Monday, 24 February 2020

New Dawn on a high note!


New Dawn is always up for a challenge!  Especially when our President Elect, Ian Widdop sets us one a little out of our reach.

As you all know, Ian is a keen singer, and it has long been a dream of his to involve the Club in one of his musical ventures  With the help of this weeks Guest Speaker, Sue Cock, (wife of the well known conductor and radio presenter, Richard Cock) he has set New Dawn the task of putting together a "Concert from scratch" performance of Faure's Requiem on 23 May at St Martins in the Field Church, starting at 4.30pm.

This will be a fundraiser for the Club, with participants and audience paying for the privilege of performing this magnificent work. Furthermore, it will be presented with a live orchestra of 20 musicians, which we will pay for by donations and fund raising.
Sue made the point that everybody can sing by getting the Club members to get into the act at the meeting!

Carol Stier, Karlien Kruger and Joan Sainsbury will be assisting with the marketing/fundraiding for the event, and the Finance/Admin team will organise the payments and collection of monies. So, start warming those vocal chords!

Sue Cock in action!

Julian Nagy gave an update on the Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) status.  The PBO is different to the NPO status (which we already have).  A NPO status gives sponsors and donors a sense of comfort in that they are dealing with an organisation with an Object and a Purpose for acting for the Public Good, whilst a PBO is to do with SARS and ensuring that the first R200 thousand of nett income is exempt from tax.  Additionally we have a Section 18a status and can issue a tax certificate to donors and sponsors.  (There are a number of rules to this, so please check with Julian).  Kudos to Julian for his persistent effort in obtaining our registration.


It is always very special when we induct new members, and todays induction was no different. A hearty New Dawn welcome to Joan Sainsbury and Audrey Gatawa, who were inducted this week. Please welcome them both with open arms to our Club membership!

Audrey and Joan, suitably inducted by President Judy!


A special New Dawn welcome also to our guests, Nick Bell, Sarah de Lapasture, Kasthurie Singh and Chibesa Chitangala (who leaves shortly to return to Zambia).



Thought for the week:  Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything"  Plato

Monday, 17 February 2020

Toastmasters meets Rotary

Toastmasters International were a prominent participant at the Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, Germany, last year and an appeal was made there for closer co-operation between the two organisations.
     This was carries through at club level when New Dawn invited Lorna Wridgway from the Sage Toastmasters Club in Johannesburg as a speaker.
Lorna Wridgway explaining the structure of talking Toastmasters while David Marshall acts as a human easel
     It was a bustling meeting with 34 people in attendance, one of the biggest turnouts ever at a regular meeting. There were 12 guests in total although two, namely Joan Sainsbury and Audrey Gatawa, will soon be inducted into the club. Well done, everyone.
     Lorna told us that Toastmasters was founded in 1924 and has 358 000 members in 16 800 clubs in 143 countries all over the world.
Lorna Wridgway 
     The organisation is a US headquartered nonprofit educational organisation for the purpose of promoting communication, public speaking and leadership skills, in the words of Wikipedia.
     In this regard she quoted Donald McGannon (1920 - 1984), an American broadcasting executive, on leadership: Leadership is action, not position.
     Lorna stressed the many commonalities between Rotary and Toastmasters.
Joan and Graham Donet, Tony Reddy and I listening to the Toastmasters story
     She said she joined the organisation in 2018 for personal and professional development and to be able to take part in humanitarian work.
     Their club, the Sages Toastmasters club, meets at the Marks Park Sports Bar at 6.30 every first and third Thursday of the month. The Sages club has 12 members at present. The club was established in 1987 and is one of the oldest in Johannesburg.
PDG Jankees Sligcher on his throne
     After a visit to the Leeuwkop prison the previous week, PDG Jankees Sligcher found himself in the poo last week (it usually happens the other way round!) during a visit to Cosmo City with the Donate-a-Loo crowd.
     Helene Bramwell says they were approached by a donor from Seeds of Africa who wanted two toilets each erected at two nursery schools in the township on the way to the Lanseria Airport.
Inspecting the toilets and their operating system
     The toilets have now been installed to great excitement from the children. Jankees and President Judy accompanied Helene, Adele Dabbs and Bronwyn Tucker to the schools where the children are being taught how to use and how to look after the toilets.
     As mentioned in the blog last week, the speaker on Wednesday will be Sue Cock, wife of the conductor Richard Cock.
Sue Cock
     Sue and Ian Widdop are planning a fundraiser concert featuring Gabriel Faure's Requiem at St. Martin's-in-the-Veld in Rosebank in May and will be telling us a bit more about her plans. Apparently she'll be playing an excerpt from the piece at the meeting.
     The meeting on 26 February will be devoted to discussing our various projects.
     I'm signing off from the blog until the middle of March, as we're going to Cape Town for a holiday for the next three weeks. Graham Donet will do the blog in my absence.
     A Thought for the Week: Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like. - Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Projects Big and Small

