To turn the association into a reality, they also called on Mr Mauritz de Kock, co-founder of Santa, and Miss Rykie van Reenen of the newspaper Die Burger. Their first duties included discussing the foundation of the association, identifying a name for it, formulating its goals and drawing up a draft constitution. Mrs Cinnie de Kock and Dr Bethel Muller gladly assisted them.
Eight members formed the management committee and they were supported by representatives from the English, Afrikaans and Jewish service associations. Mrs Bernice du Plessis was appointed as patroness of the association.
The association was registered as a welfare organisation. However, it was difficult to obtain financial support from government institutions such as Mental Health and Public Health. It soon became clear that they themselves would have to find a place to put up the work and services centre. Fortunately, Stellenbosch Municipality was prepared to assist them. Here, Mrs Eksteen, Manie Strydom and W Lubbe made significant contributions. Land in the Voëltjiesdorp area (called Onder-Papegaaiberg today) was bought at a nominal amount from the municipality.
One day, two members of the association’s management committee took their goals to the Department of Public Welfare to obtain authorisation to continue with this project. However, at that stage, the government had no category for projects of this nature. At that critical moment, Miss Ansie Gronum joined in the debate and surprised everyone with her enterprising spirit – this was the moment that Horizon House came into being.
They started to work in all earnest. Architect George Osler was approached to design a work centre and various fundraising events were initiated. At that stage, Mrs T Perel of the Jewish Women’s Association also made a huge contribution. Mrs Mimmie Verster, Mr De Villiers, Mrs Eksteen, Dr Bethel Muller and Dr R Smit put in a significant amount of work to publish the first brochure on the project. The language editing was done by Mrs JC de Wet and Dr Pat McMagh. Pro Eclesia Printers printed the brochure and the Rembrandt Group sponsored it. Miss M van Heerden and Mrs Rev Human provided much-needed secretarial work during this busy time.
During this stage, the residents of Voëltjiesdorp arranged a huge protest meeting in the city hall to raise their objections against the establishment of the centre. Today, one can only smile when one looks back at these events.
Next, they started with the construction of the building. Community Development carried 80% of the total costs. A mortgage was taken out and they also obtained financial assistance from government later on. From start to finish, much-appreciated assistance was provided by Stellenbosch Municipality. The builder, Mr J le Roux of Franschhoek, and the building committee provided excellent service. The building committee consisted of Mrs Anna Eksteen, Mr Lubbe, Dr Bethel Muller, Mrs Ada Brodie and Miss Mimmie Verster.
A dam was needed to provide irrigation for the agricultural ground and gardens around the work centre. An anonymous benefactor recognised this need and donated the money.
Outsiders wondered where the water for the dam would come from as it was only a short distance from the neighbouring Momberg farm. But they never considered the storm-water of the nearby residential area. The dam was completed with the generous assistance of Mr Martin Hunting, and there has never been a water shortage since.