Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Last Meeting of the Year: Yuletide and Fortune Cookies

The year has come to a close and the last meeting of the Club, although attendance was down, the spirit and the entertainment was definitely not.

All the members attending wore colourful hats ranging from cowboy to snow hats to Christmas hats and even Bob the builder ,also known as Geoff Coomb Davis, was present.

A warm welcome was extended to all and to our guest Hennie du Toit, by our President Glenis,who then handed over to the Toastmaster for the evening ,Elaine Stewart Coyne. Elaines theme for the evening was “tune out and tune in”.

This sounds a bit strange but when you think about all the hustle and bustle going on around us at this time of year, we should tune out and not get caught up in the rat race but rather be grateful for what we have and tune in to all our blessings. Elaine has a wonderful, relaxed nature which immediately puts everyone at ease to sit back and enjoy.

The word of the evening presented by Gillian Nutt was Yuletide, which is another word for the Christmas season.

There were two speeches presented and both were from the advanced manuals. The first speaker Louise Solomons, with her speech Words do not come easy to me , spoke as an Afrikaans speaking person trying to learn English, which has many different meanings for the same word. Totally confusing!!!! She was evaluated by Antoinette Baatjes.

The second speaker was Marianah Lourens with her soliloquy “A Selection from Ellen Gunderson Traylors “Esther”.

This was a monologue whereby the speaker was not to make contact with the audience but to rather get across to the audience the feelings that she was experiencing. This is extremely difficult but was handled very ably by Marianah ,who was evaluated by Nicholas Mitchell.

The Table Topics presented by Colleen Love invited the audience to eat a Fortune Cookie and then to give their interpretation of the message inside. This caused much hilarity especially with Quinton, whose message read “ If you want the rainbow you have to tolerate the rain.” This was very apt for our resident weatherman but then he recalled that when he was small his Mom had always told him that if you found the rainbow and crossed over it you would change gender. For most of us this was the first time that we had heard this but the laughter caused by this comment was fantastic.

The Toast presented by Denise Pudney to Family and Friends was very appropriate for this time of year.

The Table Topics Winner was none other than Roger “the Dodger” Ah Kun, who certainly looked very dashing in his red shirt and matching red Christmas hat.

The Top Toastie Award for the evening went to Louise Solomons for her very entertaining 15 minute long speech.

Please remember that the next meeting will be 25th January 2011 at the Caritas Care Centre in West Street.

President Glenis ended the meeting by wishing all a very Blessed Christmas and everything of the best for 2011.

Take care, drive safely and see you all in 2011

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another Toastmasters Meeting: Full of Porky Goodness

Can you believe that last evening was the penultimate meeting of our Toastmasters Club for the year 2010. We may well ask where has this year gone???

The evening , as usual , was most enjoyable with a warm welcome extended to the members present and to Rachel, a guest of Rhonas.

During the Exco reports a well deserved presentation of her Toastmaster badge was made to Mimi Makupula by Louise Solomons. Mimi has completed her CC5 speech in her Competent Communicator Manual.

President Glenis then handed over to our Toastmaster for the evening., Denise Pudney. However before handing over to Denise ,Glenis extended heartiest congratulations to Denise on her 60th birthday to which the members responded by singing Happy Birthday.

Denise had a humorous theme for the evening, which was the difference between the thinking of a man and a woman.

Table Topics was presented by Mimi, which involved the participants receiving a picture of an animal and naming it by a different name and giving reasons for that name change. The winner of the Table Topics for his description of a little pig as “porky goodness” was Nicholas Mitchell.

Chenielle Badenhorst, who presented her CC2 speech entitled “Moving House,” gave some hilarious insights and also suggestions on how to prepare to move house and some essential items required.

Quinton Jacobs presented a folk tale from the advanced story telling manual entitled “ The Judgement of the Baboon”.

Marianah Lourens gave on educational on Goal Setting and Planning, which explained how members can achieve their Competent Leader award.

The Toast of the Day to “Frail Care” was ably done by Debbie Stephenson.

Special mention must be given to Rhona Murchie, who gave her first evaluation on the CC2 speech presented by Chenielle. Well done Rhona!!

