Guy Fawkes

Residents are asked to take hands with law enforcement authorities to help keep Guy Fawkes crime-free and safe for everyone this year.

Kouga Executive Mayor Daphne Kettledas said that Guy Fawkes, marked on November 5, was increasingly associated with activities that posed a danger to both people and animals.

A common practice is the launching of fireworks.

“It is illegal to launch fireworks in the Kouga region. We would like to call on residents to refrain from doing so, as it poses both a fire hazard and traumatizes pets to such an extent that they can injure themselves,” the Mayor said.

An even more dangerous Guy Fawkes tradition is the swinging and burning of tyres.

Don't burn tyres

“Tyres are made of toxic compounds. When you burn a tyre, poisonous gases are released into the air and inhaled by those in the vicinity. Babies, children, the elderly, asthmatics and immune-suppressed individuals are very vulnerable to these pollutants. This includes people with TB or HIV/Aids,” she explained.

“Burning tyres are also a serious fire risk and cause significant damage to our roads and sidewalks.”

Residents are asked to help spread the message of a crime-free and safe Guy Fawkes for all. Those breaking the law by launching fireworks or burning tyres can be reported to the municipality’s emergency number on 042 291 0250 or the nearest police station.

Guy Fawkes is a British tradition which dates back to 1605 when a plot aimed at toppling the Protestant king of England in favour of the Catholics was uncovered. Known as the “Gunpowder Plot”, the plan was to topple the government by blowing up the House of Lords, where Parliament would have gathered on the day. Guy Fawkes was the name of one of the conspirators who was tried and put to death for his involvement in the failed plot.

Press release issued by Kouga Municipality 


Birders from Port Elizabeth visit St Francis

A group of experienced birders paid the Greater St Francis area a visit to ascertain what birds were in the area, and in particular which intra- African migrants and those from Europe had arrived. They were ecstatic about the number of species seen in one day. Perfect weather added to the success of the day as birds were out and about, calling loudly and many were displaying breeding behaviour or proudly showing off their young.

This is the time of the year for visiting species to fly to Southern Africa, to spend time here in our warm climate (some breeding) and all stocking up on just the right food for the return journey.

Apart from finding several migrants, such as cuckoos, Barn Swallows, Steppe Buzzard, and many waders on the Kromme River, the most exciting sightings of the day were endangered Denham’s Bustards, White-bellied Korhaan (which are notoriously difficult to spot) and Blue Crane. This is a prime area for these three species and visiting birders from all over the country, and indeed the world, make a point of coming here to find these birds.


Denham’s Bustard taken just before the visit by Gregg Darling

Fortunately we were able to witness a wonderful courtship dance between a pair of Blue Cranes next to a small pond at the Grassmere turnoff. Both individuals jumped up and down with their wings extended, gracefully floating down to the ground after each jump. One then picked up a tuft of grass, or some other object, and tossed it into the air while the other watched.

Blue Cranes courting

Blue Crane starting his courtship dance. Photo by Peter Bosman

The mating display by the diminutive Red-capped Lark along farm roads had never been witnessed by any of the party, and all were very experienced birders. The male strutted along with his tail spread and stuck in the air, then jumped up every now and then. The female merely ignored him, no matter how he performed. Amusing to watch!

Raptors are always exciting to see and for Andy Nixon (Vice-Chairman of BirdLife Eastern Cape) the most notable raptor sighting was a magnificent juvenile Martial Eagle spreading its enormous wings and cruising from one tree to another, then perching there for all to see and photograph. These birds are usually just a speck in the sky as they normally fly so high.

Another raptor which caused quite a stir was a Booted Eagle, not commonly encountered in the area. It has white “landing lights”, white patches near where the wings are attached to the body. The more common, but still impressive raptors were African Fish-Eagle, African Marsh Harrier, Jackal Buzzard and Steppe Buzzard (having flown in from Europe or Siberia).

Mark Winslow, a birder out here from the United Kingdom, was equally impressed and delighted with the birds encountered, some of which he had not seen on his many previous visits to South Africa. Water birds such a White-backed Duck, Whiskered Tern, and Black Crake encountered on dams and ponds were new to him.

The Kromme River produced a number of migrants and everyone was delighted to note the arrival of these little birds that had flown thousands of kilometres from the North to get here for our Summer: Ruddy Turnstone, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Sanderling and Common Whimbrel. A few hundred terns gathered on the sand and took off every now and then (just on a whim) to flutter like white petals in the sky just for a few minutes before landing on the sand again to preen.

The visit ended off at the Cape St Francis Lighthouse to observe Cape Gannet flying in huge skeins across the sea, and in contrast, the diminutive Kittlitz’s Plovers which breed at Seal Point.

We are fortunate to have such a wide variety of habits: bush, river, farmland and sea to nourish our birds and to keep birders coming to see them.

Thank you Yvonne Bosman for an interesting article.

