Skip to content


Who are we?

FCW bases it's projects on Early Childhood Development because we believe that if we can intervene at a grass root level then we can make a difference

Where do we come from?

We have been based in Kewtown since our inception 33 years ago.  We started as just a small NGO but we are now at the forefront of our field.

Where are we going

We want to make ECD accessible to all children in rural areas throughout South Africa.  And we can already see this vision unfolding.
Home History
History PDF Print E-mail


1974: Launching the organisation – WESWOK

On 16 December 1974, the organisation was launched at the Landros Hotel, Lansdowne, Cape Town. The chairperson for the day was Dr Frank Quint and the keynote speaker was Prof Erica Theron who, in her address focused on the need for a constitution, format and structure and its value for future stability.

Mr. Renier Van Rooyen, in addressing the gathering, referred to his motivation for making the R500 000 donation.

The organisation was known as “Die Weskaaplandse Welsyns Organisasie vir Kleurlinge” ( Weswok) with Gert Cornelissen as Chairperson and Peter Neethling as the Treasurer. Weswok was registered according to the Welfare Act of 1960 as a charitable institution with a focus to address the needs of the impoverished coloured communities.

1976: The constitution of Weswok was approved by the Coloured Affairs Department.

The Renier van Rooyen Trust fund launched with the R½ million donation by Renier Van Rooyen and appointed Messrs Adam Small and Dennis Adonis as the first trustees of newly established Trust fund.

Weswok operated from the offices of Maskew Miller Publishers (Cape Town) where Adam Small obtained office space.

1977: Weswok obtained a suite of offices in Superama Building, Birdwood Street, Athlone.

Adam Small appointed as first Director of Weswok, and Francie Lund appointed as first Community worker.

Elias Links joined the Weswok board of Management. (He later left to take up a position as S.A. representative at the World Bank Monetary Fund. He then became SA. ambassador to the European Community).

A sub-committee was appointed to deal with the possible name change of the organisation as debate

around this crucial issue intensified.

First official Annual General meeting held since registration.

1978: Official name changed to the Western Cape Foundation for Community Work.

Registration in terms of Welfare Act '78.

Franklin Sonn joined FCW board of Management and became Adam Small's successor as trustee.

Treasurer, Peter Neethling resigned, but remained on the Board as an additional member. Elias Links appointed as the new treasurer.

Jack 'n Jill (Durbanville) and Scorpio Road and Aquila Way (Ocean View), affiliated to FCW.

More and more community projects with an ECD focus sought the assistance of FCW and affiliated - at

the end of 1978, 7 ECD projects have affiliated to FCW.

1979: Dr Frank Quint elected as Chairperson. Lionel Louw joined the FCW Board of Management.

Board members requested to serve on a sub-committee of their choice and to participate fully on these

committees. The monthly meetings of the Board of Management changed to quarterly meetings to

enable the sub-committees to live out their role. Planning sub-committee under the auspices of Lionel

Louw and Edna Van Harte commissioned by the FCW Board of Management to address the Vision,

Mission and the direction of the Organisation.

A second Community Worker in the person of Rita Edwards, appointed.

1980: FCW’s third development stage

Policy decision with regard to the erection of buildings taken; i.e. FCW as a community development organisation should invest in people - their development and empowerment have a higher premium than bricks and mortar. The policy decision to invest in people came about after the strategic planning meetings, which resulted in a clearer focus of the organisation - this was the first paradigm shift from charity to development.

Resignation of both community workers Lund & Edwards was unfortunate, but coincidental.

Dr. Quint resigned as he was appointed S.A. Ambassador to the Netherlands. Edna van Harte resigned

from the FCW Board in protest of Dr. Quint’s decision to take up Ambassadorship to represent an

Apartheid government.

1981: Franklin Sonn elected as chairperson of FCW.

Under the new leadership, the roles of the director and the board members were revisited to re-affirm

the position and direction of the organization. The shift from charity to a more developmental thrust was an important one.


FCW has now become an established and registered welfare organisation, more rooted and more developmentally focused. This has lead to the realisation that the personnel on board need some form of financial security, hence the linkage with a pension fund for the staff of the organisation.

