Thursday, 19 November 2020

The Dogs of the KNP Revealed

 When PDG Jankees Sligcher was District governor, he managed to persuade Audi South Africa to help donate a Belgian Malinois (a type of Belgian sheepdog) to the K9 project of the Kruger National Park, where he held his District Conference in 2018.

The Belgian Malinois is one of the breed of dogs that are used in the KNP and other South African game parks to track poachers, as attack dogs and as sniffer dogs at the gates. Others include bloodhounds, a doberman/bloodhound cross and labradors and other breeds suitable for sniffing out contraband such as rhinoceros horn.

                        Moira Shein of SANParks Honorary Rangers talking about the dogs of the park

These and other interesting facts were shared with the club by Moira Shein, a member of SANParks Honorary Rangers.  She is  vice-chairperson of their Canine Project Watchdog which  gives support to the KNP by arranging donations of food and medical supplies for the dogs and their handlers and also training for the unit. She mentioned that dogs are fitted with a GPS unit as a tracking device and that these cost in the region of R25 000 each.

The Rotary dog was injured in the line of duty and is now being used to breed, hopefully including more dogs to keep the animals in the KNP safe.

The number of dogs used has grown from just three in 2012, to 46 currently, with a further 14 dogs used elsewhere, most notably to combat abalone poaching on the coast and to safeguard tourists on Table Mountain in Cape Town.

                         An attack dog goes through his paces during a demonstration at Discon 2018

Moira told the club that the KNP is dealing with more than one poaching excursion into the park per day, which makes it very difficult and very expensive to safeguard the more than 2 million hectares area. Dogs and handlers often spend 10 days at a time in the bush in difficult and dangerous circumstances and provide companionship to one another.

She said amongst the biggest headaches are rhino poaching for their horns and pangolins for their scales, both used for a variety of products and potions in the Far East. Lions are also poached, as are tigers in the northern hemisphere, for their carcasses and bones.

A rhino horn, she said, fetches $65 000 per kilogram in the black market, making it more precious than gold or diamonds.

                                     Lauren Winchester speaks about Soweto

There were some very welcome visitors to the meeting as well, starting with Lauren Winchester, a lawyer by training who has worked extensively in public relations, advertising and media. Lauren decided on the unthinkable two years ago and moved her company offices to Soweto's famous Vilakazi Street to gain better insight into the way townships work and to help a township like Soweto to develop into a city in its own right.

The good news is that Lauren, who was introduced to the club by Jankees and Judy Sligcher, is keen to join New Dawn, bringing in much needed expertise and contact with Sowetans, which will help no end in our attempts to get Rotary better established there.

                     Velani Buthelezi with Carin Holmes, his predecessor at the Salvation Army

Another visitor was Velani Buthelezi, a captain in the Salvation Army, who is succeeding Carin Holmes as public relations chief for Southern Africa. Carin is, of course, leaving for Lusaka soon.

At the meeting President Ian Widdop presented her with a certificate of Honorary Membership of New Dawn, thus keeping the strong ties between Rotary and the Salvation Army that have existed since Carin joined the club in 2012.

                             President Ian Widdop handing over the induction kit to Sarah de La Pasture

Velani told the club that he hails from Zululand and is family of Mangosuthu Buthelezi. He is very keen to follow in Carin's footsteps and join New Dawn.

Ian also handed her badge and certificates to Sarah de La Pasture, who attended one of her first face-to-face meetings since joining the club.

            Paul Channon, Julian Nagy and Gavin Atkins at the meeting

Gavin Atkins was also a visitor and after the meeting  attended a fireside chat that Julian Nagy, Joan and Graham Donet and I had with him to tell him more about the workings of Rotary and to answer any questions he has.

Gavin has already submitted his CV, which will be discussed at the next board meeting and a recommendation made to the club as per the stipulated procedure.

