Saturday, 30 May 2020

Million Bucks Projects

Busy weeks are what New Dawn feeds on it seems, whether we meet in person at the Parkview Golf Club (remember those days) or whether we meet, as has become the norm, on Zoom.
     The meeting this week started with a presentation by the Rotary Long-Term Exchange student Masego (MoMo) Matiko. Her parents, Nono and Jabu, also listened in and were rightfully proud of their daughter.
Momo on stage in Thailand speaking about the virus
     Momo matriculated from the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein last year and then went on exchange to Thailand at the beginning of the year on 8 January, so she's over halfway through her stay.
     She lost her grandmother, to whom she was very close, in February and had to make the tough decision to stay on in Thailand rather than returning home.
Some of her host families welcoming her to Thailand
     No sooner had that happened than the lockdowns began both in Thailand and in South Africa, with immediate border closures and all international flights cancelled.
     Momo says she's very happy that she decided to stay in Thailand for the duration and reckons the lockdown enhanced her experience of that country, its people and its culture.
     She's especially loving the food and the people she gets to share it with.
Some of her new schoolmates in another photo from her presentation
     Her parents live in Bramley, but Jabu said he regularly visits his parents and grandparents in Alexandra and the good news is that the exchange programme has got him interested in Rotary. Who knows, we could be inducting another new member soon.
President Judy Sligcher applauding the global emergency grant
     After the presentation President Judy Sligcher announced that the Global Emergency Grant of $25000 (well over R430 000) had been granted this past week for the inter-club taxi sanitisation project, Hlanza Izandla (Wash Your Hands) in which New Dawn is playing a big part, along with other D9400 clubs.
     With the original R500 000 donation from Standard Bank, plus further staff contributions matched by Standard Bank, this project has already netted almost R1 million and is being rolled out to other parts of the country.
A screen shot of the meeting. Paul Channon is in the third row, third from left, in the centre of things as he often is
     Another million rand success story is that of the Alexander Education Committee which, according to its chairman, Paul Channon, has already raised about R1,2 million to feed scholarship students and their families during the lockdown.
     About R150 000 of this has come from New Dawn, a truly stellar performance by the club.
     President Judy Sligcher announced that the meeting on 10 June will take place at 6pm rather than the usual 7am so that donors from overseas can take part and also so that the club can thank them publicly.
     She also told the club that the board had decided at a special meeting to divide the 100 blankets from the club, the proceeds from the Quiz Night, to four different charities.
     In no particular order the Christ Church Christian Care Centre, Woodside Sanctuary, the recipients of the Pieter Roos Park feeding scheme and the Rena Le Lona (We Are With You) Creative Centre for Children in Diepkloof, Soweto will get 25 blankets each.
Kids perform at the Rena Le Lona Centre in Diepkloof, Soweto
     Rena Le Lona was a project of the Rotary Club of Soweto, which has since disbanded. Their Community Corps has carried on the good work.
     It is good to remember that New Dawn made a pledge to the incumbent District Governor, Maurice Stander, to try to re-establish Rotary in the sprawling township.
     This is a great opportunity to do just that.
     The centre provides support for about 150 children who used to get a cooked meal every day. Because of the coronavirus this is no longer possible.
     The centre has appealed for donations of food and donations or sponsorships to help them get food to the children.
     Judy and Jankees Sligcher have said that any such donations can be dropped off at their home and they will see to it that it is delivered to the centre.
     The list includes:
     Cooking oil, maize meal, rice, samp, baked beans, Lucky Star Fish in Tomato, soup, onions, carrots, potatoes, sugar, cabbage, tea bags, milk, juice, chicken braai packs, salt, mayonnaise, tissues, sunlight bar soaps/washing powder, masks & sanitiser, Vaseline (kids), toothpaste and Dettol/Savlon.
     A Thought for the Week: Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 4 BC – 65 AD)

