Monday, 7 October 2019

Golfers and Visitors Galore

You know the Golf Day is fast approaching when Greg Smith pays the club a visit as he did last week.
     Greg resigned last year because his work commitments don't allow him much free time, but he promised to carry on helping out with the New Dawn Golf Day, a promise he has kept.
     Between Greg and Mike MacDonald they reported that we more or less have 23 4-balls (92 players) in the bag (pun intended). There is also a possibility of even more players joining in.
Partners in crime ... Mike MacDonald and Greg Smith are spearheading the Golf Day
     If this works out, it'll be a record field. Last year we had 72 and the previous year 66 players.
     The list of hole sponsorships is also growing while PDG Jankees Sligcher and his company, Pas Reform, are sponsoring the Halfway House to the tune of R5000.
     Greg says he'll once again organise goodie bags to welcome the players and help with the allocation of prizes on the day.
The Parkview Golf Course sets the scene for the Golf Day
    Raffle ticket sales will be starting soon for those prepared to give up the odd Saturday morning in the weeks to come before the big day on Friday, 8 November.
     The shiny new wheelbarrow for the Barrow of Booze, first prize in the raffle, has been bought and awaits contributions from members. Although we already have a fair amount of bottles, the barrow needs to be full to overflowing, so please bring your contributions.
Go Bokke! The team supporting the Springboks at Giles last Friday. We were joined by Debby Nagy and an old friend of the club, Anke McSweeney, on her way to visit her children and grandchildren in Australia
     There was an impromptu meeting at Giles Restaurant in Craighall Park last week when a group of us gathered to support the Springboks in their match against Italy.
     It's safe to say that Italy might have given the world pasta, pizza, Lamborghinis and Ferraris, but certainly not rugby expertise as the Boks slaughtered them. A good time was had by all.
Karlien Kruger and Carl Chemaly at the meeting
     The meeting on Wednesday will be devoted to the Realema teacher training project, one of the new projects for which we hope to raise RI funds. Carl Chemaly is spearheading the project and has invited a range of friends in high places to the meeting in the hope of attracting corporate sponsorships.
     Members are welcome to invite friends and family and anyone else who they believe might want to get involved.
Advocate Mothusi Tsineng
     Speaking of visitors, we had one last week in the form of Advocate Mothusi Tsineng, who works for the Gauteng Provincial Government and seems interested in Rotary. He would be a great addition to the club were he to decide to join.
     And speaking of Italian food, don't forget the pizza evening next Wednesday (16 October) at the home of Hannes and Katya Dressler in Parktown West. Joan has sent out the invitation, so please reply and pay up as soon as possible.
Samantha Deverneuil and Stella Dees brought a touch of youth to the meeting last week
     The pizza evening takes the place of the regular morning meeting to give those who can't always make it to the breakfast meetings, a chance to join in.
     Those people who want to help at Winex, please remember to give your name and times that you can help, to LindaVink.
     We're still looking for someone to arrange a table at  the Rotary Club of Johannesburg Quizz Night on Friday, 25 October. Linda has the details, which were also published in the blog of 16 September.
     A Thought for the Week: To begin, begin. - William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)

Monday, 30 September 2019

Saving Zoo Lake - it's now or never!

"Zoo Lake is now under threat like never before and in desperate need of donations - right now".

Fran Haslam
These were the words of our speaker last week - Frances (Fran) Haslam; currently leading the Zoo Lake Users Committee, a group of volunteers who, in partnership with the City of Johannesburg, aim to resuscitate, rebuild, upgrade and rehabilitate Zoo Lake Park.

A not-for-profit company has been established and an application for a Section 18A exemption from the Income Tax Act has been lodged.  The Committee is determined to make Zoo Lake safe, clean and beautiful again, but cannot achieve this alone.  A number of Projects have been launched by the Committee:
  • The Erosion Project - the rehabilitation of the lake's banks
  • Bird Island - to audit Bird Island and make recommendations for its rehabilitation
  • Benches - to paint and upgrade the existing benches
  • Trees - audit the existing trees and their current condition
  • Gardens - to revitalize the flower beds
  • Wetland - obtain professional help to re-establish the wetland area
  • Security - Security initiatives to be developed so that the rights of all users are respected
  • Litter - to solve the litter problem
  • Education - to instruct the users on the public open spaces by-laws
  • Administration & Corporate Governance - establish proper administration of the company
  • Legal - the drawing and discharge of the necessary legal contracts in partnership with the City
A possible walkway to the Zoo has been proposed, which would open up the whole Zoo Lake Precinct.  Funding is desperately needed, and it is needed right now.

