Spotlight on Local Unsung Heroes

Anybody & Everybody stand a chance to win one of three wonderful Overberg experiences by spotting which local hero appears in the facebook header video on

To Enter

1. Like and follow the facebook page
2. Mail your answer to


A night for two at Avani Private Nature Reserve Botrivier/Caledon Area.
A Haute Cuisine experience for two at the Wildekrans Wine Estate Restaurant. Botrivier.
Lunch for two at Manny’s in Botrivier.
(Terms and Conditions apply)

Winners will be announced at the end of November.


This is a call to all TWK Communities to nominate individuals who they think are an Unsung Local Hero.
We invite anybody and everybody to shine the spotlight on individuals of the TWK region who are doing good deeds in and for their communities. We would like to shine the light on our local unsung heroes who truly make a difference.

Our Community Development Department is inviting nominations from local communities of individuals and organizations contributing to the well-being of their communities.

Please e-mail your nominee’s name, the reason why you think they are a hero, a high resolution photo of them and their facebook link and contact details to

I nominate the inimitable Vanya Adler Schöfmann who has been running Caledon Animal Welfare Society (CAWS) with her wonderful all-girls team for more than five years. They are 100% volunteer-working, donating their own time and whatever it takes to rescue all animals large and small in the entire Caledon area. They are also often called to way out of their area.

With absolutely no funding other than a much-appreciated grant from TWK which covers less than 5% of their veterinary bill, dog and cat food, the expenses of running sterilisation clinic days and everyday expenses are generated through fundraisers and the second-hand charity shop in Caledon which Vanya runs too.

In between zipping around to free ill-treated, underfed or deserted dogs, cats, horses and you name it, Vanya spends hours manning and sorting out the shop. The shop is in Donkin Street next to Savers Lane and is always brimming with really interesting books, beautiful donated (often designer and boutique) clothing, curtains, bedding, housewares and unimaginable pot luck items.  

Vanya never says no to anyone in need and is often seen rushing out, day or night, to help an animal in distress. Her home is a safe haven for children and animals alike. She always has time for everyone, be it to ease a broken heart, feed a hungry tummy or just for a caring ear. Her very wise council always helps people in need of perspective too.

In every room of her private home, you will find a box of kittens or puppies that she is bottle feeding. Her colourful kitchen is always busy and noisy with the sounds of the coming and going and feeding of countless cats, birds, foxes, meercat, lambs and children. In fact any form of life in need of help, comfort or feeding.

For her ‘I Can’ approach to life, her enormous heart, her caring spirit and for always being there when she is needed, we say a very dear and heartfelt thank you!

Please be mindful to the fact that we all have a social and humanitarian responsibility toward alleviating suffering of any kind.

Please consider helping animals in distress immediately as these girls cannot be everywhere all at once and reported animals are often killed or have run away by the time they can get there.

Please support the shop by either donating items or by buying there.
CAWS Shop: Donkin Street next to Savers Lane

Please contact or WhatsApp Vanya on 083 366 9177 to donate money or food for their cause.
It will be deeply appreciated.

Nominated by Liza Botha


Peet Pietersen “Oom Peet”

I would like to put forward the name of Peet Pietersen who, for the past ten years, has been the local guide for the GGMTB ( Greyton Genadendal Mountain Bike ) children’s cycling group.
Twice a week, without fail, he takes more than twenty junior cyclists out on one day and the senior cyclists every Thursday.
These energetic outings mean a lot to young and old alike and provide inspiration, structure and community spirit.
Young cyclists are made aware of the great benefits of health and fitness and the fun and upliftment it can bring in their lives. It gives them a sense of belonging and keeps them off the street and anti-drugs and alcohol.
He has done this without any remuneration or reward for ten years.
He is fondly known as “Oom Peet” and if he is ever a little late the kids wait outside his home!
Nominated by:
Ria Wills
Ntinga Transformational Consulting Services (Pty) Ltd

PLEASE NOMINATE YOUR UNSUNG LOCAL HERO. All you have to do is to e-mail with your reason for the nomination and a photo of the person you nominate. Help us to shine the light on the people who bring Light & Hope into our communities.




