After the fire had broken out in the Lourensford Wine Estate a few days earlier, the Helderberg Nature Reserve went up in flames on Saturday, 11 June 2022.

Dear Friends of Golden Sunbeams

The moody weather conditions at the Cape kept us on our toes in June!

After a rainy and wet May, June again brought very hot days with temperatures up to 30 degrees – this is very unusual even for our region, which is spoiled by the weather.

Also unusual for this time of year was the outbreak of a fire at the Lourensford Wine Estate on the edge of the Helderberg Nature Reserve, which later got out of control.

Homes at risk in the Erinvale Golf Estate and around Spanish Farm had to be evacuated.

­ A 360 degree view shows how close the fire came to the Erinvale Golf Estate – what a miracle the entire estate and golf course were spared from the fire. ­
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­ But the indigenous and endemic vegetation was badly damaged in the residential areas and especially in the Helderberg Nature Reserve. Easily flammable trees, such as eucalyptus and pines and large parts of the “fynbos” burned down. It is endemic and covers many of the mountains, valleys and coastal plains here in the Cape region. Fynbos consists largely of plants, which can be recognised by their hard, leathery and mostly narrow leaves. It thrives on nutrient-poor soil, needs little or no water and, because of its narrow, hard leaves, gives the sun’s rays little evaporation surface.

Many people were fortunate to have survived the fire without much damage. Unfortunately, not everyone was so lucky. June 11, 2022 was extremely tragic for a select few.

Fortunately, the townships and our kindergartens were spared this catastrophe because they are not close to the Helderberg Nature Reserve. ­
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Heat and fires were followed by heavy rain: about 70 mm of precipitation fell here in the region within 2 days.

In a short time, the water could not drain due to the often inadequate effluent system, which led to flooding. This has now led to flooding, especially in the townships and our kindergartens.

Macassar was particularly badly affected: at times the children could not go to school here.

Most South Africans retain their composure in the face of adversity and act in unity, tackling and helping those who are worst affected. Reporting in the media is also often far removed from unpleasant sensational journalism: the focus of the news is thanks to the many helpers and confidence in the future. We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the many helpers. ­
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­We were very happy that we were able to seal three leaking roofs of our kindergartens in time before the heavy rain: Bright Future in Asanda Village and Small World and EmfundiSweni in the township of Nomzamo.

At Small World Educare-Centre and Bright Future Edu-Care Centre we partially re-roofed or sealed, put in new interior ceilings, renewed the electrics and installed LED lamps.

What a difference: previously the classroom at Small World Edu-Care Centre was lit by just a single bulb, now it’s bright and cheerfully lit. Cynthia, the principal is also happy that she finally has light in her small office.

The baby room at Bright Future Edu-Care Centre now shines in a new light. After we installed a new roof, the room was also insulated to protect from cold and heat. ­
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­Luckily, after the heavy rain, there were no big calls for help from our community and most of the buildings were sealed.

But at EmfundiSweni we had to do more than just repair: We had repeatedly repaired parts of the roof for many years, but now had to realize that this was no longer sufficient. The building consists of many different containers that were connected to each other about 20 years ago. Most of the old roofs over the containers are misaligned, preventing water from draining properly and pooling on the different roofs.

That’s why we decided after the heavy rain to re-cover the entire roof, replace the electrical system and put in new interior ceilings. The timing was just about perfect: Nomalizo’s preschoolers went off on 24 June for a two-week winter school vacation and the weather forecast was dry and sunny.

First of all it was said: everything “old” hasto go or be taken down.

On July 2nd, the roof was finished – at least enough so that it no longer rains into it. And now everyone is busy installing the electrical system, insulating the roof and putting in the interior ceilings.

In any case, the whole team is very optimistic that we will have all the rooms brightly lit before the pre-school children return to their school after the winter break.

At this point we would like to thank our friends, donors and sponsors for their support, which has made it possible for us to realise projects like these.­

And there are other events that make us optimistic here in South Africa.

After the 21 June, the day of the winter solstice, the days here are now getting longer and brighter again – with you in Europe they are getting shorter and darker again… but you still have the whole summer ahead of you.

On June 22, the mask requirement was lifted across South Africa as well as all other restrictions.

For today we send warm greetings

Britta & Bernd