Zoo Lake taken on 29 September 2019

It's Quizz Time!
As per the flyer above, Rosebank Rotary will be holding their annual Quiz night on 23 October at the Parkview Golf Club.  Those interested in forming a New Dawn table please contact Graham Donet on 0716806001.  This is in aid of a very worthwhile cause.

URGENT REMINDER - our monthly Board Meeting will be held tomorrow, 1st October at 07h00 at the Sligcher residence, 9 Sutherland Ave, Craighall Park.


A reminder of our annual Golf Day on Friday 8 November - with just over a month to go, we still need golfers to submit entries as well as booze for the barrel, and prizes.  You need not have to arrange a Four Ball - single entries will do and Mike will allocate them.  So please spread the word.  Lets all make a concerted effort this month!

Helene Bramwell with Joan and Graham Donet at the Parkwoods Literary Festival
The annual Parkwoods Literary Festival, was a great success, even though the weather was a bit cold.  Informal Literary Talks and Debates with all the local restaurants going full out as well as books for sale AND a great Jazz Band.  In "The Village" I listened to a great talk by two great SA authors, Charles van Onselen and Richard Steyn, and at "The Perfect Cup Foyer" I listened to Peter Bruce, Prof Adam Habib, William Gumede and Tembeka Ngcukatobi debate on "Making SA Work".
Helene, Adele and Bronwyn manned a stand in aid of Donate a Loo.

Thought for the week: "If you want peace in the world, start with children" - Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, 23 September 2019

District Governor visits New Dawn

D9400 DG Maurice Stander explaining what he looks for in a Club
     District Governor Maurice Stander said he's learnt that he should follow two criteria when visiting clubs.

     "First I look at whether the club is healthy on the outside. To judge this I take note of where the club meets and how they run the meetings. You pass that test with flying colours. What a magnificent venue you have," he said.

    “I then look at whether the club is healthy on the outside. This I judge by three things; whether the club has submitted its' annual financials, whether the club and most members have a presence on My Rotary, especially if the club goals have been set and lastly whether the club has a annual planner.”

     “I’m happy to report that all your documents are in order.”
     DG Maurice also reminded the club that District 9400 will be 10 years old next year and that this milestone will be celebrated at Discon 2020 in Maputo. He urged members to attend Discon 2020 and promised that more details will be made available very soon.

     There were a number of visitors on Wednesday, most notably of course DG Maurice and DGA Chrisna Stander and our AG, Peter James-Smith. Steve du Plessis made an appearance, as did Matthew Dees, husband of our latest member, Stella, who was inducted at the meeting. Needless to say, everyone kept asking him when he’s going to join.

Our AG Peter James-Smith with Frayne Mathijs
     Minehnle Majola, president of our Rotaract club, led a delegation of their members to introduce a new member, Mfundo Sibande, to New Dawn. He’s a Zimbabwean by birth and said he was glad to have found the Rotaract group at UJ, as he already felt at home amongst them.
     Other Rotaracters who attended were Megan Govender, Victoria Adekomaya, Gifty Koufie and Tafadzwa Shava.

DG Maurice and Rotaract President Minenhle welcoming Mfundo Sibande
Stella Dees was our latest member to be inducted into the Club.  A former Long Term Exchange student to Brazil, she is familiar with the workings of Rotary, and with her Events background, will be an asset to the Club.  She is married and was about to turn 30 two  days after her induction - welcome aboard Stella.
Stella Dees being inducted by DG Maurice Stander and President Judy Sligcher
     Arrangements for the Golf Day on Friday 8 November are in full swing. Linda Vink and Julian Nagy visited the Parkview Golf Club last Tuesday and managed to get a number of golfers interested in joining us for the day.
     This included the president of Ladies Golf at the club, who promises that she’d put some effort into providing a number of fourballs.
     Please remember that this is a club effort, so bring some booze for the barrow, bring prizes for the golfers, bring hole sponsorships and most important of all, bring golfers. We want to make this a great success.