                    President Ian thanking Reckson Nkuna for his years of service

A last bit of ceremony at the meeting was handing over a wad of cash to Reckson Nkuna, who is retiring from the Parkview Golf Club where he has been looking after the New Dawn breakfast meetings ever since we moved there from the UJ School of Hospitality about five years ago. We managed to collect R1 500 for Reckson with extra donations during the brag.

Dates to Diarise: The speaker next week is President Ian Widdop, who will be speaking on the theme of A Creative Life, a talk he gave to the Rotary Club of Holt and District, the home club of Honorary Member Nick Bell, last week.

There's a special board meeting on Monday to discuss, amongst other things, the club succession plan after Tony Reddy withdrew his nomination for president for the Rotary Year 2021-2022 and the club's strategic plan.

The annual festive dinner gives way to a picnic at George Hay Park in Parkview on Friday, 4 December at 4 pm. The invitations have already gone out, so do invite as many of your friends and family to come along for a fun evening during which we can hopefully raise some much-needed funds for the club.

Precious few members have paid, so don't forget the joining fee of R150 per person (you're welcome to donate more) and don't forget to bring your own picnic basket with food and drinks and chairs and blankets. Please pay by EFT as taking cash doesn't sound like a good idea during the Covid crisis.

A Thought for the Week: Manners maketh man. - William Horman (c 1440 - 1535)

Thursday, 12 November 2020

A Festive Meeting as Covid Continues

Anything Zoom can do, a face-to-face can do better, or in these strange times, a hybrid meeting, but it was nevertheless refreshing to be able to do physical inductions and Paul Harris awards at the meeting last week.

Many other clubs have not yet started meeting in person, like the Rosebank club, and having the choice of a physical presence as well as online for those who so prefer, has been a great success, thanks mainly to Hannes Dressler and the IT team from SAP.

     A hybrid handshake and elbow bump from President Ian Widdop for new members Errol Burman and Ronnie Kasrils as re-inductee Linda Vink looks on

Hannes says he's working on a permanent solution for the club to this tough technological nut, something for which members are most grateful. It also makes us the envy of other clubs who haven't managed to sort hybrid meetings out yet.

The Wednesday morning meeting, where we were once more made very aware of the Covid-19 dangers, was followed by President Cyril Ramaphosa's latest address to the nation where he significantly lifted lockdown restrictions, most notably on overseas arrivals and visits and alcohol sales hours, but emphasised that a second coronavirus wave would only be averted if people stuck to wearing masks, kept up with social distancing and sanitised and/or thoroughly washed hands regularly.

    President Ian Widdop with the four Paul Harris recipients, Ronnie Kasrils, Megan Maynard, Mike MacDonald and Joan Donet

The meeting on Wednesday was a do-over of the handing over of the Paul Harris awards at President Ian Widdop's Zoom induction in July, the re-induction of PP Linda Vink and the induction of new members Christoph Plate and Sarah de La Pasture on Zoom during the lockdown and of Ronnie Kasrils and Errol Burman at the meeting.

Paul Harris Awards were handed over to Ronnie Kasrils, Joan Donet (sapphire), Mike MacDonald and Megan Maynard of The Link.

President Ian also announced that Carin Holmes has been made an honorary member of New Dawn, as she is embarking on a three-year stint for the Salvation Army in Lusaka, Zambia, a fantastic achievement for a beloved fellow member.

In his remarks after receiving his Paul Harris, Ronnie told how one of the Rotary founder's first acts in Chicago, was to supply public toilets to the community.

"I was reading, and for the first time something amazing hit me, one of his first acts to the public was something very dear to my heart, he built public toilets in Chicago. I'd like to brag a bit, because as minister of water affairs, for the first time we got the issue of sanitation moving in wonderful ways."

"We had Nelson Mandela doing the first public wash in which we were saying to the public whenever you have been to the toilet and always before eating, wash your hands. We taught this to the kids in schools."

"Alas and alack, we all know what followed in terms of the downward plunge into the sewers that some government people had left us. I would really like to, when we can rise up and be public again,  look into sanitation as a Rotarian."

