Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 1 Our Path Here
- 2 Societal Contributions—Avenues of Service
- 3 Youth Service=
- 4 Community Service
- 5 FELLOWSHIP
- 6 Meetings and Information
- 7 District
- 8 Categories
Our Path Here
Interwoven in this page is a speech Past President Brian Leech.
A Talk by PP Brian Leech at a dinner to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the ROTARY CLUB OF ROSEBANK, JOHANNESBURG on the 27th June, 2014
Generally people believe 16 June is the anniversary of the Youth Uprising in SA, but they are wrong. It is the rising up of the RC of Rosebank; 16 June 1954 more than 20 years before!
The Rotary Club of Rosebank is built on 3 Pillars of Strength
- Community Service
Societal Contributions—Avenues of Service
- Hyde Park High School Interact Club
- Centurion College Interact Club
The Club has provided 3 DG’s to District over the years
- Jack Boswell – Charter President
- Carl Weavind – Club President 1957/58
- John O’Connor 1978/79 35 years ago
No doubt there would have been more, but for force of personal circumstances which prevented many worthy leaders taking up the call. Three previous members who translocated to other Districts became DG’s in their respective Districts.
The Club has provided many DG Reps and AG’s over the years in addition to District Treasurers, PP Lester Connock and presently PP Kevin Wolhurter. No less than 4 members are currently serving District on various Committees.
But did you know that: PP Alex Tweedale, Club President 1962/63, was the 1st Mayor of Sandton. And PP Ray Ledlie, Club President 1964/65 was the 1st Town Engineer of Sandton?
The Club organised Discon in 1979. PP Frank Sutton, Club President in 1974/75 was chief organiser. I had hardly been in the Club for a month when said me: “You can be Chairman or Secretary.” I thought he had lost it and replied: “I’ve never been to Discon before, how can I be Chairman?” “In that case you can be Secretary!”, and that’s how I got the job.
District 930 stretched from Mafikeng to the Natal South Coast in those years, so we searched for venue central to District. We selected Harrismith, not the most fancy towns with fancy hotels. The sessions held in the Town Hall were packed to the rafters. All the hotels in town were fully booked including some country hotels. RC of Harrismith bent over backwards to assist and could not have been more supportive. The Icebreaker evening was held at the Harrismith Country Club and the local Vroue Federasie did the catering with koeksisters, melktert and all those lekker things; a true country style ice breaker and time for renewing friendships.
The Banquet was held in a marquee pitched on the Holiday Inn parking ground. Remember it was June and it can be very cold in Harrismith at that time of the year. Heaters were positioned all the way round the perimeter of the marquee; we were surprised they didn’t blow the power grid. PP Gordon Craig, who was Discon Treasurer, told the comedian entertainer: “You tell one bad joke and you won’t be paid!” He was hilarious and we laughed our heads off. He got paid.
|1954 Jack Boswell||1954-1955|
|1955-1956||1956-1957||1957-1958 Carl Weavind||1958-1959||1959-1960|
|1975-1976||1976-1977||1977-1978||1978-1979 John O’Connor||1979-1980|
On entering the portals of the RC Rosebank, I heard about Montgomery Haven, a Retirement Village in Montgomery Park. The Club was instrumental in its development over a number of years.
Cresset House, is a project we have supported for many years. We are currently still assisting.
This was the first club in District to charter a Rotaract Club. The Rotaract Club organised the 1st ever Rotaract International Conference which became a District Rotaract project when it grew like Topsy, and it was soon realised that help was needed from District. It was held in Van der Bijl Park in the Holiday Inn on the banks of the Vaal It was in Mike Coleman’s year as DG. In 1977 the Senior Youth Leadership Course was born in its present form. It was the brain child of PP Rev Alan Maker, Digger Elliot, Tommy Taylor and Brian Leech. It was held on Alan Maker’s small holding near Magaliesberg, which had a dilapidated and run down farmhouse and barn. Teams had to sweep the barn out of donkey droppings for accommodation for the boys, cover the leaking roof with rolls of sponsored Gundle plastic, dig refuse a pit, erect ablutions using poles and plastic, collect firewood. We’ve come a long way since then! It is now a well known and recognised leadership course in District and in schools that have been supporting the course of many years.
On the first occasion when neighbours saw a bus trundling down the little road to the farm, they alerted the police: there was a mixed bunch of children, black and white (remember the year 1977!). The police asked for our permit. What permit? A permit to hold a mixed gathering. We were in trouble but then someone remembered we were in the constituency of the cabinet minister, Dr Barend du Plessis, Minister of Finance, who accompanied one of us to the local police Station and sorted it all out. End of trouble. After PP Alan sold the small holding we made use of the AB Bailey Nature Reserve in Carletonville. Dr Monthlante was invited as guest speaker on one occasion. He was addressing the participants when a group of children from Soweto began to behave badly towards him. President Harold Harris immediately intervened and taught them about decorum and manners, a lesson probably not forgotten 35 years later.
