The Face of the Start
March 14, 2013
Valedictory Speech by President Suzanne Himely
June 14, 2013

Being a Rotarian is not all work (it may all be fun) and no pleasure.  On Sunday 17th March at the crack of dawn a team of 5 member of our Club headed out to Backsberg Wine Estate where the Paarl Club held the first, hopefully not the last,  of an annual potjiekos competition.  It was a magnificent day with tables all set up under the spreading oak trees and vine branches ready and waiting for the chef’s to start their fires.  Ian Robertson had loaded his van with chairs, his entire stock of personal pots, dishes and cutlery.  Coolers boxes containing chicken, vegetables, herbs and spices and two black cast iron cooking pots. Ian was prepared for any emergency.   Chris du Plessis also equipped with lamb and his secret spices quietly went about doing all his own preparations for his Spiced Lamb served with cous cous.   Sea Point eventually had around 35 members and friends, Goodwood had around 10 and Paarl but a few more than Claremont.  John Jacobs made sure our wine glasses were always filled and also acted as an assistant, as did Lester Cameron.  Maxwell put on her Rotary apron grabbed a knife and went about chopping and peeling under the watchful eye of Ian.  Size WAS important.  Great camaraderie between all the competitors and everyone mingled happily.  Time for the judging which was ably done by two members  of the Backsberg’ restaurant staff who took this challenge very seriously.   We held our breath when the final winners were announced and lo and behold our little team won first prize for Chris’s Spiced Lamb.  All I can say is those who weren’t there missed out on a truly wonderful day but on the bright side, the fearsome five treated the event as a mini lunch where we learned even more about each other.  Most not printable.

Jo Maxwell
Jo Maxwell
Born and schooled in Cape Town.   In 1959 age 21 disappeared to the distant north and spent 4 years in London.  Married Stuart in Johannesburg in 1968 and produced two children, Caryn and Warwick. Moved to Pretoria in 1977.  Stuart died in 1985 and darling son died in 2000.  Now a grandmother (called JoJo) to two boys aged 2 and 5. ,  Started and successfully ran 3 businesses in Pretoria with absolutely no training.  Domain, an interior decorating shop.  Du und Du, a coffee shop/restaurant.  The Inner Eatery, another coffee/lunch shop.  Moved back to Cape Town in 1989.  In 1995 opened  Bishopsfield,  a four star guest house in Rondebosch.  Retired from incoming earning efforts in 2003 and began working in the disadvantaged communities.   In 2004 started the first Chapter in South Africa of the Red Hat Society of America.  Called ourselves the Cape Town Red Hat Renegades and changed their motto of Fun and Friendship after 50, to Fun and Friendship with a Purpose. Our first Purpose was to fund raise and feed 600 children in 10 crèche’s in the Browns Farm informal settlement a daily breakfast of ePap..  Now 900 children and 14 crèches.  Volunteer driver for Project Daphne for 20 years.   Invented the very successful Good Night and God Bless waterproof sleeping bag in 2005, sponsored by Claremont Rotary and still being made by hundreds of people and which has now been taken up in Wales, Scotland and England after a demonstration to the Royal College of Medical Practitioners in Swansea in 2011.   Won the Cape Times/Vodacom/Waterfront Woman of Worth in 2005 – rather a shock.  Introduced into Claremont Rotary by Chris du Plessis and inducted as a member in 2005.  In 2008 I became a Paul Harris Fellow. Involved in many projects – some Rotary, some personal and some under the CTRHR Chapter.  Did a World Cruise from Southampton through Panama Canal  in 1995.  East Coast through Suez to UK 1997.  Baltic’s in 1999.  West Coast to the UK 2010.  Compulsive letter writer to the press with more than 1500 letters published since 2000. Hobbies – still play a little bridge mainly for charities.  and a little beading,   I like to tell people that I do community work because it keeps me off the streets and out of mischief.  I have been called many things, impulsive, impatient, independent, incorrigible  but prefer being called a maverick.  

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