Monday, 20 May 2019

Welcome to Two New Members

The club has grown from 27 members in July last year to 35 (not 36 as I reported at the meeting), a net gain of 8 over the past few months.
     The latest two inductees are Bronwyn Taylor and Karlien Kruger. Both were inducted at the meeting last week.
     There's a good chance that the growth will continue, as there are a number of potential candidates waiting in the wings.
Helene Bramwell, President Linda Vink, IPP Carol Stier, Bronwyn Taylor, Graham Donet, Karlien Kruger and Mike MacDonald
     The interesting thing is that most of the new members have been introduced to the club by existing members, thereby widening the circle of people we can reach.
     In this vein, Bronwyn Taylor was introduced by Helene Bramwell, who also joined fairly recently.
     Bronwyn, who was involved in the advertising industry, has helped Helene with the Donate-a-Loo project, which they hope to operate on a larger scale through Rotary.
Carol Stier reading out the charge to Bronwyn at the induction. Dave Marshall and Helene Bramwell look on in the background
     Karlien Kruger's son, Peet, is married to our daughter, Rudi, and showed a keen interest in Rotary and the doings of the club in discussions with Linda and I, but it was Mike McDonald who did the real arm twisting to get her to join.
     We're of course delighted to have two such stalwarts as members.
Graham Donet reading out the charge to Karlien at her induction
     Their membership brings the club make-up to 55% women and 45% men and the average age to 62. That's both a higher proportion of women than either District 9400 or Rotary International and a lower average age than either.
     At one stage the split was 60-40 and the average age 55, but we cannot change the fact that we're all getting older. A good representation of younger members keeps us on our toes.
Members of the Rotaract club shared breakfast with the New Dawners
     It was also great to share breakfast with members of the Rotaract club, which has been very active despite members still finding their feet. They report that they have been meeting regularly with Graham Donet, the New Dawn youth officer, for guidance on the type of projects they can tackle to raise funds and give back to the community.
     One of their members, Alfred Kalunga gave feedback on his training with Meriting and it sounds as if everything went well.
     Three of the Rotaracters will be attending Discon in Middelburg in June for the Rotaract conference on the Sunday.
Carol Stier with one of the collection boxes for the End Polio Now campaign
     Three club members, Amina Frense, Frayne Mathijs and Jenine Coetzer, will represent the club at Discon.  
     At the meeting last week President Linda Vink announced that New Dawn is definitely in line for a RI Presidential Citation, probably in the gold class (there is also a platinum class). Carol Stier has arranged for money tins that can be rubbed under people's noses to add to the clubs' annual contribution to the End Polio Now campaign and at the same time tick an important box to achieve the citation.
     On most other criteria we pass with flying colours,
     It's worth it for members to read through the requirements for the citation on My Rotary, as these and other campaigns are all designed to help clubs to be and remain vibrant.
PE Judy Sligcher, IPP Carol Stier, PP Graham Donet, PP Mike Vink and PP Joan Donet after the meeting
     There were a number of impromptu meetings after the meeting about projects, Rotaract and about the month or so to come before Judy Sligcher takes over as president. The Sligchers and Linda and I will be at the RI Convention in Hamburg from 1 - 5 June and will all be away for almost a month.
     At the convention we will be able to share a stand with other members of the German-Southern Africa group and will use the opportunity to explain our projects to visitors in the main exhibition hall. After all, both Jankees and Linda are good salespeople and both are fluent in German.
     Carol Stier will be running the meetings and Graham Donet will be taking attendance, the breakfast money and writing the blog while we're away.
     Members are urged to keep the momentum in the club going, even if it is a time of year that many people go away.
     The Rotary year ends on 30th June and Judy has arranged for her induction to be on Saturday, 20th July. As announced, it'll be at the Vulture restaurant in the Magaliesberg. Please diarise the date and bring family and friends along. The formalities, Judy promises, will be kept to a minimum.
     A Thought for the Week: It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. - Edmund Hillary (1919 - 2008)

