So many ways people are helping FOSTER

FOSTER - friends of St Francis nature areas

FOSTER as an organisation is managed by a small committee of dedicated volunteers with different portfolios and responsibilities which is ably chaired by Richard Cowling.

To maintain the reserves and the various trails and paths used by walkers, cyclists and trail runners, funds are needed, and these are generated through membership fees, donations, or fund-raising initiatives. In addition, there are people in our community who give of their time, others who help financially or find ways to help FOSTER with its work, most of whom would like to remain anonymous. Having these generous and open-hearted residents as part of our community makes the work that FOSTER does rewarding and restores ones faith in humanity.

Foster recently received a most generous donation of R50 000 from a local homeowner, to put this in perspective that is equivalent to 166 family memberships. (Foster currently has 196 members) This unexpected and welcome contribution will go a long way in helping stretch our maintenance budget for the reserves and allow us to upgrade some existing paths.

Then there is the CSF resident who personally maintains and cuts back the encroaching vegetation onto the paths in the Seal Point Nature Reserve with his trimmer and cutter. One of our active members pays the monthly admin fees to ensure that our books are accurate and up to date and whose company donates building materials for the maintenance of the paths.

Not to forget the St Francis Bay resident who was concerned about the increase in Rooikrans in the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve and came forward and offered to fund a project to help eradicate this alien species that is beginning to reappear. He is passionate about our area and the reserves and the need to protect what we have and is putting his money where his mouth is.

As is John Lagaay, another St Francis Bay resident who is an avid fisherman and decided to fund the removal of rubbish and debris brought in by the sea from the boats along the shore of Shark Point, which is part of the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve. Apart from making this an ongoing initiative, he also contributed substantially to the cost of having the wreck of the Barcelona largely removed and the area cleaned up so that it can no longer be used as a shelter by poachers and other undesirables. When asked why he replied, partially for selfish reasons, as I love fishing in a pristine environment and whilst many of my fellow fisherman obviously don’t, I want to keep my favourite fishing area as nature intended, the fact that this helps FOSTER is so much the better.

FOSTER will shortly be launching its new logo and an updated website. A huge amount of work has gone into the redesigned website by one of our committed members, and together with the generous help of Alex & Dominique Gotte from local media company DNA Online, will now be much more user friendly and includes updated easy to follow trail maps. DNA Online also hosts our website for a nominal annual fee.

The new logo will feature the endemic flower Satyrium princeps Bolus or commonly known as coastal Satyr which is on the red list of South African plants.

There are of course numerous other supporters of Foster, too many to mention, who make regular donations, or simply pay a much higher membership fee or find ways of supporting the work of FOSTER. The time and work that my fellow committee members contribute to FOSTER with no or little thanks also deserves a mention.

So, if you have ideas, want to give of your time or financially support Foster in any way, please contact us at info@foster.org.za.

 

The Experience Northern Cape Namakwa Challenge Is Approaching

The inaugural WSL Speciality Event for the Northern Cape region, the Experience Northern Cape Namakwa Challenge presented by Billabong Adventure Division, will take place in the Hondeklip Bay environs from August 23-31, 2021

The event, presented by Amandla Surfing Foundation, will most definitely score epic Northern Cape waves, with a 9-day window period. On top of this, only 20 surfers have been invited to compete.  

According to Abraham Vosloo, MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, “Tourism remains one of the most important economic contributors in the Northern Cape Province. We are constantly in pursuit of tourism growth. As part of our global and domestic marketing campaigns, we have continuously invested in sports projects to attract more visitors to the province. This is done to strengthen our brand position as a mecca for extreme sports and outdoor adventures and to draw the global media spotlight to the Northern Cape,” explains MEC Vosloo. 

SA Open Champion Joshe Faulkner sampling the Northern Cape treasures
© Van Gysen

The competition will be the first-ever professional surfing event hosted in the Northern Cape. It will do much to help grow surf tourism in the area and to develop surfing as a sport and lifestyle along the Northern Cape coast”, concludes Vosloo. 

According to Mr Avron Thomas, a District Manager for the Provincial Department of Sports, Arts and Culture in the Namakwa region, the event comes at the right time to unearth surfing talent to the locals. 

The event organiser is looking forward to the start of the event in the Northern Cape. “Due to a large outbreak of Covid-19 in Hondeklip Bay, a tiny community with limited medical resources, we have taken the decision to move the Namakwa Challenge to a remote surf spot in Namakwaland. At this new location, the surfers and crew will camp in isolation. While we are disappointed to not show off the wonderful town, we have to take a sensible decision for both the community and our surfers. We are very happy that we have the wide, open spaces of Namakwa. This will allow us to move the event to an area where we will not impact the locals. We will still be able to show off the rugged beauty and great waves of the Northern Cape,” says Kai Linder, Amandla Surf Foundation General Manager.

Top talent that will be in action during the Men’s Speciality Event will be top African Surfers, including World Longboard Champion Steven Sawyer (Jeffrey’s Bay) and Joshe Faulkner (Current SA Open Champion). In addition, hard-charging surfers like Matt Bromley (Billabong) and Dale Staples have been given wildcards to the event. Luke Thompson will also participate in the event.

“I’m very excited for the contest,” said Matt Bromley. “It is such a remote and beautiful part of the world, and the waves are powerful, which will definitely suit my style of surfing. West Coast power, I love that stuff.”

Bromley loves it when it gets nice and powerful. Seen here at Dungeons big wave spot in Hout Bay © Van Gysen

In further exciting news, Amandla Surfing Foundation has brought the NGO, Protect the West Coast on board as our environmental partner. They are doing sterling work to protect the Namakwa Coast from invasive mining and environmentally damaging activities on the coast.  

The event is presented in partnership with Amandla Surfing Association, the World Surf League, the Northern Cape Tourism Authority and Billabong.

Complimentary high-resolution images are available for media outlets on request.