A meeting to review the club's larger projects is planned for this month where Carl Chemaly, board member for projects, wants to break each project down into manageable components. In this way  club members, whether they're members of the larger projects committee or of a specific project committee or not, can take on specific tasks.
     The more members involved in a project, the more chance there is of building and maintaining momentum and the more chance of eventual of success there is.
     The above relates to major projects such as Meriting, Realema, Donate-a-Loo, The Link and others.
     Most of the above are contenders for global grants if we can find overseas partners and have enough to put towards the grant.
Andy Ostle with Mike MacDonald
     The club is also involved in a myriad smaller projects and one of these came in the form of a golf day that Mike MacDonald wants to hold at The Wanderers in March.
     Mike brought Andy Ostle of the SA Golf Development Board to the meeting to tell the club a bit more about the reason for the golf day.
     Although chiefly a fundraiser, it is also a project in the sense that club members have been asked to try to provide golfers who will be willing to play.
     The Wanderers only charges R200 per player for green fees and Mike aims to raise enough to give R10000 to New Dawn and at least R10000 for the Golf Development Board.
     This money will go towards a bursary for a promising young 12-year old golfer who is already setting golf courses alight but lacks training and the means to a good education.
     Andy told the club that the youngster, Eric, is already playing provincial golf with 15-year-olds and is more than holding his own.
Joan Sainsbury talking about her experiences at Leeuwkop Prison
     Joan Sainsbury, who is transferring to New Dawn from the Rosebank club, told the meeting how she was approached three years ago to help create an art class for inmates at the Leeuwkop Prison. This she did with an initial group of 5 which has now grown to 109 students.
     She said the first groups were so passionate about art that they resorted to cutting up their mattress covers and using their sheets to create art on and sleeping on sponge with no sheets.
     She says she started teaching the pupils how to draw and paint, but that the range of teaching has expanded to include chest making, jewellery and other crafts.
     Creating and selling their art, even to fellow prisoners, helps the inmates to start becoming self sustainable ahead of their eventual release.
     Amina Frense reported that the Rotary Books for the World project that she and the late Frayne Mathijs amongst others championed, is getting a second consignment of mainly South African books from the publishers Jacana Media for distribution to worthy causes.
    David Marshall reported on efforts initiated by Jankees and Judy Sligcher to upgrade a children's playground at the Zoo Lake which is very popular but dangerous. Progress on anything involving municipal officials is often painstakingly slow, but it's a worthy cause and will be pursued.
Frank Odenthal and Hannes Dressler welcome a fellow German, Christof Plate, to the meeting
     The German contingent in the club could be growing following a visit by Christoph Plate, director of the media programme for Southern Africa of the the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a German political foundation aligned to the Christian Democratic Union in Germany.
     Christoph has been in South Africa for two years and is still a member of the Rotary Club of Lindau-WestallgaĆ¼ in his homeland. He has expressed an interest in joining a local club.
     He has travelled widely in sub-Saharan Africa and has many contacts in these countries and in Germany, most of which can be great assets for New Dawn.
Lucille Blumberg at Hluvakani with the lifesaving JoJo tanks
     There are of course a myriad smaller projects of all kinds, mostly focused on children and education, in which members are involved, such as Lucille Blumberg and the NICD at Hluvakani in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga where the club was involved in providing JoJo water tanks (donated by Carol Stier and installed on instructions by David Marshall) to the community. Fraynne Mathijs was also instrumental in providing books for local libraries and according to Lucille a Rotary plaque bearing her name will be placed in the Hluvakani library.
President-elect Ian Widdop
     There was also a significant announcement at the meeting when Ian Widdop said he has thrown his hat into the ring to make himself available District Governor for 2022-2023.
     If he is selected, it would be a great achievement for New Dawn, delivering a second DG after Jankees Sligcher.
PP Chibesa Chitangala of the Rotary Club of Chilanga in Zambia with President Judy Sligcher
     A visitor last week, PP Chibesa Chitangala of the Rotary Club of Chilanga in Zambia, attended last week's meeting as well and President Judy Sligcher handed over a club banner for him to take home.
     Chibesa is in South Africa to help look after his brother, who is recovering from heart surgery at the Milpark Hospital.
Rotary International Incoming President Holger Knaack, unveiling the down-to-earth motto and logo for his presidential year 2020-2021: Rotary Opens Opportunities
     Rotary International President-Elect Holger Knaack recently unveiled the Rotary motto for his year: Rotary Opens Opportunities. Knaack will visit South Africa in April next year for Discon 2021, when Rotary's 100 years presence in Africa will be celebrated by the Rotary Club of Johannesburg, the first club on the continent and founded in 2021. The Discon will be held at Emperor's Palace next to the OR Tambo Airport.
     Speakers: The speaker tomorrow is Lorna Wridgway of The Sages Toastmasters Club. Toastmasters is an organisation that has very close ties with Rotary and she will be speaking on A Journey Through Toastmasters.
     Sue Cock will be speaking on the following Wednesday (19th February) about her and Ian Widdop's plans to present the Faure Requiem at St-Martin's-in -the-Veld in Rosebank on Saturday 23 May with an amateur choir (including New Dawn members apparently!)
     This will be a fundraiser for New Dawn so start practicing your singing.
     A Thought for the Week: There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still. - Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 - 1945)

