Our last photo together on December 10th, 2020.

Dear Friends of Golden Sunbeams

Even if the year is still young, we unfortunately have very sad news to report: our dear Marinda Manuel, the principal of Helderberg Golden Sunbeam kindergarten, died unexpectedly in the night of 3 to 4 January 2021, of a Covid-19 related infection.

Marinda would have turned 62 on March 5, 2021. She leaves behind her husband, 1 daughter and 2 sons and many grandchildren. Our deepest sympathy goes out to her family, relatives and friends. We are stunned and very, very sad!

Let’s look back at Marinda’s lifetime, which is closely linked to our own history: It all began over 20 years ago, in 1997/1998, with the construction of the Helderberg Golden Sunbeam kindergarten in the township of Macassar. It was the first kindergarten that Bernd Holtkamp initiated and that was to become a prime example of sustainability and successful work in the townships. The Helderberg Golden Sunbeam Kindergarten laid the foundation for our activities today and the name “Golden Sunbeams e.V.” originated with them.

After the end of apartheid, with the establishment of the new democratic government, all kindergartens in the Helderberg region, were closed or no longer financially supported by the government. This led to catastrophic consequences for the families in the townships as, without child care they could not go to work, and without work, they could not earn an income and without an income, they could not afford suitable care for their children – a hopeless downward spiral.

The Helderberg Golden Sunbeam kindergarten in Macassar in 1997 before the start of construction work. ­

After long negotiations with government agencies and churches, Bernd finally built the first kindergarten in the township of Macassar in 1997/1998 with private donations.

­ After the kindergarten was built, Bernd Holtkamp officially opened the Helderberg Golden Sunbeam Kindergarten with councilor Magermann in 1998. At the official opening ceremony, all the children and kindergarten teachers celebrated their new building.

Over the years, significant improvements have been made to the structure and organisation of the facility.

In March 2018, the kindergarten celebrated its 20th anniversary. Many of the children of that time are now in professions where they receive a secure income due to their successful education here. ­

­Marinda Manuel was the “grande dame” from its first hour: As a caring and devoted principal, she was loved by her fosterlings. The committed Marinda was valued, respected and often admired by her employees. With her open and energetic manner, she actively worked with us on the further development of the facility. We are very proud to have walked such a long road with her and we will always honour her work.

We, the children, their parents and the kindergarten teachers will miss you Marinda very much!

Yet, we don’t know how to close the big gap that you have left.

Rest in Peace Marinda Manuel!

In deep mourning

Britta und Bernd