Monday, 25 May 2020

Media Insights From an Expert

The life of a foreign correspondent is not always an easy one, as Christoph Plate told the meeting last week.
     My own spell in London as a foreign correspondent in the mid-90s didn't involve any wars, conflict areas, being shot at or any other hazardous situations (being shouted at by Princess Diana's bodyguards hardly compares), but Christoph certainly had a very different experience.
     He told the club that he studied political science and African studies at university in Germany before becoming a journalist.
     He experienced at first hand the horrors of the Rwanda genocide in 1994 ("a happy year for South Africa but not for Rwanda") when more than 800 000 people were killed in 100 days between April and June for ethnic reasons.
     "The death and suffering was unspeakable," he said.
     He was also a war correspondent in Somalia and in the Middle East in Iraq, Syria, Israel, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Christoph Plate
     The quality of journalism, especially print journalism, has deteriorated since 1994, partly because certain business people believe they can own media outlets to further their own aims, he said, predicting that the media business model will eventually change to one where outlets will be funded by donors.
     He was approached by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung to serve as director of their media programme for sub-Saharan Africa in 2017, a post he has filled since.
     He was a member of the Rotary Club of Lindau-Westallgäu in Southern Germany and has been looking for a home in Rotary in South Africa since arriving here. He has found it in New Dawn.
     Christoph says as an outsider he experiences less togetherness amongst South Africans than he did in the heady days of 1994.
Peter James-Smith, our AG, was a welcome visitor to the Zoom meeting
     Christoph is married to Sylvia, a Scottish Kenyan. They have two children a son, Phillip (15) and a daughter Leila (7). Both are at the Deutsche Internationale Schule in Parktown. We'll no doubt be able to get to know them a bit better once the lockdown allows for more social interaction.
     Christoph's talk was very enthusiastically received by club members and quite a few said they'd love to hear him speak again to tell some more about his adventures in Africa.
     His membership has also meant that New Dawn could pay a further R30000 to the Alexandra Education Committee for their feeding scheme for scholarship learners in the Alexandra township this week.
     This means that New Dawn has already contributed R123000 as part of the club's Sondla Abantwana project, with the promise of more to come.
     The speaker this week is Masego (Momo) Matiko of the National School of the Arts, a Rotary long-term exchange student in southern Thailand in the province of Songkia, in the Mueang district.
     Momo spoke very eloquently when we last saw her at the inauguration of the National School of the Arts Interact club late last year with Joan Sainsbury, who mentors her.
     She says she's looking forward to the Zoom meeting on Wednesday (at 7am sharp).
     She's been in Thailand for 5 months already and is only scheduled to return on 9 December. That's is the lockdown allows it, of course.
     A Thought for the Week: Some people are always grumbling that roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses. - Alphonse Karr (1808 - 1890)

