’Plain guides celebrate 30 years

Guides and brownies from First Portland with Maxine Kiewitz, founder of the first girl guide company in Mitchells Plain.

The woman who founded the first girl guides company in Mitchell’s Plain more than 30 years ago says the weekly
meetings kept the girls on their toes and taught them lessons that have shaped their lives for the better.

Maxine Kiewitz, 78, met with girl guides as part of their “Take the lead adventure” badge requirement to invite a guide leader to
tea and discuss her role in

They met at the guide house in Colosseum Roadin, in Portland, on Freedom Day Saturday April 27.

Ms Kiewitz founded the first guide group in Mitchell’s Plain at Portland Primary School in 1981.

She spoke about having to check her group of girls for polished shoes and neat and tidy fingernails, hair, and clothes.

Each week the girls were given different tasks and encouraged to do their best at all times.

Ms Kiewitz was introduced to guiding at school by a friend, Sybil van Schalkwyk, who was a division commissioner, from Belhar, at the time.

“Although I’ve lost contact with the girls, one thing I know is that they grew into fine young girls because of the principles and disciplines taught at girl guides,” she said.

Ms Kiewitz recalled how the weekly inspections had kept the girls on their toes and carried over to life at home and at school.

“Guiding offered us a fair share of fun and games, hikes, competitions with other guides, guide Sundays and, back then, ‘bob-a-job’ – working towards gaining badges for various activities was more fun than work,” she said.

She encouraged the girls to enjoy their experience and to take what they have learned into their adult lives, to become outstanding leaders of the future.

“Uphold the guide promise and remember – once a guide, always a guide,” she said.

Girls aged between 4 and 7 are called teddies; brownies are girls aged 7 to 10; girl guides are aged 10 to 14 and rangers are 14 to 25. After that they can become adult leaders or join the Trefoil Guild.

They make a promise to do their best, to do their duty to God and to their country, to be of service and to keep laws and abide by morals and values.

The First Portland Girl Guide Company forms part of the Cape West Region, Girl Guides South Africa, as a member organisation of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), one of the biggest volunteer youth movements in the world.

The company meet at their guide home every Tuesday from 4.30pm to 6pm. For more information, call Michelle Cleophas at 083 413 0006.