318 active Covid cases as of Friday

Kouga Municipality has a total of 2704 cases recorded which 2334 have been recovered & 52 have lost their lives.
As off 21 Nov 2020 there is a total of 318 active cases.
Kouga Local Municipality town breakdown as of 21 November 2020, the following active cases have been recorded:
  • Humansdorp: 120, J
  • effreys Bay: 111,
  • Patensie: 33, Hankey:
  • 32, St Francis Bay: 11,
  • Thornhill: 9,
  • Loerie: 2.
  • Oyster Bay has no new cases.
  • Covid stats Kouga


Latest Covid19 statistics relating to Kouga region

Kouga Municipality has a total of 2528 cases recorded which 2134 have recovered.
As off 18 Nov 2020 there is a total of 344 active cases.
Kouga Local Municipality town breakdown as of 18 November 2020, the following new cases have been recorded:
  • Humansdorp: 66,
  • Jeffreys Bay: 44,
  • Patensie: 13,
  • Hankey: 22,
  • Loerie: 6,
  • St Francis Bay: 5,
  • Thornhill: 7,
  • Loerie: 6.
  • Oyster Bay has no new cases.

Covid stats - Kouga 18-11

\Covid stats Sarah Baartman region 18-11

The John Whitmore Book Project

South African author, Miles Masterson, has interviewed more than 120 watersports legends over the past decade, including Americans filmmaker Bruce Brown and surfing and sailing innovator Hobie Alter, and 1977 surfing world champion, South Africa’s Shaun Tomson. 

The John Whitmore Book Project

John ‘The Oom’ Whitmore with the ‘The Endless Summer 2’ crew and cast, Cape St Francis, 1992. Image includes John Whitmore (bottom right), surfers Robert ‘Wingnut’ Weaver and Pat O’Connell (US), Shaun Tomson and Sharon Ngcobo (SA), as well as filmmakers Bruce Brown and son Dana Brown, and other local and international cast and crew. Image courtesy Gary Haselau (centre top).

Miles has also conducted extensive research, poring over family albums and scrapbooks, as well as visited national libraries and archives. All this in a quest to tell the incredible life story of one of South African surfing’s founding fathers, John ‘The Oom’ Whitmore (1929-2001), who also brought Hobie Catting and bodyboarding to the country in the 1970s.

Writing now almost complete, Miles has launched a crowdfunding campaign to get the book published. “John’s life is a cracking tale of surf discovery, entrepreneurial success and athletic achievement,” Miles says. “The goal has always been to create an entertaining read while preserving a classic slice of South African sporting history. Hopefully, with our crowdfunding campaign, we can now make that a reality.”

Why John Whitmore?

Whitmore’s influential life still resonates at home and globally. Also known as ‘The Doyen’, John was the first to shape fibreglass surfboards in Cape Town and founded SA’s first surfing brand in the 1950s. John gained Springbok colours for local surfers and managed three SA surfing teams at International Surfing Federation (ISF) world surfing contests in the 1960s and 1970s. 

The John Whitmore Book Project

John ‘The Oom’ Whitmore with the first full Springbok surfing team bound for the 1966 ISF World Championships in San Diego. (L to R): Donald Paarman, Robert MacWade, John Whitmore (manager), Margaret Smith, Marlene Webb, George Thomopoulos (captain), Errol Hickman, Cornel Barnett. Image: Whitmore Family Collection.

ohn’s efforts as a water sports administrator led to South Africa becoming a respected global powerhouse in surfing, Hobie Catting and bodyboarding, eventually resulting in several world champs, including 1977 IPS World Surfing Champion Shaun Tomson, and 1978 Hobie 16 World Champions Mick and Colin Whitehead. John also helped to establish their supporting industries, which thrive to this day.

But it was a chance encounter in 1960 with a travelling American surfer, Dick Metz, that originally put John in contact with the epicentre of Californian surf culture. Metz convinced his close friend, Bruce Brown, to visit South Africa and – directed there by Whitmore – he discovered ‘the perfect wave’ at ‘Bruce’s Beauties’ in Cape St. Francis, an epochal moment in surf history that was captured in the global smash hit movie, ‘The Endless Summer’. 

The John Whitmore Book Project

John meeting American filmmaker of ‘The Endless Summer’ fame, Bruce Brown, along with 60s US surf stars Robert August and Mike Hynson, in Cape Town in 1963. John steered Brown towards Cape St Francis, where he stumbled on the surf spot now known as ‘Bruce’s Beauties’, a discovery that made ‘The Endless Summer’ a worldwide box office hit. Image: Robert Price / Whitmore Family Collection.