Monday, 3 February 2020

Good Friends Keep New Dawn Going

Old friends are good friends at New Dawn and so it was proved when Bert Ettekoven and his wife, Marja van Leeuwen attended the meeting last week.
     Bert, an architect, was a member of New Dawn from June 2009 until June 2010.
     Both hail from Delft in the Netherlands and are members of clubs there.

Marja van Leeuwen, Judy and Jankees Sligcher and Bert Ettekoven
     Marja's club, the Rotary Club of Delft, donated 6000 Euros to New Dawn in 2016 when we helped Hotel Hope Ministries to buy a flatbed truck mainly to transport furniture from their factory to their charity shops in Melville.
     Bert reported that he and Marja had contacted Oliver Quambusch of Hotel Hope during their visit and had discussed further ways of helping him.
President Judy Sligcher welcoming Bert and Marja and the other guests
     PDG Jankees Sligcher told how he'd been standing in the queue at the Woolworths store in Hyde Park when he hear the couple in front of him in the queue speaking Dutch.
     When Marja noticed his Rotary pin she introduced herself and Bert and said that she was also a Rotarian in Delft.
     Jankees invited her and Bert to visit New Dawn, which they did, and Bert subsequently joined as a member. Unfortunately the funds for his project for social housing dried up and the project was terminated, after which the couple relocated back to the Netherlands.
President-elect Ian Widdop addressing the club 
     Bert is still part of a foundation that works in social housing and urban renewal in the Pretoria township of Mamelodi and works with three equity firms who support the underprivileged.
     Both are very good contacts for future Global Grant applications by the club and expressed keen interest to help.
     The couple last visited New Dawn six years ago and made sure they would be able to attend the meeting last Wednesday before flying home later in the evening.
Chibesa Chitangala of Zambia
     Another visitor last week was Chibesa Chitangala of Zambia, a member of the Rotary club of Chilanga in Zambia.
     He's in South Africa to support his brother, who had a heart attack and was recovering in the Milpark Hospital.
     Chibesa said their club, like New Dawn, was chartered in 2009. The club started with 36 members but dwindled to only 6 members before they started a process of renewal, which includes their hosting their Discon in May for Rotarians from four countries. They now stand at 19 members and are growing.
     He says their chief project at the moment is to rebuild a derelict school in the area.
Audrey Gatawa
     A return visitor was Audrey Gatawa, who works at Standard Bank and attended a number of meetings towards the end of last year.
     Audrey has already submitted her CV to the board and if all goes well, should be conducted in the coming's weeks.
     Audrey is involved in the Campaign for Financial Independence in Africa. Their aim is to have basic financial literacy and saving to be embedded in school curriculums all over Africa within the next ten years.
     Kenneth Kaunda, former Zambian president, is the honorary patron of the project.
Peter James-Smith, Ag to New Dawn and a former club president,
came to say hello to Bert and Marja
Kasthurie Singh
     Also at the meeting as a guest was Kasthurie Singh, a friend of Helene Bramwell, who also expressed interest in joining the club.
Ian Widdop reporting
     President-elect Ian Widdop, who championed the Global Grant process, addressed the club on the first annual report for the grant for The Link that was due by the end of January. Everything is on track and we could submit statements and narrative reports of just more than R100 000 spent on three new schools where The Link have established centres for their literacy and numeracy teaching.
     A Thought for the Week: Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking. - H. Jackson Browne, Jr. (1941 - )