Monday, 18 May 2020

Knowing the Answers

The lockdown quiz last Friday was a fun occasion for a fairly large group of New Dawners, family and friends. There were seven teams, each with a maximum of 6 members, although some teams had fewer.
     The Big Six (that's Ian Widdop, Karlien Kruger, Joan and Graham Donet and Linda and me) won hands down, with a score of 25.5 out of a possible 30. Not bad going for a bunch of oldies.
Participants in the quiz on Friday evening with quiz master De Waal Hattingh on the second row right   
     In second place was the Covid Crew with Nic and Carol Stier, David Marshall, Lucille Blumberg, Naomi Esterhuyse and John Frean. They came in a single point behind The Big Six.     Other teams had creative names such as Splendid Isolation, the Oscillating Otters (Sam and Rob Deverneuils' team, who came third), The Sly Sligchers (who weren't quite sly enough and came in 5th), The Quentin Quarantinos (who should've won a prize for the most imaginative name) and the Quizzy Quizzers.
Phillip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great
An artists' impression of the gunfight at O.K. Corral in Tombstone
Temba Bavuma, the first black South African to hit a test century
     The questions weren't all that easy, but if you know that Alexander the Great was the son of Phillip II of Macedon, the the gunfight at O.K. Corral took place in Tombstone and that Temba Bavuma was the first black South African to score a test century, well then, your team could have won.
    It was great fun, with about 30 participants and we raised close on to R7000 for the blanket drive to supply blankets for the cold winter months ahead.
     There were three groups of 10 questions each after which teams could discuss their answers (mostly by WhatsApp if they weren't together) and then send in one set of answers to the Quiz Master, De Waal Hattingh.
Just what the doctor ordered ... Dr Hekkies Laubscher talking about his experiences as a Rotary exchange student
     Amidst all the coronavirus fears and uncertainties it was good to be reminded of other spheres where Rotary plays an important role in the lives of countless of thousands of people all over the world.
     One such example is Dr Hekkies Laubscher, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Centre for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics in Rosebank and also a Rotary Exchange student before he started his medical studies. He was the speaker at the meeting last week in keeping with the Rotary theme for May dedicated to Youth Services.
     Heckroodt (it's a family name, he told the club, that he's also passed on to one of his sons) spent his year in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with four families, with whom he and his parents have kept close contact.
     He says he now understands that the year was a sort of "structured gap year". The year taught him to be independent at the age of 18 and helped him develop emotional intelligence. It also taught him how to be in contact with many people and to interact with many people.
     During the year there he spoke to many Rotary clubs in the area about South Africa.
     He hopes to be able to take his sons to the USA for the 30th anniversary of his stay in 2022.
     Long term exchanges such as this one require a measure of financial commitment from the club and involvement in placing children with suitable families, but is an aspect of Rotary that is widely known because it invariably involves people outside of the Rotary world.
A St. Catherines sign in Ontario, taken from their Facebook page, which also tells of the cancellation of their annual Ribfest in August, which normally nets up to CAD100 000
     In keeping with the youth theme President-elect Ian Widdop (a patient of Dr Laubscher, as was Joan Donet) reported that he had made contact with Candice Harris of Forest Town and through her with a Rotarian in Canada, Richard Evans.
     Candice is a former long term Rotary exchange student who is now running a feeding scheme for homeless people in Forest Town and the Pieter Roos Park near Empire Road. Rick Evans was her mentor in Rotary (he's mentored some 25 students over 40 years).
     The long and short of it is that the Rotary Club of St Catherines in Ontario, Canada, is now keen to become involved in an application for a global grant for the Meriting project with New Dawn.

The story of the chicken and eggs started off a little murky, but had a wonderfully positive outcome.
     The chickens have to do with Jankees Sligcher, of course. The eggs with feeding schemes.
     It all began when Carin Holmes asked Jankees if he could guide the Salvation Army towards a contact where they could buy eggs at a discount price.
     Jankees racked his brain, went through his list of contacts and came up with a name of someone who knew someone. The second someone didn't know Jankees at all and in any case had already retired, but knew of someone who could possibly help.
     This guy had also retired but gave Carin the number of his son, who'd taken over their business.
     It was the son who eventually came to the party and decided to not only donate the 2000 eggs required, but to do so on a regular basis.
     It then turned out that Jankees actually does know the retired farmer from way back. The son doesn't want publicity for his humanitarian act for fear of getting more such requests that he cannot meet, but Carin says the eggs have been very welcome.
     The eggs are used to feed about 800 homeless people in three different camps in Pretoria. They get two meals every day from the Salvation Army.
     "We use them in sarmies, boiled, scrambled, in whatever form they can be used and are very grateful for the donation," she said.
     That's yet another way in which Rotary New Dawn people are helping during the coronavirus crisis.
A face mask, prison style
     Another is Joan Sainsbury's project with face masks at the Leeuwkop Prison outside Johannesburg.
     Joan reported on the WhatsApp group that 12 tailors at Leeuwkop Maximum are hard at work making 8000 masks for the inmates. She says the task is so big that the tailors are allowed to take their sewing machines with them to their cell in the evening to carry on stitching the masks.
Christoph Plate
     The meeting this week will again take place at 7am. The speaker is one of our new members, Christoph Plate of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.
     Christoph, director of the media programme for sub-Saharan Africa for the KAS, will be talking about his work at the foundation and more about his experiences with Rotary apart from telling us a little more about himself so we can get to know him better.
     A Thought for the Next Lockdown Week: But man, proud man, / Drest in a little brief authority, / Most ignorant of what he's most assured, / His glassy essence, like an angry ape, / Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven / As make the angels weep. - William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Friday, 8 May 2020