The General Evaluation for the evening was done by Antoinette Baatjes,which was as usual efficiently presented.

The Top Toastie Award was awarded to Rickie Woods, who remains a very loyal member of Algoa Toastmasters despite being in pain from a back injury.

A sensus was done at the meeting and it was voted upon that the club would use Caritas Care Centre as their meeting place from the New Year. More details re this will follow at a later stage.

A date to remember is the Saturday 11th Dec which will be the Christmas Party to be held at Westview Village Hall at 6.30 for 7. This will be in the form of a fun filled evening and all members attending are requested to bring a plate of eats.

Once again a wonderful, enjoyable evening was had by all present.

Take care,stay safe and see you all at the Christmas Party on the 11th Dec.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

26 October 2010 – Names, superheroes and Bruce Lee’s nail polish

The Toastmaster-for-the-evening was the quick witted Michael Warren who stepped into the role at short notice.

He entertained the Club with the remarkable history of personal names and revealed the origins of many members' names.

The Table Topics Master for the night was Colleen Love who borrowed the format from regular guest and recent Speechcraft graduate, Jason Schoeman. Participants were asked to draw a name of a superhero and an object to use as a weapon.

Nicholas Mitchell was a Powderpuff Girl who strangled his enemies with a pair of jeans; giving new meaning to the term: "crimes of denim".

Thomas Duthie gave his Incredible Hulk a Bronx-accent and armed the green beast with a cake of soap.

Toastmaster Michael Warren made a turn as the Karate Kid who found he could do more damage wielding a handbag.

There were two prepared speakers for the evening: Reinhardt Botha and Craig Stephenson.

Reinhardt gave his audience a different perspective on the whipping
boy of the Internet Age: mobile phone usage in schools. He argued that instead of educators dismissing their use as in irritant, mobile social media should be embraced as the next generation of educational technology.

Craig Stephenson delivered his third instalment in a speaking series on travel planning.

Nicholas Mitchell presented an educational on evaluating prepared speeches. He offered essential advice on how evaluators can provide a critical analysis of a speech while still buoying a speaker's self-confidence.

Chenielle Badenhorst delivered the Toast of the Day and toasted to the creative entrepreneurship needed to solve South Africa's chronic unemployment problem.

Last week's Top Toastie recipient Jason Schoeman awarded the floating trophy to Marianah Lourens for the support and advice she has imparted to him. It was a one two punch for Marianah who also picked up the Best Table Topics trophy for her turn as a nail polish wielding Bruce Lee.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, 9 November.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ray Bradbury’s vuvuzela, metaphor cake and inner peace (another meeting of the Algoa Toastmasters Club)

This past Tuesday's meeting was the first one for October and had the supreme, and serial, evaluator Nicholas Mitchell in the driver's seat as Toastmaster-for-the-evening.

Our guests were first-timers Barry Serfentein and Mike Wolf and repeaters: Jason Schoeman and Wendy Davis. Jason has been a frequent visitor to our meetings. He comes to us by way of Colleen Love and Gillian Nutt's current Speechcraft programme.

Table Topics Master was Craig Stephenson who started off a round-robin story by reading the opening paragraphs of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Each participant had to build on the story from where their predecessor left off. Most were able to emulate Bradbury's distinctive metaphorical style - that is until Distinguished Toastmaster Tom Horne snuck a vuvuzela into the plot.

Elaine Stewart-Coyne won Table Topics. The runner-up was Jason Schoeman.

The prepared speeches kicked off with an "icebreaker" speech presented by recently inducted Angie Kivido. Her speech was titled: "Snapshots of a work in progress". Her audience learnt that Angie is quite the hustling Dominoes player and that she has scaled Africa's loftiest peak: Mount Kilimanjaro.

The second speech was delivered by Mimi Makupula. The goal of her CC4 speech was to use rhetorical devices. Mimi used the ingredient of a cake (eggs, flour, "bicarb") as a metaphor to the same effect as: "when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade."

The final speech was the first advanced speech by Gillian Nutt. Gillian is a health practitioner and she introduced her audience to a concept widely accepted in Eastern medicine, but little understood in the West: the human body's innate energy system.