Monday, 13 May 2019

Four Projects Bring a New Dawn

May madness (in South African terms multiple public holidays) meant that we have our first meeting this week and it's already the middle of the month.
     It was business as usual at the board meeting last Friday and of course the club assembly on Saturday morning, which went extremely well.
President Linda Vink introducing the projects club assembly with Helene Bramwell
 and Bronwyn Tucker listening intently
     About 20 members attended and the presentations were lively, informative and interesting. There were quite a few questions, showing that the projects are works in progress and that a lot still needs to be done.
     Rather than make it a straight choice between the four projects that were presented, accepting some and rejecting others, each team was allowed an opportunity to present their idea.
Julian Nagy, who facilitated the meeting
     In his opening remarks Julian Nagy emphasised that Rotary is all about service and serves the communities where it operates through projects. These are made possible through fundraising.
     There are four general sources of fundraising, he said: club fundraising (our golf day, bridge drive and Christmas dinner fall into this category); corporate and other sponsorships; Rotary District Grants and Rotary Global Grants.
Josefien Sligcher was the star of the assembly, although she slept through most of the meeting. Here she's with members Abi and Adriaen and proud grandmother Judy Sligcher
     The best source, as we discovered with The Link, is Global Grants, as they are multiplied greatly by club and partner club contributions and these new projects will surely be looking to Global and District grants (which work on the same principle but are smaller amounts of money) for at least part of their funding.
     The next step is that the team leaders have been asked to assemble club members around them to help carry the project forward. It will be the task of the subcommittees to make those projects work; if all four come to fruition, so much the better.
     Teams will have to set up a working budget and identify where funds will come from. In terms of RI funding there has to be an active club participation component to the project, as well as community involvement and communities must eventually be able to keep the project sustainable.
Bronwyn Tucker has already decided to join Helene Bramwell on the
 Enviro Loo project
     The first project to be presented was the Enviro Loo project by Helene Bramwell. Helene has only recently joined the club, partly because she sensed that Rotary would provide a strong infrastructure to make this project, of which she has been a part for a while now, work.
     She explained that each installation, at schools in underprivileged areas, would consist of six bio-degradable toilets costing just over R21 000 each, therefore R125 000 and more per school. The initial aim is for about 20 installations over the next few years.
     The Enviro Loo is a dry, waterless sanitation system requiring no water, expensive reticulation or sewerage infrastructure or electricity.
     It is odourless under normal operating conditions, requires minimum servicing and maintenance, uses no chemicals and is 100% environmental friendly and is non-polluting.
Ian Widdop explaining the Meriting project while Julian listens
     Next up was Ian Widdop talking about the Meriting project, which has been under discussion in the club for a while now.
     He explained that Meriting is an outreach programme of Imsimbi Training, owned by brothers Peter and Dave Sadie. With their help and help from Rotary, the aim is to tailor a course in entrepreneurship, business development and start-ups for 25 pupils who have been identified as having the potential to start and run their own businesses.
     Money for this training will be subject to a Global Grant application, for which there are already a number of potential overseas clubs lined up as co-sponsors.
Carl Chemaly cosying up to Frank Odenthal, a potential co-optee to the Realema project
     Carl Chemaly is another new(ish) member who joined the club to be able to contribute meaningfully to those less fortunate than ourselves.
     Carl introduced the assembly to the Realema project, a teacher intern programme initially run by St John's College, but now operating as an independent entity.
     The programme sponsors children from financially strapped backgrounds who are keen to become teachers through matric and on to a teaching degree from Unisa. During their years of study they receive extra counselling and do job shadowing with teachers from St. John's. They also get a salary, a laptop, IT support and food and accommodation during the four years it takes to get a B Ed. degree.
     The first five pupils that have completed the course since inception in 2013, have now graduated and placed at schools. Their pass rate was 93% and 37% received distinctions.
     By the time they graduate, they've already had 3 years of practical teaching experience.
     The organisers are now looking to expand the programme to more schools in and around Johannesburg.
Frayne Mathijs listens intently while Julian explains
     The final presentation was by Julian Nagy, who has put into words a suggestion, first mooted by ex-member Steve du Plessis, to create a bursary/scholarship fund. Julian has named the project the New Dawn Legacy Fund.
     The idea is to open an account with a reputable investment firm to accept contributions from anyone who is willing to donate, whether they be club members or other individuals, also corporates and club funds raised for this specific purpose.
     The dream is to create a sustainable fund where the capital keeps on growing and that will outlast the current crop of New Dawners and into the future.
     Funds would be used for educational purposes such as scholarships and bursaries, helping Rotaracters such as the current crop with research logistics, etc.
     I have tried to give a balanced summary of each project. It is now up to each member of the club to decide where, amongst these, their passion lies and volunteer to serve in a sub-committee or agree too be co-opted into it. It could obviously also be more than one.
     Much work lies ahead, not the least with the whole Global Grant process. If more club members learnt how to manage that process, it would be an added bonus.
Tony Reddy looks raring to go
     Ian Widdop, who steered The Link through the process, has agreed to make himself available to all teams who want to go down that route. He's looking for someone to take the driving seat with the Meriting project to enable him to do this.
     Please also note that Peter Sadie of Insimbi/Meriting was going to be the speaker at the meeting on Wednesday, but because Ian can't make the meeting, he has asked if his talk can be postponed to 29th May.
     The meeting will therefore be a social and business meeting to catch up a bit for the lost meetings. Julian will summarise the four proposals for those who couldn't make the assembly. We'll also be inducting two new members, Bronwyn Tucker and Karlien Kruger.
     Also note that Linda and I will be travelling from next week for four weeks, which includes attendance at the RI convention in Hamburg, so this could be the last blog for a while. Any volunteers to take over until the end of June?
     A Thought for the Week: I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)