SPCA & April Olive Blossom


Sue Rae Fox introducing Alison Jones

Sue Rae Fox introducing Alison Jones

The “Open your Eyes – Sterilize” campaign received a much welcomed boost to their funding at a late morning function held at Dune Ridge Country House on Thursday. Thanking the more than 60 ladies who attended the function for their generosity, Sue Rae Fox, the inspiration behind the campaign went on to explain how the funding was assisting both SPCA Assisi and the April Olive Blossom Fund in their work. This event (Thursday’s) raised a little over R5500 providing funding for a further 11 dogs to be sterilized. With the money raised this year through the “Open your Eyes-Sterilize” campaign, 70 dogs both male and, as Sue prefers the term them, ‘female dogs’ rather than the alternative which she felt should rather be reserved as a descriptive term for certain humans of the female gender.

SPCA courageous ladies

Melanie Botha & Tanya Keyzer of SPCA

Sue went on to praise the courageous work of Tanya Keyzer and Melanie Botha of

Stephanie Arnsten

Stephanie Arnsten (centre)

SPCA Assisi of not only rescuing dogs, but also farm animals, sometimes under the most trying, even terrifying conditions. Also praised for her dedication was Jessica Naude of Jeffreys Bay Animal Rescue. Last and certainly not least, Sue introduced Stephanie Ernsten who has taken over the work of the April Olive Blossom foundation started by Rebecca Tilders. Stephanie runs weekly clinics where local Sea Vista dog owners bring their pets for inoculations, deworming and dipping. Ably assisted by staff of SPCA Assisi and Narina Botha, our local vet who is administers the inoculations as well being on hand to advise where an animal appears to be ill or malnourished. Stephanie has also extended these services to Thornhill where she runs similar clinics at Woodridge College.

One cannot underestimate the importance of the work done by these wonderful and caring ladies for without their efforts we should reflect for a moment of the consequence of not reducing the rate of an ever expanding dog population.

Statistics indicate a pair of dogs and their offspring can produce 67000 puppies in six years.  “Open your Eyes – Sterilize” funding has neutered or spayed 70 (let’s say 35 breeding pairs for calculating purposes if half of these were male and half female). A little Math! The campaign thus has potentially prevented the birth of some two million dogs going forward six years. That is quite ridiculous, these figures must be an exaggeration some may say. So let’s say the statistics are incorrect and use just  0.5% of what statistics show as possible.  At this percentage each breeding pair and their offspring would produce only 335 additional dogs in six years. Not too bad until you multiply 335 dogs by the 35 breeding pairs or staggering figure of almost 12000 additional dogs in just six years had the Open your Eyes campaign not had these dogs sterilized.

If St Francis residents think they have a problem with marauding pigs and the odd cow or herd of goats wandering the highways and byways of the village, consider the problem of 12000 additional dogs. Poor Bob Meikle would have to move to bigger premises just to store the food for the horde he already feeds every day. And avoiding knocking over a wandering pack of dogs would make running the gauntlet of the potholes on our roads seem like child’s play.

The alternative? Certainly there is an alternative but can we even consider the awfulness of having to euthanase hundreds if not thousands of dogs every year? Too horrible to contemplate so rather we lend a helping hand by dipping into our pockets to fund the efforts of this small band of wonderful lady volunteers, and here we include Sue, Bernice Katakuzino and Verna Couper and others who work tirelessly to avoid the terrible consequence of allowing the dog population to grow to unmanageable proportions.

Alison Jones with Bernice Katakuzino

Alison Jones with Bernice Katakuzino

But to the occasion that helped raise over R5500 thanks to the more than 60 ladies that attended the talk on healthy eating by Nutritionist Alison Jones!

As the only male at the function and no doubt the only person in the audience who believed a couple of cold beers with steak and chips was all the nutrition a body would need, it was indeed an interesting talk. In fact one could say it was in keeping within the theme “Open Your Eyes” for it certainly was an eye opener on what we should be eating rather than what we do eat.  As men approach the latter laps of life many of us tend to display inner tube rather than the firm six packs of our sporting days and it seems sugar is the cause of it all. Apparently cutting back on the sugar in our coffee is not going to help for it seems there are so many food items in our daily food intake that contain loads of sugar that we just are not aware of.

The subject of good healthy eating is certainly worth paying attention to and maybe it would be a great idea for the “Open Your Eyes” committee to arrange a similar event and invite only men to listen to what Alison has to say. No doubt it would be a very humorous event particularly if Alison were to bring her special scale that identifies all sorts of aspects of your body other than just your weight. Maybe she could have public hangings, oops public weigh-ins for that would certainly encourage some ribbing from the audience of those being hanged, oops again, weighed.

All in all a very interesting morning and certainly food for thought on one’s eating habits. And on the subject of eating, Dune Ridge Country House put on a wonderful spread of sandwiches and cakes with the tea and coffee served after the Alison’s talk. Having just heard how sugar is the number one villain there was certainly opportunity for one final sugar overload before putting all Alison’s good advice into practice.

Vanessa Kasperski won a lovely painting donated by Joan Barnes

Vanessa Kasperski won a lovely painting donated by Joan Barnes



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