                           PDG Jankees Sligcher  handed over the Paul Harris to Ronnie Kasrils

Ronnie was awarded his Paul Harris for his decades of service to the country. Megan Maynard was awarded her Paul Harris because of her tireless work at The Link and for strengthening ties between `the Link and the club.

Joan Donet was awarded a Paul Harris sapphire (a second Paul Harris) for her work in keeping the administration of the club running smoothly and Mike MacDonald his for his charity work, not only for the annual New Dawn golf days, but also in the wider golfing world and for other charities.

The fundraising committee did a report back after a meeting on Tuesday evening where, at the prompting of Gavin Atkins, a project management expert who is about to join the club after being introduced by Karlien Kruger, a list of fundraising eight channels was itemised. These are all seen as complementary rather than mutually exclusive.

                                   PP Judy Sligcher awarding the Paul Harris to Mike MacDonald

The channels include traditional activities such as the golf day, bridge drive and festive dinner; crowdfunding and other online fundraising; membership rewards such as the My School programme. fellowship activities that can raise funds on an ongoing basis; overseas funding through overseas clubs and Rotary International; corporate help through CSI programmes and sponsorships and others.

Several possible fundraising channels were discussed, amongst them three outlined by Joan Sainsbury through her contacts in the art world for possible art auctions and art sales, that sound very promising.

Covid warriors: Ronnie Kasrils told the club that his visit on Wednesday to receive his Paul Harris and be inducted as a member, was one of the few times he'd ventured out since the beginning of lockdown.

Lucille Blumberg said she was also leaving lockdown to attend the graduation ceremony where her alma mater, the University of  the Witwatersrand, is awarding her an honorary doctorate, just so that she can wear the traditional red academic gown!

Apart from Carin Holmes leaving for Lusaka, Christoph Plate said he was on his way to Tanzania for work, so didn't feel up to attending the meeting as an extra precaution against the virus.

Hannes will of course soon be on his way to the maternity ward with Katya for the birth of their second child, a son. He'll have to report on whether they'll actually allow him to be present at the birth. Strange times indeed.

Ian Widdop reported that he'd been invited by Nick Bell to speak to the Rotary Club of Holt and that he'd been guest speaker on Monday evening. His theme: A Creative Life. It sounds like something he can speak to our own club about.

Remember: Although gatherings of up to 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors are now allowed, the club has opted to do a Festive Picnic this year at the George Hay Park in Parkview instead of the usual dinner. It's on Friday, 4 December and starts at 4 pm. Invitations have gone out, so please pay up and start packing your picnic baskets.

A Thought for the Week: If you're lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it. - (John Irving (1942 -)

Friday, 6 November 2020

The More Activity, The More Active We Become

 A list of 28 projects and activities in which members of the Rotary Club of Johannesburg New Dawn are involved, is a badge of honour for the club.

What potentially could be seen as a very daunting prospect, is actually just a reflection of all the things great and small that New Dawners tackle either collectively or in smaller groups down to individuals.

The great thing about New Dawn is that we still manage to have fun while doing it.

   President Ian listening intently, with Joan Donet in front of the IT equipment, courtesy of Hannes Dressler and SAP,  that makes the hybrid meetings possible

Projects were the theme of the discussion at the meeting last week, led by President Ian Widdop.

The focus on projects, as is with fundraising, has to take into account the rather trying Covid-19 times we're living in.

President Ian said that because of Covid-19 and the various stages of lockdown, the club has no or very little money to spend on projects and very few prospects of raising funds in any significant way.

"We need to approach this in a different way," he said.

Paul Kasango, Helene Bramwell and Adele Dabbs keeping a safe social distance

By his calculation, 24 of the 38 members are directly involved in the various projects, mostly with children  as the primary beneficiaries, and most others members indirectly.

He said that although the list might be seen as a sign that the club is a bit unfocused, we would be nowhere during the lockdown without all the diverse activity, not all which involve direct financial contributions by the club.

These smaller projects have kept New Dawn alive while larger projects like The Link have gone quiet due to the lockdown.