Monday, 29 April 2019

Counting the Cost of Cyclones, Floods

Two cyclones and massive flood damage on the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape have wreaked havoc in Southern Africa over the past few weeks.
     The death and damage caused by Cyclone Idai and the local flooding especially, have created a massive upheaval in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people for whom life has not been easy at the best of times.
Flood damage and mudslides, as at this house on the KZN coast, wreaked havoc
     Rotary, Gift of the Givers and other international aid bodies have been doing sterling work especially in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi where Cyclon Idai hit the hardest.
     In comparison Cyclone Kenneth has left a slightly smaller path of destruction and loss of life, but again left hundreds of thousands of people literally without a roof over their heads.
     One hopes that Rotary clubs in the affected areas in South Africa after the floods last week have also been trying to find ways of helping locals to slowly start getting their lives back to normal again.
A township in the Eastern Cape after heavy rains
     The efforts in Mozambique were detailed by PDG Jankees Sligcher at the meeting last week in his report back as a member of the District 9400 Coordinating Committee.
PDG Jankees Sligcher reports on disaster relief efforts with Julian Nagy
     D9400 managed to obtain the first ever Disaster Response Grant from Rotary International to the tune of $25 000 and has already collected almost R300 000 in funds for disaster relief as well as other necessities such as mosquito nets, water purification sachets, blankets, clothes and linen from clubs in the district.
     Johannesburg New Dawn donated R10000, as previously reported.
Cape Vultures circling over the Magaliesberg
     We touched on the issue of Judy Sligcher's induction date at the meeting, as the Rotary year is now fast approaching its end.
     Judy has now revealed an important date on the club calendar, Saturday, 20 July, for her induction as president of the club.
     The Sligchers are doing things differently and the induction will take the form of a visit to the Nyoka Vulture Project of the Brits-Hartbeespoort Rotary club.
Cape Vultures at a feeding site
     Coffee, rusks and muffins will be followed by a talk on the project by John Wesson of BirdLife SA. The induction ceremony will be informal, promises Judy. After the ceremony there'll be a braai for lunch to which members will be expected to contribute.
     This promises to be a wonderful occasion and everyone is urged to invite friends and family along. The drive doesn't take much more than an hour and we'll be able to arrange lifts for Rotaract members and anyone who doesn't feel up to driving alone.