The Toast-of-the-Day was presented by Placxedes Ndhlovu. She toasted inner peace.

The winner of the Top Toastie floating-trophy at the last meeting, Debbie Stephenson, awarded it to Jason for his enthusiastic participation in meetings, although at this point he is still a visitor to the Club.

The next meeting is Tuesday, 26 October

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Debbie speaksssssss! (that is how an albino python would say it)

Our Club's Toastmaster-for the-evening on Tuesday night was E1 Area Governor and former Club President Marlene Van Wyk.

The theme for the evening was based on Elizabeth Gilbert's travel memoir Eat Pray Love.

Marlene asked speakers and those officiating what they would do if they could step out of their lives for a year the way Elizabeth Gilbert did.

Craig Stephenson (Grammarian) wants to play barista for a year at the Venice Train Station. Denise Pudney (Evaluator) wants to rent out her house and travel around the world for a year. Louise Erasmus (General Evaluator)would spend the summer months under the big skies of Montana.

The Club continues to grow! Leeann Roos was inducted by VP of Membership Louise Solomons.

Table Topics was presented by Chenielle Badenhorst who asked participants to present an impromptu "day in the life" speech from the point of view of an exotic pet. By way of an example, Chenielle described a typical day for her pet dachshund – using a German accent.

The prize for the best Table Topics speech went to Michael Warren for his hissing albino python. He beat out the likes of Thomas Duthie's gangsta-ferret and Tom Horne's justifiably nervous guinea pig.

There were four prepared speakers for the evening.

After a year as a visitor to the Club and eight months as a member Debbie Stephenson finally delivered her much awaited "icebreaker" speech. Debbie has used the last few months to gain the confidence to present her first speech by participating in Table Topics, officiating at meetings and delivering several Toasts. Debbie, an Australian, recounted how a chance meeting bought her to her to new life in South Africa nearly forty years ago.

Alison Immelman presented her fourth speech to the Club. Her breathtakingly creative use of language transported her audience into a recent experience of hers where she was stuck on a Virgin Airlines flight parked on a runway for several hours.

Alan Hunter presented an important lesson in constitutional law when he tackled an issue ripped straight from the headlines – the proposed Security of Information Bill. While media workers have been making the most noise about the Bill, Alan argued convincingly that this matter should be of concern to all South Africans.

The final prepared speaker was Marianah Lourens who delivered an interpretive reading of C.J. Langenhoven's poem: Die Stem.

Quinton Jacobs presented an educational talk on how to beat glossophobia. For those of you who didn't take Latin or Greek in university, glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. Quinton suggested that nervous speakers use positive mental imagery to clip the wings of those stomach butterflies.

Mimi Makapula provided the Toast on the night. After the experience of watching a pedestrian being hit by a car Mimi reminded members and guests to live for now as there are no guarantees that there will be a tomorrow.

Before the gavel fell on another entertaining and informative evening, Chenielle Badenhorst presented Debbie Stephenson with the Top Toastie floating trophy in recognition of Debbie confronting her own glossophobia.

The Club will meet again on 12 October.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Toastmasters are adrenaline junkies!

Last Tuesday’s meeting had Toastmaster-for-the-evening Craig Stephenson compare the Toastmasters experience to heart-thumping, white-knuckling and sweaty-palm-inducing activities like bungee jumping off a bridge and skydiving.

This comparison was apposite, considering that the fear of public speaking is the most common phobia. (Apposite was our word for the day, courtesy of Grammarian Nicholas Mitchell.)

Table Topics was hosted by Debbie Stephenson. She asked players to speak for one minute on the titles of Frank Sinatra songs like “Strangers in the Night” and “My Way”. E1 Area Governor, Marlene Van Wyk, took the prize for her impromptu speech inspired by Ol-Blue-Eye’s cover of the Beatles classic “Yesterday”. Coming in a very close second to Marlene was visiting guest, Jessamy.

