On 16 March 2022 Bergzicht Training and Development & Development (BTD) celebrated its 30th birthday. Among key role players, its founding member Mrs Cecile Kotzé and long term funders were honoured in style and entertained with endearing humour.

Reflecting on overcoming a number of challenges, staff, friends and beneficiaries gathered to rejoice over the success of empowering more than 12 000 individuals with skills and job opportunities. “I am deeply moved by the continued commitment and very grateful for the outcome of this project,” Kotzé stated. “I am thankful for the meaning it has brought to many lives by opening a window to knowledge for many.”

One of the first graduates from the inception of the Health and Frail Care programme in 1992, BTD alumni and Carer Annie Franke, says she feels special to be included as an honorary guest. “I am wowed. Bergzicht did wonders for me from the time I was jobless to help me to make my dream come true.”

Bergzicht Training and Development & Development CEO Renske Minnaar paid special tribute to the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF), a faithful financial contributor since the dawn of the organisation, as well as long term board – and now honorary member – Kosie de Villiers, who assisted with the business plan. “Cecile’s key to success lies in involving the best people to build a sustainable community upliftment model. Those people laid the foundation for the continuation of impact we are celebrating today,” De Villiers said.

As community partner, Stellenbosch Municipality was represented by Mayoral Committee member Councillor Rozette du Toit, who commended BTD for the opportunities created. “It’s people like you who bring value to the economy with education, investing towards a hopeful future,” she commented.

HSF Regional Resident Representative for Southern Africa Hanns Bühler said, “A placement rate of 66% is a huge success. I see the responsible future of vocational training as integration with the market need to deliver equal access to education.” Giving praise to Minnaar’s leadership, he congratulated the team’s accomplishment as exceptional in the context of South Africa, challenged by violence, crime and inequality.

BTD Board Member Kathy Harris also announced advanced development efforts with strategic solutions for job retention after graduation, with a subtle rebranding and logo update. The organisation will continue to lead the vulnerable with empowerment through sustained effort and towards united community upliftment.

MAIN PHOTO: Current BTD students cheer for three decades of upliftment with HSF representatives – At the back: Marlene Barnard (HSF), Lara Knödler (HSF), Nomhle Mnyombolo, Thembakazi Phezi, Ziyanda Ngxokweni, Phathiswa Gom, Hanns Bühler and Lesley-Ann Skippers; in the middle: Zimkhita Lamfiti, Ilse Plaaitjies, Baipolelang Gaetsosiwe, She-Url Sebybo, Tanya Samuels, Shahnaaz Suliman, Jenean Vos and Benita Adams; in the front: Charlene Ambraal