Rotary celebrates 50 years

2015-06-24 06:00
PHOTOS: Tania Sandberg

Wanda and Robbie Mair and past president Mike Lesar.

PHOTOS: Tania Sandberg Wanda and Robbie Mair and past president Mike Lesar.

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THE Rotary Club of Amanzimtoti celebrated 50 years of service on Friday.

“I believe we can look back with some pride. It has not only been a magnificent achievement, but also groundbreaking in many respects,” president Chris Skinner said in his welcome address.

Skinner acknowledged that the club could not have achieved this without the support of the Amanzimtoti community, and their Rotary International friends “who have rallied to our support in so many ways”.

Guest of honour and past district governor Natty Moodley, proposed a toast to the club. Moodley currently serves as Zone 20A co-ordinator for Rotary International, a top position which involves co-ordinating Rotary activities in 10 countries in Africa, including South Africa.

Past president Phil Thornton highlighted the club’s rich history.

He said on 19 March, 1965, 25 prospective members attended a lunch at Amanzimtoti’s Lagoon Hotel. On 19 August, the district governor inducted charter president Leslie Roberts. The first project of the club was to build a kitchen for a pre-school feeding scheme.

“A lot of the club’s support was given to Adam’s Mission, a historical educational establishment, because the nearby Nungwana Falls was still a tourist attraction,” he added.

“In 1976, the first non-white member to join was Logan Moodley, who soon invited three other Indian members, among them CK Naidoo, who fortunately, is still with us. In 1982, Logan became president of the club,” Thornton said.

Logan also played a big part in the establishment of a “daughter club”, Isipingo-Prospecton, which was chartered on 4 December, 1980.

Aneska Du Pont was the first woman­ to join the club in 1991 and became the first woman president in the whole of district 9270 in 1996.

The club also became an early supporter of the Youth Exchange Scheme and organised youth leadership courses for 31 consecutive years for local schools.

More recently, the club has been renowned for its support of the Toy Story and Winter Warmth programmes run by East Coast Radio.

“Much of that credit must go to the late Leon de Lange, who was CEO of Santa at the time. Mike Lesar, his successor at Santa (now Atbak), now has the task of keeping up the good work,” Thornton said.

Another project of long standing has been the Mother of Peace orphanage, purchased through Lotto by the late DG Mike Strong which became the passion of Du Pont. The club also has a fine record of supporting adult literacy. Inspired PDG Vic Bredenkamp, Roy Olckers took on this for the district when Vic died.

For a small club Toti has also provided more than its fair share of district governors - three in all. Jimmy Somerville in 1985/86, Dennis Daly in 1994/95 and Chris Skinner in 2003/04.

Thornton said that the night was not just an occasion for looking back, it was also to look forward to a bright future for Rotary and the Rotary Club of Amanzimtoti in the decade ahead.

Jay Ramsunder was inducted as the new president of the club. He has been a Rotarian for 28 years and was twice president of the Rotary Club of Isipingo-Prospecton.

He is married to Priscilla and they have three children and four grandchildren

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