The first speaker “to jump off that bridge” was Zuki Skade. Zuki was presenting his “icebreaker” speech. Zuki’s revealed the highlights and the lowlights of his extraordinary life. It was like a bestselling author reading a sample chapter from a thrilling biography. Zuki has certainly whetted the Club’s appetite for more.

The second speaker for the evening was brand-spanking-new member Chenielle Badenhorst. She was inducted just three weeks ago but was so eager to begin her Toastmasters journey that she jumped at the opportunity to present her “icebreaker” when another speaker had to drop out. For the enthusiasm she demonstrated she was awarded the “Top Toastie” floating trophy.

In another life Chenielle graced the stages of Europe as an opera singer. This might explain her thoroughly captivating stage presence and confidence.

Chenielle also introduced a neologism into the Club’s lexicon. She wondered what you would call a former Toastmaster – a “post-Toastie” perhaps.

Our third speaker was Louise Erasmus who marked a milestone by presenting her tenth speech to the Club and completing her Competent Communicator Manual. Louise’s speech was titled: “Coping with Cancer”.

Louise’s family has recently been touched by the dread disease but Louise explained that she has derived the strength to cope from the support of her friends and family, educating herself on the facts of the disease, and relying on her faith.

The final speech saw the welcome return of Quinton Jacobs. This intrepid weatherman has been away working in Jo’burg for the last three months.

His speech was a project from one of the advanced manuals. Quinton gave his audience some insights into science of meteorology. Did you know that a weather forecaster could be held liable for air crash deaths if a plane is downed by weather that the pilot was misinformed about? (Yikes!)

It was another successful and informative meeting. (Who needs DSTV!)

Our next Club meeting is Tuesday, 28 September.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Preserve the peace by telling a lie or three

Tuesday’s meeting was a full house with four guests joining the membership to sample the Toastmasters experience. Setting the tone for the meeting was the lighting-witted Thomas Duthie who kept proceedings light and fun as Toastmaster-for-the-evening.

If Dancing with the Stars can have a double elimination then our club can have a double induction. Louise Solomons, VP of Membership, did the honours and inducted the Algoa Club’s newest members: Angie Kivido and Chenielle Badenhorst.

In a week that saw the teaching profession in the news for all the wrong reasons, educator Alison Immelman, asked those participating in Table Topics to pretend to be difficult parents at a Parent Teacher Evening.

Thomas Duthie picked up the “stand-in” Best Table Topics Shield for his turn as a crusty schoolmaster, with accents of Winston Churchill, extolling the virtues of corporal punishment.

Our speakers for the evening were Reinhardt Botha, Craig Stephenson, Louise Solomons and Antoinette Baatjes.

Reinhardt, a professor of Information Technology, presented his “icebreaker” speech titled: Me, Myself and I, where he revealed the three aspects of his identity: family man, technophile and academic.

Craig presented the second instalment in a series of talks about independent travel. Craig offered suggestions on how a traveller can design their own one-of-a-kind travel itinerary.

Louise wanted to know why the ideals of Freedom Charter, one of which promised that the doors to education would never be closed to those who wanted to learn, have been forgotten.

Louise can never seem to find a library open on a Saturday and during the week many libraries in the Bay Area have to close due to staff shortages. Literacy rates are falling in South Africa and more alarming is that aliteracy rates (can read but uninterested in doing so) are on the up.

With this speech Louise completed the requirements of her Competent Communicator Award.

Louise’s sobering “reality check” was followed by Antoinette’s own irreverent take on reality.

The effortlessly funny Antoinette presented a speech from the Entertaining Speeches Manual. She argued that lying in fact preserves the peace and that we must accept that we all have to lie from time to time so not to court Armageddon.

Coming off the back of Antoinette’s speech was Debbie Stephenson’s appropriately titled Toast-of-the-day: Laughter is the best medicine. Debbie toasted the physical and psychological benefits of laughter.

The Club will meet again on Tuesday, 14 September. In the meantime go out this Friday and support the contestants in the Area Humorous Speech Competition.