I nominate Grant Jason Jantjies as unsung hero.

Grant is a one of a kind detective that will go the extra mile to make sure that every case he handles get solved. No stone will go unturned when he does his work.

He was detective of the year for 2018.

He does his work with so much passion that even those whom he had put behind bars, speaks highly about him.

To name some of his prestigious rugby awards:
He was Boland Elite team manager 2018
Boland team manager under/20 2019.
Grabouw rugby club team manager.

Everything Grant does, he do with so much passion that it is infectious.

He has a passion for his work and especially a great passion for children. He seeks their talent and he encouraged them to develop and do their utmost best.

He treats everyone the same whether you are a beggar or a minister.

With all that’s happening in his life and all the achievements he had reached he still remain the humble and gentle soul.

He is a true example of our late president Tata Madiba. He lives for his people.

Nominated by Samantha Melissa Malgas

UNSUNG LOCAL HERO ~ Voorstekraal, Genadendal, Greyton and Bereaville

It is my great honour and pleasure to nominate a truly extraordinary woman as one of our dearly beloved unsung local Heroes.

Someone who puts her community first, someone who has supported many youths and grownups alike.

Many people can attest to how she has had a major positive impact on their lives. She enriches every person’s life with her selfless contributions and personal sacrifices. She is never too tired or too busy to support and help or to bring new projects to life. Growing each one from nothing to successful. She does everything with enthusiasm, energy and love.

“Many of the youths in our Voorstekraal community would have had no direction if it wasn`t for this phenomenal lady.  The same would be true of many downtrodden women of our community”.

The communities of Voorstekraal, Genadendal, Greyton and Bereaville benefit enormously from her ever- willingness to support. Her car is always available to help people in need, be it in an emergency, illness, death or crisis.

Nobody will ever be sent away hungry either.

“Thank you Clare Barthus for what you have done and are still doing! The communities of Voorstekraal, Genadendal, Greyton and Bereaville deeply appreciate all you do for us”.

“Thank you too for your contributions on the Ldac Management, Police forum, Women’s Network, Ward Committee and your church council, where you do not only sit in, but actively participate and represent our communities.

“Thank you for being available 24 hours per day to serve your community for free as a volunteer. Thank you for doing this with so much passion, empathy, patience and love. We truly, deeply appreciate you, your support and all you good works”.

I, Maurisha Reid nominate Clare Barthus of Voorstekraal as one of our unsung local heroes of the Theewaterskloof District.

Nominated by Maurisha Reid
With the consent of the Women’s Network and the Greyton community youth forum.



Cecil Dyantyi – Soup Kitchen for children and the sick and needy.

It is my absolute honour to nominate the very kind-hearted Cecil Dyantyi as an unsung local hero.

Cecil is a humble and unassuming man with a huge heart and an even greater mission. Without transport or much financial aid, he covers many kilometres to make a daily difference in the lives of as many people as possible.

He lives and gives from a deep desire to help the community of Riemvasmaak in one of the most basic needs; to have something to eat.

Cecil was a TB-patient and hence he had to take weekly medication. “But I was too weak to work to earn money for food and often went hungry for days. This meant that I had to take heavy medicine on an empty stomach which led to the medication causing me severe nausea and I felt even worse. It is a very desperate feeling to want to get well to be able to work but everything seems to work against you.”

That experience inspired him to establish the Non Profit Organisation VUMA – Looking after the Community Project – together with some of the Riemvasmaak community members.

Their main objective is to help people and to alleviate some of the effects of poverty by providing meals to very young children, HIV positive and TB patients.

As a part of their initiative to keep young children healthier, off the streets and off drugs, their soup kitchen feeds numerous children between the ages of 2 and 15 years old, who often live with their grandparents who are too old and too poor to afford to feed them propper daily meals.

