December Newsletter

December 18, 2017

As we wind down the year, that is almost past, I cannot help but think it was a great year for bonsai. So many successful workshops and exhibitions were held throughout the country.  We ask that you share with us some pictures, etc for the gallery on our website at

Your EXCO has already been hard at work and had their first (and last meeting of the year).  The next SABA Convention will be in Bloemfontein on the 16th to the 18th of November 2018. More details will follow at a later stage.  We thank Bloemfontein Bonsai Kai to step in at short notice and offer to host the Convention.


SABA EXCO has formed a subcommittee comprising of representatives from the regions and other interested parties. The idea is that when there are major decisions to be made, one can liaise with the representatives who will be able to give input by knowing what their regions want.  This is a long outstanding issue and SABA has received very few names of people. One of the ways to overcome this, (if no names are received) is to approach interested and knowledgeable people to assist with this very important task.   


SABA also needs the names of club members.  SABA fees are due at the end of June annually and a list of member names should be submitted at the same time.  This is to assist us to control advertisements on Facebook, as only SABA members should be allowed to advertise, sell and trade on SABA social media.  At the moment, nobody knows who can and who can’t.  At the last EXCO meeting, it was also decided to charge non-SABA members more at conventions.  That way, SABA can start doing things for SABA members.


We are going to continue with the SABA Calendar.  We need some input from people on what they want in the calendar. This has become quite a collector’s item and we hope to continue with the good work Earl did.  We also intend to get sponsorship for pages, so for a small fee, you can add the name of your company to the bottom of the page. 


Further fundraising ideas are to design SABA memorabilia, such as pins and T Shirts. We are looking for some zooty designs. Maybe yours could end up on a SABA shirt.


As some of you might know, we are looking to update the SABA logo.  The one we have, is really old and all graphics are very small and the quality not good.  We would like to invite all to submit ideas and we offer a book, Charles Ceronio’s Practical Bonsai Styles of the World to the person whose logo is accepted.  All may enter and you may enter as many times as you like.  The competition is open until the end of January 2018.  Please send entries to: and put LOGO COMP in the subject line.




The photographic competition is going ahead, and entries for December closes on the 31st of Dec 2017.  Due to the fact that most people are away on leave, judging will only take place on the 2nd of January 2018.  There are still two competitions, one for Indigenous trees and one for Exotics.  Please use the correct entry form for the photographs.


The rules have been updated, so that everyone knows what is expected. Please familiarize yourself with it. Copies of the entry forms will be placed on the web and on the SABA Photographic Competition Facebook page.


The Tommy Flaxman Memorial Photographic Competition & The SABA Cup Photographic Competition.


The rules for both Photographic Competitions are as follows:


  1. This competition is open to any person who is a club or individual member registered with the South African Bonsai Association (SABA).

  2. The winning entry will be based on the quality of the tree and not the photograph. 


  4. For the SABA CUP PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION, material used must be any EXOTIC species.

  5. The planting/bonsai can be in any bonsai form, size or style of single tree, groups or saikei.

  6. The planting/bonsai must currently be alive and the trees and image must be real, not artificially enhanced or changed in any way. SABA reserves the right to have this verified by a club president or regional representative.

  7. Stock can be obtained from any source, ie nurseries, yamadori, etc.

  8. The planting/bonsai may be presented on a suitable stand or table.

  9. Entry must be in a .jpeg format of no less than 500kb and no more than 5Mb.  Entries can be emailed to:

  10. All entries must be submitted on the correct entry form with complete information on the tree, species, height, years of training, a brief history of the tree and/or owner and/or artist (contact details and possibly a short C.V.) or any information on the tree, ie, origin of pot, original designer, etc, for the write up of the winner on the SABA Blog.

  11. No more than two entries per competition per month are permitted from each artist (not photographer) but each entry needs to be submitted on a separate entry form.

  12. Previous first place trees are not eligible to enter competitions of the same tree for five (5) years after which time a NEW photo of the same tree may be entered.

  13. Entries open on the 26th of the month and the closing date for entries is at 23h59 on the last day of each month. No late entries will be considered nor carried over, but entries may be resubmitted the next month.

  14. SABA retains right to publish entries in newsletters, magazines and/or the web and use the best photographs for the annual SABA calendar without compensation. Entries will not be returned or removed when published on any media.

  15. Entries will be placed on the SABA Photographic Competition Facebook page where the public may participate in the vote for the best tree. The public vote will constitute one judge’s vote.

  16. A panel of SABA judges will be appointed by the SABA executive to judge the trees using the agreed score sheet or ranking method.

  17. The public score will be determined by the ranking score by Facebook on the SABA Photographic Competition Facebook page. “Likes” on the SABA Facebook page will not count.

  18. The final score will be determined based on the average of the judges’ scores.   No correspondence will be entered into.

  19. The owner of the planting/bonsai will be awarded the prize, not the photographer. The photographer will however be given credit for their work in the form of their name being associated with the image.

  20. If one of the SABA judges wishes to enter the competition, they must recuse themselves from the vote.

  21. The total average score may be returned to the entrant, so they can identify elements to learn and improve on (no debate will be entertained on score)

  22. A winner in each category will be chosen each month and the final winner will be selected from the finalists in each category and announced at the annual SABA Convention.

  23. The competition will run annually.

Entry Forms are on the web at:


With that, there is not much left to say, except enjoy your break (if you take one) stay safe and the best of wishes however you celebrate this period. If 2018 can't be the best ever, make the best of it!


Bonsai greetings!





President: SABA

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