Thursday, December 28, 2006

What regulations do other dormitories have?

Few people get a kick out of reading policy documents. I am probably an exception. I find them very interesting.

I discovered the following regulations for the residences in the University of the Western Cape, just 30 km's away from our campus.

I actually think that our dormitory information book compares very well with what they have.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Helderberg Students are Blogging

I experienced a very interesting coincidence today:

Over the week-end a distant relative visited our dormitory. He is a fire-safety engineer who specialises in installing electronic equipment to detect and warn of fires. He gave me some very good advice. He also left his e-mail for me to contact him. His name is Adrian Erasumus, and I must have taken his e-mail address down incorrectly. aerasmus@XXXX.XX

So I started e-mailing him. He never responded. Until this afternoon when Andre Erasmus responded. He tells me that I've been e-mailing the wrong person, but that he also studies at Helderberg. That is quite a co-incidence.

And in his e-mail signature I found the following address. .

It is exciting to know that our college students are also blogging. It is a pity he is not a resident in our dormitory. He does not know how much he is missing. He still needs to be truly converted. The fact that he does not live in dorms make it a bit difficult to take his blog very seriously.

But it is still nice to know that he is blogging. I'll be checking up on him every once in a while.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Vodacom Rant: Poor coverage at Helderberg

If you are a prospective student who plan to come to study at Helderberg College, I want to make one very practical suggestion to you.

Try by all means to use MTN as your cellphone service provider. MTN recently installed a transmitter/transponder/antennae? (whatever) on top of one of the buildings on our campus and you can have hours of leisurely conversation.

I have the misfortune of being bound to a contract by Vodacom and since I have arrived at this College cellphone communication has been a real nightmare. You might even have noticed it if you tried to call me or send me an urgent SMS. I frequently have my cellphone with me, and it is switched on, but I just cannot receive a signal. If I move about 200 metres up or down the hill, the signal is perfect, but in Salisbury House, there is almost no signal.

To the best of my knowledge, CellC, and the new Virgin service providers also make use of the Vodacom network. The signal for these service providers is equally bad.

Switch to MTN. I plan to do so, and with the latest regulations, I will be able to do so without changing my telephone number.

I might change my mind, however if Vodacom improves the signal on our campus.

I just discovered a tool that might help speed this up:

Vodacom allows a person to make requests about network coverage on their website in order to improve their service.
If you are a resident at Helderberg College, I want to encourage you to send your request for better Vodacom Coverage to this website. I would love to see them improve their service in this area.

UPDATE: Tuesday, 28 November

It turns out that Vodacom's customer care people have been very friendly. I received an e-mail asking for more information. I provided this to them and this morning I received a phone call asking for even more information. They said that they would try to send out a technician to assess the situation. The requested me to provide them with the names of a few other people who experience the same problem. I was at a staff function, so I managed to get 12 names in 4 or 5 minutes. I am sure that with a bit of effort I would be able to push this number up to 100.

I am hopeful that I will be able to give an excellent report of Vodacom Customer Service when the problem is solved.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I am not really a sentimental person. I am therefore surprised that I am actually a bit sad about some of the students who are leaving.

Last night I had two phone calls within a short time of each other from two Matric Students who have finished school and are leaving. Musa, called and told me that he arrived safely in Durban. Joshua SMS'd to say that he just crossed the border into Zimbabwe. He apologised for being such a pain. That is interesting because we did have some fights, but both of these guys were also some of my best friends and I would describe myself as one of their biggest fans.

This evening I heard a great noise in a room below me and found the Argentinian and Brazilian students having a party with Alcohol Free Champagne made in the western cape and chocolate biscuits made in South America. They were saying good-bye to Carlos, who is leaving tomorrow after two semesters of studying English at the college.

Again I am going to be missing these guys. They came with such an open spirit and a sense of adventure. I really enjoyed their fun-loving natures.
This is the party in room 14 as Carlos gets ready to leave tomorrow. All five of these guys are leaving in the next week. They all come from South-America. Not one of them ever regrets coming to South Africa.

These are all the graduating English Language Institute students at the informal graduation ceremony held last week Thursday.
And this is TJ. He is only leaving for a few weeks. When he returns he will be the Assistant Dean. We won't miss him too much. We know he will be back full of ideas and energy.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Outing to Beach

Well, there is not much to be said about an outing to the beach. All the usual apply: wind, sunsets, food, volleyball, and some more wind ...