Any half-human being only needs to meet Cecil once to see the sweet-natured goodness in this man. By the standards of many, he might not have much, but he is wealthy in his heart.

Please consider donating food for this project.
Contact Cecil on 071 947 0046 for more information or mail if you cannot get hold of Cecil.

Nominated by Liza Botha

Read some of the related articles about Cecil on the Media24 Website.




I nominate Tersia Muller as a local unsung hero!

Tersia always says that she fell in love with Botrivier the moment she entered the town for the first time. She actually moved to Botrivier to retire but was roped into representing Botrivier as a Tourism destination very soon. Her vision, shared with some visionary community cornerstone people lead to her selflessly labouring for this cause for many years. Very few people actually realise that volunteers donate a lot of time, know-how, resources and very hard work while receiving absolutely no remuneration in return. Rather than accolades and thank yous, they often receive a lot of criticism from people who do not participate in any way toward any common goal of improving the quality of life of their local community.

As a self-driven person with a passion for the vision, Tersia worked tirelessly to grow this wonderful initiative. She followed all the correct procedures, endless red tape and schlepp to get the Botrivier Tourism Association established, registered, membership sheets set up and banking details sorted out etc., etc.
At the time, the general community of Botrivier did not share the vision of just how much a tourism drive would benefit local business, property values and all inhabitants in the long run. The Tourism Association, therefore, decided to start three different projects instead and appointed three Directors for the NPC with the R40 000.00 that was received from TWK. The projects are: Mosaics, Developing the old Wagon Route and Holiday activities for children i.e. Paper Craft.

For Tersia, highlights of her career in her capacity as Chairperson of the Botrivier Tourism Association were the initial sponsorships which came from association members Rudi Oosthuyse of Kolkol, Herman Gey van Pittius of Botrivier Hotel, David Cooper of The Shuntin’ Shed, and also Asandro Arcangeli of Arcangeli Wines, Wildekrans and Beaumont.

They used this to open a Tourism Office opposite the Hotel which Rudi Oosthuyze and his workers graciously and beautifully built. Tersia worked in that office for free for two years and could not afford to go ahead as it caused neglect of her position as a Moderator, Assessor and National Tourist Guide in the Tourism Industry but she says that it was exciting while it lasted.

During this time she started the project of providing training for volunteers and CWP paid Workers for the Botrivier Mosaic Heritage Walkway. The walkway is planned to stretch over about 7km through town. It will depict the History, Cultures, Products, Activities, Fauna and Flora, Art, etc. of this sleepy little village. Her dream still is for locals to see its potential of developing into the real heart of the Overberg Tourism. The Artist and Mosaic expert, Alex Fawcett made huge sacrifices to train them all because although some of them were artists in another field, they did not know anything about mosaics.

Tersia says that one of the biggest rewards has also been to see people from New France realising that they are responsible for such beautiful artwork. They had Community Workers for 18 months doing mosaics and will register another few workers to start in January 2020.

Another absolute highlight for her was the participation of the Botrivier school, the logo competition and the Cape Epic. Her entire face lights up when she speaks of the importance of children having to be able to participate in concerts. The new Botrivier Community Hall will hopefully play a very helpful role in this regard. However big or small, it is a community necessity.

Let us never forget the volunteers who give of their precious time to work tirelessly on behind the scenes projects to benefit the entire, often unaware, sometimes hard to understand, myopic community.

Thank you Tersia, for your hard work in laying the foundations of a vision of the positive and possible direction our beautiful Botriver will be moving in.

Thank you for seeing through the Mosaics endeavour despite your resignation from the Botriver Tourism Association! We truly appreciate all your efforts, time, sacrifices and inspiration.

I believe that praises for your work and vision will be sung for a very long time.

Nominated by Liza Botha


Denzil Jacobs local unsung hero Grabouw 

Denzil Jacobs local unsung hero Grabouw


We have received numerous nominations for a very special young man from Grabouw, DENZIL JACOBS.

