The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has caught us all by surprise, but as Rotarians we are determined to make a difference and assist the needy who will be hard hit by the economic fall-out, says President Anne Kruger.

Although our meetings have been cancelled, we hope to be able to start meeting via the computer video program Zoom, as soon as District has sorted out the costing. The Rotary e-clubs already meet this way, and have made it a fun event, with a fancy-dress theme to each two-weekly meeting (usually 8-9pm). We will keep you updated, as committees could also meet on Zoom to discuss their projects.

Meanwhile the projects committee has made contact with a variety of established organisations who assist the needy, such as Valcare, NorSA, Drakenstein Hospice and Butterfly House, MCM and some old age homes, to investigate how we can become involved.

With the Covid-19 crisis in SA only at the beginning, we have to commit funds prudently and keep our powder dry for when a possible tsunami develops. We will await the specific requests from these NGOs, and then decide on the merits of each case, bearing in mind that our project funds should, except for a few current commitments, be directed mainly to emergency aid resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a result, we intend to shelve our spectacle project for this year, and will rather apply this funding to assist in the current crisis. Should we get involved in a feeding project, or perhaps provision of meals to emergency workers, we intend using King’s Catering for this purpose.

While the future seems bleak and uncertain at this point in time, we must be courageous, avoid panic, adhere to all restrictions, and act when our help is needed. The Covid-19 pandemic will sorely test us, but will also be a great opportunity to be of service.


So far it has been a busy quarter, with a very successful Paarl Cycle Tour, which was based at Fairview for the first time. More than 1800 cyclists turned up, and there would have been many more, were it not that entries were closed early due to fears that the venue would be overrun. The lawns next to the dam at Fairview made for a beautiful setting where cyclists could relax after cycling as far as 97km in extremely hot weather. Should we be allowed to use the same venue next year, the finish will probably be moved closer to Fairview, and access to parking areas will be improved to avoid long queues of cars before the start. Thank you to all Rotarians and their partners who worked hard to make the day a big success.


The senior concert in the Paarl town hall was once again a hit with about 400 senior citizens and Sunfield residents attending. Peter Van and his band were at the helm. Among the entertainers were dancers from Butterfly House and the Caledonian Roses minstrels as well as Brenda Wynne who got the audience’s feet tapping with some “ageless grace” exercises. Rotarians and partners participated by providing lifts from old age homes, serving tea and distributing the snacks provided by Shoprite.


Meanwhile, projects coordinator Deon Erasmus has been hard at work facilitating the renovations at the Kerith Retreat for psychiatric patients in Muldersvlei. The prefab buildings are sorely in need of upgrading, and thanks to a grant from the Rupert Educational Fund, Rotarian Hannes Jacobs and his team have kicked off by gutting the kitchen, tiling the floor and generally improving the facilities. Other improvements are the erection of roofs at the entrances to the bathrooms, so that residents do not have to brave the elements while waiting to use these facilities. Further tiling of dormitories will also be undertaken.


A roof has been installed to cover the play area at the POP educare centre at Just Trees Farm, paid with funds from the Global Grant (pic below). The training of two teacher assistants by the Pebbles Project has also been completed and one of the assistants has been appointed permanently. We’ve been informed by the Goedgedacht Trust that virtually all its funding from the UK has dried up as a result of Covid-19. Fundraising tours to Goedgedacht Farm near Riebeeck Kasteel by schools and training groups from the UK have been cancelled for this year, leaving a large dent in their budget.

Until we meet again, best wishes to you all, while we hunker down for the big "lockdown".