Keep laughing and remember to lie, lie, lie! You’re live longer, and according to Antoinette so will everyone else.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The 2010 Algoa Toatmasters Humorous Speech Contest

On Tuesday, 10 August, the Algoa Toastmasters Club held its annual Humorous Speech Contest. It was a cold night and the Club's home, the Westview Sporthall had as much cheer as a Siberian gulag on Christmas morning, but as the eight competing speakers took the floor, the air started to heat up with laughter.

First out of the stalls was educator Rhona Murchie who implored her audience to abandon soap – soap operas that is. Apparently the hyper-real characters of the soapy-verse are making day trips into our reality through the idle minds of hairdressers and impressionable tweens and causing havoc. So protect your minds people. When you hear the following: Like sands through the hourglass – dive for that remote control. Your very sanity is at stake!

Mimi Makapula mined her own extraordinary life for laughs. She took her audience on a trip down memory lane. While there is apparently a limit to how many times you can fold a piece of paper (seven – this writer looked it up), a young Mimi learnt on the school playground that there is no limit to how many times you can divide a cheese and polony sandwich when sufficiently motivated to do so.

Distinguished Toastmaster Tom Horne retired as an engineer eighteen months ago. Since then he has turned his empirical mind to that undiscovered country of womanhood – the kitchen. Tom has learnt to cook. Although to hear Tom describe his boiling of a gammon ham maybe Tom should abandon food preparation and stick to Ford Focuses.

Be-pearled English Department Head, Louise Erasmus, regaled us with an epic journey from her youth - a jaunt across the land that gave the world maple syrup and Celine Dion. Louise unfortunately was joined on her trip across Canada by one Murphy (née Law). Everything that could go wrong did. Louise had to brave an unscrupulous Yellow Cab driver in New York, the French-speaking Québécois, cold showers in Toronto (in November!) and being turned out of a car outside Banff because she was South African (this was 1987 after all). But Canada couldn't bust Louise. She was and still is made of sterner stuff than most. She even survived crossing Canada on a transcontinental Greyhound bus.

Attorney Nicholas Mitchell has three children, with number four currently in development. Nicholas reminisced about the joys and pains of parenthood. The pain must be something. Nicholas sported a grimace like he was passing a kidney stone. From "out-the-mouths-of-babes" moments like his young son offering to buy his father a machine to make him thin, to the daily exercise in futility that is breakfast and getting ready for school, Nicholas is willing to bear it all for the joy that his children bring him.

The Club's newest member Reinhardt Botha professed his official and unofficial job description as a professor of Information Technology. Officially his job is all bytes and binary code. From time to time his students confuse professor with life coach. One day he is dispensing life-changing career advice, the next a female student is sitting opposite him asking whether she should get married or not.

Michael Warren was out to warn us about a nefarious cult – no we're not talking about Scientologists here, but SMPs – "Smug Married People". As a happily single gent Michael will have none of the underhanded tactics employed by the "marrieds" to rework his successful solo act as a duet. Michael is not ready to swallow the matrimonial hook, line and sinker and lose his "I-ness to become a We".

Finally Mark Barry was out to scrutinise the advertising industry. Where once ads were used to remind, inform and persuade consumers, today they're head scratches. What exactly does a boxer dog with porcelain dental veneers have to do with selling Toyotas? Wimpy is now using dancing men in their PJs to sell breakfasts and apparently all you have to do to entertain your kids on the weekend is to take them to KFC. Barry surmised that advertising has just become a new form of entertainment.

After the scores were tallied, Nicholas was announced as the winner. Michael came a very close second and Mark rounded out the top three. Nicholas will now go onto to represent the Club at the Area Humorous Speech Competition on Friday 27 August. Congratulations to all the speakers. Special mention must be made of Rhona, Mimi and Reinhardt for holding their noses and just jumping right into this their first speech competition.

Finally thanks must go to the Club's VP of Education, Colleen Love, who single-handily organised the event.

The next Club meeting is 24 August. Watch your inboxes for a programme.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It was a busy night for the Club’s newest member – Reinhardt Botha

This past Tuesday saw Reinhardt Botha inducted as the Club's newest member – but wait, there's more! Reinhardt was awarded the Top Toastie floating trophy by Colleen Love and he picked up the prize for being the best Table Topics impromptu speaker. That is the second time in a row that Reinhardt has taken the Table Topics prize.