Taking Care of Children

At home (where else!) we've been dealing with banks and state departments seeking help mostly for our staff and some relief for ourselves (mainly to enable us so to help our staff), and I can report that at the moment (some of) the banks win hands down for sheer uselessness and pulling-out-your hair-in-frustration dithering.
     Hats off then to projects that came across New Dawn's path in recent weeks and in the main seem to be running very successfully.
No, it's not a car boot sale, it's members of the AEC with donated food parcels
     Kudos go especially to the Alexandra Education Committee and their efforts to help their students.
     To recap: The AEC helps children in Alexandra with bursaries to get them through school (this includes primary and high school) and give them a chance to become useful, contributing citizens in a world where the odds are stacked against them.
The streets of Alexandra, a mass off seething humanity at the best of times
     Alexandra is a township that attracts worldwide attention, housing some 700 000 people, most of them living in poverty, just across the motorway from the Sandton CBD, probably the richest square mile on the continent of Africa. The suburb of Sandton (Sandown and Bryanston) has a population estimated at 220 000, of whom 7% are millionaires.
     One of our recent recruits to the club, Paul Channon, retired headmaster of The Ridge School in Westcliffe in Johannesburg and well-known in charity circles, chairs the AEC and has proved to be a very hands-on member.
     When the lockdown started, the AEC soon realised that many of the students they deal with, were going hungry and they started organising help. A few steps later they worked out that the easiest would be to provide financial help to the households where the kids were in lockdown and it was more or less at this stage that New Dawn became involved. The kids have to, of course, provide proof that they used the money to buy groceries and other essentials.
Packing food parcels for the families in Alexandra
     We have Frank Odenthal to thank for first raising the idea at New Dawn and then urging action, along with others.
     This led to a collection amongst club members (and associates and friends) under the banner of Sondla Abantwana (Taking Care of Children) which has so far raised R65000 that we could pay over to the AEC. There'll be another payment of R15000 today thanks to a donation of R11400 from Nick Bell's club, the Rotary Club of Holt and District in England. The promised R25000 from the Rotary Club of  Linda Westallgäu in Southern Germany, arranged by Nikolaus Turner and Christoph Plate, should be in by next week, increasing the New Dawn total to more than R105000. Not bad!
     Paul says the AEC has raised about R725000 in total thus far, making our contribution more than 10%, no mean feat.
     This covers 9-10 weeks, including the last two weeks of April, the whole of May and the beginning of June.
Rotary New Dawn in Action in Alexandra 
     Paul says they're now paying 153 families R500 a week each and are looking for even more donations as the lockdown drags on. And boy, is it dragging on!
Daniel Ledwaba of the AEC (standing with a mask on) overseeing the food parcels
     Here are a few acknowledgments that Paul and Daniel Ledwaba, who looks after the grade 7 program comprising 174 kids on behalf of the AEC (Paul looks after the high school children), have received over the past few weeks:

Dear Mr Channon
I would like to thank you and the AEC family for everything you have done for us I mean the masks, food parcels and providing us with data. I know few words won't really show how me and my family appreciate the work of you and your team. Thanks a million for everything you have done.

Dear Mr Ledwaba
Thank you to the AEC for the food support money you have sent us. You will never know how much this was needed - this is a great help. We appreciate you help with this and the learning. God bless you and your team. Mbuso Msimang's Mother

Mr Ledwaba
Thank you, and the AEC at large. You are really taking care of our children. Just received another amount of R500. Thank you very much. May God increase the AEC capacity at large.

