project Manager, at 012 644 4390.

Caption (from left to right): Willa Rademeyer, Anel du Preez and Johanna Rademeyer.

Ten years of selfless service

CR3E3107 (2)Mariana Kriel has been with the Solidarity Movement for ten years this year and she is still as enthusiastic as on day one.

Kriel started her Solidarity career at the media division before being transferred to Helping Hand to give support to that institution. Nowadays, she is the regional organiser for the Gauteng North Region. Under her management the region already grew to consist of 14 branches that serve communities in Pretoria and Centurion. She and her husband have two teenaged children, a 17-year old daughter and a 14-year old son, and they live in Akasia, Pretoria North.

“For me, the best thing about Helping Hand is to see how the organisation grows. We are really making a difference in people’s lives. We have also reached a stage where we have sustainable projects that just keep getting stronger,” Kriel said.

At the moment, Helping Hand has 140 branches across the country and their number is growing monthly. Our volunteers, numbering almost 1 500, made it possible for the branches to implement 798 projects worth R3,2 million this year.

“Helping Hand’s regional organisers are invaluable to us,” Riaan du Plooy, Helping Hand’s Deputy Chief Executive of National Structures said. “They are our hands and feet in the community and without their sacrifice, time and selfless service Helping Hand would never be able to realise its goal to uplift communities.”

The Solidarity Movement is hosting a Future Conference on 10 October 2015!

Workable plans will be announced to bring about a free, safe and prosperous future for the Afrikaans cultural community.

Delegates, members and friends of institutions of the Solidarity Movement are expected to gather in Pretoria for a historic Future Conference on Saturday 10 October 2015.

This conference follows on the Crisis Conference that was held at the Voortrekker Monument on 5 May this year and was attended by 1 500 people. Several resolutions aimed at solving the country’s core problems were adopted at that conference. At the Future Conference, comprehensive workable plans for these problems will be announced.

Dr Danie Brink, chief executive of Solidarity Helping Hand, formally invited all Helping Hand members to the conference to be informed of the Movement’s historic initiative to create a future for the Afrikaans cultural community in all spheres of society. Comprehensive plans will also be announced on how to alleviate, prevent and eliminate poverty.

Helping Hand will also elaborate on the schools support centre (SSC), which is aimed at providing support services for children. An announcement will also be made on how the Helping Hand Study Fund for young people will be expanded to ensure that everyone who wants to study can do so and exploit his or her full potential.

Flip Buys, chairperson of the Solidarity Movement, said the plans were based on the idea of self-reliance for Afrikaners. “The conference is going to be a truly historic event where some of the most important plans ever made by civil institutions will be announced. No plan will be adopted if we do not know that it can be implemented. By means of these plans we intend taking up the constitutional spaces for cultural and language communities in practice. Rights for communities do not materialise of their own accord. Communities have to take up their place through effective civil institutions.”

More than 20 working committees have been at work for the past few months to prepare the plans resulting from the more than a thousand inputs received by the Movement following the Crisis Conference.

Dr Dirk Hermann, chief executive of Solidarity, said some of the plans to be announced are aimed at promoting equality in the workplace and preventing unfair racial discrimination. These plans form part of the process that has been launched in Geneva to accuse the South African government of race quotas at the UN.

Other plans to be announced will focus on ensuring access to decent jobs for Afrikaners.

Kallie Kriel, chief executive of AfriForum, explained that this civil rights organisation had made it clear at its recent National Congress that the time had come for being self-reliant. “The state is imploding at an alarming rate. Basic government functions no longer are performed properly and it is clear that Afrikaners are being used as political punching bags by the government and the ANC.

“Afrikaners cannot pin their hopes on the government to create a future for them. We want to decide for ourselves on matters affecting our rights, and therefore we will be getting involved more vigorously in actions for doing things ourselves, such as intervening at local government level and security initiatives to create a good future for ourselves.”

Dr Danie Langner, chief executive of the FAK, says this organisation’s plans will be aimed at taking history back from those who want to criminalise it. “We want to project a balanced picture of history.”

The Future Conference will be held at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria. Space is limited, and advance booking is essential.

Helping Hand invites all its members together with all their families and friends to attend the event (book early to prevent disappointment!) and to follow the events of the day on our social media (links are provided below). Interested persons may visit to register.


My day as a beggar

When Isabel asked me whether I would be a beggar on Monday 31 August I immediately agreed to do it because I love a challenge. On the morning of the 31st of August I had second thoughts about what I was letting myself in for! It actually took longer to get myself to look like a beggar than it normally takes to get dressed.

Our group ended up on the corner of Hans Strijdom Drive and Gen. Louis Botha Drive. The traffic lights weren’t working and we could use it to our advantage. At first, I was completely out of my comfort zone and didn’t really know where to look. Initially, I just stared at the road but later I realised I was missing the right moment and that I should rather try to watch people’s facial expressions.


Most of them avoided eye contact. There was a lady who rolled down her window, shook her head and scornfully said: “Typical.” Two of my former colleagues also drove past, the one contacting me later to find out if I was okay.

At one stage a car approached me and I could see I was the centre of discussion between the mother and her primary school son. As they stopped next to me, the little boy opened his window, took his cold Energade from his school bag and gave it to me. During those few seconds I had no clue how to react and took the cold drink. I only knew that this little boy was going without his cold drink that day and, as the mother pulled off ,I tossed the drink back at him through the open window. I wasn’t planning to react like that and I could read the total dismay on the mother’s face. Her son sacrificed his cold drink and what happened? It got tossed back! Before she drove off I managed to tell her that this begging of mine was part of an awareness campaign and that I really couldn’t take her child’s cold drink.

This incident made me realise that this is what typically happens when with good intentions people give something to a beggar. They seem to be “ungrateful” and toss it aside. It really was an experience that will stay with me for many years to come!

Why you shouldn’t be giving anything to beggars

Members of Solidarity Helping Hand, joined by a group of students, begged at traffic lights as part of the #geeREG campaign. For most of them, it was a humiliating and traumatic experience.

The purpose of the exercise was to create awareness of the risks associated with throwing money at the problem without giving it real thought. Moreover, this exercise wanted to draw public attention to the pressing issue of beggars. After three sessions, of two hours each, the students had earned up to R635,00.

“Honestly, it’s really bad until you are given money. Then you feel a little better but it doesn’t compensate for the ugly remarks coming from the motorists,” one of the students said.

“In a way I respect them more now that I realise how hard it is, but they spend their money on the wrong things and they don’t try to escape from their circumstances. The only way one can beg day by day is to let go of all ambition. When you stand there, you feel so helpless, so dependent. For the simple reason that it makes them so dependent I won’t give beggars money again.”

Another reason why motorists should think twice before giving beggars money has to do with how they spend their money. A study undertaken by Helping Hand shows that between 80 and 90% of beggars struggle with some or other form of addiction and need professional help to overcome the addiction. By giving them money the public merely feed the habit, preventing them to seek help.

“Helping Hand is convinced that a solution more than ever has to be found for the begging problem. Our experience of begging at traffic lights taught us that people give money more readily than we had thought but the money does little to rehabilitate the beggars,” Dr Danie Brink, Helping Hand’s Chief Executive said.

Should you need more information about the campaign, do contact Isabel Faurie, a social worker at Helping Hand on 012 644 4390 or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Pictures of the day

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