Table Topics Master for the evening was Pauline Wilson. The scenario was this: your cruise ship is sinking fast and you can only take one item with you to help you when you "go into the drink".

Reinhardt took knitting needles. He thought it would be a good idea to use them to harpoon dinner and once he and the other survivors made it to deserted shores he could go island boar hunting with these twelve inch acrylic needles of death!

Between bloody hunts he could use the knitting needles for their original purpose. Reinhardt hoped that the sight of a burly gent knitting socks on the beach might attract the lady survivors looking for a hunter-killer-knitting type to populate the island with.

The three prepared speakers for the evening were Mimi Makupula, Craig Stephenson and Marianah Lourens. Mimi was doing her second speech from the Competent Communicator Manual. Mimi took a lesson from her own life to inspire the audience to use forgiveness to build a bridge from one's past to one's future.

Intrepid traveller Craig was out to dispel the myth that travel to exotic lands was only for the young, the rich and the irresponsible, by laying out a plan that could get anyone off their bums and out onto the road and seeing the world.

Marianah did an interpretive reading from an Advanced Communicator Manual. She read from Mitch Albom's For One More Day and utilised her experience as an actress to use gesture, body language, pitch and tone to make the reading come alive for her captive audience.

Our Toastmaster for the evening was Gillian Nutt who kept the meeting well ordered by performing her vital role in a wonderfully understated way.

Our next meeting will be 10 August. The usual format will give way to allow for our Club's humorous speech contest. Prepare yourself for some side splitting fun! Watch this blog and your email inboxes for details.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The World Cup is over, but the new Toastmasters year has just begun!

Tuesday’s meeting was our first for the new Toastmasters year. Toastmaster for the evening was Elaine Stewart-Coyne who seized on this fact to offer pointers on how members could reignite their passion for the Toastmasters experience.

Some of Elaine’s suggestions included mentoring new members and participating in Toastmasters conferences like the Mexicon coming up in October. Another was for long-term members to redo a speaking manual, which is exactly what Ricky Woods has done.

Ricky, a Distinguished Toastmaster and a member for 14 years, went all the way back to the beginning and delivered the very first speech from the Competent Communicator Manual: “The Icebreaker”. Ricky revealed that there have been many changes in her life since she gave her first “Icebreaker” speech, but that the Toastmasters experience and the friendships she made had served as a constant in her life.

Alison Immelman’s third speech was delivered while wearing a knitted Lapland hat. The hat may have been funny but Alison’s subject was seriously though provoking. She asked us to always consider the true agendas behind the media messages we receive.

Both Candice Finkelstein and Louise Erasmus were all about the “hard sell”. Both delivered their ninth speech from the Competent Communicator Manual.
Candice presented us with some hot cooler boxes we should never be without, and Louise pushed the benefits of Burmese cat ownership. Who needs Eskom on a cold night when you have a Burmese cat on your lap?

Comedian-in-residence, Antoinette Baatjes, entertained her audience with another one from the Humorous Speeches Manual. Fancying herself something of an amateur social anthropologist, Antoinette introduced us to some new subspecies of humanity: “know-it-alls” (KIAs) and “incompetent fools” (IFs). Apparently these KIAs and IFs are responsible for much of the angst in our lives. Antoinette advised us that we are doing ourselves no favours by biting our tongues and that the best way to promote inner peace are toe-to-toe confrontations with these acronyms - or you could buy a Burmese cat.

For the second time this year, a visiting guest beat out the membership to take the prize for best Table Topic impromptu speech. The Table Topics Master was Debbie Stephenson who asked participants to put their case to the IOC as why their particular activity should become an Olympic event at the 2020 Games in South Africa. Reinhardt won for suggesting that kite flying and South Africa’s blue skies would go great together.

And closing off the meeting, Mimi Makupula passed the Top Toastie floating trophy to Colleen Love for efforts in introducing others, like Mimi, to Toastmasters.