     Paul told the meeting last week that the AEC had also now received over R200000 in food parcels which they have been distributing to the needy families. They also help the kids with data so that they can study and take part in online learning classes.
Santaco officials with sanitiser sprayers for taxi ranks in and around Johannesburg and Pretoria
     Another project that is going along nicely is the Hlanza Izandla (Wash Your Hands) inter-club effort to aid with sanitising and sanitiser efforts in taxis and taxi ranks.
     The first deliveries of Rotary branded sanitising bottles and sanitisers to help keep taxis and taxi ranks spotless and virus free, were delivered to the taxi organisation Santaco a few weeks ago and have been finding its way to taxi ranks to great accolades from those tasked with handing it out.
A sprayer in action
     Standard Bank has already donated R500000 towards this project and will probably be approached for further donations once the current supplies have run out. Staff at the bank have contributed a further more than R5000, matched rand for rand by the bank.
Sanitiser by the barrel
     A Date to Diarise: Friday, 15 May at 6.45 pm. Adriaen Sligcher suggested, and with Carol Stier and Sam Deverneuil is following up on a Zoom Quiz Night with participants paying a donation to match their wits in teams of two against other teams. Details to follow soon. And remember, it's Rotary folks, so Google is not allowed!
     Birthdays in May: Today: Ava Fenn (3), Graham and Joan Donet's second grandchild. Tomorrow: Sam Deverneuil (36), their eldest daughter, and Karlien Kruger (60). Sunday: Ex-member John Vink (35). 22 May: Graham Donet (66) and 31 May: Christoff Plate (59).
     If I've left you out, my apologies, but let Joan Donet or me know your date of birth.

     Brag for the Blog: I didn't have to use a single screen-grab photograph for this week. I'll use the opportunity to ask members to please send me photographs to use, especially if they are of Rotarians In Action.
     For the blog next week there should be photographs of either chickens or eggs (we don't know which came first) as we'll be telling the story of the donation of 2000 eggs a week that Jankees Sligcher organised for the Salvation Army, following a request from Carin Holmes.
     A Thought for Yet Another Lockdown Week: If you destroy a free market you create a black market. If you make ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law. - Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)

Friday, 24 April 2020

New Dawn in a Changing World

Meetings on Zoom are becoming old hat and there is already talk of having at least some meetings online once the coronavirus crisis has finally passed.
     The advantage would be that meetings could become more inclusive and even international as it has been these past two weeks when first Nikolaus Turner of Germany sat in for Christoff Plate's induction and then Dirk Otto joined us last week from Barcelona in Spain.
     We can be sure that post lockdown the world isn't going to be the same anymore.
Rudi Swanepoel speaking on the coronavirus crisis
     Will our behaviour be the same? That's one of the questions raised by an additional visitor on Wednesday, Rudi Swanepoel, our first online speaker. Rudi said afterwards it had been a bit strange addressing a screen full of strangers, but most of those present would agree that he did a very good job of it.
     He chose as his theme a discussion of how things could change post lockdown and said there are a number of possibilities, starting with: nothing will change, and things will just go back to where they were.
     The fact is that this crisis marks the end of many certainties and their illusions. It is the end of the world where we think we are the centre of the universe.
     The virus has brought a new awareness of peoples' living conditions all over the world, of the inequalities that exist in the world.
A screen shot of the meeting, at one stage attended by 28 people
     There is a growing awareness that things cannot remain the same, he said, but is there change? Are we seizing the opportunities that are being presented?
     He told the meeting that he did not grow up with the notion that we are all part of one human family.
     But, he said, we can only grow as human beings if there is growth in our actions, in the way we do things, and growth in how we act and do things differently once the lockdown is over.
     The danger is to romanticise what is happening. We can't build a sustainable society on that.
     The message was clear: if we want to build a better world, we can't just carry on doing things the same was as we have always done.
Paul Channon talking about the Alexandra Education Committee operation
     Following on from that, Paul Channon told the club that the Alexandra Education Committee had already spent all the money that New Dawn donated last week on feeding some of the 350 schoolchildren in the township that are part of their bursary scheme.
     The club gave R35000 last week and managed to give another R15000 this week, largely because of a donation of R10000 from Dirk Otto in Barcelona and R1500 from David and Genevieve Jamieson in London. Gen is Jankees and Judy Sligchers' daughter.
Dirk Otto speaking all the way from Barcelona in Spain
Dirk accepting a banner in 2016 and (bottom) from Graham Donet in 2014