Monday, 27 January 2020

New Dawn Milestones as 2020 Kicks In

It's a Chinese curse to wish you to live in interesting times, but at New Dawn we do like living on the (ever interesting) frontier.
     This was abundantly evident again with the first, very busy, quite hectic, meeting of the month last week.
DG Maurice and DGA Chrisna Stander were honoured visitors
     We had visitors aplenty starting with the District Governor and District Governor Anns Maurice and Chrisna Stander, good friends of New Dawn.
     They were there to honour PDG Jankees and President Judy Sligcher for becoming Major Donors to the Rotary Foundation. They are the first members of New Dawn to be honoured in this way
DG Maurice Stander with a Major Donor pin for Judy and Jankees Sligcher
     PDG Jankees is of course a founder member of New Dawn.
     The DG also took the opportunity to hand over a special banner and certificate from Rotary International recognising the club for being the largest donor to The Rotary Foundation in District 9400. This is a record New Dawn has been keeping up for the past few years.
President Judy Sligcher with the banner and Certificate from the Rotary Foundation
PDG Francis Callard and Paul Westcott of the Rotary Club of Northcliff
      The Rotary Club of Northcliff decided to organise a raid and PDG Francis Callard, accompanied by his wife, Janet, Paul Westcott and Dave Woodhouse paid us a visit during which the shovel that we use for the weekly brag, disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
     It was returned by Janet Callard on Sunday on the stoep for champagne at the Sligcher home, who claims she took it to force New Dawn into a return raid on Northcliff. We're duty bound to do just that, so watch this space.
President-elect Ian Widdop with Joan Sainsbury
     Other visitors were Debbie de Vries' mom, Petro Swanepoel, Joan Sainsbury, who is transferring from the Rosebank Rotary club and Steve du Plessis, paying us a retro visit after spending the last three months in Hermanus.
Nick Bell
     Also there was Nick Bell, back in South Africa from the UK for he and his wife's annual three month visit to South Africa to visit their daughter and her family, including grandchildren, of course.
Phia van der Spuy addressing the club on the subject of financial trusts
     The speaker was Phia van der Spuy, author of Demistifying Trusts in South Africa. She addressed the club on the role of trusts in estate planning and emphasised the importance of keeping trust and trustees and your will up to date.
     Ian Widdop and Carol Stier reported that the Rotary E-club of Silicon Valley in California, USA, have reached out to New Dawn with a specific request for information on The Link project. They have expressed an interest in co-funding future expansion. Exciting news, indeed.
     Another milestone was that the SA Revenue Service has finally granted the club tax exemption and PBO status after exhaustive work behind the scenes by Julian Nagy, our club treasurer. Word has it that many clubs in the district are very envious.
The Standers, Carol Stier, Debbie de Vries and her Mom, Petro Swanepoel,  listen intently
     Speaking of Chinese curses, Lucille Blumberg filled the club in on the latest on the Coronavirus that is sweeping across China and many other parts of the world and has caused whole cities such as Wuhan, where it is thought to have started, to be shut down by Chinese authorities.
     So far there are no reported cases in South Africa, although Lucille says it could reach here at any time. Hold thumbs.
     The first meeting of the year was followed by the first social occasion on the Sligcher stoep for champagne on Sunday. As you can see from the photographs, a good time was had by all.
Susan Kasango and Hannah Bartlett in the garden
Our host and hostess, Jankees and Judy Sligcher, enjoying lunch. Hats were obviously a feature of the day
Julian Nagy and Helene Bramwell enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and a chat with Paul Kasango and Lucille Blumberg in the background
The braaimeisters of the day were Adriaen Sligcher and Harmon Gongggryp, Judy's brother, and they did a sterling job behind hot fires on a hot day
Lucille Blumberg tucking into the trout she brought for the braai while Judy looks on
Francis Callard and Ronnie Kasrils deep in conversation
Graham Donet pronounces the lovely party on a beautiful Johannesburg summer day a success
     Date to remember: The first board meeting of the year is on Tuesday 4 February at 7am at the Sligcher home, 9 Sutherland Ave, Craighall Park. All members are welcome to attend.
     A Thought for the Week: If youth knew; if age could. - Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939)