Covid-19 has brought the focus back on the Rotary motto of Service Above Self, he said.

Examples of the input of New Dawn members in projects that are making a difference are aplenty and one of the larger efforts that was highlighted at the meeting was the work that one of the more recent recruits to the club, Karlien Kruger, has been doing with Copessa, the Community-based Prevention and Empowerment Strategies in South Africa NGO led by Dr Nobs Mwanda.

    Karlien Kruger and Gavin Atkins talking about their breakthrough work with Copessa

Dr. Nobs, as she is affectionately known, was a speaker at the club last year and grabbed everybody's attention when she shattered a glass with her fork to emphasise what child abuse does to a child's soul.

"That's what happens in Rotary, you get ambushed and shaken," President Ian said.

Karlien introduced a former work colleague, Gavin Atkins, who has been helping her sort out issues of corporate governance at Copessa and build a strategy to tackle all the projects they want to undertake such as starting up a community radio station, an App, a Gender Based Violence unit and efforts to combat violence against children.

         The marshal is back in town ... Dave Marshall holding up a screen photo of a possible Zoo Lake playground.             He also told the club he's seriously thinking of moving to Johannesburg

Another was the Zoo Lake playground, where Dave Marshall reported on ongoing efforts to put the district grant that was obtained earlier this year, to good use. This project needs to be signed off by the end of this Rotary financial year (30 June), but all involved seem to think that'll not be a problem.

At the meeting the club also congratulated Carin Holmes, who was promoted and is being transferred by the Salvation Army to Lusaka, Zambia, an exciting prospect for her and one which opens up possibilities for New Dawn as well.

Diarise: There was a board meeting on Zoom last evening so the meeting next week (11 November) will be a business meeting. New members (Sarah de la Pasture, Errol Burman and Ronnie Kasrils) are being asked to attend at the Parkview club,  where possible, next week so that badges and other induction paraphernalia can be handed over to them, as with the Paul Harris Fellowships announced at President Ian's induction in July.

The day before there is a major fundraising meeting at Twickenham Guest House (Tuesday (10 November) to discuss the possibilities of future fundraising events. All members are welcome and an invitation was sent out this week.

On Monday, 23 November there will be a special board meeting on Zoom to discuss the club leadership for the new Rotary year starting on 1 July 2021.

The invitation to the end-of-year Christmas meeting on Friday, 4 December will be going out soon.

The last meeting of the year will be on Wednesday, 9 December and the first meeting of the new year on Wednesday, 13 January.

A Thought for the Week: We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. - George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

Friday, 30 October 2020

Raising Funds and Riding Bicycles

People in the performing and visual arts are known for their get-up-and-go attitude to life, often because they don't really have a choice. If you're not going to market yourself, you have to pay somebody to do it and then you still have to be involved.

Artists are also known for being individually minded and not organised as an industry in the way that, for example, the other great entertainment industry of sport is.

But, as they say in Afrikaans, Die nood leer bid which translates to Necessity is the mother of invention, more literally to, If choices are limited, ask (pray) or that other well-known South African idiomatic expression, 'n Boer maak  'n plan!

That all looks set to change, according to Bridget van Oerle, the speaker at the meeting this week.

      President Ian Widdop with Bridget van Oerle at the meeting last week

Bridget has a lifelong association with the theatre and started her agency, BUZ Publicity, a PR, events and media liaison company, 24 years ago with clients such as Pieter-Dirk Uys, organisations such as Wits Theatre and charities such as 67 Blankets for Mandela.

She spoke on the theme of what artists have been doing during the crippling lockdown months and said this can broadly be broken down to volunteerism and attempts to forge new unity in the industry.

The first has taken many forms, with individuals and groups trying to raise funds for charity online and, as an example, an ongoing feeding scheme in Machadodorp in Mpumalanga for about a thousand people over the last four months.

                      While theatres stand empty, the industry is trying to unify to face a post-Covid world                        

The second has seen a push to create an industry specific body with its own constitution to represent the industry as a whole and create unity within the industry. Bridget says the process of meetings and consultation amongst diverse interest groups has been very rewarding.