We advertised this outing by appealing to the romantic side of beach outings. The pictures below tries to capture some of that. It was our last official college outing for the year. Next week is graduation, and then everybody will hopefully go home for the summer-break.

This is what TJ and Matodzi, two of my Resident assistants must look like to a Grade 8 boy who comes to the dormitory. VERY BIG!

Aldo and Stacey further away from each other than they normally are.

Luvuyo Veli, one of our graduating students for 2006. He was particularly romantic this evening. (I have another photo of him that I promised I would not put on the blog, unless he misbehaves in the next week or so.)

Lukhanyo is going to be in Grade 12 next year. Here he is wishing that he had a girlfriend that looked like this.

Refilwe is in a contemplative mode. Usually he is incredibly active.

Did I mention that the wind was blowing? This is the most sheltered spot we could find for Sabbath closing worship. And yes, that is TJ in the pink shirt telling us to live life to its fullest (or something like that).

A typical feature of high school romance is that there is a lot of bullying, bumping, chasing, and pinching going on. I'm not quite sure who went into the sea over here. The problem is that both got wet.

And in every group there are the guys who are just pre-ordained to be alone. So they develop different strategies. These three formed their own group and decided to become street musicians.

This one (Otto) became involved with all the technicalities of the evening: setting up Volleyball nets. It came right down again because the wind was too strong.

The Angolan guys decided to use ultimate stylishness to try to attract the girls:

My name is Darcy. I'm from Angola and I'm trying to attract the girls.

"We are Mirless and Eshmael. We wear cool sunglasses and Nike shirts. We hope the girls will fall for us."
And if the girls aren't interested, there is always food from Nando's!

The evening was very successful and by the time that we were on the way back home on the bus, several eyes were drooping. Thanks guys for coming with us!

(Sleep well, Mirless, Bulumko and Zwakhele)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Near Tragedy


Today was one of those wild days, made even wilder when I received a phone call from a member of the Helderberg community that one of my dorm students went through the windscreen of a car. I rushed down to the 4-way stop at the Spar, at the intersection of Helderberg College road and the Steynsrust road.

And there I found three police vans, a tow-truck, a badly dented Toyota Tazz, and a smiling, but shaken up Musa Wilken Khumalo sporting a huge gash in his eye-brow (at least 3 cm's long and open right to the bone).

Musa had just written his last Matric exam on Friday. He was on his way to Pick & Pay to buy some things. He was on a bicycle. He must have picked up a lot of speed down the steep Helderberg College road and somehow he misjudged the strength of his brakes. He found himself in the middle of the intersection at the same time as the Toyota Tazz. He rammed into the driver's door. His arms went through the driver's window and he bumped his head into the metal part of the door.

It seems as though the driver was also injured. She went to the doctor to have her injuries tended to while Musa had to make police statements and while we waited for an ambulance. The driver's husband came to manage the situation on her behalf. Their side of the story is particularly tragic because the car was in the process of being sold. Apparently the new owner was going to collect the car on the next day. I am feeling very sorry for the owner of the vehicle.

I am however grateful that Musa was not hurt more badly, and that he lives to tell the tale. He almost died when the doctor injected him with the anesthetic to administer 6 or 7 stitches.

Musa was not wearing a safety helmet. This incident re-iterates the importance of taking the proper safety precautions when riding on bicycles or any other vehicle for that matter.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Oral History Wednesday

Salisbury House received a most interesting visit yesterday from Dr. Gerladine T. Hess. She is the Vice President of the Adventist Heritage Ministry and a Marriage and Family Therapist. She lives in Florida.

Her father, was Frank E. Thompson. And he was the person responsible for building the structure that we now live in. He built it in 1927.

In some ways the structure remain the same. The beautiful high ceilings and extremely thick brick walls (go have a look how thick the wall is at the entrance to the bathrooms!) The wooden floors etc. But in the early years the dormitory did not have 58 rooms as it has today. It had several large sleeping halls.

Dr. Hess told an interesting story about Ps. C.C Marais, who was the first dormitory dean to ever work in the dormitory (1928, 1931, 1933-38, and 1940-45). He had a very big nose (In fact, there is a rock outside Maluti Hospital that has earned itself the name: Henry's Nose).