Educare Projects affiliated to FCW became part of the World Vision sponsored programme.

Vrolike Vinkies Nursery School (Malmesbury) and Little Stars (Wellington) affiliated to FCW.

Building project of Annette se speelkring (Wellington) off the ground.

1983: Beulah Fredericks – appointed as community worker.

Structural changes in the Organisation to enhance career paths and upward mobility of employers.

Deliberations with Cape Education Trust (CET) with regard to the transfer of the Athlone ELC to FCW.

BVLF/CET transfers the Athlone ELC to the FCW unconditionally.

Amendment of Constitution to enable Patronship. Prof Richard Van der Ross (chairperson of the CET) & Peter Neethling who both played a very significant role in the shaping of the ELC and the FCW respectively, appointed as patrons.

Dr. Adam Small resigned from FCW to be appointed as the first Black person to become Head of the Social Work Department at UWC.

1984: Beulah Fredericks appointed as acting director.

Adam Small appointed as voluntary consultant to the FCW director.

Eunice Abrahams appointed as community worker.

FCW director participated in ECD focused seminar held in Johannesburg (ELRU/BVLF).

Home-based Ocean View Model replicated in Mitchell’s Plain with slight amendments.

FCW played active role in Aspect (Assoc. for preschool education.)

Training of Educare personnel in liaison with Early Learning Resource Unit.

FCW appointed its first training Co-ordinator, Rosaline Hebert, and Amelia Fester as the Health Care Trainer.

1985: Beulah Fredericks appointed as director of FCW.

Rationalisation and savings strategy. Outreach to all new community projects on hold, cut-down on

admin overheads, field visits streamlined; required careful and purposeful planning.

Dr Welling (Executive director of BVLF) visited FCW together with Messrs. Nico van Oudenhoven, EdzoTonkes and Paul Houmollen.

1986: Constitutional matters in spotlight and amendments with regard to membership and electoral procedures approved: written nomination to reach the FCW director 21 days before the AGM; Secret Ballot System; ECD Projects affiliated to FCW have 5 votes. If elected, committee members and parents nominated by their respective communities can serve on the FCW Board of Management.

FCW took formal transfer of the building, of the Athlone ELC.

FCW employed Marilyn Petersen as another full- time trainer.

1987: Resignation and farewell of Elias Links as he was to take up a position at the World Bank.

1988: Financial constraints experienced by FCW resulted in a vigorous awareness campaign of the funding situation of FCW

Strategy of" down-sizing" the organisation, implemented by the freezing of all vacant positions.

1989: Bombing of the offices of FCW five days before the last white election. Limpet mine explosion at Athlone ELC

Health co-ordinator, Amelia Fester retired and as a financial savings measure, FCW decided to freeze the health post.

Peter Neethling appointed as patron of FCW together with Prof Richard van der Ross.

Dr Rien Van Gendt (Executive Director of BVLF) visited FCW soon after the bombing to show moral


"Community Enablement" - BVLF SA network seminar hosted by FCW successful event and the keynote

address of both Prof Adam Small and Dr Neville Alexander set the basis for thought provoking

discussions during the seminar.

First miss of the AGM

1990: FCW director to the USA on a six-month scholarship programme at De Anza College.

Salary dispute resulted in a number of staff resignations.

Eunice Abrahams to Germany on staff development programme funded by BVLF.

AGM back on track.

1991: FCW Board of Management re-structures, enabling active participation of staff on the Board.

Human Resource development and policies w.r.t. to staff appointments and service conditions updated.

Policy of fixed- term employment contracts implemented due to financial difficulties experienced by


Expansion of services and training to Xhosa-speaking communities.

FCW started to consolidate its service delivery to 24 affiliated community educare projects, focusing on the Independence Process.

1992: ‘The McGregor experience’.

Strategic Planning and Evaluation of FCW in terms of its Vision, Mission and Policies facilitated, by an

external evaluator.

BVLF Roundtable meeting in Johannesburg where the FCW director presented a case for alternative

models in ECD.