     Marks Park has been confirmed as the venue for the annual Festive Dinner on Wednesday, 4 December.
     Our newest member, Stella Dees, is, amongst her many other talents, also an events planner and has agreed to help to create a spectacle such as we’ve never seen before. Invite friends and family to join you so that we can make it a truly memorable occasion.
     There will be a three-course meal with some wine, a cash bar and lots of festivities. The theme will be the feast of Sinterklaas as the Dutch celebrate it, with a lot of help from our honorable President Judy and PDG Jankees Sligcher.

Rotarians in a row - Frank, Ian, Hannes and Karlien
     The roster will be going around soon for Winex at the Sandton Convention Centre from 30 October to 1 November.
     The three important dates for volunteers are the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We stand to earn R445 per completed shift, potentially a welcome sum for the club coffers if we can round up enough volunteers. Shifts on those three days are from 3 - 11 pm, but can be broken up into an early and late shift from  3 - 6 pm and 5.30 - 11 pm.
     If you’re reasonably able bodied (it is hard, backbreaking work) and can make it, let Linda Vink know.

     The Christ Church Christian Care Centre have their Annual General Meeting on Monday, 4 November at the home in Berea. It’s at 6.30 for 7.00 pm and will include a tour of the premises and an opportunity to interact with the children if you so wish. A light supper will be served and there will be reports on the happenings at the 5 Cees this past year in terms of education, welfare, finances, social activities and plans for the future.
     It’s a great opportunity to get to know the inner workings of one of our longest standing projects, so please do plan to attend.
     I’ll make a list closer to the time and let Pastor Mike Sunker know who will be attending.

PDG Jankees Slicher shares a joke with DG Maurice Stander

Thought for the week:  "You can start changing our world for the better daily, no matter how small the action". Nelson Mandela

Monday, 16 September 2019

Come Play and Learn With Us

Bring your children and grandchildren to come and play. That was the message of Play Africa's Cheryl-Lyn Selman and Ann Simmons at the meeting last week when they addressed the club on the groundbreaking work this NGO is doing at Constitution Hill in Braamfontein.
     President Judy Sligcher was recently invited along with Paul Westcott of the Rotary Club of Northcliff to open the brand new sensory water table donated by the Rotary Club of Mercer Island in Seattle, Washington State in the USA.
     She decided it would be a good opportunity to find out more about what Play Africa does.
Cheryl-Lyn Selman
     Cheryl-Lyn told the club about her strong ties with Rotary, having been in an Interact club in Zimbabwe as a schoolgirl.
     Play Africa, she said, was founded by the American journalist Gretchen Wilson-Prangley, who is currently on maternity leave, to create a place for children from all walks of life to play and interact with each other on equal terms.
     The aim is to connect children and their families with other children and their families from all walks of life.
Ann Simmonds
     Gretchen looked at what is available to children in America and decided to try to attempt to provide the same facilities in Johannesburg. Her vision is to change the face of the city by creating spaces and opportunities for children and families to get together.
     Play Africa is more than just a playground in a courtyard at Constitution Hill, Cheryl-Lyn and colleague Ann Simmonds told the club.
     It also encompasses a children's museum and provides curated exhibits on topics such as children's rights, children's courts and others. The aim is to provide a judgment-free zone for children and facilities to promote maths, science, technology and engineering as well as reading and storytelling.
President Judy Sligcher and Rtn Val Hackett swap banners
     We had a welcome visitor to the club in Rotarian Val Hackett of the Rotary Club of Deerfield Beach in Florida, USA. Val is a lifelong friend of Helene Bramwell and was in South Africa for a visit. She took proposals for our club projects back with her to present to her club.
     Val said four clubs in her district are situated in the Bahamas and that the district had already sent a ship with supplies to the storm ravaged islands after hurricane Dorian struck, with another one on its way.
     Another visitor was President-elect Elvis Munatswa of the Rotary Club of Johannesburg North Central who came to pitch their annual Concert in the Garden (formerly Jazz in the Garden) at Muldersdrift on Saturday, 28 September.
     The details are on the flyer above.
Paul with Josefien Sligcher
     A third visitor is becoming something of a regular. Little Josefien Sligcher was as good as gold on a visit with mom Abi and spent most off the meeting playing quietly on Paul Kasango's lap.
     This is not the first time she has visited with Abi and she has also come along with dad Adriaen. A Rotarian in the making, for sure.