Ps. Marais was very strict about the kind of music that students listened to and he was able to exert full control. He would watch the students as they listened to music. If they were tapping their feet to the beat of the music he would tell them to switch it off. The students quickly learned that they could listen to almost any music as long as they did not tap their feet.

I was an honor to be visited by Dr. Hess. It would be nice to get some more of these anecdotes from the past.

Dr. Geraldine Hess and her son (who works as Business Manager at Maluti Hospital in Lesotho)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Student Career and Money Matters

One of my favorite blogs that I regularly read is: Get Rich Slowly. It provides practical advice on personal money matters and finance. In my own life I have made a few very silly financial choices and I am still trying to recover from them. I wish I had known better at the time that I graduated. What I like about Get Rich Slowly is that the author emphasises the fact that students can determine a lot of their financial future during their time as students.

Here is one interesting article about student work and the opportunities that it provides: How to Get the Most out of a College Job.

Here is another interesting article on how to handle your money matters as a student: 27 Money Tips for College Students.

I often get to sort students' mail and I realise that many students have several credit accounts at clothing stores. Students also tend to fall behind in payment of doctors' bills and credit accounts. Such accounts are incredibly damaging to a person's financial health. In South Africa they usually cause a person to pay more than 20% interest. If you have fallen into the trap of opening these accounts it might be worth reading about the Debt Snowball Method of getting rid of them.

Let me know if you need some support and advice on your money matters. Maybe we can find creative ways to tackle the problems that you experience. It also helps to sometimes have more than one person think about the problems that a person face.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

We came, we saw, we were thrown into the pool!

Katleho is the Assistant Dean for 2006.

Katleho is one of the biggest and strongest students in the dormitory. You do not want to be in his way when he loses his temper (although this does not happen all that frequently).

Katleho is actually quite fun loving. Sometimes he tends to get involved with some questionable activities, like throwing an unsuspecting student into the swimmingpool (This sometimes happens when the person has a birthday).

In fact, earlier in the year Katleho was involved with a spate of these activities and several students got really wet. I eventually had to put a stop to this behaviour because it is potentially dangerous and it infringes on people's human rights.

The interesting thing is that in the four years that Katleho studies at Helderberg, nobody has ever put him into the pool. HE MADE THE MISTAKE TO TELL SOMEBODY ABOUT THIS! And last night I chose to just turn a blind eye when a few of the strongest students of Helderberg College decided to work together to put him into the pool.

This was very entertaining and almost the whole dormitory was involved (another indication of Katleho's formidable strength.)

A very brave high school student (whose identity I will rather not reveal) took some photos:

This photo depicts the effort involved. At this point Katleho is thinking, "Why, o Why did I ever brag about the fact that nobody has ever taken me to the pool in 4 years!"

I count twelve people who are actively involved in the actual process of getting him into the pool. There were about 50 people watching from the stairs.

He Swims!

Disclaimer: This activity is potentially very dangerous. We do not encourage it. In fact it is strongly discouraged. As dean I am strongly of the opinion that it can do more harm than good and I am committed to protect all students from this kind of behaviour. (But secretly I must admit, that Katleho deserved it! )

The A-team for 2007

Well, the suspense is over and I am more than happy to announce a really interesting team that will help with the management of the dormitory for 2007.

The Assistant Dean:

Theodore-John Knipe:

TJ worked as RA for this year and it was felt that his service was of such a nature that he could be promoted to AD.

Resident Assistant:

Peter Webster:

Peter is quiet, but he has a passion for the dormitory and a vision. He gets along well with the High School guys and he is very excited to be part of the team who organise worships on campus. We are happy to welcome him to our team.

Resident Assistant:

Zandisile Ntshiza:

Zandisile was so surprised when I asked him if he would do this job that I could not get a final answer out of him for about 4 hours! When he applied he never thought that he would get it. He has been unable to stay in the dormitory, but his leadership and contribution in other areas of the campus was noticed by almost all the members of the Deans' Council. We are very happy to welcome him into the dormitory and we trust that he will continue to be of a good example and leader to us.

I hope to post some photos very soon.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Setting up a management team

It is the time of the year where we say good-bye to a number of our students. I hope to spend some time in the next two weeks developing profiles of the students that are leaving. We are going to be sorry to lose them.

