Back to uKhalhamba


Forward to KwaZulu - Natal South Coast

We did not have enough time for more stops on the Meander but we were anxious and keen to meet Patsi's husband Joe and of course her daughter Tonya and family and especially the granddaughters Kait and Emma! All of them live in Kloof - between Durban  and Pietermaritzburg.

So the next evening we were invited to a boere braaivleis at Tonya and Glen's home and Jo had another opportunity to enjoy a swim in their pool! Oh well I also splashed about to cool off and Patsi was also in the pool but... Jo was the one who spent the energy doing lap after lap!!

Rose, Patsi, Joe, and Tonya with Emma

Left: Meeting Emma!! Well Emma was NOT impressed with all the strange accents LOL!

Right: Glen was master of the braai and Joe admired Kait's gifts

Glen Esterhuizen doing the braai

Grandpa Joe with Kaitlin

The pool at Ton's home


Tonya and Glen's home and garden


Tonya and Glen's lovely garden

Safari sisters at the braai

Left: Safari Sisters in  a chatty mood at the braai.

Right. Tonya with Emma and Wia with Emma and Kait

Tonya and Emma Patsi's daughter and granddaughter

Wia with the kidlets - Baby Emma an Kaitlyn

View from Patsi's hoe over Kloof

Left: A view of Kloof from Patsi's home

Patsi at # 24 Abelia Rd.

24 Abelia rd Kloof - Patsi's pad.


A visit ot Patsi will not be complete without including her beloved horse and Shongweni. So we also made time to fit in a  visit to the stables and equestrian centre at Shongweni. This time I took the photos and allowed Patsi to help the others onto a horse at least to pose for a photo! We did not have time (or enough horses) to go for a ride in the cane fields but it provided enough fun!! The photos tell the story...

Donna on Never Come Back

Donna on Never Come back

Donna on Never Come Back with Patsi keeping a watchful eye

Donna was the first to get on Never Turn Back to demonstrate her equestrian skills

Jo getting up with a little encouragement from Patsi

Jo all ready for a ride

Jo on Never Come Back

Jo seemed to be an old hand at this...

Upsadaisy!! Rose!

She made it!!

Hi Sistahs!!

Rose goes for a short ride..

Never Come Back not very co-operative this time!

It was harder to get down than to get up!!

As we became used to, Rose did not show any lack of enthusiasm albeit needing a helping hand here and there but  with Patsi's excellent directions and the sisters assisting there was enough fun for  all to be had!

Patsi leading Never Turn Back on for fun.

Now that's how it should be done

Patsi demonstrating her equestrian skills

Last but not least, Patsi showed us how it was supposed to be done...

Fulton School for the Deaf

Upon request of our visitors, Patsi arranged a most inspiring visit to Fulton School for the Deaf. Since its inception more than 41 years ago this school provided entrepreneurial and life skills to many deaf learners as well as greater opportunities for employment and a happy life to those with lesser academic abilities.  

Upon our arrival at the school principal Beryl Campbell extended a most hearty welcome. She  introduced us to the staff and Peter Reece (psychologist) and three school boys were ready to answer all our questions and tell about their school experiences. Then we visited the classrooms and had another look around. As the only  "non school teacher" in our group my perceptions at Fulton School may perhaps be somewhat different to those of my friends but it also taught me more about them since they all suddenly seemed so "at home" again in the school environment...

The young girls in one classroom were also very excited about our visit and asked Rose about New York and September 11. This brought out the teacher and patriot in Rose when she provided them with  a heartfelt explanation of her frightful experiences on that day and a proud display of love for her country. It touched my heart as much as the silence during the break did when the kids streamed out of the classrooms for their almost soundless playtime.

Fulton School acknowledges and respects Deaf Culture, the Deaf Community and the need for Sign Language. For me, as a CI user and late deafened adult, this was a first encounter with Deaf Culture. I heard and read much about it and the real life experience was quite exciting.  I loved watching the fluttering hands immediately realising that the signs made a lot of sense and without having been exposed to sign language much before I was amazed at how much I could actually understand. It was a strange feeling to just see the hands moving and I had a strong urge to ask Peter (who was interpreting by means of sign only to the boys) to use his voice because as a CI user I needed the voice part to fully understand what was said.  

Apart from sign language  Fulton School set high academic standards for those pupils in the academic stream but also provides for the needs of others who require more Entrepreneurial Life Skills and Vocational Courses to increase their chances of employment. 

The school brochure reads: " In our house dwells only quietness. It is our mission to uphold our reputation in providing the best education possible to the Deaf Learner. This is becoming increasingly difficult with the severe cuts in state funding. We are a multi-cultural school and a  large percentage of our learners come from seriously disadvantages communities. They cannot pay school and hostel fees which compounds the problem. We have every intention to keep our school doors open to these learners. Deaf individuals are already marginalised in the bigger community and face huge barriers in entering the competitive job market. Education is their passport to leading meaningful lives and becmonig independent and productive citizens."