1993: "Visioning and Teambuilding" workshop held in Faure, Bellville where the FCW staff focus on

the culture of the organisation. Burn-out and stress surface amongst staff as workload increases and

political struggle intensifies.

First group of visitors from Zimbabwe hosted by FCW to assess and learn from the FIF programme.

Franklin Sonn (S.A. ambassador elect to Washington relinquishes position as chairperson but remains

on the board - Dr Lionel Louw becomes his successor.

1994: Post Apartheid South Africa

Development of a FCW staff Policy manual.

Farewell function of Franklin Sonn.

1995: Dr Lionel Louw appointed as trustee of the Renier Van Rooyen Trust fund.

FCW and 5 other Resource and Training Organisations (RTO's) in a workshop with Engen to address

areas of operation, rationalisation and funding.

Dr Rien Van Gendt, accompanied by two BVLF trustees, visited FCW. Dr Gerard Salole also of the

BVLF visited FCW in the same year.

Joint Education Trust supports FCW training unit. 134 Educare workers received certificates at the close of 1995.

FIF outreach programme launched in Bokmakierie.

The FIF Programme presented to the Community Benefit Fund in Atlantis and received a donation. The programme highlighted the plight of Atlantis, ‘The lost City”.

1996: Dr. Louw visited the BVLF in the Netherlands and this visit resulted in the initial deliberations for the documentation of the FCW story.

1997: 21st celebrations, mayoral function hosted by Mayor of Cape Town in salute of service delivery to the people of the Cape.

Business luncheon in honour of Renier Van Rooyen for planting the seed during the dark years of Apartheid!

M-Net Cares screened double feature on the work of FCW.

Eunice Ferndale, after 13 years unbroken service departs from FCW.

Hazel Brown joins the FCW team – finance unit.

155 Trainees completed their training, Ms Naledi Pandor – Chief Whip of the ANC delivers inspiring keynote address.

1998: The first certificate programme in Home Visiting completed by 12 home visitors. Training extended to 9-month programme.

1999: Closure of the Education & Training Unit at the end of 1999 was an important policy decision and paradigm shift.

An emotional farewell to the small team of Madeline Foster, Vanessa Davidson and Mathulo Masitsa

70 Adult learners received Certificated in Level-based training.

Dr. Edna Van Harte inspired FCW and community with message of hope and encouragement.

FIF Unit Manager present FIF Programme at conference held in Uganda (show casing innovative programmes in promotion of family & Community well being on African Continent).

2000 – Millennium era – new challenges. 25 Years of community service celebrations.

Integrated approach to ECD provision.

9 FIF staff members graduated from a 36-week FIF Certificate Programme in Home visiting & Childminding.

A delegation of 5 ECD practitioners from the Lesotho Ministry Education in ECD Division on fact finding and learning mission; hosted by FIF.


FCW one of 5 partners in Masibambane Consortium – a way of pooling respective resources in the interest of building communities.

Marketing & Communication programme with community radio in Atlantis, Bellville & Khayelisha focusing on the involvement of parents. Hart Fellow student from Duke University (USA) develops marketing tools.

Developing indicators for the FIF Programme – participatory research undertaken under guidance of UWC. Findings call for Parent involvement strategy; Child Development Assessment tool; and stronger emphasis on the role of home visitors.

Sebastiao Rocha from Brazil assesses and discusses findings.


The FCW Board was concerned about the impact of the organisation in communities and gave the director permission to undertake a study to determine what would be the best way of taking the organization forward. This created anxiety and resistance amongst staff.

2003: Ronnie Simon appointed as Director of FCW on a one year contract.

The FCW Board felt that it was important that a separate entity should be established to undertake the research outside FCW. Beulah Fredericks was then appointed Director of the FCW Support Trust.

FCW withdraws from the Masibambane Consortium.

2004: Swimming upstream

The resignation of the Programme Manager, Jann Wattlington and Nomfundo Memane the Community Worker left a big gap in the operation of the organisation. The appointment of Riedewhaan Allie as the Programme Manager and later as Director of the organisation left him with the challenge of turning the organization around, and ensuring support to the new born Support Trust.