Dave Bradshaw with Carol Stier and Helene Bramwell
     The speaker at the meeting last week was Dave Bradshaw, an old friend of the club and our previous AG.
     Dave recently spent ten days in Ethiopia and said it is a fascinating destination, despite being in one of the most volatile areas in the world on the Horn of Africa, with neighbours such as Eritrea, Somalia and South Sudan
The Rock-hewn Church of Saint George, Lalibela, is a World Heritage Site
     Dave has been a Rotarian since 1976 when he joined the Rotary Club of Chelsea in London.
     He moved to South Africa in 1981 and joined the Rotary Club of Rosebank in 1982, where he's been ever since.
     He's retired from the tour operator Travelvision, for whom he still arranges tours to Israel.
The Castle of Fasilides. Ethiopia is the only African country with ancient castles
     He said that although Ethiopia is one of the world's poorest nations, it also currently has one of the fastest growing economies and seems to be shaking off the bad effects of occupation by Italy prior to WWII until 1942, the Haile Selasse era and the Communist regime that ousted him.
     Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa with more than 90 million people, who speak 84 different dialects. It is the most mountainous country in Africa.
A colourful Ethiopian market
     It is a place of ancient culture with rock-hewn churches and is considered as the region from which modern humans first set out for the Middle East and places beyond.
     Despite the recent fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 last month, Dave says it is one of the most modern airlines on the continent.
Setting up for a traditional coffee ceremony. Coffee is one of the main exports
     It is a mostly Christian country with about 33% of the people being Muslims.
     It has nine Unesco World Heritage sights and a number of game parks to rival the best anywhere in the world.
     Because of the public holidays on Wednesday (Workers' Day) and next Wednesday (8 May, election day) there will be no meetings for the next two weeks. The next meeting is on Wednesday, 15 May where the speaker will be Peter Sadie, speaking about the work that Meriting does.
     Because of the public holidays, the board meeting has been moved to Friday 10th May. The club assembly is the following day, Saturday 11th May at 9am at Twickenham Guest House.
     Please remember to submit project proposals before the assembly so that they are ready for discussion.
     Ian Widdop has already spoken about a proposal with Meriting for entrepreneurship training and mentoring; Carl Chemaly has promised an interesting proposal and Helene Bradwell, along with Bronwyn Tucker and David Marshall are going to propose a project based on the Enviro Loo toilets for schools.
President Linda Vink trading banners with visitor Dominiek Callewier of the Netherlands
     It was also a privilege to host two foreign visitors to the meeting in the persons of Dominiek Callewier, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Kortrijk-Grioeninghe and Kees van Lindentol, both of the Netherlands. Kees was in South Africa for reunion celebrations for the agricultural college that he and Jankees attended. Dominiek says he's a regular visitor to Johannesburg and has promised to visit again.
Three Dutchmen ... Dominiek with PDG Jankees and Kees van Lindentol
     Judy Symons reported on a successful Easter egg drive for the collection for the 5 Cees and  Woodside Sanctuary. As ever, we received a grateful thank you letter from Woodside.
     Megan Maynard has also reported that The Link are hard at work vetting new schools where they can open learning centres funded by the RI/New Dawn Global Grant, to date our biggest project ever.  
     This will be the last blog for the next two weeks, but the work of the club goes on, even if we cannot meet.
     A Thought for the Weeks Ahead: The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave. - Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