This year I am losing two of my resident assistants. (If you don't know, the College appoints three students to assist the dean with the management of the men's residence.)

These resident assistant positions are some of the most responsible student leadership positions in the College. They come with some status, but they are also accompanied by a lot of very hard work. Work hours are irregular, responsibilities are quite large, and most RA's remark that other people do not really appreciate how hard they work. (In the last 10 years the College awarded two rewards to students who have made an exceptional contribution to life at the College. In both occasions these students were Assistant Deans - Sinneh Koroma, and Andile Masuku. This is another indication of the possibilities that the positions give for leadership)

Interestingly enough there is always great interest in this position! I like this. It means we are succeeding in one of the goals in the College. We are inspiring people with a passion for service and a vision to become leaders.

Because of the responsibilities that the College place on these students, the College management (Dean's council) generally does not appoint these positions on the basis of popular vote. We don't even follow the normal application process. We nominate names based on previous involvement and interest in the dormitory and then we decide. (In the social climate that we live in, this is not always accepted, and sometimes students feel that the process is unfair. It would be nice to have some debate on this.)

Anyway: Tomorrow the Dean's council will be meeting to discuss the following names. Some of them were suggested by the Dean, others were nominated by various students and leaders in the College. Some even came to me and expressed interest. In my mind each one of the following names will make excellent assistants. It is going to be interesting to see who eventually gets the position.

We will in all likelihood ask TJ Knipe to become the Assistant dean as he is the only one of the assistants who are not leaving, and because he has proven himself to be an involved and reliable leader.

The other two positions will be filled by one of the following people:

Thulane Mkhize
Sduduzo Blose
Nkosinathi Maneli
Mpho Mtombeni
Peter Webster
Loyiso Manga
Zandisile (Not a dormitory student)

The fact that these students names are on the short list is already an indication that we see them as having great potential. Hey! You can even point your prospective employer in a year or two's time to this blog and show them that somebody thought highly about you.

It is going to be interesting to see who will make part of the team. To those who don't make it: take comfort in the fact that we appreciate you and that there will be further opportunities for leadership in the future.

(I'd love to hear your comments on these guys.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Philosophical Thursday: Discipline

One of our bright third year students, Sdu, sent me a thought-provoking e-mail today. I thought others would like to comment as well.

I want to know how you feel about
the fact that the people,in the college,
who are supposedly there to help students in times of need also sit in
the disciplinary committee?The most prominent of these being the
AD's,the Deans themselves, the VP for Student Services and,at least the last time i
checked.the chaplain.

I guess your double role does make it kinda difficult for you to be one
or the other.In other words you cannot be both the
counsellor and the disciplinarian.I don't know if you're getting me.Say
a guy here in the dorms is having a problem with
imbibing fermented drinks but they are finding it difficult to stop and
they are looking for help,but the one office they can find help is
occupied by the chairman of the DC.My question is two fold.In such a
case;who does the youngster turn to?and should you be approached with
such a problem;how do you handle it?Now i'm not talking about you
catching the individual in the act,but rather they come to you to
confess,that they have been drinking in your dormitory.Do you yield to
the beckoning of your conscience or do you give into the demands of
school policy?
I've written this response... although it is not very coherent and clear as yet.

I sympathize greatly. I've experienced this same conundrum a few times in my life. It gets worse when you are a pastor in a conference and you are facing issues in your personal life or in your faith life, and you know that if you go talk to your pastor (The conference president) about it, it could effect your career, your ordination, your next job placement etc. The church has tried to solve this issue by voting in a policy recently that allows pastors to see a psychologist. The psychologist may then send the bill to the Conference to pay without disclosing who the pastor is that saw her.

I think your point is definitely valid that the College should put in place structures where problems can be dealt with confidentially. I think the chaplain agrees with this because he specifically requested to be taken of the disciplinary committee. In 2005 the psychologist was also not on the disciplinary committee. This year she is there. I think it is worth petitioning the College through student services to change this.

In terms of the roles of the Deans and the Student Services Director, I feel slightly different though. But the role definition of the deans are very complex and sometimes even confusing to ourselves, and I reserve the right to change my mind as the discussion continues :-).

