Graceland serves the poorer farming community in the outskirts of Stellenbosh by providing a preschool to stimulate over 60 children who might otherwise be left at home alone or on the streets.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

See our latest updates on the new Thembalitsha Foundation blog!

Thank you for being a loyal supporter and friend of Graceland Preschool and Thembalitsha Foundation! We have recently streamlined all of our blogs into a single website for all of the projects so you can keep up with all things Thembalitsha in one place: If you are interested in following our new combined stream, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your up-to-date e-mail address in the "Follow By E-mail" field. And if you still want to view project-specific content, you can choose a project from the drop-down menu at the top! All of our old posts from this blog have also migrated there as well in a full archives.

We hope that this new platform will be incredibly easy for you to use and also show you the full scope of the exciting happenings here at Thembalitsha! If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at any time - we love hearing from our supporters.

We look forward to sharing more of this journey with you!

Team Themba

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Meet our little ones in 2015!

First things first: Meet our little ones! They just seem to get more gorgeous every year. We have 57 children registered this year, and we are very excited about what 2015 has in store for Graceland. 


The first week of school was filled with buckets and buckets of tears. However, by the second week of school, it was like the tears never happened. The reason for the quick adjustment to the school is still to be determined. Are the children becoming more adaptable or are the teachers just getting better at this? I think only three days of crying is our new record.



Congratulations to Elizabeth Solomons (4-5 year olds teacher) and Rosaline Fortuin (2-3 year olds teacher)! On 5 December 2014, Elizabeth graduated from her Level 5 Course and Rosaline graduated from her Level 4 Course, both in Early Childhood Development. We were told by the facilitator that the teachers from Graceland are her best students. Well done on your hard work! Graceland is proud to have you. As we equip ourselves, we are able to better understand the development of our children and to help our children at their level.

L-R: Rosaline Fortuin and Elizabeth Solomons
This year we are hoping to add an additional classroom to Graceland Pre-school. At the moment we have 3 classes, divided into the different age groups. A 2-3 year olds classroom, a 3-4 year olds classroom and a 4-5 year olds classroom. In order to achieve our goal this year we will need a new storage space. We are already getting a teacher ready to take the younger age group of 1-2 year olds, thanks to the Ulrike Merkel Trust. 

William Arthur Ward said,“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.” 

May this new year challenge you to make a difference in the world around you!

Monday, December 8, 2014

December News

Finishing strong 

One of the most exciting events happened on the 12th of November 2014. It was the opening of the new library at Graceland. The first idea of a library at Graceland started with Zoƫ Lee, however, due to the need of another classroom, we decided to move the library to the loft where our storage was. Thanks to Imperial Managed Logistics this dream was turned into a reality. Imperial Managed Logistics funded the staircase and the renovations to make it safe and beautiful.

Right now the Graceland library is only available for the children who attend Graceland Pre-school but in future we would like to make it available to the Devonvallei Primary School as well.  For now we are working on a system that will allow children to be able take books home and return them after a certain period. However, we will only be able to extend the availability of the library once a proper system is in place to ensure the success of what we are trying to achieve.

We were very honoured to have the Mayor of Stellenbosch, Conrad Sedigo, the Graceland Library opening. He was very touched and honoured to be part of such a great occasion. During the mayor’s speech he became very emotional and recalled the first time he got to experience a library at the age of 14 years old, due to Apartheid in South Africa and libraries only being available to white people. He reminded each one of us of the significance such a library and the value it will add to the community.

As we say goodbye to what seems to be another fruitful year at Graceland, we stand amazed at generous hearts we have encountered this year and we say thank you to every person who have given of their time, in kind, in words and in funds. We are truly grateful and we recognise that without your partnership the great work we do would not be possible. 

The Gracelanders wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Goodbye 2014... And helllo 2015! We are ready for the new adventures, challenges and opportunities 2015 has in store, hope you are ready too;)                                                                                                   

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

September News!

Graceland Market Day 2014

We are happy to announce that on the 2nd of October 2014 we had our 3rd Market Day at Graceland and it was a great success.

All the parents' crochet pieces who took part in the crochet competition. 

The reason we first started having the market day in 2012 was create a fundraiser that will involve the whole community and to challenge them in their individual capacity to give, while at the same time creating a family fun day that parents can enjoy with their children. We create a space where people can donate old but still nice clothes, shoes, jewellery, odds and end, tuck-shop stock and give towards the games which are presented on the day. Due to the fact that everything is donated we are able to sell everything at a reasonable price and still make one hundred percent profit.