Monday, 15 April 2019

The Election Campaign Laid Bare

Does the party I'm voting for, steal my money?
     That should be the question every voter should ask him or herself in the polling booth on 8 May,  the political and investigative journalist Pieter du Toit advised the club in his talk last week.
     It was a robust talk and left much to think about for the members and guests.
     He spoke about the importance of the first post Zuma election, about the prospects of the three main players in the election (the ANC,  the DA and the EFF) and then the critical question; who to vote for.
Pieter du Toit, assistant editor of investigative journalism at News24 
     The municipal elections in 2017 gave a clear sign that all was and is not well in the ANC, he said. The controversy surrounding then deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas' revelation that he'd been approached by the Gupta family and offered the job of finance minister days before Nhanhla Nene was dismissed from the post, causing turmoil in the markets; the state capture report of then public protector Thuli Madonsela; and the rise of the EFF and Julius Malema all led to a drop in support for the once monolithic ruling party.
     The loss of three important metros (Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and Johannesburg) hurt the ANC.
     He recalled the words of the late leader of the opposition of the 80s, dr. Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert, that South Africa's biggest test would come once it looks as if the ANC could lose power.
     "We're not there yet," he said.
PDG Jankees Sligcher, Pieter du Toit and Ian Widdop after the talk
     The ANC should get about 59% of the vote, which would mean that the electorate did not punish the party for poor performance over the past ten years.
     The party is at the moment deeply divided between a reformist group led by President Cyril Ramaphosa and a group of what he called rent-seekers and corrupt bureaucrats on many levels. People such as secretary general Ace Magashule form part of a significant faction within the ANC that are opposed to any reforms.
     "The ANC knows what he's done, but because he was voted into office, can't get rid of him," he summed up the party's archaic internal procedures.
Helene Bramwell, recently returned from the United States, with President-elect Judy Sligcher
     He called the current election campaign pitiful and heavily reliant on Ramaphosa, but predicted that there would be a hive of activity in the two weeks before 8 May to get the electorate behind the party once again.
     The DA on the other hand, is getting a bit of a raw deal from the electorate, having many successes to claim in the areas where the party has actually been in government.
     "The leadership is not nearly as visible as in past elections and voters are unclear as to which direction the party is following."
     The challenge for the DA is to break out of being a party predominantly for whites, coloureds and Indians and the election will tell if their efforts are seen as being successful.
Peta Thomas with visitors Alfred Kalunga and Thoko Msibi
     As regards the EFF, he said Julius Malema "knows everything there is to know about everyone in the ANC; he knows where the bodies are buried."
     The biggest problem the EFF faces is that of corruption such as the VBS Bank scandal in Limpopo province.
     The EFF has had success in parliament over the last 5 years, but they are "anarchists who refuse to take part in parliamentary politics. It's a dangerous party that doesn't believe in the freedoms that we hold dear".
     On the question who to vote for, he said: "There are 48 parties on the ballot, which says something about the state of our politics. We still don't vote on the real issues facing the country, but for people who look like us."
     The best advice is to ask yourself: Does the party I'm voting for, steal my money?
Dave Tuzewski of Australia explaining Disaster Aid Australia's role in Mozambique
Helping Mozambique
     One of the visitors at the meeting was the Australian Dave Tuzewski of Disaster Aid Australia, a Rotary project. Dave is a member of their Disaster Aid Response Team, whose main object is to provide clean drinking water in disaster areas.
     The are on their way with their Sky Hydrants, which can filter 12000 litres of clean water a day and do not require power or chemicals, or much maintenance, to operate. This is being done with the RI grant to District 9400 for disaster relief and the more than R270 000 collected by District from clubs, business and individual donors.
The cover of the programme for the Night of 1000 PHF
     New member Helene Bramwell visited the USA just after her induction and used the opportunity to attend a Night of 1000 PHF banquet hosted by District Governor Drew Monaghan of District 6990 in Florida.
     The featured speaker was RI president Barry Rassin. Paul Harris Fellows are recognised for donating $1000 to The Rotary Foundation, meaning the combined members had contributed at least $1 million for TRF.
     Many American clubs boast with 100% PHF contributions, something we can only dream about, but should aspire to, at New Dawn.
     Contributions on a smaller scale are often more do-able, such as the Easter Egg drive fronted by Judy Symons to collect Easter eggs for the 100 kids at the Christ Church Christian Care Centre and the folk at Woodside Sanctuary.
     That's a lot of Easter eggs needed to bring a smile to the faces of people to whom an Easter egg is a luxury.
     Judy will be collecting eggs from you - yes, YOU - at the meeting on Wednesday and delivering them on Thursday in time for a bit of Easter cheer.
     Please don't forget to bring some along or failing that, to give a bit of extra cash so that she can go and buy some.
     Linda and I are at Ngwenya Lodge (looking over the Kruger National Park as I write) and will not be at the meeting. PP Carol Stier will chair and hopefully be able to persuade Helene to tell a bit more about the Paul Harris evening.
     Have a good Easter break, everyone.
     A Thought for the Week: If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you best teach it to dance. - George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