The next meeting will be on 27 July. Until then watch this blog for profiles of members who were recently awarded Competent Communicator, Leader and Advanced Communicator Awards.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One month to the World Cup but Marianah is already kicking goals of her own

Tonight’s Club meeting was all about achievements and top drawer speeches. It was also peppered with some life-affirming insights, courtesy of our Toastmaster for the evening, Colleen Love.

Toastmasters Area E1 Governor Yvonne Anderson was our guest tonight. She announced that our Club’s President Marlene Van Wyk will succeed her as Area Governor. Yvonne also presented Marlene and Michael Warren with their certificates for their recent achievements in both the Area and Divisional Speech Contests.

The biggest cache of certificates was for Nicholas Mitchell, but he was not on hand to receive them. Today he drove up to Gauteng to compete in the speech contests at Ladumacon 2010 later in the week.

Tonight Marlene delivered an entertaining but sobering speech about retirement titled: “Can you AFFORD to live longer?” Quinton Jacobs regaled us with another story from his adventurous summer sojourn to Antarctica called: “Hotel Valeskarvet”. It is in fact the base for the South African National Antarctica Expedition (SANAE IV). Don’t expect 24-hour room service and a mint on your pillow at this “hotel”

Thomas Duthie was voted the winner of Table Topics for his turn as a lippy Dane who while trying to pitch the Kingdom of Denmark as the best host country for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Tournament launched into a tirade against current FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

Many participants in the World Cup-themed Table Topics tried on some accents. Thomas channelled a Viking ancestor to great effect while Alison Immelman (fronting Australia’s bid for the 2018 World Cup) started out with an Aussie twang but switched to a hammy Canadian brogue halfway through her pitch.

But Marianah Lourens was the biggest achiever tonight. She picked up the Top Toastie floating trophy for her contributions to the Club’s success this year. In delivering her tenth speech tonight Marianah fulfilled the requirements of her Competent Communicator Award (one point for our Club). And in a few weeks time she achieve her Competent Leader Award (that will be another point for our Club). Marianah is single-handily responsible for 20% of our Club’s point for this Toastmasters year.

Congratulations Marianah!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The road to Palm Desert: The Division E Speech Competition

Shirley Renwick of East London won the Division E Speech Competition on 17 April. She will now go on to represent the Eastern Cape at the District 74 MaxiCon Annual Conference in Gauteng in May. Joining Shirley at the Conference will be our own Nicholas Mitchell who will compete for Division E in the impromptu speech and speech evaluation competitions.

The Conference is the final stop on the road to the Toastmasters International Convention, to be held in Palm Desert, California in August. Winners of District Contests, including District 74 (Southern Africa), will compete is a series of speech contests at the Convention which culminates in Toastmasters International awarding the World Champion of Public Speaking.

Good luck to Shirley and Nicholas! Remember to watch this blog for all the news from the District 74 Conference in May.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A visiting guest wins Table Topics

In what might be a first for our Club, a visiting guest won Table Topics at the April 13th meeting.

The Table Topics Master for the evening was Glenis Whitehead. The scenario: a crowded doctor’s waiting room. The receptionist announces to the walking wounded that the doctor only has time for one more patient. Cue all manner of theatrics as Table topics participants had to argue as why they should be the doctor’s last patient for the day.

There was Adam Engela’s sick Julius Malema and a hirsute Candice Finklestein with a crippling case of razor rash, but it was first time visitor Mimi Makupula who won Table topics with a hilarious, hearing impaired patient, who also had ants in her pants.

There were two prepared speeches for the evening. Rhona Murchie presented her “icebreaker” and introduced herself to the Club as the ultimate hyphenate: mother-teacher-student. Louise Solomons presented a talk on the arithmetic of success in which love, money and knowledge don’t add up to much; rather it all comes down to an individual’s attitude.

Alison Immelman was inducted as a new member and Thomas Duthie was re-inducted. Thomas also picked up the Top Toastie floating trophy for stepping into the role of evaluator at very short notice.

At our next meeting (27 April) Gillian Nutt will complete her Competent Communicator manual and we will induct our newest member: Zuki Skade.