‘I take great pleasure in nominating my neighbour Denzil Jacobs as a true Unsung Hero of Grabouw. He is a well-known local who grew up in the community which he holds very dear to his heart. A community we all know needs our support.’
After completing his high school education he lived out his passion for helping others through his work as a male nurse at various institutions such as Themba Care.

In 2013 double tragedy struck when, on the eve of his mother’s funeral, he fell victim to a violent crime in his home, which nearly cost his life and left him wheelchair bound for life. This traumatic event, however, did not rob him of his endearing spirit, but rather strengthened his resolve to continue caring for and serving others.
Since then Denzil has been serving his community by going in his wheelchair where others require assistance with day-to-day service delivery issues, Eskom electricity issues, etc.
‘What is remarkable for me is that Denzil is an ordinary guy doing the extraordinary without being asked and in that way creating a better Grabouw, a better TWK , Western Cape and South Africa. He really reminds and shows all of us that we should be the change we want to see in the world.’
Nominated by Desmelene Adonis

‘I, Joun Africa, would like to express my opinion about Denzil Jacobs. The way he sacrifices himself to give his life to his people around him, is truly inspirational. As a disabled person with only a sassa allowance, he does wonders. He makes such a big difference in the lives of so many people, like filling empty stomachs and in the lives of others by doing good deeds.’
‘Denzil is very active at Loratong Home for children with disabilities. HIV, children who were abused and children whose parents abuse drugs and alcohol. Denzil loves the kids very much and occasionally takes them gifts. He also organises an end of year farewell function with gifts for all. Mr Papier, the Deputy Mayor, is well aware of what Denzil does for these children.’
‘Denzil is a very humble and sincere person and I know he also helps people in the community with municipality, Eskom and other problems’.
‘Denzil is not one for the spotlight and will never take photos of what he does for people, but I think it’s time for us to put him in the spotlight and acknowledge all he does for his community.’
‘I see him as a Hero, because very few people do so much for their community and the most beautiful of all is that he does this even though he himself is an orphan and a disabled person. ‘

Nominated by Joun Africa
‘Denzil Jacobs is a person who does exceptional things for his community, despite his disability. His background was perfectly normal. He became a male nurse as a young man, but because of drugs, his life took a terribly wrong turn.’
‘His was left for dead after somebody attacked him, with no hope to live. He managed to come out of the coma, but was unable to do anything for himself with only one functioning arm. Thank God there was no brain damage. ‘
He is living his life in a wheelchair, but even that does not stop him from helping the community he loves so much.
He types letters & CVs for others on his phone with one finger and takes it to Imvusa to print or email. He helps the youth on the internet and also searches for bursaries for them. He helps with TWK queries and advises and mentors against drug abuse and the dangers involved in them.
‘It is just amazing what he does. He is truly an inspiration. To listen to his story makes me cry every time! He is a beacon of light.’
Everyone calls him Boeta. ‘

Nominated by Estelle Williams
‘I live in ward 13 in Grabouw. My mother had cancer and she didn’t want to eat for a few days, so I called Denzil. He went to the day hospital to get my mother a tin of Ensure powder. At first they refused to give it to him, but he refused to leave until the doctor prescribed it for her.. Since my mother started taking the Ensure, she got better and started eating again. She lived for another year and a couple of months before she passed away.’
‘Denzil not only helps people with Compassion Grants in the community, he also cares for people who are sick, especially people who have cancer. He always says people who have cancer are very close to his heart, because his mother also died of cancer.’
Sister Witbooi will tell anybody who asks about his work at Grabouw day hospital how beautifully Denzil cares for sick people in his community.
‘I nominate Denzil Jacobs as my hero as he deserves the recognition.’
Nominated by Regene Kingsley.


Babalwa Hopa Elgin FM

Babalwa Hopa Elgin FM
Babalwa Hopa Elgin FM

I nominate Babalwa Hopa as an unsung hero in the TWK district.