She was recently a driving force behind the movement I'm for the Arts, with the tagline Atists' lives matter. The organisation hopes to spread the word amongst artists and all South Africans to push government to take the arts sector more seriously and recently organised a march to the Union Buildings  in Pretoria to press home their demands.

The movement already has more than 19 000 Facebook followers.

                        We are marching to Pretoria ... artists march on the Union Buildings

She said the most heartening and inspiring thing has been to see artists who have not being able to work over the past months, banding together to give of their time and talents to help others.

What the industry needs most of all, is for people "to start buying tickets again for live shows" once that is again permitted.

The speaker at the meeting next week is a more local one, none other that President Ian Widdop himself. President Ian told the meeting that a number of members had been speaking to him about club and member projects and he thinks a discussion around that theme would be timely.

     Seed donations by New Dawn led to a bumper crop at Umbuyisa School of Arts & Culture in Soweto, the kind
      of project President Ian Widdop is punting during lockdown,

Fundraising has become ever more difficult during the dragging and draining coronavirus crisis because it is proving almost impossible to get out there and do the hard yards.

Ian told the club that on reflection he thinks the emphasis could be shifted from raising actual funds on a bigger scale to providing service where the need is greatest.

Your thoughts along these lines will be invaluable.

                      Fundraising is proving to be a bit harder than riding a bicycle

Fundraising will also come into play at a meeting of the fundraising committee on 10 November at 5pm at Twickenham Guest House (66 Twickenham Ave, Auckland Park).  Some drinks and snacks will be supplied.

The committee has said all members are welcome, specially those with well thought out proposals for fundraising in the post-Covid world that they are prepared to champion themselves. While brainstorming often yields good results, it's not very practical to say, for instance, "Let's do a cycle race" if you don't know if there's place on the calendar and whether it would be supported, etc.

Julian Nagy will be sending out an e-mail to all members with more details for the meeting.

                        There's a picnic basket full of goodies in your future

For a more immediate fundraising effort, please diarise Friday, 4 December from about 4pm, the date that the annual Christmas dinner would've taken place.

We've cancelled the Marks Park event on advice from Lucille Blumberg to rather err on the side of caution and will instead arrange a picnic at George Hay Park in Parkview, weather permitting. It's next to St Columba's Church in Lurgan Ave.

Lucille said that although a second surge does not look on the cards for now, preventing the spread of Covid-19 through non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand sanitising, wearing masks and only meeting in well-ventilated places, is critical.

The idea is to provide picnic baskets at R500 for two people, or R250 each, which would've been the price at the Festive Dinner, and hold the event outdoors, a far safer option. You'll need to bring your own picnic blankets, camping chairs and drinks.

All suggestions as to where to find the baskets (Fortnum & Mason do a good basket, but at exorbitant prices!) what to put in the baskets and offers to help provide such fare, will be most welcome.

A Thought for the Week: Be to their virtue very kind; be to their faults a little blind. - Matthew Prior (1664 - 1721)

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Corporate Social Investment: Hollard

 This weeks meeting took the form of another hybrid meeting, with some members present at the Parkview Golf Club, and others virtually on Zoom.  A total of 29 Members took part in the meeting.

With President Ian at home on Zoom, PP Judy Sligcher ran the meeting at the Club.

Our speaker was Lynette van Vreden, CSI Manager at Hollard.  Lynette gave a passionate presentation of Hollards CSI Framework.  "Our approach to Corporate Social Investment stems from the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the National Development Plan".  This approach also aligns with the Hollard Purpose and the Group Goals.

Lynette van Vreden from Hollard presenting to the Club, with PP Judy and Samantha Deverneuil in the background

The mission of Hollards CSI is "We enable more people to create and secure a better future and create impact through the core CSI focus areas":
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Community

Through employee volunteerism they are able to implement ...