Monday, 6 January 2020

In Memoriam: Frayne Mathijs

The death of Frayne Furniss Mathijs, Rotarian and friend to everybody in the Rotary Club of Johannesburg New Dawn and many other Rotarians in South Africa and beyond just after New Year, has come as a huge shock.
     She was a humanitarian at heart and was always looking for ways to help others. She lived a life of giving and caring.
Frayne accepting honorary membership from President Judy Sligcher in July last year
     As reported by News24, Frayne died in a car accident on the R24 to Rustenburg, near the town of Magaliesburg. She was driving when the car was involved in a fatal accident with a heavy vehicle on Saturday, 4 January. She was airlifted by helicopter to the Milpark Hospital, where she died.
Frayne helping Joan Donet and Sam Deverneuil at the golf day
Frayne with Judy Symons and Debbie de Vries at Winex two years ago
     Frayne, born on 9 February 1939, joined New Dawn in October 2015 and last year became an Honorary Member, only the second person to be so honoured in the clubs' existence.
     She often said how much New Dawn and her involvement with many of our causes as well as the larger Rotary world, had meant to her.
Frayne and the gang at the Golf Day at the end of last year
     Even at the age of 80 she was prepared to drive all the way from Modderfontein where she lived, to attend Wednesday morning meetings. She also regularly ventured onto the road to attend evening functions, although lately she often called on fellow members, most often Paul Kasango, for a lift!
     Who could know that the Christmas dinner in December would be the last time we would see her. As usual she arrived early to help set up and left late to help clean up before spending the night with Carol and Nick Stier at their Parkview home.
Frayne was a regular at club activities, this time at the induction of the Interact club at the Johannesburg School of the Arts late last year
     She was passionate about anything to do with nursing, her profession in her professional years, as well as anything to do with education.
     She adopted the Humanitarian Distribution Centre in Bedfordview as a personal pet project and spent many hours there sorting through books for specific needs.
Frayne with school visitors to the Jozi Book Fair in Museum Africa in September last year 
    As Peta Thomas says in a WhatsApp message: she was incredible at finding a book for each person individually.
     Her other pet project was the annual Jozi Book Fair, held over the past few years at various locations such as the Wits Campus, Mary Fitzgerald Square and last year inside Museum Africa in Newtown.
     She religiously manned a New Dawn stall and helped visitors with information about Rotary, about New Dawn and often about how they could get books from the Humanitarian Centre.
     She was also a regular attendee at recent District Conferences.
Frayne, Peta Thomas and Debbie Smith helped fill bookshelves at the Johannesburg Children's Home in Observatory
     Every member of the club will have his or her own memories of Rotary interaction with Frayne. She went out of her way to get to know new members and to encourage them to get involved in various projects and to mentor them.
Frayne volunteered to help the registration team at the first ever Rotary Zone meeting in South Africa, held at Mist Hills in 2017 for Zone 20A
     She was active in club affairs as well as her involvement in humanitarian projects and served as club secretary during PDG Jankees Sligcher's first presidential term.
Frayne was honoured by then president Jankees Sligcher for her efforts on behalf of the club
Frayne in her apartment in Modderfontein after a leg injury
Frayne in action at one of the RFHD events, always willing to help and advise
With Amina Frense at the Golf Day last year
The young and the old ... Frayne helps Paul Kasango look after Josefien Sligcher while Mom Abi looks on
Judy Symons, Frayne and Debbie Smith at a recent meeting     
     We will each remember Frayne in our own way, but her passing is a big loss to the club. She was a constant reminder of how much good there can be in the world and how tireless the struggle against inequality and poverty has to be.
     Rest in Peace, dear friend.
     A Thought for Frayne: We shall never know all the good that a single smile can do. - Mother Teresa (1910 - 1997)