This year we had two jumping castles, domino table, karaoke, face painting, balloon animals, play station games, a colouring in competition, an obstacle course, and five great raffles and on sale we had lots cosmetics and second-hand clothes, jewellery, odds and ends and a fully stocked tuck-shop. We also had a crochet competition going thanks to Rosemary Ruest, one of the farm owners. The event was well supported by the community and the parents. Everyone is still talking about their wonderful time at Graceland and how they can't wait for next year. 

This year was the third year we had our Market day and it just keeps getting better. I would like to give a special thank you to all the farm owners, local businesses, individuals, parents and children who gave in kind, funds, of their time or came to enjoy the day with us, because of you our 2014 Market Day was a great success. We raised R5700, that we wouldn't have been able to do with out each and every one of you. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August News

Individually named and packed bags.

"Goodbye", to muddy shoes and "Hello, Wellington Boots!"

Graceland's third term started with a reason to celebrate. Thanks to Imperial Managed Logistics our children are now well prepared for the rain. One of our greatest challenges to get to school in winter is the wetness, muddiness and the rainfall of winter. 

Our noisy wellington boots

During the winter season the attendance rate is 60% because of the rainfall and the fact that children have to walk from their farms to Devon Valley Road to get their transport - for some this could be 300m-500m. We currently have a great partnership with Devon Valley Primary School who allows us to make use of their minibus.

"Hooray!" Shouts the 3-4 year old class.

Our hope is that one day someone will see the need and sponsor Graceland with a minibus that will be able to go into the farms but for now, we have made sure our children don’t have to get soaked walking to the road. 

Thank you Imperial Managed Logistics for your commitment to see all little Gracelanders succeed, you continue to not only give in kind but also of your time. May your staff be as blessed at we are.

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."  Helen Keller

No more running around water puddles..

And no more staying at home!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June News

A Blissful Easter

As Easter approached we wanted to create an Easter experience worth remembering for our little ones. We have long ago realised that what may seem as normal as expecting Easter eggs during the Easter holidays may not be so normal for our children.

So we organised in Easter egg hunt with one of our beloved visitors (Gracelander), Amy Azar, who visits us twice a year from the USA.

Excitement filled the air as the children ran around, eagerly searching for the hidden Easter eggs. It was precious to see them not only finding Easter eggs for themselves but also helping their friends find Easter eggs too. I stood in awe, very proud.

We were so happy to have shared our Easter with Amy Azar. Thank you Amy for always taking time to visit Graceland when you are in South Africa.

We also then partnered with a group of Imperial Managed Logistics staff members who shared our enthusiasm. They took on this task and exceeded our expectations.

With care and love they handcrafted beautiful bags and it had various treats in them, served with a delicious Steri Stumpie (a flavoured milk drink). You think that's cool? Wait for it... They also managed to get the Easter Bunny to come and visit! Well, for some of our two year olds it took a lot of getting use to!

The look on their little faces when they saw the Easter Bunny was priceless. We couldn't get them away form the Easter Bunny. They were too smart for us though, it was not long before they started asking, who is the lady dressed up as the Easter Bunny?

Thank you Imperial Managed Logistics staff members for sharing our enthusiasm and desire to ensure that our children remember their childhood fondly. 

Thank you for helping us to restore hope. 

"Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.”  -Lin Yutang

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April news!

Graceland High Tea 2014

Our High Tea was hosted on the terrace at the luxurious Devon Valley Hotel, surrounded by amazing views filled with natural beauty. The weather played along as jazz vocalist Monique Hellenberg covered the atmosphere with her sultry piano sounds and angelic voice.  

We had fun and laughter as Early Childhood Development specialist, Bonita Daniels Director of the Early Childhood Centre, made us feel like children again with an activity that emphasised the importance of appreciating the work produced by our little ones  regardless of the developmental milestone they are in. As Bonita voiced the cause of the most vulnerable human beings on earth, she brought it down to the basics for everyone to understand and to remind us of the power we have as their leaders, to build them up or break them down.

Devon Valley Hotel did an amazing job with the set up of the tables and chairs, service and catering. We were all spoilt with the most delicious treats, from the sweetest of chocolates cakes to the simplicity of the cucumber sandwiches.  Gillian Swart was the lucky winner of the very popular Sunday lunch Buffet for two people and Mr John Berg was our best dressed gentleman and winner of the one night stay at the Devon Valley Hotel with Breakfast included for two people. Thank you Devon Valley for supporting us by hosting this event every year and giving away the prizes. This has been a true blessing.

Finally, we ended the day with our adorable little ones singing their favourite song, the South African National Anthem. There was not a dry eye in sight. They are the reason we do what to do and they are worth it! 

Thank you to all the people who were able to attend, especially to Imperial Managed Logistics, Distell, the Farm Owners Association and the parents. The event could not have been a success without you and we hope you enjoyed every minute  of it because we enjoyed every minute with you.