  • CSI Projects
  • Payroll Giving
  • National CSI Days
  • Thusano Grants
Of special interest is the Thusano Grant Programme which is an annual grant made available for Hollardites who volunteer more than 50 hours a year in their personal capacity to a registered NPO.  Twenty grants are accommodated for annually - the maximum paid in one financial year was a total of R180 000 to 15 organisations.

Through the Hollard Foundation Trust, Hollard also supports Harambee (a youth employment accelerator); Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme and the Youth Employment Service.

Hollard actively encourages employees to volunteer their time and skills and through this their CSI and the work they do with the Hollard Foundation Trust and their communities contributes to real inclusive growth and it really does enable others to have a better future.

Hollards CSI initiatives are a good example of a corporate investing in social programmes and in many respects align with New Dawns goals:  Community support, children in need and education.  There are many synergies that we as a Club can explore with Hollard.

Announcements:  as you all know, we have a long standing relationship with the 5 Cee's in Hillbrow.
They have requested help with their cold room which needs urgent repair.  Mike Vink has agreed to support them with R6000 to repair their cold room.
In line with our re-alignment of the grant received for the sanitization taxi project,  the Johannesburg initiative plans to develop a second seedling farm which will create many opportunities for sustainable food production.  PP Paul Kasango asked that we keep the Alexandria Community in mind as this community needs help.

Our speaker next week will be Bridget  van Oerle, founder of Buz Publicity.

Quote of the week:  "Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life.  It is important to the person who serves, as well as the recipient.  It's the way in which we ourselves grow and develop."    Dorothy Height:  1912 - 2010

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Unconscious Bias & Subtle Acts of Exclusion

This weeks meeting took the form of another hybrid meeting, with some members at the Parkview Golf Club and others online.  Our Guest Speaker was Bridget Von Holdt, Business Director at BCW Africa.  Bridget's experience in Public Relations spans over 30 years, and she is known for her vision to see beyond the conventional in the communications industry.

Bridget von Holdt (Source Facebook)

Bridget gave a fascinating talk on Unconscious Bias in our lives.  Unconscious Bias influences our decisions and behavior in ways so subtle that they completely escape our notice.  It affects our implicit attitudes, action or decisions. It causes an automatic evaluation without being aware.  It is a product of culture, family influence or experience, and these manifest themselves as micro-behaviors.

To counter unconscious bias, you need to be intentional about disrupting bias.  This involves giving yourself more time for decision making, question your first impression and check if it is based on assumptions.  It is important to create a culture of calling out bias by empowering others to call it out.  

With the background of our history it is important to be conscious of various terms - privilege, prejudice and power in our society.  "Equality is giving everyone a shoe.  Equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits".

Two interesting case studies where bias showed up in marketing and communications materials were demonstrated - H&M's "Coolest monkey in the jungle" sweatshirt ad and the recent Tresemme Hair product campaign.

It is important that each of us examine our own bias in various areas of our lives; be they Internal, External, Cultural or Organisational.  

New Dawn members practising social distancing

On Saturday, 10th October, we were all invited to the Baby Shower for Hannes and Katya Dressler at their lovely new home in Westcliff.  Below the cot filled with gifts for the coming baby.

What should have been a tea and snacks afternoon, turned into a social braai where the usual New Dawn vibe was very much evident!

Part of the happy gathering on the "stoep with view"

Strategic Plan - Please note that Julian has requested feedback on the Strategic Plan that was sent out to members.  Please email any comments or suggestions.

Speaker for next week will be the Corporate Social Investment Manager from Hollard, Lynette van Vreden.  

Quote for the week:  "Words are things.  You must be careful about calling people out of their names .... Someday we'll be able to measure the power of words.  I think they are things.  They get on the walls.  They get in your wallpaper.  They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally into you." Maya Angelou: 1928 - 2014

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

First Hybrid Meeting a Success

The very first New Dawn hybrid meeting was a success with only a few minor technical glitches, another step in the direction of what is commonly being termed the "new normal". Thanks to Hannes Dressler and his IT team from SAP we could all hear and see each other whether physically present at the Parkview Golf Club or on zoom.