    Dirk, a German by birth, is married to a South African and has been a visitor to the club in the past. He thought of us while discussing the lockdown with family in South Africa and decided to contact us again to see where he could help.
     Dirk last visited New Dawn in August 2016 when I was president and before that in 2014 when he lived and worked in Chile in South America.
     Ian Widdop told the meeting that Audrey Gatawa had handed over the reins of the sanitisation project to Sharon Fitzgerald of Benoni Aurora Club.  Their committee is spending the R500000 donated by Standard Bank and an extra R11000 donated by bank staff to sanitise taxis, taxi ranks and hand over hand sanitisers to commuters.
     Audrey and Ian reported that the committee, made up of members from a number of Johannesburg clubs, has approached the bank for further donations.
     Audrey reported that Standard Bank, her employer, has assigned her to another, even bigger project that has been taking up much of her time, so she has stepped down.
     Remember: The next meeting next Wednesday falls on a fifth Wednesday so will be held at 6pm, rather than in the morning.  Our very own expert, Prof Lucille Blumberg, will be giving us an update on the coronavirus. To make it a bit more festive, wear a hat!
     A Thought for the Week: Conscience is a dog that does not stop us from passing but that we cannot prevent from barking. - Nicolas de Chamfort (1741 - 1794)

Friday, 17 April 2020

'Sondla Abantwana' Fund Kicks Off

After a special board meeting on Tuesday and the normal Wednesday meeting (the new normal is Zoom!) the Rotary Club of Johannesburg New Dawn swung into action to create a new fund with which we could help Paul Channon and his Alexandra Education Committee with feeding needy schoolchildren in Alexandra township in Sandton.
     Alex is a volatile community and the needs in this township, next to the Sandton CBD, the richest area in the country, are great.
A screen grab from the AEC home page (
      The board decided that by supporting the AEC we would be able to help where the need is greatest in a speedy and orderly manner.
     Because the township is in such need, the AEC has arranged a scheme whereby they transfer money by EFT into identified pupils' bank accounts who can then purchase food for themselves and their families or carers and supply receipts as proof of their purchases.
     When the club met on Wednesday Paul spoke of about 70 pupils who could be helped in this way. He says many more have joined the ranks since then, a reflection of the great need for support in these trying lockdown times.
Jankees, Judy, Adriaen and Abby Sligcher donated
 R10000 through their company, Pas Reform
Carol Stier also gave R10000
     Three members of the club, the Sligcher family (they're actually four members!), Carol Stier and Hannes Dressler each gave R10000 to the new fund. There have also been numerous other contributions, mostly by club members, totalling another more than R5000.
     This has enabled the club to pay over R35000 within only three days from when the initial decision was made. It will hopefully be the first of many payments to the ARC to help them do their work.
     An appeal will now go to overseas clubs and contacts to also help.
A screen shot of the meeting on Wednesday
     In order to help this process along, the club decided that the fund must, in branding and intention, be intimately linked to Rotary New Dawn.
     To facilitate this, our fund will go under the name of the Rotary New Dawn Sondla Abantwana (Taking Care of Children) Project, or just Sondla Abantwana. This slogan in Zulu captures the essence of the project and hopefully New Dawn's involvement.
     It is the work of PP Graham Donet, who double checked with PP Paul Kasango.
Our latest recruit ... Christoff Plate of the Konra Adenauer
 Stiftung was inducted online
Christoff invited Nikolaus Turner to the meeting, here holding up a
banner from his German club
     In another first for the club, President Judy Sligcher inducted two new members, Sarah de La Pasture and Christoff Plate, on Wednesday. Welcome to you both!
     Christoff is Head of the Media Programme of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung based in Johannesburg and was introduced to the club by fellow journalist Amina Frense. His wife, Sylvia, is also a journalist.
     He is transferring from the Rotary Club of Lindau Westallgäu in Southern Germany and he and Jankees invited fellow club member Nikolaus Turner to join the meeting.
     This was very fortuitous, as Nikolaus, who expressed the hope that Christoff would rejoin their club once he returns to Germany, could listen in on and eventually take part in the discussion around the Sondla Abantwana project.
     He has promised to take the discussion and decisions made, further with their club and district in Germany.
Sarah de La Pasture at the last meeting at the Parkview Golf Club
 before the lockdown started
     Karlien Kruger introduced Sarah to the club following business collaboration between them. Sarah has been a visitor for a number of weeks and is already making a mark.
     During her recent fireside chat Sarah told the panel that she lives in Parktown and has two sons and a daughter. Her eldest, Charlie, works as a hedge fund manager in Johannesburg. Her middle son, Louis, has a Masters specialising in water desalination and her daughter, Georgia, who went to school at Roedean in Johannesburg, is studying for a Masters in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Bristol.
     Sarah is a registered Morrisby Profile practitioner, an HR tool to assess mental functions.
Rudi and his wife, Carina
     The speaker next week is Rudi Swanepoel of the NG Kerk Andrew Murray in Orchards, an English church within the NG family.
     Rudi has chosen as a broad theme Corona: Crisis and Opportunity for his talk.
     This will be a milestone for New Dawn, as it will be the first time we have a speaker for an online meeting.
A recent poem on Rudi's Facebook page
     Apart from his spiritual life Rudi is also an author, poet, blogger, jogger, foodie, philosopher and according to his Facebook profile makes a mean lasagne and bakes sourdough (and many other kinds of) bread the old-fashioned way.
     A Thought for the Week: There are those that give with joy and that joy is their reward.  - Khalil Gibran (1883 - 1931)