The John Whitmore Book Project

The John Whitmore Book Project documents these and many other untold stories in an engrossing narrative. With the manuscript now mostly complete, the team behind the project is embarking on a fundraising campaign via South African crowdfunding platform Thundafund. The goal? To publish Whitmore’s biography in early 2021.

The crowdfunding campaign offers several premium products for backers, from limited run soft- and hardcover books including never-seen-before photographs, one-of-a-kind stickers and t-shirts, to two exclusive premier reward tiers, ‘The Oom’ Signature Series and ‘The Doyen’ Custom Collection, the latter tiers available to a total of only 60 backers. 

Supporters of these premier tiers will have their names published in the book, and will also receive limited edition Whitmore prints and a map of SA marking the key locations of John’s life. ‘The Doyen’ Custom Collection will also come with the book in a wooden box, feature a roll-up wall map and an exclusive collector’s item: a model replica of 1960s Whitmore longboard.

Says Miles, “We hope that the surfing and Hobie Catting communities will rally behind our effort and play a part in chronicling and preserving The Oom’s considerable legacy for future generations.” 

Crowdfunding link: bit.ly/theoomthundafund

“Then and now” in the Greater St Francis Region – #2

Granny's Pool, St Francis Bay as it was in 1960

Granny’s Pool in the late 1960s. Note all the sand on the now stabilised dunes, that would have replenished the fabulously broad beaches of St Francis Bay. Photo: Geoff Cowling.

Granny's Pool, St Francis Bay as it was in 2020

The same scene today. The dunes are stabilised and the sand has gone, exposing rocks and making it difficult to walk from Granny’s Pool to the main beach, especially at high tide. Rising sea levels associated with global warming will result in more erosion, possible requiring the construction of sea walls to protect the homes perched on the crest of the once mobile dune. Photo: Timm Hoffman and Richard Cowling.

Other posts in this series can be viewed at https://stfrancistoday.com/then-and-now-in-the-greater-st-francis-region/


A way of lessening thatch roof fires spreading?

Eight years ago last Thursday (12th) I was kicking back with a cold beer in Durban when I received a call from my brother. He was at OR Tambo International about to board a flight to France when he received a call from in St Francis Bay that there was a huge fire on the canals that had started literally around the corner from his house. As he had already cleared immigration there was not much he could do and unable to reach friends at ground zero he gave me a call asking if I would be able to assist by travelling down to SFB if necessary. As it turned out it was unnecessary for his house was unscathed despite houses across the road and less than a hundred metres away were raised to the ground. 

Switching on the TV and watching what unfolded was somewhat reminiscent of watching 911 all those years earlier. Mindblowing.

While many homeowners have converted to alternative roofing my brother still has a thatch roof as do others in the village and on the canals so possibly he and other home owners with thatch may find this article posted by Trevor Wright on FB last week interesting and worth investigating.

Photo – Martin Barbour © 2012


Does a thatch roof drenching system available on a cost of materials and rental basis appeal to you? If youre on the Canals, or if you have a borehole or wellpoint and a pump and water tank, you already have most of the components for my system.

There is no code for roof drenching systems. Insurers have their own unique requirements for these systems, some reasonable, some not. My system complies with most insurers requirements, and where we don’t comply, we attempt to do so.

Being paid out for losing your home and possessions is one thing. Preventing the loss and anguish is another.

Leaving aside insurance issues, a drenching system shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. With the guidance of a local professional engineer, I have developed, installed and tested a system that works in St Francis Bay conditions, which is as reliable as your garden irrigation system. It’s not a fancy system, it has no bells and whistles. It is simple and effective, even in the howling summer winds and high temperatures.

Is there a fire upwind of you or nearby? Opening one valve activates the system and within minutes your thatch is wet. Windblown embers landing on the thatch, the cause of most of the recent home losses, have no effect. When the threat has passed, close the valve. It’s as easy as that. If you live away, we place signage to direct the Fire Department or the Disaster Volunteer Group members to the activation valve.

My system is based on the principles of the Wind Enabled Ember Dousing System (WEEDS) used in America to protect homes for wildfires. It is a fire prevention risk reduction system from external sources. Wet thatch doesn’t burn easily.

I’m available to discuss the system with you.

Trevor. 0765890014.  –  St Francis Bay.