Monday, 21 January 2019

Ten Years On, New Dawn Rocks

It was a double celebration on Sunday when we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the induction of The Rotary Club of Johannesburg into the Rotary International family on 20 January 2009. Sunday was also the birthday of Peter James Smith, a founder member and second president of New Dawn, who turned a lot more than 10 years old!
     The year started with a bang with a braai under the trees on the front lawn of Tower Lodge, one of our guest houses in Auckland Park.
Peter James Smith sparkled on Sunday
     Peter and his wife, Jean, were amongst the guests at the lunch where PDG Jankees Sligcher complimented New Dawn for notable achievements over the past two years, not the least of which was delivering a District Governor in the person of Jankees himself. He could not have done it without the wholehearted support of the club, he said.
     Graham Donet toasted the club and reminisced about the early days in the months leading up to 20 January 2009 when he, Peter, Don Lindsay, Arthur Begley and Paul Kasango met at the then Wellington's Restaurant in Parkview before the formal induction with 19 members.
The gathered guests at the long table at Tower Lodge were treated to perfect weather, perfect food and lots of wine and other drinks
A smiling trio of Kasangos; Susan, Paul and Felicity enjoying the sunshine
Amina Frense with husband Ronnie Kasrils and Julian Nagy
Carl Chemaly brought wife Jacquie and their two sons, Dan and Joe along
PDGA Margie and PDG David Grant and Brenda McCallum were amongst the guests
Adriaen Sligcher and Abi Barrell were guests this time, but both have pledged to become members. They're having a baby and getting married in this year.
Julian and Debbie Nagy were also there
Graham and Joan Donet enjoying the lunch
Nick and Carol Stier enjoying the company
     Now that the festivities are over, it is time to start looking forward to the second half of the Rotary year, one that promises to be as busy as the previous six months.
     We started off with a seminar on our NPO/PBO/CSI status given by PDG Grant Daly in Midrand and attended by Jankees Sligcher, Linda and me and Julian Nagy.
     We gained valuable insights into the process and, as Julian reported to the meeting last week, have ascertained that our next step is to apply for PBO status. To do this, we have to accept amended club bylaws, which will be done at the first meeting in February, a business meeting that will double up as a Club Assembly. The amendments must be passed with a two thirds majority of club members, so please try to be there.    
Helene Bramwell of The Mask Skin and Body Clinic in Parkview
     PBO status, which is basically an application for tax exemption from the SA Revenue Service, is compulsory for any organisation working within the welfare and charity sector, so this is a bullet we cannot dodge anymore.
     Julian and I will submit the application once the amendments for the bylaws have been approved.
The band of brothers (and one sister) at the seminar, from left to right are PDG Anton Meerkotter, Julian and myself and in the back are PDG David Grant, Jankees Sligcher and President Linda Vink
     Another task to kick off the year is our Global Grant, which has been approved but which will only be paid out once our bank accounts are in order (District 9400 has to feature in the name). This will be done soonest while Ian Widdop recuperates at home from what sounds like rather painful surgery.
     The first meeting of the year was a business meeting, lightened up by the presence of Helene Bramwell, owner of The Mask Skin and Body Clinic in Parkview. Helene has expressed interest in the goings on at the club and who knows, we might be able to persuade her to become a member.
Simona Flavio is thinking of joining
     We added five new members after July last year and already have a few more waiting in the wings, like Adriaen Sligcher and Abi Barrell and a friend of theirs, Simona Flavio, who was also at the lunch on Sunday. David Marshall, who has promised to attend the meeting next week, is another prospective member, as is Dale Fortuin. Both of them were brought to the club by Mike MacDonald. It would be a massive coup if we could add another five members before the end of June.
Carol Stier with the Rotary International logo for next year
     Watch out for a Rotary Minute at every meeting from Carol Stier, who kicked off this reinstated regular last week by introducing the incoming RI president and his new logo and slogan: Rotary Connects the World.
Steve and Jenine donating books at Paternoster
     Thanks also to Steve du Plessis and Jenine Coetzer for once again donating books from the Rotary Humanitarian Distribution Centre to the St. Augustine's School in Paternoster along the West Coast.

Money in the Bank
     The fundraising events at the end of last year were highly successful and we were able to bank R70000 from the Golf Day, R25000 from the Christmas dinner and almost R11000 from our efforts at Winex.
     Next up is the Bridge Drive on Thursday, 14th March, which could bring us close to a total of R150000.
     We're also looking forward to a busy speaker schedule in the coming months and many ideas were tossed around at the lunch on Sunday, the ideal setting for some creative thinking.
Yvonne Chaka Chaka has offered to speak at a meeting
     One possibility is an old friend of the club, the singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, who coincidentally attended a seminar at one of our guest houses this week and who has promised to come and speak to us again.
     Yvonne is well known for her charity work and has been a good friend to Rotary and more specifically to New Dawn, over the years.
Please sir, can I have some more ... of Graham Donet's delicious trifle, says Peter James Smith
     The blog ends as it began this week, with Peter James Smith, who will be our speaker at the meeting this week. Peter is now a member at the Rosebank club and spent many years in radio journalism as an expert on a wide range of matters, notably food, drink and religion (not necessarily in that order). It promises to be an interesting talk.
     A Thought for the Year Ahead: Many people die at twenty-five and aren't buried until they are seventy-five. - Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