We are definitely seen as parents. Now that immediately makes things challenging because parents, by definition, have the dual functions of discipline and care. Many parents actually fight quite strongly for the right to administer discipline themselves. I remember when I got myself into trouble with the law when I was a high school kid, there was a very real possibility that I could have had to face courts and the harsh penalties of an uninvolved justice system - my parents intervened and spoke to the authorities and asked very nicely that they be allowed to administer discipline at home. In this case it worked and I got some good discipline - but at least I did not have a criminal record (In those days the police still gave lashes to juvenile offenders).

Also, I think it is a good principle in the process of discipline to have it administered by somebody who is involved and caring, rather than by somebody who is completely removed and clinical. The purpose of discipline is seldom to come up with vengeful acts of retribution. The purpose is to act as an influence in the life of a student that will guide him in the right way in life. Here it helps to have somebody who is involved and, in a sense, not objective. Cold objectivity could easily result in two situations: Punishment can be harsh and punitive (as opposed to restorative) or alternatively punishment can be irrelevant and not take into account the real issues that the student needs to face. In either way it can undermine the main purposes of discipline (character formation, re-building relationships etc.).

It happens once in a while that there is a clash between the interests of the student and the interest of an institution. Eg... when a student leader drinks in public and damages the public's opinon of the institution. It is interesting that I've experienced this almost every single time that the deans bring balance in a disciplinary committee - arguing for discipline to address the needs of the student before they address the needs of the institution.

I actually think we are a very useful resource on the disciplinary committee. (By the way, do you know that the College Management did not want us on the dc this year?... one or two cases were handled without us, but we found ourselves just becoming involved almost by default by virtue of our contact and interest with the students who were facing diciplinary action)

On a slightly more technical level - the role of the dormitory dean is also a management role that requires that things be in order and running smoothly - this requires discipline. Eg. stealing or violence or bullying, or insubordination, or drunken parties, or excessive noise levels ... all conflict with the management priorities in a dormitory and the manager needs to make use of discipline at various levels of intensity to be able to create and maintain an environment that is condusive to study and healthy development.

Anyway... I can probably go on.

Time does not allow for much more, but let me say one more thing:

One: I do not buy the argument that being college rules should necessarily (and without question) lead to discipline. Eg. I've dealt with at least two cases this year where students came and told me that they unlawfully took girls into their rooms. They did this because they were affraid that somebody was going to find out about it and that they would then be in trouble. When they told me (it was an admission of guilt) and committed to change their behaviour, I saw absolutly no need to take punitive action. Punishment is really only ever effective if it can bring about a change in behaviour.

I've had people asking for help with drugs and sexual issues (both in terms of girlfriend/boyfriend sexual relations and in terms of sexual orientation) - This is where the other side of being a parent comes in. Care, counseling, advice, guidance. In fact... in one case it happened that a cold outside observer made a charge against one student based on behaviour that seemed completely out of line to him, but because myself, and my assistant knew this student and the challenges that he was facing we were able to prevent disciplinary action from being taken against the student.

I am not sure that we always succeed in this. I certainly do not have everybody's trust. And, yes, I think I think I've made one or two bad judgement calls in the past.

......but thanks for the questions.... keep talking to me. You're making me think.

What is your opinion on the issue?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Today I heard that our ladies residence also started a blog! This is really exciting. My experience is that it takes a bit of time to get the whole thing up and running and to gain momentum. I hope they are going to have lots of fun. And I will definitely be checking in there frequently.

Somebody who lives in my dormitory and who has a regular presence online is Reynolds. Reynolds is spending a semester at our College from the United States. He is lamenting the fact that he cannot stay longer. It is worth exploring his blog which contains many photos chronicling his experience, travels, and life in general.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More Pictures from the Dome (4th Peak)

Conrad Zygmont kindly provided us with photos that he took of the group on the Dome.

Maybe we should carry some paint up on our next trip to beautify the beacons somewhat.

Wow! I can't believe it! Even Nokothula made it to the top :-) She was complaining that she could not breathe from the second contour already! You GO Girl!

If only the photographer could capture the fear in the hearts of the students as they walked on this exposed ledge. (The sheer cliff face in front and below is very imposing and frightening. But what would a mountain be if they did not allow us to confront our inner fear from time to time?)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Conquering Helderberg Mountain: Report

It is strange to think that there are so many students at Helderberg College who would have passed through three or more years of study at Helderberg without making it to the top of the mountain even though it is literally in our back yard.

On Sunday, 22 October, 24 students, did however make it to the top of the mountain.

