International Lighthouse Weekend – A happy belated Mandela Day celebration for Talhado

 

 

 

When Sunday’s weather turned out to be near perfect it was destined that the fundraiser organised for Talhado Children’s Haven at the Seal Point lighthouse was going to be a success.    The morning kicked off with yoga on the grass in front of the lighthouse tower, overlooking the ocean.  This was followed by a gentle walk or run for the duration of 67 minutes.  67 is the number of years that Nelson Mandela gave of his life to service for his country.  

The first 67 people to buy tickets were issued with a beautiful pen from Andy Cartwright’s “I am South African” collection, sponsored by Carey Olsen, as well as a personal Thank You card made by the children of Talhado.  Around 80 people meandered around the lighthouse and its surrounding fynbos reserve.  It wasn’t a race, which meant that people of any age and any ability could participate.  

When everyone had built up an appetite from exercising they could indulge in some delicious burgers and donuts supplied by Chef Wesley and Juliet Randles of Nevermind Restaurant, washed down with thirst quenching, freshly squeezed orange juice from Fresh Beets.    And if that wasn’t enough there was a huge table of cakes and pastries to choose from, kindly supplied by St Francis’s talented bakers.   

Children tried their hand at the classic old fishing game, while parents could take in some local art and purchase crocheted “Oumie” hats and bags lovingly made by Greta Dias or some seedlings and herbs for the garden from The Farmyard Nursery.  And what’s a visit to the lighthouse without climbing to the top of the tower itself?  Many families made their way up the Old Lady to take in the views and capture a few snapshots from atop the tower. 

Meanwhile, down on the sprawling lawns Dirk Ellis Volkswagen, as the main sponsor of the day, displayed their latest range of VW buses while the gentle sounds of the Talhado marimba band floated on the airwaves. 

Speaking of airwaves, the Port Elizabeth Amateur Radio were transmitting from inside the lighthouse to connect with people in lighthouses all around the world to tie in with International Lighthouse Weekend celebrations.   Inside the foyer of the lighthouse were some beautiful art pieces which were on silent auction.  

At the end of the day the organisers tallied up the takings and in excess of R116 000 was raised for Talhado.  As the ability to hold fundraising events had ground to a screeching halt in early 2020 due to Covid restrictions, this event has provided much-needed funds which will assist the school in its day to day running while it continues to offer quality Montessori education and cooked meals to nearly 100 local learners aged 3-6 years. 

Organisers of the event, Cathryn Hempel (Talhado principal), Christina Tancredi and Janet Duval, wish to thank all of our generous corporate and private sponsors and everyone involved who came out to support and enjoy the day.    Talhado also wishes to thank Clinton, Paul and Haydn of Petrel Ventures for allowing them to host such a wonderful and successful fundraiser at the beautiful Seal Point Lighthouse.

Article by Cath Hempel

Municipality To Find Lasting Solution For Stray Animals

Kouga Municipality - logo

KOUGA Municipality is looking at different approaches to find a permanent solution for roaming animals across the region.

Community Services Portfolio Councillor, Daniel Benson, said roaming animals were a serious threat to public safety and had been highlighted as a matter of concern by residents.

“The municipality has been leading investigations to find a lasting solution – especially now that there is no pound for stray animals,” he said.

“We have already engaged with roleplayers such as livestock owners in order to get a better understanding of the challenges and are working closely with the municipality’s law enforcement unit to identify and implement solutions.”

He said possible solutions include the establishment of a municipal-run pound or a pound managed by the SPCA Assisi in Humansdorp. The third option is a privately owned pound in the region.

Benson said two of the challenges identified, are the shortage of commonage land for local upcoming farmers and the easy availability of calves for purchase.

“This means that when animals are impounded, livestock owners simply buy new calves as this is cheaper than paying the fine and transport their confiscated cattle from the pound,” he said. “If we are going to stop this from happening, we need the support of the wider farming community and will be engaging with them as well.

“Furthermore, more education will be done in our communities on how to care for animals and the dangers they pose to residents once they are let loose and left unsupervised.”

Benson encouraged all livestock owners to ensure that their animals do not wander around unattended and that they are properly branded.

“Ultimately, it is the responsibility of livestock owners to keep their animals from damaging other people’s property and roaming around in the road, where they can cause serious accidents,” he said.

The keeping of livestock is subject to municipal by-laws such as the Road and Traffic by-law and Prevention of Public Nuisance and Keeping of Animals by-law. In terms of municipal notice 109/2016, published on 13 October, livestock owners have been granted seven days to comply with the by-laws, failing which their animals will be impounded.

Kouga Adds No Markup on Electricity Tariff Increase

Kouga Municipality - logo

AS much as Kouga Municipality was mindful of the tough economic climate on residents, its recent electricity tariff increase was guided by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and Eskom.

From July 1 this year, residents were paying 14.59% more for electricity.

This despite the municipality voicing their concern through the participation process to NERSA earlier this year.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said the municipality realised that the electricity hike would hit residents’ pockets hard given the current economic climate brough about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In a bid to keep the electricity tariff as low as possible for local residents, the municipality did not add a markup to the awarded increased percentage by NERSA to Eskom – giving them the green light to charge municipalities more,” he said.