     The Rotary Club of Johannesburg has thrown down the gauntlet as they did last year with a Quiz Night, Dinner and Wine Auction. The idea is that New Dawn will take a table and try to win this year, so put on your thinking caps.
District Governor Maurice Stander
     One of the most important dates of the year is coming up with the official visit of District Governor Maurice Stander to the club at the Wednesday morning meeting. DG Maurice will address the club and meet with the club officials afterwards.
     Please also remember to bring lots of wine and other drinks for the Barrow of Booze raffle for the annual Golf Day. The wheelbarrow has been delivered and now needs to be filled to attract potential investors on the streets of Parkview.
     A Thought for the Week: It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action. - HonorĂ© de Balzac (1799 - 1850)

Monday, 9 September 2019

Project Update and the "chicken"

This weeks meeting was all about Projects.  President Judy Sligcher asked for an update on our major projects from all those involved.

Anyone overrunning their allotted time gets the chicken!


Frayne Mathijs gave the Club feedback on the annual Jozi Book Fair, which took place at Museum Afrika in the heart of Johannesburg.  Ably assisted by the Rotaractors, Frayne gave out information on the New Dawn Projects, as well as the Humanitarian Centre. 
Among the visitors was a delegation from Venezuela who enjoyed the sights and sounds.  There were activities for all ages at the fair.

Hon. Rtn. Frayne Mathijs

Treasurer Julian Nagy gave an update on the signature project of the Club - The Link Literacy Project.  With over 600 volunteers at 19 schools (and counting) teaching Maths and Literacy to        learners at Primary Schools, this worthwhile project has made a significant difference to these young people.  A Global Grant in the amount of R450,000 was raised by New Dawn with the support of Rotary International to assist in the opening of eight additional schools and to assist with ongoing project costs.


Our resident Engineer, Dave Marshall gave detailed feedback on the progress of the "Donate-a-Loo" project, as well as the challenges regarding water pressure and ageing plumbing.  A meeting to be held with Rand Water to attempt to address some of these issues.  Helene Bramwell and Bronwyn Tucker are urgently looking for further funding and sites at needy schools.  Planning is in hand to apply for a Global Grant for this project.

Rtn. David marshall explaining difficult engineering concepts with PP Graham Graham Donet lost in translation

This home does valuable work to homeless young children in Hillbrow by providing them with shelter, a stable christian environment and schooling to various schools in Johannesburg.  New Dawn has had an ongoing involvement for a number of years and is currently providing Bursaries covering education, uniforms and study aids assistance to two young learners.

This project, supported by Carl Chemaly, does valuable work with young interns, (there are currently 37 in total), to assist them to study to become teachers assistants through a UNISA programme.  The cost is approximately R100,000 pa per intern, and funding is raised through corporate donors,  New Dawn intends applying for a Global Grant for this worthwhile project.

Rtn Carl Chemaly

This project intends to raise funds to support young people with Bursaries to attend post matric studies with the aim of assisting them with a qualification to apply for work.

The above are the main projects supported by New Dawn, but there are many others, supported both by Club members and the Club itself.  All members are urged to get involved with the projects to provide much needed support as well assiting to raise funds.

Our youngest member, Josefien Sligcher in the safe hands of Dad, Adriaen


A reportback on the progress of the Golf Day with appeals for prizes and bottles for the "Barrel of Booze" were made.

Adriaen Sligcher proposed a fundraising opportunity with the upcoming Rugby World Cup in the the form of a "Superbru" competition with funds raised going to New Dawn.  R200 an entry. PLEASE remember to use your name, surname and SB as reference for your deposit.