Monday, 8 April 2019

A New Dawn with Judy

Judy Sligcher has officially taken over the mantle of president-elect and will serve as president of New Dawn from July 2019 to June 2020.
     This was made necessary because Paul Kasango decided to step down due to anticipated business pressures. He informed the board of his decision at the previous board meeting and repeated his motivation for his decision to the club last Wednesday. Paul explained that there is a big likelihood  he won't have the time to give the presidency his all.
Handing over the presidency ... Paul Kasango and Judy Sligcher share a
moment during the brag last week
     Judy has barely had time to recover from her year as District Governor Anns last year, but has risen to the challenge of leading the club.
     The succession plan remains in place and Ian Widdop will follow Judy as president for 2020/2021.
     Judy announced last week that she plans to keep the board more or less the same as had been decided for Pauls' term.
     Judy becomes the third woman president in succession after Carol Stier and Linda Vink.
President Linda Vink, Siobhan, Carolina and Tony Reddy with Jankees and Judy Sligcher
     Last week also saw the club growing by two when Tony and Carolina Reddy were inducted as members, Tony by PDG Jankees Sligcher and Carolina by PDGA Judy Sligcher.
     It was a festive occasion and the Reddys were joined at the meeting by one of their daughters, Siobhan.
Louise Simpson of the National School of the Arts and Felicity Kasango
     New Dawn has sent schoolchildren to Rotary Youth Leadership Academy weekends almost every year since inception and this year Louise Simpson and Felicity Kasango went and reported back at the meeting.
     The courses are designed to give pupils a sense of their leadership potential and what it requires to take a leading role in society. Neither of the two girls lack in self-confidence and told the club that they'd gained immensely from the weekend course.
     Louise has been instrumental in the attempts to get an Interact club started at the School of the Arts, as reported by Youth Leader Graham Donet.
Julian Nagy with the letter confirming our new tax status
     Julian Nagy has been the author of another milestone for the club on the way to obtaining the status of a Public Benefit Organisation, namely the granting of a tax number, signifying that New Dawn is now registered with the SA Revenue Services. This is a necessary step preceding the next, most important one, namely the granting of tax-exemption status by SARS and, by extension, PBO status
     Julian lodged the application for this with all the documentation last week and we now await the final approval.

     The speaker on Wednesday is Pieter du Toit, an assistant editor at News24, the highly rated Internet news service of Media24.
     His theme will be: who should I vote for in the election on 8 May? Note that this is not a party political talk, rather an analysis of the upcoming election.
     As with previous controversial speakers, we expect a big turnout, so get there early and invite your friends along.
New friends ... both Bronwyn Tucker and Thoko Msibi were visitors last week and have expressed and interest in becoming members
     Please remember to bring Easter Eggs on Wednesday. Judy Symons is collecting and will deliver them in time to spread a bit of Easter cheer to the 5Cees and Woodside Sanctuary. If you can't make it to the shops, bring a little extra cash and Judy will buy Easter eggs.
     Please also don't forget the Club Assembly on Saturday, 11th May, where we will be discussing new projects.
     Please follow the correspondence about the proposals, as the discussion will concentrate on concrete proposals (what is the project; who does it benefit; is it sustainable; how much will it cost and where will the money come from; and does it fit into the broad club theme of educating children) rather than on blue sky thinking.
     The assembly will be at 9am on 11 May at Twickenham Guest House.
     A(n introspective) Thought for the Week: The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages are perpetuated by quotations. - Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881)