Founder of Elgin FM, Babalwa Hopa comes from more than five generations of agriculturalists, entrepreneurs and teachers who were also pioneers in documenting the otherwise verbal history and cultural knowledge. The wisdom and grace that comes with her ancient knowledge present itself via her easy, compassionate, intelligent and energetic presence. She is a single parent of three lovely children, a serial successful entrepreneur and an eternal seeker of knowledge and truth.

Elgin FM Radio has become a respected and adored fair playground forum for the entire community to be heard. Their gentle guidance on how to effectively air complaints and the focus on positive communication has been a game-changer in conflict resolution without violence. This is no small feat in the recent turbulent N2 closures and community ructions.

The station represents all subcultures of the community and brings people to better understanding and more respectful relationships. “It takes a village to raise a child” translates here to “It takes a strong and sensitive leader to give a non-judgemental voice to the entire community.” 

More information about Elgin FM
Babalwa started Elgin FM in October of 2016 and today it is a 24 hr Radio station.

In the latest BRC Report, Elgin FM has moved up to position 12 out of 44 Community Radio stations in the Western Cape. Elgin FM has been nominated 2 yrs in a row for the Best Traditional Music Award where the presenter Tofolux represented the station and Province at the Prestigious SATMAs (South African Tradition Music Awards).

In 2017 TWK Municipality awarded Elgin FM for the Community Contributor Award.

All this in a mere two years and this as a newbie!

Elgin FM has also interviewed phenomenal individuals and public figures from all walks of life, local, national and international as part of their mission to inform, serve and uplift the community.

To name but a few:

The late Sam Nzima (the man who took the famous Hector Peterson’s pic in Soweto Uprising 1976)

Ricardo Gressels Aka Ric The Warrior ( The Public Speaker and Motivator and MC for Extreme Sport)

MEC of Health Nomafrench Mbombo

IEC WC Head Mr Courtney  Simpson

Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Fatima Chohan

Alice King US Education National Coordinator

Thulani Nzima Chairperson of Sam Nzima Foundation and Chairman of Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Board.

DR Rethabile the Founder of Molo Mhlaba a Pan African School in Khayelitsha

Pieter Silbabauer – Owner of Trails End Hotel and Founding member of Grabouw Beautiful

David Williams – The Mediator and Chairperson of Community Police Forum

And many, many more.

Nominated by Liza Botha 


Local Unsung Hero Nomination : BOTRIVIER

Mr Louis Nicholas Swartz

It is an honour and privilege to write a letter nominating Mr Louis Nicholas Swartz as a local unsung hero of Botriver.
Mr Swartz was a teacher for almost 40 years. He retired in December 2017. He dedicated almost all of his life to laying the foundation for our youth by ensuring that the children receive a proper education. He used to teach at Botriver Primary School and De Rust Futura.
Mr Swartz taught many generations and parents that he used to teach often expressed their gratitude for the fact that their children were also able to receive the great education that they had from him. He was born a teacher and was able to use his skills on different platforms by teaching for the Western Cape Government, after school, home school and ABET. Even after retirement, he does not shy away from his God-given talents as to this day he still assists kids with their homework, assignments, etc. The local children from Botriver are eager to ask Mr Swartz for assistance with their schoolwork.
Mr Swartz is a pillar of his community, he possesses personal integrity and a thoughtful communicative style. I am an ardent admirer of his giving spirit, creative talents and gifts as well as the professionalism he radiates no matter how demanding or pressing the situation. Mr Swartz is seen as a mentor by many in his community and people will always ask for his assistance or advice given any situation.
He is actively involved in the local rugby club and is currently a member of the Botriver Rugby Football Club Committee. He will go out of his way to keep rugby alive in our community and will motivate the youth to take part in the sport.
Mr Swartz is a truly remarkable person and deserves the recognition for all that he has done for his community and still is doing.
Thank you for this initiative to celebrate and appreciate our local unsung heroes.
Nominated by Heloise Fortune