“The municipality is also on the receiving end as far as this is concerned, especially when it comes to electrical infrastructure service delivery and electrical bills that have to be paid.”

The step tariff electrical costs are as follows:

  • Block 1: 0 units to 50 units – R1.16 per unit
  • Block 2: 51 units to 350 units – R1.51 per unit
  • Block 3: 351 units to 600 units – R2.16 per unit
  • Block 4: More than 600 units – R2.60 per unit

Hendricks urged all residents to utilise electricity wisely, as well as to use less electricity from 07:00 to 09:00 and from 17:00 to 22:00.

Municipality to Clamp Down on Illegal Electricity

Kouga Municipality - logo

Illegal electrical connections in KougaKOUGA Municipality, in conjunction with the local South African Police Service, is set to clamp down on illegal electricity connections in the region – no matter what it takes.

Thus, Kouga Infrastructure and Engineering Portfolio Councillor, Willem Gertenbach, has called on all residents to support the initiative, which aims to safeguard communities against the serious threats posed by illegal electricity.

According to Gertenbach, illegal electricity connections are most prevalent in informal settlements across the region – especially Ocean View in Jeffreys Bay, Sea Vista in St Francis Bay and KwaNomzamo in Humansdorp.

“The loss of income due to illegal connections is estimated at about R280 million per year,” he said.

Gertenbach said illegal electricity poses a great danger to communities.

“Illegal wiring is generally not installed properly and often criss-crosses streets where children play, and people walk. These innocent people could easily be shocked and killed by this wiring.

“It, furthermore, presents a serious fire risk – especially in informal areas where structures tend to be more flammable and built closely together.”

He explained that illegal electricity further damage service delivery by overloading the associated infrastructure. “This means that illegal electricity could potentially blow the entire power supply to an area, leaving everyone, including law-abiding residents, in the dark.”

“The municipality regularly cut and remove illegal wiring, but perpetrators often simply replace the wiring and continue with their illegal activities once the municipal team had left.

“Workers who cut illegal wiring are also often threatened with violence by those guilty of stealing electricity.”

According to Gertenbach, residents who supply and use electricity illegally, put their entire communities and their own families at risk.

“It is a situation that cannot be tolerated, and we call on communities to report such activity and to support the municipality in its efforts to clamp down on it,” he said.

“Residents who supply electricity illegally are issued with stiff fines the first two times they are caught. Smaller circuit breakers are also installed to their homes to limit the amount of electricity they can access.

“If offenders are caught a third time, their electricity supply is disconnected permanently.”  

International Lighthouse Weekend celebrated at Seal Point Lighthouse this Sunday.

 

Seal Point Lighthouse

This beautiful photo of Seal Point From Landscape Collection by Photographer, the late Martin Barbour.

This coming weekend is International Lighthouse Weekend where Lighthouse managers, keepers and owners are encouraged to open their lighthouse or light station and related visitor centre to the public with a view to raising the profile of lighthouses and preserving maritime heritage.    Lighthouses all over the world have become involved in one or another lighthouse activity.   

One of the major international events is the ILLW (International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (see illw.net) run by the Amateur Radio Group and attracts over 500 lighthouse entries located in over 40 countries.  It is one of the most popular international amateur radio events in existence.  There is little doubt that the month of August has become “Lighthouse Month” due largely to the popularity and growth of the ILLW.

For the first time ever Seal Point lighthouse in Cape St Francis has been chosen by local amateur radio presenter, Keverne  Burger from the Port Elizabeth Amateur Radio Society to be a participating lighthouse.  Keverne will spend Saturday and Sunday inside the tower of the lighthouse communicating with other radio enthusiasts based in or near lighthouses around the world.  Keverne says “The aim is to make contact with another radio station, wherever they may be.  We give the reference of the lighthouse, the signal report and the name of the person talking.    Under normal circumstances we chat with people around the world and make friends.  It’s a great hobby!   We have also worked successfully with a youth development programme where we train underprivileged youth and get them licensed.”

Sunday also happens to be Family Day at Seal Point Lighthouse to raise funds for Talhado Children’s Haven and Montessori Preschool in Seavista which educates and runs a feeding scheme for close to 100 children aged between 3 and 6 years old.  A yoga session with Jade Dace will kick off the day at 9am, followed by a fun run/walk around the pristine grounds surrounding the lighthouse at 10am.  Food, juice, baked goods, seedlings, art and other goodies will be available to purchase.  Talhado’s very own marimba band will be playing in the grounds of the lighthouse.  And, of course you can take a trip up the tower of the lighthouse to enjoy the views from the top, and on the way up you will probably see Keverne in action, connecting with lighthouses around the world.

Clinton Hempel, one of the owners of Petrel Ventures, the leaseholder of the Seal Point Lighthouse Estate, said he and his fellow shareholders are delighted to welcome Keverne and all Cape St Francis residents and visitors alike to the Seal Point Lighthouse on this special weekend.  “We have spent an enormous amount of time and energy over the past 18 months refurbishing the Seal Point Lighthouse Estate, to bring this iconic Cape St Francis fixture firmly back within our community.  We look forward to a fun-filled weekend, all in aid of an excellent local cause”.

If you would like more information on the fundraiser please visit our Facebook page, Talhado Childrens Haven, or contact Cath on 0764126090. ‘

Article by Cath Hempel

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.