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Komani-Karoo
Only one of 38: Aberdeens around the world

THE small Karoo town of Aberdeen is not the only town to be thus named: according to Wikipedia, there are 38 Aberdeens around the world, half of which are in the United States of America!

The Karoo Aberdeen, founded in 1856, was named after the birthplace in Scotland of Rev Andrew Murray, minister in nearby Graaff-Reinet at the time.

Jean Watermeyer, the chairperson of Aberdeen Tourism, is herself of Scottish descent, as her grandfather came to the area to open branches of the National Bank (later Barclays) in Graaff-Reinet.

She has regular contact with officials from the town’s Scottish namesake, and without fail, sends a Christmas card to the Scottish town’s Lord Provost.

“There have been a few interesting links in recent years between the Scottish town and its Karoo namesake,” said Jean.

“One year, the British charity, Shopmobility, sent small soft toys of Angus the bull and Donny the sheep, mascots of Aberdeen Football Club, to 22 of the Aberdeens around the world.

“The aim was to encourage people to have pride in towns, and to share interesting facts about ‘their’ Aberdeen,” said Jean.

The Karoo Angus attended a wedding (transported with the bride and groom in a pony and trap), a Christmas church service, a coffee morning at the book shop, and a Garden Club meeting, as well as meeting up with a little boy called Angus at Aberdeen Primary School.

Another interesting connection was made when a daily newspaper in the Scottish town wrote a feature on how Christmas was celebrated in the different Aberdeens around the world.

Rather than a standard “braai around the pool”, a South African answer, Aberdeen Tourism used a little creative licence and sent a photo of Father Christmas arriving at the book shop sale on a donkey cart.

The Scottish paper used this as their main feature photo, and only later were they told that the photo was actually taken at a “Christmas in July” function!

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