Monday, 10 December 2018

It's That Christmas Time of Year


The holiday celebrations started last Wednesday at New Dawn and culminated with the annual Christmas dinner on Friday evening at Marks Park.
     It was a great event, so thanks to everyone who helped and obviously to everyone that could be there.
Red was clearly the colour of the night as Susan Kasango, Amina Frense, Ronnie Kasrils, Linda Vink and Nic and Carol Stier prove
     Last week's meeting took the form of an AGM in which we voted for club officers and other board positions for Paul Kasango's year starting next July.
     The meeting on Wednesday was the last meeting of the year, so please don't pitch up for meetings this coming week or any Wednesday until Wednesday, 16th January 2019. If you do, you might end up very lonely.
Presidents past and present celebrated last week. PP Joan and IPP Carol with IPP Graham and President Linda getting into the Christmas mood with champagne and orange juice and mince pies at the meeting
     Both the dinner and the Golf Day were very successful this year and with both we surpassed our targets of last year.
     Income from the Golf Day is now over R100000 (R90140 last year) and we're just waiting for the invoice from the Parkview Golf Club to see how much of that we get to keep. The money is in aid of the 5Cees, more specifically to pay school fees for two girls starting in Grade 10 next year and following through to Grade 12.
     Income from the Christmas dinner will be over R25000 once everyone has paid for the auction items they bought (hint, hint!) against R15590 last year.
Tutty Faber and David Marshall were guests at the meeting. Our AG, Peter James-Smith, was also a guest
Megan Maynard was also a guest last week. Here she is with Ian Widdop, celebrating
 the news that the Global Grant from RI has finally been granted.
     The Pink Elephant raffle proved very popular on Friday and that and the turkey carving competition were highlights of the evening.
Carl Chemaly sizing up his turkey before the carving began
Peet Kruger clearly thinks there's nothing to cutting up the bird
He proved his point by winning the competition. Here he shows off his prize to Jankees Sligcher with Martha Schuler in the background
     In case nobody has caught on yet, the turkey carving competition is a ruse worked out by Graham Donet and me to get somebody else to do the job. It's hard enough work cooking the damn things.
     The auction raised about R8000 and the raffle a further almost R5000. Thanks especially to Natasha Tuinder of Zero Appliances in Edenvale, a client of Debbie de Vries, for donating the main auction item, a Zero gas stove.
     Thanks also to Amina and Ronnie for the book donation which sold as a single lot and fetched a very good price and to Robyn Widdop for the three bottles of Rupert and Rothschild Classique 2006 which also fared very well.
Graham and I in the kitchen prepping the green beans before tackling the four turkeys
Thanks to everyone who helped, the salad table was a feast
The Christmas Pavlova also went down very well
Ian and Robyn Widdop are definitely in high spirits
Mike and Frances MacDonald full of Christmas cheer
Linda with Jacquie Chemaly-Myburgh enjoying the evening
Zena Kimaro is normally on her way home to Kenya this time of year, but
managed to stay long enough to join us. Behind her is Ronnie Kasrils
Lucille Blumberg, who provided and prepared the salmon, with Susan Kasango
David Rose-Innes and Jankees Sligcher, the men with the moustaches
The link between New Dawn and The Link Trust was cemented when two tables full of their volunteers joined the Christmas party
As usual the guest house staff were the stars behind the scenes and worked until late into the night to get everything done and removed from the venue. Here's Linda with Thokozani, Nomvula and Nonhlanhla
     For everybody who's waiting for news of our imminent grandparenthood, at the time of writing nothing has happened yet. Greta and her mother, Martha Schuler, celebrated with us on Friday evening and spent a whole day shopping at the Kamers Market in Irene on Sunday, blissfully ignoring the Saturday due date - and John's protestations.
     Here's wishing everyone a happy time over the festive season and into the new year. Be safe, be careful and be happy.
     A Thought for the Year: May you live all the days of your life. - Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