This is how it happened:

We said we would leave at 07:00, but as usual, the girls from Anne Visser House (we usually just call it: the Girls Dormitory), spent an extra 30 minutes putting on their make-up, and making themselves look fashionable. So we left at 7:30.

We followed a less common route up along the Spanish Farm boundary of the College, and not the more common route that goes up straight against the protea farm. This route provided varied terrain and different views.

As expected the group quickly divided into two sections, an agile section and a slow section. The agile ones reached the top of the mountain while I was still sorting out somebody with cramps at the foot of the cliff face (Oom Sias, our farm manager drove up with a 4x4 and gave her a quick way down.)

The agile group met up with Conrad Zygmont, one of our adventurous staff members, who guided them to the top of Fourth Peak (The Dome) while the rest of us relaxed on West Peak. I was with the group who relaxed and therefore my photos are limited to those who stayed with me.

The day was not entirely without drama.

One of our girls who attempted to climb Fourth Peak twisted her ankle. Our Salisbury house guys were so eager to climb the mountain that they did not pay her much heed. Thankfully a group of climbers attached to the Hottentots-Holland section of the Mountain Club of South Africa were also climbing on the mountain.

They were able to provide treatment. At one stage, as they were assessing the problem they even had a helicopter on standby to evacuate her. Fortunately a little bit of loving attention helped her relax and she was able to walk down to Disa Gorge where a 4x4 from the local Search and Rescue organisation was able to pick her up. We really need to thank the Mountain club for their very kind assistance. They rightly remarked that several of our students did not have correct footwear for the mountains and that we must not ever underestimate the dangers on the mountain.

The biggest drama, which I did not want to mention to anybody out of sheer embarrassment is that I (the one who organised the trip) was so busy packing first aid kits and cameras that I left my food for the trip on my diningroom table. I only discovered this when I opened my bag on top of First Peak! It is amazing how appetising a packet of licorice Allsorts can be when there is nothing else to eat. I consoled myself with the fact that I know many mountain climbers who survived days without food in mountains.

The whole exercise was very enjoyable and I hope that we can do this more frequently. I hope that a few students will develop a passion for such activities in the process.

Mike and Bulumko relaxing at the top.

On the way down there is a beautiful exposed area. Clementine is accompanied by Will from the Langa Adventist Church.

A small group about 1/4 of the way down the mountain.

We could see some of our other group of climbers walking on top of the Dome. They were small like ants. The camera did not pick it up, but it is possible to use one's imagination.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dormitory Food

I think this is typical of most people's experiences in a dormitory. The food in the cafetaria just never taste like the food you get at home!

So what this student and his friends did was to begin to support the local pizza shop. And the evidence is put on display in their room.

I wonder what kind of bacteria is growing inside those used boxes.

Perhaps the pizza shop can thank us for our patronage by sponsoring a flat screen TV for the dormitory :-)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Conquering Helderberg Mountain

In my previous blog post I mentioned that we plan to climb Helderberg mountain with a number of students from Salisbury House and Helderberg College on Sunday 22 October.

In preperation for this climb, I took a day off work this week-end and walked up the mountain myself.

(A picture of the rest of the Hottentots Holland Range from West Peak)

A few notes on the walk:

1. I did see one snake. A 90cm long puff adder. The good news is that she got such a big fright that she is now at least 10 farms away from us. (I would say that I could vouch for it because I met it in the Nature reserve on the way down, but I think that would frighten people off.)

2. It took me (with a 110 + something kg. frame 2 hours to walk to the top of the mountain. It took another 1hr 50 minutes to walk down.) I feel a bit intimidated by the fact that the students, who are young and fit might feel the need to do it in less time.

(A view of The Dome from the beacon on West Peak. To get there we will have to descend about 300 metres along a steep little path down West Peak and then walk about 1 km on a countour path that leads to the ascent part of The Dome.)

3. It is definitely worth it. The scenes are really beautiful. I am unhappy with myself that I waited two years to do this trip up the mountain. (I did climb the Dome last year though.)

There was a bit of hazyness in the air. Down below is Helderberg College.

This is what Helderberg Nature Reserve looks like from the top of West Peak. We will eventually finish our hike down by the large dam - right at the bottom of the hill :-).