If you want to make a much needed contribution to Fulton School for the Deaf contact Beryl Campbell, Private Bag 9002, Gillitts, 3603, South Africa or e-mail them at fsacc@iafrica.com 

Main building Fulton School for the Deaf Fulton School grounds Flowering trees at Fulton school
Fulton School for the Deaf is situated in Gillitts, near Pinetown in KwaZulu Natal. At the time of our visit the gardens were graced with beautiful flowering trees to set off the stately main building.

Mural at Fulton School for the Deaf, Gilletts KwaZulu Natal


Above: A mural at the school

Back: Jo Gunnerson and Patsi Schuhmann with Beryl Campbell, Rose Genkin and Donna Penman in front

Left: Principal Beryl Campbell, Rose and Donna in front with Jo and Patsi in the back

Right:  The boys...Keagan, Dale and Thiru with English teacher Jekka Irvine and Peter Reece behind them.

Teachers and boys from Fulton School for the Deaf

Classroom scene Fulton School with teacher Sarett Thompson

Delightful classroom inter-action between our Safari Sisters and the Fulton school girls with teacher Sarett Thompson

Fulton School classroom

Fulton School classroom

Fulton School classroom

American vistors and Fulton school teachers and boys

Left: Keagan, Dale, Thiru and Peter. 

Sitting at the back: Jekka Irvine

Front: Jo Gunnerson, Rose Genkin. Patsi Schuhmann and Donna Penman


Our quest to show off the rich cultural heritage of South Africa also lead us to Botha's Hill and the Valley of a 1000 Hills where Patsi arranged another most inspiring visit. Gill Steyn is a woman of many talents and also an outstanding teacher. She is an expert on Zulu beadwork and has a passion to restore and uphold this wonderful craft amongst the younger generation of the Zulu speaking community. The craft may fade into extinction if nothing is done to preserve it since modern development deprives the younger generation of sufficient exposure to the old traditions and skills. The expertise is only passed on from mother to daughter and Gill had to be "adopted as a daughter" by a Zulu family in order to learn the craft. She spent months in the villages amongst the local people to absorb as much as she could about the craft and the specific meaning of the various parts thereof before she put all this into a project named "Izibead".

Izibead mainly consists of training materials and kits that Gill developed to teach this craft at remote village schools in the Valley of a 1000 Hills and elsewhere.  Learners come from incredibly poor backgrounds and as Gill explained to us the human need to surround one with beauty is so great that the crafters hide their creations away because it gets stolen if they display it at the schools!!  This remarkable woman succeeded in bringing smiles to the faces of many Zulu children amidst the bleak reality of poverty and hardships in this community. By teaching them the ancient skills of beadwork she also provides them with an opportunity to earn an income since even very young children can master the craft through her simple and clear instructions and teaching kits.

We all agreed that the excellent books and kits should be distributed and advertised as wide as possible to generate the income that these people so desperately need. They are willing to work and do not ask for charity - they only need to have their creations displayed and admired by the world at large.

All this knowledge about the beautiful Zulu beadwork was gained in the magnificent setting of Gill's home overlooking the Valley of a 1000 Hills. We could easily have overstayed our welcome as we sat there spellbound - enjoying muffins and tea, listening to Gill supported by her husband and son.

A great part of her home is taken up by dozens of containers with a vast array of colourful beads. A full time helper puts together kits for distribution to schools and other places of learning. I see each little package of beads as a salute to this woman's dedication and drive to improve the lives of the lesser-fortunate members of the beautiful country where she lives. With dedication and caring she spreads the simplistic charm of the colourful beads across the borders of poverty and hardship to places very far away from their origin.  She manages to put smiles on the faces of many innocent children who do not know a better world and through her positive involvement she will make a difference to the lives of many of them. Some of the beads are already on the other side of the world with our American visitors...We decided to help Gill to promote this craft far across our borders through our cyber contacts. So if you are interested to help and learn more please Click here! to send me an e-mail. In the mean time...enjoy my photos of Gill and her beautiful home...

Panorama of the Valley of a 1000 Hills, KwaZulu Natal

At Gill Steyn's home overlooking the Valley of a 1000 Hillls

Top: Panorama of the Valley of a 1000 Hills

Left and right: Our group at Gill Steyn's house

Gill Steyn, Donna Penman, Jo Gunnerson and Wia Kotze in front. Patsi Schuhmann and Rose Genkin at the back

After the visit with Gill Steyn we went to the Pot and Kettle restaurant in Botha's Hill where we met Joe for lunch.

The Pot and Kettle restaurant, Botha's Hill, KwaZulu Natal


Joe and Patsi Schuhmann

Lunch at the Pot and Kettle restaurant in Botha's Hill, KwaZulu Natal

Our group at the Pot and kettle restaurant


Back to uKhalhamba

Forward to KwaZulu - Natal South Coast