This weekend saw 5 young learners attending the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Camp (RYLA).  The learners are from our Interact Clubs at the National School of the Arts, Dominican Convent and McAuley House.

PLEASE NOTE that we will be voting on amendments to our Constitution on Wednesday to bring us into line with SARS requirements for our PBO status.  Please make an effort to attend as we need a quorum to make it legal. 

We also have a speaker from "Play Africa".

So, we look forward to another "packed" meeting!

Our newest member (to be), Stella Dees, made an impassioned plea regarding the spate of violence against women in our country

A hearty New Dawn welcome to visiting Professor Rukundzo Murapa, shown here with Mike Macdonald and PP Linda Vink
Thought for the week: "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it:"  Simon Sinek

Monday, 2 September 2019

Spring is Sprung

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz
I wonder where the boidie is
They say the boidie's on the wing.
But that's absoid. The wing is on the boid.
      This bit of (almost rhyming) poetic doggerel is not by the American humorist and poet Ogden Nash, says one blogger, it's by that most prolific of all poets - Anonymous.
     Any way you look at it, the spring flowers are in bloom in Johannesburg and the birds are out in full force for an early spring.
     To celebrate Julian and Debbie Nagy hosted the club to a Spring Day party which is fast becoming an annual affair.
     The photographs, thanks to Jenine Coetzer, tell their own story.
Hats off to these two spring chickens for their creative hats. Steve du Plessis and Jankees Sligcher share a laugh
Christiaan and Debbie de Vries with Linda Vink and Judy Sligcher, all in hats
Hannes Dressler's daughter Liza and Zena Kimaro's son Amani had a whale of a time, despite obvious language restrictions
Zena Kimaro, Graham and Joan Donet, Robyn Widdop and the photographer, for once in front of the lens, Jenine Coetzer
Zena joins in as Felicity and Paul Kasango pose with Amani
Joan Donet with Carolina Reddy
Graham Donet and Hannes Dressler, who did most of the work at the braai
David Marshall and Ian Widdop, proving that
 a beanie can also be a hat
Liza and Hannes befriend the dog
Steve with Katya and Hannes Dressler
Joan and Graham Donet letting their hair down
Hannah Bartlett and Frayne Mathijs enjoying the spring afternoon
     The work carries on and hats off to Frayne Mathijs for almost single-handedly manning  the New Dawn stall at the Jozi Book Fair, which was held in Museum Africa in Newtown from last Thursday to Sunday this year.
     Frayne tells visitors to the stall all about Rotary, all about New Dawn and perhaps more importantly about the books available from the Humanitarian Distribution Centre.
Frayne with three school pupils who visited the stall last Thursday
     The Jozi Book Fair was a somewhat diminished affair compared with previous years, but nevertheless attracted a significant number of visitors.
     As a club we shouldn't let any opportunity to promote books and reading go by.
Paul Westcott and Judy Sligcher join in the fun at Play Africa
     President Judy Sligcher was at Constitution Hill last week after the meeting with Jankees and Paul Westcott of the Rotary Club of Northcliff where Play Africa opened a sensory water table, donated by the Rotary Club of Lake Mercer in Canada.
     Play Africa is an NGO based at Constitution Hill that creates hands-on exhibits and programmes for children, families and schools to help children to look to the future.
Judy and Jankees Sligcher and Linda and I were at Kamers
     Last week also saw the start of the arts and craft show Kamers at St. John's College in Houghton. The starlight market last Tuesday was in aid of the Realema teacher intern project, which initially started at St. John's. Carl Chemaly, champion of the project at the club, also attended.
     Suffice to say some of us did a fair amount of shopping and others didn't.
     Board members are reminded that there is a board meeting tomorrow morning at 7am at the Sligcher home at 9 Sutherland Ave, Craighall Park.
     A Business meeting will follow on Wednesday morning, continuing the discussions started at the meeting last week.
     Barrow of Booze: The barrow of booze for the Golf Day (Friday 8 November) is still looking very empty, so please remember to bring a boot full of surplus bottles of this and that to the meeting. Raffle ticket sales will have to begin fairly soon and for that we need the barrow full to overflowing.
     A Thought for the Week: Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy. - F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940)