If you are a Helderberg Student, I hope to see you on top of the mountain.
Read my previous post to find out what to bring with you.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Conquering the Helderberg Mountain Range

We All Know this View!

But who of us know the view from the top of these mountains?

Join us on a trip to the top of the Helderberg Mountain Range.

Date: Sunday, 22 October 2006
Time: 07:00
Place of Departure: Computer Lab Entrance

We will hike from Helderberg College to the top of West Peak. Enjoy as you get to see new images and perspectives of the College as we climb up the slopes.

The hike up West Peak will take approximately 2 hours. At this point the ones who are less fit will be able to return via the same route that we came.

The more adventurous climbers will traverse past the 2 central peaks and then climb the more challenging Dome (4th Peak). The Dome is the highest peak in the Helderberg Range (Higher than Table Mountain). You will enjoy beautiful views of Stellenbosh and the Winelands, and of the Helderberg Basin. We are likely to see a pair of Black eagles and some small wildlife.

We should reach the top of the Dome by 11:30 - 12:00. We will eat lunch on the Dome and return with the beautiful winding path down Porcupine Buttress to the Nature reserve where transport will be waiting to bring us back to the College.

What to bring:

1. Good Walking Shoes.
2. At Least 2 Litres of water.
3. Some snacks to eat on the way. Watch for further announcements about what you can get from the Cafeteria.
4. Bring a warm jacket or sweater to wear in case the weather becomes unpleasant on the mountain.
5. You will need something to carry all of your things in. A small day-pack will be perfect.

If you are interested in this you might want to explore the following links.

A map of the area (although it does not indicate the path on top of the mountain.)

Other people have been up there before.

Social Programme for the end of 2006

We have a very full social programme planned for Salisbury House (and Anne Visser House) for the rest of the year. I will post individual articles and reports on these social programmes, but what follows is a quick summary:

Sat 7 October: Board Games in Gym, followed by dvd's projected against the Gym wall.

Sun 8 October: Business Club Banquet

Sat 14 October: Senior Class Banquet

Sun 15 October: Prison Break! (Salisbury House Open House)

Sun 22 October: Conquer Helderberg Mountains (Climb up West Peak and the Dome).

Sat 28 October: Money or the Box! Live game show with many prizes to be won.

Sat 4 November: Camp Fire and Poetry Evening with Mathodzi (Mieliebraai).

Sun 12 November: Survivor Helderberg! (Watch this space!)

Sat 18 November: Volleyball on the Beach

If you live in Salisbury House, or study at Helderberg College, there is no better place to be.

Pictures of Salisbury House

Well, it is just a building, but for many over the last 50 years, it has been home.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Once a year we say good bye to our Matrics. We recently had our Matric Banquet at Neethlingshof, a wine farm near Stellenbosh.

Attached are some of the pictures taken at the meeting. All the photographs are of people who live in the dormitory.

This is Joshua about 45 minutes before the banquet, playing playstation in the Salisbury House foyer.

At the same time, Jean Luc is in a slightly further state of readiness, but he has to clear up something with one of his girlfriends on the phone.

The sun had just set when we arrived at the venue. Steve, one of the Grade 11 hosts waits for us.

Another two of the evenign hosts. Reggie is a proud resident of room 50 in Salisbury house.

Musa, is the Shaka Zulu of the matric in our dormitory this year.

Joshua looks a little bit better by this time. His parents live in Zimbabwe and could not make it for the function.

This is Jean-Luc with what appears to be his main girlfriend. Jean-Luc is from the Seychelles.

Jean Luc with another attachment (Tashlyn who lives in the girlsdorm).

This is Ndile with his girl. Ndile is Xhosa and has recently completed his initiation cermony into manhood. We would probably have forgotten about it if he did not remind us on almost a daily basis :-).

Jean-Luc, Musa and Ndile.

Thedore John (TJ) is one of my resident assistants. He is just one of Jean-Luc's ornamental attachments. (Although he officially accompanied Tashlyn that evening).

Ah, Cute :-).

Man! We have a good looking Matric Class! I just had to get in as well to ruin the picture.

Oh, I completely forgot about Dudu, who also lives in the Girls Dormitory.

And then there was the food.

It is strange that everybody left when the food was finished. Perhaps there was a lively after party somewhere.

It was a lovely evenign. Thanks to the Grade 11's for organising it so well. And Good luck to the Matrics for their upcoming exams.