Friday, 10 April 2020

Easter in Lockdown

Another two weeks of lockdown as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday is a bit of a blow to the solar plexus, but in true South African fashion, we'll knuckle down and, in the words of the president, we shall overcome!
     The Easter weekend will be a good time for reflection, although for most people it'll probably slip by largely unnoticed now that we're all so isolated.
All smiles at the meeting on Wednesday. It was a very good turnout
     Rotary's work goes on and interventions are even more critical now than ever before given the hardship suffered by so many people living in enforced lockdown.
     The taxi rank project spearheaded in our club by Audrey Gatawa, Ian Widdop and Jankees Sligcher, has already paid out more than R100000 on hand sanitisers and sanitising spray bottles and Standard Bank employees and their company have donated an extra R11000, over and above the R500000 that the bank donated to this multi-club effort.
Eckard Steyn of the Rotary Club of Sandton Satellite handing
 over the first consignment of sanitisers to Thabiso Molelekwa,
 head of communications of Santaco
     The first consignment of sanitisers was delivered to the SA National Taxi Organisation last Friday by the inter-club task team and orders for the delivery of sanitising liquid and more bottles have been placed for speedy delivery to taxi ranks, initially in Gauteng, but later to all parts of the country.
The sanitiser bottles, branded with the Rotary logo, are being handed over to taxi
 passengers, drivers and others
     As far as New Dawn is concerned, hats off to Frank Odenthal who first said we should consider ways to make a direct contribution to the fight against the Covid-19 virus.
     This was discussed at length last week and the decision in the end is to create a separate fund within the club so that our current projects aren't compromised seeing that fundraising in the normal way (bridge drive, etc) is not possible at the moment.
    President Judy Sligcher and president-elect Ian Widdop will consider all proposals for feeding schemes put forward by members and choose one that we can support. Judy has asked that any such proposals be put in writing and and submitted by Monday so that we can come to a decision sooner rather than later. The need is great.
     Donations to this effort can be made to the normal club account, but please remember to reference the donation with your name and Covid-19 so that we can keep a tally of money that is specific to this purpose.
Paul Kasango with the first 30 face masks from Carol Stier
     A word of thanks to our champion seamstress, Carol Stier, for making 30 face masks, the first of two consignments for Woodside Sanctuary. They're colourful and functional all at the same time and could become a more permanent fashion accessory if things carry on like this.
     Upcoming Meetings: At the meeting next week we'll be inducting Christoff Plate of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Sarah de La Pasture. These will be our first online inductions ever,
     Christoff is inviting members of his German club to join our Zoom meeting.
     Rev. Rudi Swanepoel will be the speaker on 22 April, which will mark the first time we've ever had an online speaker. Rudi is an inspirational man and is still deciding on an uplifting theme in these dark times.
     He's from the NG Church Andrew Murray in Johannesburg. We met him when he married our Rudi and Peet Kruger in 2017 in Plettenberg Bay.
     In the meantime, stay safe!
     A Thought for the Week: He who does not risk will never drink champagne. - Russian proverb