There were eleven of us on zoom and thirteen members at the club itself. 

                            Hannes Dressler and the magic camera that made the hybrid meeting possible

It was a business meeting with reports back from the board meeting on Monday evening. This centered in large part around around the theme of sustainable food production and the visit to Victoria Yards last Saturday, led by President Ian Widdop.

                                                President Ian Widdop speaking at Victoria Yards

President Ian also announced that Rotary International has agreed in principal to redirect the Covid-19 emergency District grant of $25 000. to a project yet to be finalised, but which will be about sustainable food production in some form. The request follows after the Hlanza Izandla taxi sanitisation project ground to a halt. A request has also been sent to Standard Bank that the remaining portion that they donated to the taxi project, also be redirected.

The Hlanza Izandla inter-club project team is meeting tomorrow to discuss the way forward and President Ian asked that more New Dawn members put their name forward to redress the balance, which at the moment tilts in favour of the Benoni Aurora club. Amina Frense immediately did so.

                                            Mama Refiloe Molefe, gardener extraordinaire of Bertrams

President Ian told the club about the Victoria Yards visit and their walk through the suburbs surrounding it to Mama Refiloe Molefe's Bertrams Inner City Farm of about a hectare under tunnels on ground that used to be a bowling club. The land belongs to the City of Johannesburg.

Hers is one of the more successful inner city gardens and she supplied many restaurants with fresh produce and juice mixtures before lockdown in March. Business seems to be picking up again, but over the past six months she turned her attention to a feeding scheme and estimates that she feeds about 250 children in the area per day.

                                    Lucille Blumberg amongst the luscious spinach in the Bertrams garden

The New Dawn members also engaged with members of the Johannesburg Inner City Partnership, amongst others, about the large number of gardens in and around the CBD, whether on rooftops or unused land. The tour by the New Dawn team was led by Thobile Chittenden, CEO of Makers Valley, which is a part of the Victoria Yards project.

It is for projects like this (and many others) that the club is looking for a major fundraising event or effort to try to raise the kind of money we need to go big.

        Helene Bramwell, Adele Dabbs, Errol Burman and Paul Channon at the first Parkview meeting since March 

There's a meeting of the fundraising committee on Tuesday, 10 November at 5 pm at Twickenham Guest House to map a way forward for future fundraising efforts. This is particularly important because the main annual fundraiser, our Golf Day, has been cancelled this year because of the uncertainties around the lockdown.

The plan is that there will be two golf days next year, one during the first quarter at Wanderers and the second one back to normal at Parkview in November.

The good news is that the festive dinner will go ahead on Friday, 4 December at Marks Park. We'll be going all out to maximise the event to make up for the missed opportunities with the cancellation of the bridge drive and now the golf day.

Tickets for the dinner have been lowered to R250 a head, which will mean an even greater effort will have to be made to raise significant funds.

                                                                    Bridget van Oerle

Speaker: The speaker next week is the publicist Bridget van Oerle of Buz Publicity, who also spoke to the club about three years ago. She'll be talking about unconscious bias in publicity/public relations in the light of the Clicks/Tre Semmé PR disaster of recent weeks.

Snippets: Rev. Nick Bell donated GBP100 (R2150) to the club in lieu of brags and said he and his wife are hoping to get to South Africa by the beginning of December. Quite a number of members have been donating brag and breakfast money regularly since lockdown started to keep the club coffers going. All members who cannot attend meetings, are urged to do the same.

Paul Channon announced that the Alexander Education Committee had raised R2,5 million in the past few months for their feeding scheme for scholarship families, to which New Dawn and associates from clubs all over the world contributed in excess of R150 000. 

Paul Kasango shared a photo of the new playground he managed to have installed in Alexandra. It was moved from Woodside Sanctuary to make space for a garden there.

A Thought for the Week: Understand this, I mean to arrive at the truth. The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to seekers after it. - Agatha Christie (1890 - 1976)