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Carrying the Madiba Message

Members of New Dawn and the satellite club of Sandton Central with visitors at the statue. Karlien Kruger is between Julian Nagy and I, while Siobhan and Tony Reddy are between Ian Widdop and Linda. Koop Lammertsma is between Ian and Tony. The top photograph is of the replica of the Belem Tower in Lisbon
The 1 metre high statue of Nelson Mandela, a replica of the larger statue standing 6 metre tall in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, has already attracted a lot of attention since it was unveiled last year.
     The statue was the focus of New Dawn attention at our Wednesday morning meeting last week, which we held at Tashas restaurant on Mandela Square.
     The original Mandela statue has become one of the most visited tourist sites in South Africa and the addition of the smaller statue, mainly to accommodate sight impaired people and the disabled, has been getting equal, if not more, attention from visitors.
     The story of the Mandela statue started when PDG David and PDGA Margie Grant attended the Rotary International conference in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2014 and saw the miniature of the Belem Tower, honouring the Portuguese seafarers of the 15th and 16th centuries, that the Rotary Club of Lisbon had erected.
     The Belem tower, which dates from the 16th century, guards the entrance to the Lisbon harbour and is now one of the main tourist attractions in Lisbon and Portugal.
     David Grant told the gathering that everybody he approached agreed that a replica Mandela statue on Mandela Square was a brilliant idea. The sculptor, Kobus Hattingh, who lives in Mooinooi in Northwest Province, made a smaller statue standing about 40 cm high and this was shown to the SA Council of the Blind, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the owners of Nelson Mandela Square.
Linda Vink with the two Mandela statues
     Blind students were given the opportunity to interact with the miniature and give feedback, where the idea was born to make the statue at least 1 metre high.
     Because of rifts between factions in the ANC at the time, no corporates were willing to make funds available for the statue until the coal and heavy minerals mining company Exxaro came forward.
     The artist agreed to make two replica statues, one of which stands at the new Exxaro headquarters in Midrand.
Karlien Kruger cosying up to the Madiba replica as thousands of tourists do daily
     The statue and plinth have been designed so that it is impossible to steal the statue, as it stands outside and would no doubt become the target of enterprising thieves.
     David said it took them five years to get the statue erected, but the enthusiasm with which the idea was greeted, made the project worthwhile.
     In thanking him on behalf of New Dawn, Ian Widdop spoke of how he is struck by the energy whenever Rotarians get together.
PDG David Grant with Julian Nagy at the statue
The plaque behind the statue is being moved onto the front of the plinth, making the
 Rotary wheel even more visible
     The statue was unveiled on Black Friday (23rd November) last year and Paul Harris' were awarded to amongst others Kobus Hattingh and Jacob Maponyane, who helped the sculptor.
     "The statue and the thousands of photographs taken of it help Nelson Mandela's ethos of peace and reconciliation to be transmitted globally," Grant said.
Koop Lammertsma with the Mandela statues
     Apart from the eleven club members and the nine from Sandton Central, we also had four visitors, namely distinguished visiting professor Koop Lammertsma, Tony Reddy and his daughter, Siobhan and Karlien Kruger. Tony and Carolina Reddy are very close to being inducted as members, while Siobhan has already indicated that she is interested in membership, as has Karlien Kruger.
     It was a very successful visit and the turnout is an indication that we could consider more such outings in the future.
Judy Sligcher with the Mandela statue. Judy has agreed to be president for the coming Rotary year
Judy for President!
     At the board meeting yesterday afternoon Judy Sligcher's name was put forward to take over as president-elect now that Paul Kasango has asked to step down.
     The board accepted the nomination, as Judy has agreed to take on the task of being the next president. This will be put to the club at the business meeting on Wednesday and barring any dissenting voices, Judy's name will be forwarded to Rotary International, making her the third woman as president in succession after the very successful terms of Carol Stier and Linda Vink.
     Congratulations, Judy!
     The club also decided to donate R10000 to the District 9400 Mozambique Disaster Relief Fund, for which District 9400 has now also applied for a Global Grant.

A Few Reminders
     Tomorrow is a business meeting with no set speaker the time of writing. Much has been happening in the club lately, so it is bound to be interesting.
     Also, remember the Club Assembly on Saturday, 11th May at 9am to 11am at Twickenham Guest House. Possible projects will be the main focus of discussion, but please read the emails that Joan Donet has been sending out to follow the guidelines for the discussion.
     Last year we managed to collect a considerable number of Easter eggs for the people of Woodside Sanctuary and the 5Cees and we've been asked to donate some more this year. Easter is upon us, so please bring your contributions to the meeting tomorrow and the week after, it'll help to brighten up a few lives.
     A Thought for the Week: If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman. - Margaret Thatcher (1925 - 2013)