Monday, 26 August 2019

Wilkommen! Two New Members Inducted

A shattered wine glass, given a hefty whack! with a spoon by Dr Nobs Mwanda Motjuwadi of Copessa, introduced her talk about her work with abused and neglected children at the meeting last week.
     If anybody hadn't been paying attention before that, the certainly were afterwards.
     Children get scarred for life by abuse and she likened many of them to shattered souls.
Dr Nobs with the shattered glass
     "We try to piece the soul together, but it is impossible because of all the tiny fragments."
     "It's a better science to try to keep the children out of the way of harm," she said.
     She's a medical practitioner who qualified at Wits in 1988 and is now CEO of Copessa, which was founded 15 years ago in the wake of an incident of infant rape in Alexandra.
     With the help of the singer Sibongile Khumalo, Codessa was established as an NGO to create play parks in areas where children could spend time outdoors in safety.
The shattered glass symbolising the shattered soul of a child
      They have also subsequently established an "adult" park with an outdoor gym where small children can interact with older children and adults. There they offer counselling, medical assessments, psychiatric help and job creation in the form of sewing, knitting and beading.
     She said that vandalism had become a major problem and that people in the communities where the parks are situated, no longer want to be held responsible for the upkeep.
     This has led to a new approach where Copessa tries to go into partnership with communities to help them create their own amenities, an approach that ties in well with the Rotary philosophy of sustainable help.
IPP Linda Vink, Hannes Dressler, Helene Bramwell, Adele Dabbs and President Judy Sligcher after the induction
     The meeting took on a festive air with the induction of two new members, Hannes Dressler and Adele Dabbs.
     Hannes, a German national, joins New Dawn from Moscow, where he was CFO of the IT consultant firm SAP. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Moscow for three years before moving to South Africa with his Russian wife Katya and their daughter Liza, to take up a similar position at SAP for Africa.
     Adele is a businesswoman with her own company which finances businesses in the service industry.
Karlien Kruger with two pupils helped by The Link
     The Rotary work never stops and The Link Trust, our signature project, reports that they're gearing up to open two new centres next year on the strength of the global grant that we managed to secure from the Rotary Foundation.
     The remarkable thing about the proposed new centres is that both schools approached The Link to set up centres there, while the process normally works the other way round. It is an indication that word of mouth is working.
     Members who volunteer for The Link (the latest being Karlien Kruger on the numeracy side) report that they get great satisfaction from the work they do.
The poster for Kamers 2019
     Members can also help on the charity front by attending Kamers for their moonlight market tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at St. Johns College in Houghton. This is a champagne preview (from 4 - 10 pm) of the market that runs until 1 September, or Spring Day. Proceeds for the evening go to the Realema Project championed by Carl Chemaly, whereby promising pupils are sponsored to become fully fledged teachers.

The invitation to the Nagy Spring Day
     Don't forget to bring, in no particular order, yourself, partner, family and/or friends, a bite to eat, a bottle to drink and most important, a hat to 9 Roxburghe Ave, Craighall Park on Saturday.
     Hats off to the Nagys for organising this get-together.
     Please don't forget to let Julian know if you're attending, for catering purposes.
     The suburb of Parkview comes alive on Heritage Day, Tuesday 24 September with ParkWords, a local literary festival organised by the Parkview Residents' Association.
     The Mask is one of the sponsors and Helene Bramwell wants to set up a Rotary stall to let people know about the clubs' presence in the area and who knows, try to recruit a few new members.
     This will be invaluable exposure for New Dawn, so do try to help her there in any way you can.
     There is a truly exciting programme with a large number of well-known authors and Helene or Joan Donet will be able to help with the details or forward a programme.
     You can also find the details at
     More Dates to Diarise: The Golf Day is fast approaching (Friday 8 November) so please remember to bring your contributions to the Barrow of Booze and for prizes to the meeting.
     Mike MacDonald, who is organising the Golf Day with Greg Smith, has challenged each member to supply names o contact details for one four ball so that we can have a record field this year.
     A month later (Wednesday 4 December) is the date we've set aside for the annual Christmas dinner.
     A Thought for the Week: The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing. - Marcus Aurelius (121 - 180 AD)