Travel Report by Sonel Lindeque, Immediate Past Chairlady and Treasurer

2021’s Ladies Circle South Africa Annual General Meeting Weekend (LCSA AGM Weekend) hosted by Edenvale LC6 (ELC6) at Villa Paradiso, Hartebeespoort, was one for the books. For me it was definitely due to the fact that I haven’t seen most of the ladies in person since the 2019 AGM in East London. It made getting together all the more special.

My travels started on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021, when I caught a flight to Johannesburg (JHB) from Port Elizabeth (PE). How I missed traveling! One of the most precious things about Ladies Circle is the fact that there are so many opportunities to travel, and I for one always grab those opportunities with both hands. Traveling can be expensive, but if you work it out correctly and put in the effort, one can make great travels happen.

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend some quality time with my best friend, Pam McCabe Watson, Louis Trichardt LC4 Life Honorary Member, in JHB for a couple of days before departing with Natalie Ambartzakis, Edenvale LC6 Member on Friday morning, May 21st, 2021, to the AGM venue.  Natalie and I had a lovely hour and a half road trip and soon arrived at our destination. Thanks, Natalie, for being such an amazing chauffeur.

Upon arrival at the hotel, we were greeted at Registration by ELC6 and then my weekend designation as Conference Photographer started. Circlers started to arrive as well as some of the VIP guests, namely Round Table Southern Africa’s President, Stefan Grobler & Vice-President, Werner Swanepoel. We received awesome goody bags and were quickly booked into our rooms.

After settling in, doing the meet & greet with fellow Circlers and partners, the 29th Annual General Meeting of LCSA began.  The meeting went really well and it was especially great to also have the AGORA President, Laura van Zyl and her Vice-President, Bongekile Bongi Mkhithi addressing the floor. Due to the pandemic we all got accustomed to Zoom and therefore were also blessed with the virtual presence of our LCI President, Femke van Raam & Niels, LCI African Region Chairperson, Idah Mayoba Chilufya Samulola, APAC Region Chairperson, Namrata Shenoy and also PE Pearls LC19’s Godchild Circle, East London LC23. Great things are possible if you go out and make them happen.

Friday evening’s Welcome Party was Italian Flair themed and the ladies sure got the creative juices flowing when coming up with their Circle outfits! From Fattis & Monis, the Italian flag, and traditional waiters to sophisticated garments made for great Italian Flair. Creating your own pizza for dinner was of course just what was needed to line the stomachs for the evening’s party and solving of all Circle, Table and the World’s problems.

At Saturday morning’s Circler Workshop, we made good use of the morning winter sun to brainstorm together and soon were Inspiring each other with words around the Maypole. The social activity afterwards was great fun as everyone took part in the Amazing Race. Lots of fun and laughter was had by all. Our creative sides, hand-eye coordination, communication and blind-folded hands free donut eating skills were put to the test. Ultimately, the debatable question of the day was who was, or wasn’t, the LCSA President at the time of the Race. Clearly some games are taken way too seriously by some!

The President’s Cocktail Party is always a proud moment shared together.  A highlight picture taken is always that of the LCSA Past Presidents, a group of elite ladies that have led this National Organization and continue to do so with guidance. I am still humbly honoured to be amongst this group.  Sharing an hour with Champaign, gifts, flowers, banners and speeches together with the President, Past Presidents, other Service Clubs and invited guests, it just makes for such a special hour of the whole weekend.  And then it was time for the Presidential Banquet.

What a way to end off a lovely weekend. Congratulations to Natasha Lloyd and her National Board and wishing Cheslyn Dunlop and her newly elected team a wonderful year. Congratulations to all who received the prestigious trophies.  I am super proud of our Circle as we, PE Pearls Ladies Circle No.19, once again were awarded the LCI Day Trophy for the fourth year in a row and were blessed with being awarded Circle of the Year. We then danced and spent some precious moments around the bonfire to end the evening off.

Thank you and well done to ELC6 for going all out and hosting a truly wonderful AGM Weekend.  Thanks also to everyone attending for adding to a great memory. I was blessed to be able to extend my trip to visit my parents in Louis Trichardt whom I only get to see once a year.  I also got to catch up with some RT Zoutpansberg 66 41ers and old friends before heading back home on Monday May 31st, 2021. I am looking forward to the 2021/22 Circle Year as we “Inspire the Future”. Thank you to all who made this adventure possible!!