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 SAAF has a heart of generosity

By Amn Lebogang Ramaboea, AD ASTRA Magazine and photos by Lt Col A. Coetzee

The South African Air Force (SAAF) identified a needy school and gave a helping hand. Generaal Nicolaas Smit Lower Primary School in Booysen, east of Pretoria, was a worthy recipient. The 1000 pupils at the institute will forever remember 11 September 2008, when they received the pre-Christmas gifts.

Children of today need role models desperately and the SAAF has filled that empty rusted tin. The infants showed sheer enthusiasm in the different musterings presented to them on the day, from pilots and technicians.

The SAAF band played the learners’ favorite musical items from television shows, mixed with old-time classics. The children sang along to legendary music of Miriam Makeba’s pata pata and to Sipho (Hotstix) Mabuse’s Burnout. The SAAF Band rounded up with traditional African wedding tracks: tswang le boneng and Avulekile Amasango.

Band conductor, Lt Col Matthys Pienaar, selected a boy from the crowd and pretended to give him his job for a minute. Young Sihle Skhosana did not disappoint the crowd. He directed the band into an untitled song he had just composed.

Then, learners were taught about the musical instruments such as the saxophone, flute, drums, xylophone and piccolo. Thereafter, a competition ensued and, puzzles, stickers and balloons were the day’s prizes. Pupils had to name the equipments they were taught about. The concert ended on a high note when the band played with refuse bins as musical instruments, wearing civilian caps facing backwards and sideways.

Siyandiza, represented by CO Queen Letlhage and Lt Stopper Modisaesi, a Swartkop based pilot, spoke at length about the many musterings in the SAAF. A learner asked a pilot if he was not scared of crashing. Lt Modisaesi responded by saying: “No I’m not, because the SAAF trained me well. To add on, flying has always been my dream, so I guess now I’m leaving that dream”.

A seed of generosity had been planted and the learners needed to be nurtured. Caring, in true blue culture style. Foodstuff and toys were liberally given as the children opened their hearts. The day belonged to them. The SAAF lived up to its value of human dignity and excellence.

“On behalf of the pupils and teachers, we are thankful for the gifts. After receiving them they forgot to ask if any aircraft were going to land any time there. The feast of music was hovering everywhere in the hearts of the young,” said a teacher Mr Schalk die Dericks.

Children were united in song and laughter. However, materials in the form of gifts alone do little to a child’s life and members of the SAAF provided the emotional support and left the children with knowledge, stationary, food, clothes and a braai stand.

The school was not the only place that needed help on the day. SAAF members also went to Booysen Community Centre, 2,4 km from the school, a 13-roomed house where less privileged old people are staying. The country’s senior citizens were elated when a braai stand was presented to them.

The following sponsors made the day memorable for the children. Thanks should go out to them, with a hope that they would not end up with the two organisations.

  • 1 ASU - donated two braai stands;

  • Aero Manpower Group, (Denel) - donated food and stationary;

  • Lerumo - donated food and stationary;

  • Pilatus RSA - donated food and stationary;

  • Directorate Basic Flying Training (DBFT) and Directorate Human Resource Development (DHRD) - donated food, stationary and clothes.


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