Monday, 25 March 2019

A Helping Hand in Mozambique

Load shedding (now thankfully at least temporarily something of the past), the floods in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique, the atrocity in Christchurch, New Zealand and of course the ubiquitous state capture revelations have all dominated the news.
     These issues impact widely, no less on Rotarians.
     Mopping up operations are in full swing in Mozambique after the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai that left thousands of people homeless and destitute and destroyed property, crops and livestock in and around the city of Beira.
The devastation caused by flooding in Beira, Mozambique, after Cyclone Idai struck the city with winds of up to 170 km/h
     How can we as a club help?
     Mozambique, with three Rotary clubs, is part of District 9400, which is why District have set up a central fund that will go towards helping the hundreds of thousands of displaced people.
PDG Jankees Sligcher took Dave Tuzewski to see the new miniature Mandela statue on
 Mandela Square in Sandton
     DG Charles Deiner, PDG Jankees Sligcher, PDG Grant Daly, PDG Francis Callard and others who were involved in setting up the fund, have called on all clubs in the district to contribute. New Dawn has already agreed in principle and the details will be discussed at a special board meeting next week.
     District has already been in touch with the Mozambique clubs and others to discuss the best way to use the funds most effectively.
     One of the people who will definitely be helping is Dave Tuzewski, a Rotarian from Adelaide in Australia and an old friend of District 9400.
     With his Sky Hydrants Dave hopes to help the district deliver safe drinking water to disaster struck areas. These Sky Hydrants can each deliver 12000 litres of water a day without electricity, therefore helping combat the outbreak of diseases such as cholera.
Mike Cadman with Julian Nagy and Jankees Sligcher in the background
     Disaster of another kind also looms for South and Southern Africa's wildlife, according to Mike Cadman, the speaker at the meeting last week.
     Mike is a journalist, TV producer and writer for ITV in London. He devotes his time mainly to environmental and wildlife issues through organisations such as the Endangered Wildlife Trust and Born Free.
     He spoke to the club on how wildlife poaching feeds into international crime. In South Africa this fits into the broader picture of a failure to decisively deal with crime.
Game Rangers in the Kruger National Park on patrol for poachers
     The two general types of wildlife crime, global, organised crime and subsistence crime, driven by poverty, are symptoms of an inefficient society with inefficient policing and a broken criminal justice system.
     Organised wildlife crime is estimated to be worth $19 billion a year, making it the fourth highest most lucrative area of criminal enterprise behind drugs, counterfeiting and human trafficking.
     It is not just rhinos and elephants that are at risk, he said. Songbirds, cycads and perlmoen are all facing extinction. More than 3000 tons of perlemoen get poached annually, estimated to be 20 to 30 times the sustainable amount that can be taken.
     "We can shoot as many people we like in the Kruger National Park, it will not stop the poaching. There's a lack of political will to do anything about it."
     He cited a case where a poacher who had been caught with 58 leopard skins in KwaZulu-Natal, was sentenced to community service as a first offender provided he wasn't caught again.
     Four years later he was caught with another 92 skins, destined for the muti trade mainly in Gauteng and other areas. He is still a free man.
An adult pangolin weighs about 9 kg
     Nine tons of pangolin scales and meat were recently confiscated. These are prized in countries like Laos, Vietnam and parts of China for supposedly healing and other uses, much as rhino horns are supposed to have magical properties.
     South Africa has lost 7800 rhinos since 2008. The population in the Kruger National Park, one of the few places in the world where they still live in the wild, has dropped from 9000 to 6000 in that time.
A mother rhinoceros with her calf in the Kruger National Park
     There is a flourishing illegal trade in scorpions, spiders, tortoises, sharks, birds from Madagascar, vulture body parts, lion and tiger bones.
     Vets, big game hunters, game rangers, wildlife officials and many others are involved in the illegal trade.
Ian Widdop, Paul Kasango and me with Tony and Carolina Reddy
     On a more positive note, following the induction of four new members at the previous meeting, Paul Kasango, President Linda Vink, Ian Widdop and I had a fireside chat with Tony and Carolina Reddy on Friday, where they said they were keen to join New Dawn.
     Once we have received their CV's these will be circulated and discussed by the board for a recommendation. Note that the board meeting has been forwarded to Monday, 1 April at 5 pm at Twickenham Guest House. Drinks and snacks will be available and as usual all club members are welcome to attend.
     Paul has decided to step down as president-elect for the coming year, citing business reasons, so the search is on for a replacement, whose name has to be forwarded to Rotary International before the end of March.
     Paul has promised to explain to the club himself what has led him to this decision.
     Julian Nagy and I travelled to Pretoria after the meeting last week to see the Tax Exemption Unit of SARS about our PBO application and returned full of hope that the application will soon be lodged.
     Julian told the club that the Bridge Drive was a great success, netting almost R35000 for the club funds.
     Carin Holmes quoted ex-president Kgalema Monthlanthe on the future, to provide a glimmer of hope in trying times: Hope, he said, has two sisters; anger and courage. Yes, we should be angry about what happened in the past in the country; also angry at the present state of the country, but let's have the courage to change the future together.
     Please remember that there is no ordinary meeting this week. Instead, we'll be meeting at Tashas on Mandela Square at 7am for breakfast.
     And finally: Pastor Mike Sunker of the 5 Cees has asked if the club could provide Easter eggs for Easter as we have done so often in the past. Please bring some to the next few meetings.
     A Thought for the Week: Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired. - Jules Renard (1864 - 1910)