Monday, 3 December 2018

A Fun Day of Golf Crowned by Good News

The Golf Day is a highlight of the New Dawn year every year and this year was no exception. It also proved to be a unifying force this year with no fewer than 24 of our 30 members attending at some or other stage during the day.
     There were also three Rotaracters helping out with various tasks during the day.
     It was hard work, but hard work pays off.
The team at registration were Frank Odenthal, myself, Amina Frense, Mike MacDonald, President Linda Vink, Graham and Joan Donet, Paul Kasango, Julian Nagy and Judy Symons
     The aim was to make at least R100000, which we have almost achieved and will definitely surpass once all the golfers have paid.
     This should give us in the order of R70000 in funds, a very helpful boost in these tough times. The final tally will be broadcast once all the bills have been settled.
PP David Marshall with his bucket of balls and hat
     Amongst the extras this year were the R1660 that David Marshall of the Rotary Club of Brits-Hartebeespoort, a recent regular visitor at New Dawn meetings, collected at the third tee by getting golfers to guess the number of golf balls in a bucket donated by Carl Chemaly. David sat out in the hot sun for the best part of the day, proving himself a worthy Rotarian.
     Another unexpected and very pleasant surprise was the R3000 that was paid by one of our guest golfers for the set of golf clubs donated by Frank Odenthal.
Greg Smith announcing Allan Henning, a former South African Open golf winner,
 with the Barrow of Booze that he won
     Frank also leant us his sons' Bollerwagen (wooden handcart) for the second barrow of booze for people at the Golf Day itself last Friday. This was one by Allan Henning, former professional golfer who has played with Greg Smith for almost all of our golf days for the past seven years. Like many other people, Allan was almost more interested in the wagon than the booze!
Peet and Rudi Kruger with the main Barrow of Booze that they won on the second drawing
     The main barrow, which included the wheelbarrow, was won by Ronel Wasserman from Middelburg, who promptly re-donated it when Linda phoned her with the happy news.
     This meant we could do another round of selling, which netted a further R2600. In the re-draw the barrow was won by our son-in-law, Peet Kruger!
President Linda Vink, who sold the most raffle tickets of all, at Golf Day 2018
Graham Donet with Carl Chemaly, who played
Rusty van der Walt brought two four-balls to the Golf Day
   The day was topped off by the incredibly good news that the Global Grant that Ian Widdop has been tirelessly working for over the last two years, has finally been granted.
     This is for the amount of $31250, which will go towards helping The Link Trust to expand their work far more rapidly than anticipated.
Ian Widdop was MC on the evening and was in high spirits even before the news of the Global
 Grant came
     The grant will be paid over four years from 2019 to 2022 and is the first that the Rotary Club of Johannesburg New Dawn has been able to snag.
     The application was made by New Dawn and our partnering club in Toronto, Canada, following the rules of The Rotary Foundation.
Mike MacDonald and Greg Smith enjoying a well-deserved beer after all
their hard work organising the golf day
Jenine Coetzer and Linda Vink showing off some of the liquid contents of the Barrow of Booze
Paul Kasango and Amina Frense with the two barrows
Graham Donet, Frank Odenthal, Greg Smith and Ian Widdop enjoying the sunshine
Frayne Mathijs and Amina Frense at the reception
The three Rotaracters who helped out were Nadine Mitchley, Alfred Kalunga and Victoria Adekomaya
     Many thanks once again to everyone who helped to make it such a successful day.
     Also, congratulations to Amina Frense, who was named winner of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever Award. Amina, previously managing editor of news and current affairs at the SABC, is a past president of New Dawn.
Amina Frense accepting her award last Thursday evening. She's done herself and New Dawn proud
Llewellyn Leonard, associate professor at Unisa
     The speaker at the meeting last week was Professor Llewellyn Leonard of the department of environmental sciences at Unisa, who specialises in environmental justice in Southern Africa. He is of course a new member of New Dawn and delivered an excellent talk on the impact of environmental issues on ordinary people.
     He is obviously very passionate about human rights as far as this is impacted by industrial, medical and municipal waste and told of a number of campaigns and issues he has an involvement with.
     We had three visitors at the meeting, the first the aforementioned David Marshall, the second a financial adviser, Dale Fortuin and the third Professor Koop Lammertsma, a previous visitor to the club and some of our functions.
     The meeting this week will take the form of an AGM with the election of club officers for next year, so please get nominations in for board positions, especially secretary and treasurer to stand by Paul Kasango during his presidency.

     This will also be the last meeting of the year barring the Christmas Dinner on Friday. If you've not responded to that invitation yet, please do so and share the invitation with friends and family.
     Apart from the usual high sports that go with the evening, we're planning a Pink Elephant raffle with scores of smaller prizes. You and your guests will be able to buy raffle tickets and the draw will continue until all the prizes have been handed out.
     There were a number of prizes left over from the Golf Day and there have already been some donations, but please bring along suitable prizes to the meeting on Wednesday if you have anything available. This could be a wrapped book, a bottle of wine or anything similar. Guests will choose at random and will be able to swop gifts/prizes if somebody else gets what you wanted.
     Also, if you have an idea for something to contribute to the meal on Friday, please speak to me at the meeting. So far we have pat'e and salads for starters, turkey and salmon for mains with a number of side dishes and a number of desserts for a buffet dessert table. More vegetable dishes and desserts would be welcome.
     There will also be an auction of, amongst other things, a gas stove donated by Debbie de Vries.
     A Thought for the Week: If your morals make you dreary, depend upon it they are wrong. - Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1895)