Hold this date: Saturday, 5 June 2010

The Algoa Club will mark its jubilee anniversary (that’s fifty years) with a dinner at the Port Elizabeth Golf Club on Saturday 5 June. Tickets will be R120. Past members as well as friends of Algoa Toastmasters are invited to join the Club in celebrating this important milestone. Watch your email inbox for invitations and more information on how to buy tickets to the Algoa Club’s biggest celebration in five decades!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So, two jihadists, 72 virgins and a sperm whale walk into a bar...

Our recent club meeting will be remembered as something of a side-splitter. The tone of this past Tuesday's meeting was set by Toastmaster for the evening, Alan Hunter, who brought along the cheese (some truly priceless puns), while those present provided the crackers!

(Okay that pun was pretty awful.)

The format for Table Topics was a chain-story, whereby a participant had to pick up the story from where their predecessor left off. The story began with Table Topics Master, Craig Stephenson, reading the opening paragraph to Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

In the Algoa Club's “re-imagining” of that great American novel, Nicholas Mitchell gave Melville's narrator, Ishmael, a love interest: Arabella. Mark Barry jettisoned Ishmael's best shipmate Queeqeg and replaced him with a jihadist who was off to fight a holy war, and dying to get into a heaven - replete with 72 virgins.

Our circumnavigating American guest (aka Joel) reintroduced the mythic white whale, and a psycho-sexual Freudian undercurrent. Marlene Van Wyk leapt to defend Arabella's reasons for two-timing Ishmael with her secret husband, The Count (a little character development courtesy of Tom Horne), and three-timing both with the captain of Ishmael's ship.

But there was a foil to the man-eating Arabella, a belly-dancing virgin, with enchanting hips, who had escaped the holy warrior's heaven. The super-seducing 72nd Virgin was Glenis Whitehead's creation, and for it she was voted the winner of this hilarious round of Table Topics.

Following the impromptu portion of the evening the Club was both informed and entertained by three prepared speeches. Educator Fanie Vermaak argued that a trusting relationship between a teacher (parent or mentor) and a child is of far greater benefit to a child's development than corralling children with rules.

Marianah Lourens demonstrated how the “12 Step Program” used by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can be used to help anyone change their self-defeating behaviours.

Meteorologist Quinton Jacobs picked up the “Top Toastie Award” for what must have been a Herculean effort to commit to memory his 13-minute “after-dinner speech” about his recent summertime adventure to Antarctica.

It was also the night for a first. Long-time visitor to the Club and recent inductee, Debbie Stephenson, ventured up to the lectern to deliver her first speech: The Toast of the Day. Debbie toasted eating and drinking to good health. She also managed to include Grammarian, Thomas Duffy's Word of the Day: matutinal.

The Algoa Club will meet again on 13 April. Until then be safe on the roads this holiday season.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Three Algoa Club members progress to the District Speech Contest

Area Speech Contestants: Michael Warren; Marlene Van Wyk; Musa Mdadlose; Nicholas Mitchell

Nicholas Mitchell and Michael Warren, will represent Algoa Toastmasters Club in the Divisional Speech Contest on the 17 April after Nicholas won the Area Speech Contest in the impromptu speech and evaluation categories, and Michael placed second in the International Speech section.

Our Club President, Marlene Van Wyk, who won the International Speech section, will represent the ACT Club at the Divisional Contest.

The annual Toastmasters International Speech Contest starts at club-level, with contestants progressing through Area, Divisional and District contests until they reach the finals at the Toastmasters Annual Conference in the United States. The winner at the US conference is awarded the title: “World Champion of Public Speaking”.

To be eligible to compete, contestants must have completed at least six speech projects towards their Competent Communicator award.

Our club contest on 9 March saw Gillian Browning, Michael Warren, Antoinette Baatjes and Quinton Jacobs compete in the International Speech section.

Michael won the club-level contest with an entertaining speech about the nature of truth which included a pinch of quantum mechanics, a splash of Hegelian dialectic logic, and one whole Red Delicious apple.

The Area Contest also included Megan Judd of Madiba Bay Club, and Musa Mdadlose from the U-Speak Club. Musa impressed by placing third in the International Speech Contest section on this his first entry into the Area Contest.

Watch this blog for future updates about the Speech Contest.