Monday, 28 January 2019

An Expert View on the Elections

With the final public voter registration drive behind us, the country will soon be gearing up for the general election, scheduled for May.
     To lead us to a better understanding of what to expect between now and May, Peter Bruce, a columnist and ex-editor of Business Day, will be talking to the club on Wednesday.
Peter Bruce, the speaker this week
     This promises to be a very interesting meeting and is an ideal opportunity to bring along friends and family to let them find out a bit more about Rotary.
     Peter is a respected columnist and punter and should give us some valuable insights into what lies ahead for the country and the state of affairs of the main parties contesting the election.
Men in dresses ... PDG David Grant, Julian Nagy and John MaCallum in kilts and Jankees Sligcher and Graham Donet at the annual Burns Supper of the Rotary Club of Fourways Main Reef
     It is always rewarding to support other clubs and meet Rotarians from other clubs when possible and a group of us therefore decided to go to the annual Burns Supper of the Fourways Main Reef club on Saturday night.
     It was a cultural feast with haggis, bagpipes, readings from the Scottish poet Robbie Burns and Scottish country dancing, all arranged by John and Brenda MaCallum at the Douglasdale Retirement Village, where they live and where the club meets.
The piper Kelvin against the backdrop of the words to Flower of Scotland
     For those of you who haven't tried it, haggis is the minced up bits of sheep insides and organs laced with oatmeal and spices and as gross as that may sound, is delicious.
     It's even better with a dressing of Scottish Whisky.
Joan and Graham Donet with Linda Vink at the Burns Night
Julian and Debbie Nagy in their Scottish regalia     
     The speaker last week was ex-member Peter James Smith, now of the Rosebank Rotary club, who spoke about his career as a radio journalist with the SABC.
     Peter specialised in supplying stories to magazine programmes and is of course an expert in the fields of food and wine. He was a foodie long before the term was even coined.
Peter James Smith with Joan Donet and Judy and Jankees Sligcher
     Peter originally came to South Africa as a public relations practitioner but soon switched to the more noble profession of journalism after the BBC World Service approached him to do freelance work. He and Jean spent many years in the Free State, first near the Lesotho border and then in Bloemfontein before settling in Johannesburg.
     We had an unexpected visitor at the meeting in the form of Nick Bell, a retired Anglican priest from the Rotary Club of Holt in Norfolk, England, near the Queen's country home of Sandringham.
Nick Bell flanked by Joan Donet and Jankees Sligcher, with Carl Chemaly in the background
     Nick and his wife visit their daughter, her husband and their three grandchildren in South Africa every second year during the Northern winter.
Lucille Blumberg and Frayne Mathijs at the meeting
In the pipeline
     The meeting next week will be a business meeting to cross the t's and dot the i's on the club bylaws in preparation for the application for tax-exemption and PBO status.
     This is all in line with the club's global grant, where all the hurdles have now seemingly been cleared and the good news is that the money should be arriving soon.
     There will be another opportunity to meet other Rotarians on 27th March where the proposal is to meet at Tashas in Mandela Square for breakfast at 7am.
The statue of Nelson Mandela at Mandela Square
     The reason is threefold: to meet with the members of the new club that is in the process of being founded by PDG David Grant in Sandton; to see the much smaller replica of the Mandela statue that Rotary has placed in the square primarily so that the blind can also experience the statue; and then to have a talk by PDG David on how the statue came about.
     The new statue stands only 1 metre tall to make it approachable to the blind, as opposed to the towering 6 metre high original statue, which was unveiled in 2004.
     This promises to be a fun outing, so please diarise the date.
     Another date to diarise is Thursday, 14 March for the Bridge Drive. The invitations have been going out and the response has been great so far.
     Also, remember to pay your club dues. The invoices have now been sent and we have to cover considerable costs out of that money,  
     A Thought for the Week: Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts. - Bernard Baruch (1870 - 1965)

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