Through international co-operation from clubs in the UK and NY we have been involved with the installation of a total of 5 PlayPumps, viz Cosmo City, Johannesburg, Bambatha in KZN near Underberg, White River, Queenstown, and latterly Ficksburg, Eastern Free State.
The Club has had deep involvement in Ambassadorial Scholarships over more than 25 years, with a high degree of success. Days, nay weekends, have been spent interviewing as many as 23 applicants; it becomes tiring and one can become disillusioned when suitable applicants don’t present themselves. On one occasion when we had been interviewing for much of the day and were becoming tired and irritable, PP Hector Cowen said to an applicant; “I‘m a dentist and I can tell you it is easier to extra an impacted wisdom tooth than to drag answers out of you!”
Then along came Cecil Murray, an officer in the police force, and that changed our day. For the next 2 years we battled with the South African Police to have him released so that he could take up the scholarship and study a Masters in Business Administration at the University of Brisbane. While studying, he worked with the Brisbane Police Force; they learnt from each other. On his return he realised there was no future for him in the SAP and he took up a post as Registrar at a new university in Saudi Arabia. What an opportunity was lost to improve administration in the SAP.
Later on we interviewed Georgie Dagnell, now a mommy with 2 children. Georgie studied applied art at the University of Hatfield, north of London. Through her connection with D1210, we erected our 1st PlayPump near Cosmo City, a 2nd in Bambatha, near Underberg in KZN. There were 3 others in White River, Queenstown and Ficksburg, 5 in all through the co-operation of clubs in the UK and New York. Her connection has also brought 11 syringe drivers to Gauteng for Hospice.
And through strange circumstances and that lovely Ann PP Vivvie Craig, we made contact with Ishmael Makweba. Vivvie was arranging a fellowship outing to the Tswaing Crater through the Museum of Natural History and she was dealing with Ishmael. When the time came Ishmael told his boss he wanted to be our guide but his boss reminded him he had resigned and was no longer employed by the Museum. Ishmael insisted because he wanted to meet “the Rotary”. After a very clear talk on the crater and an interesting and informative guided tour, members of the Scholarship Committee decided to interview him as a possible Ambassadorial applicant, having had zero success at the previous days interviews. In short, we recommended Ishmael to District and Rotary Foundation approved. He graduated with an MSc in Conservation Biology at the Manchester Metropolitan University. His thesis was: Perceptions Towards the African Wild Dog: Lycaon Pictus. Not bad for a lad who shouldn’t have been there in the first place or had never travelled further than Mpumalanga before.
Over the years at least another 12 to 15 successful applicants have passed through the Club’s hands.
Many are the stories that could be told under this heading. Like Rotary International it can be said that our club has also been built on Fellowship. The PHUTU book was a gem. The book recipient had a month to 6 weeks to organise a simple dinner, hence the name Phutu; invite as many members as could be accommodated, record the attendees and the menu. After the meal straws were drawn and the next member would host a similar sort of meal, simple, inexpensive, the emphasis being on fellowship. That way the book kept circulating and members got to know one another.
Games evenings were good fun and popular fellowship outings. Darts were played pinning a bank note to the board, roulette, horse racing played on a board about the size of a door and horses formed using a carrot, a potato, turnip and the likes with match sticks for legs and eyes. There was a bookie, and 2 dice, one for the horse and one for the number of moves. The Bookies made good money for club funds. Dinner was a packet of fish and chips wrapped in newspaper and you ate it sitting on the floor, space permitting. There were trips to the theatre in a bus with a box dinner and a small bottle of bubbly. We had dinners de move on in a bus, ALL of us to one venue. Several hosts would band together a do a starter; move on to dinner and move on to desserts, and then move on to the starting point to collect your car.
We had orienteering walks down the Braamfontein Spruit in groups and joined together for a braai at the Sandton Field and Study Centre; night visits to the zoo; weekend trips to camps in the KNP, organised by PP Lester Connock, Club President 1980/81, but perhaps the best were 3 nights in Si Bon camp, at Ingwelala, Mpumlanga. The camp manager was the guest speaker at a club evening meeting. PP Mark organised a wine tasting, all this in between game drives in open vehicles.
One incident sticks in my mind. On the way to Si Bon on a particularly gravelly section, I saw a cloud of dust in the distance and when I got closer it was PDG Greg and his Ann Elaine who were joining us for the weekend. They had a flat tyre that looked as if a hyena had shredded it. In no time at all friendly passersby had the wheel off and replaced, accompanied by much hilarity. That set the tone for a relaxed hilarious weekend.
Yes, Madam President, we’ve had fun in the sun and that is what has made this club what it is. But never let it be said that in doing so we ever neglected our community.
Meetings and Information
Please join us at our weekly meeting!
Friday of each week at 1:00 pm
The Wanderers Club, Bowlers Lounge
21 N St
Illovo, Gauteng 2012 South Africa
Contact us at Rotary Club of Rosebank, Johannesburg
Illovo, Gauteng 2012 South Africa