WOZERS!!!!. The SABA Photographic Competition Facebook (SPCF) page was a roaring success. We had 3 entrants for the Indigenous category and only 1 for the Exotic category. I think most people were away, but as they say in the classics...the show must go on.
The page (and the process) went off without any hiccups, but somebody reminded me that the official SABA page generally has a lively discussion of the entries, so it was posted a few days after the poll opened. Based on the stats of the SPCF page, a WHOPPING 374 people engaged with the post. That means people who actually looked at the photographs. It exceeds my wildest imaginings! Thanks you! You asked to be a part of it and we obliged. I did not expect this kind of response. Thank you for engaging in this manner and for your positive contributions.
Other interesting stats (you can see I am a researcher by trade) we even had visitors (and voters) from the USA and Oman! The majority of voters used their smartphones to vote, meaning that I am old for still using my desktop (what's that? I hear people ask;-). The ladies are seriously lacking in their contribution and recently on the BAG's Facebook page, the administrators asked lady bonsai artists to list themselves, c'mon Girls, let's up our game! Lastly, and just for fun... it does not take long to cast your vote. Only 1 and a 1/2 minutes. I can't wait for January's competition.
Now, I have been dragging this out, a la "The Voice" or "Idols", on purpose. The 3 Indigenous entrants were:
Tree No 1: entered by Ray Kingma, a Ficus burtt-davyi, from Border Bonsai Kai. It has been in training since 2001. Ray started showing interest in Bonsai before he left school in 1977 but with the conscription at the time he had to put Bonsai in the back of his mind and do his due diligence with national service. Upon his return he still vested some interest in helping and learning from his Mom (I met her and what an amazing lady - ED) with her trees. It wasn’t until the late eighties (1987) that he joined Border Bonsai Society, when, the bug bit fully and he started in earnest towards his own collection. Currently he has about 180 trees in his collection with the desire for more. His favourite trees are Bougainvillea’s and he enjoys experimenting with (figs) root over rock in the form of the tree actually splitting and growing in and around the rock. Saikai and Penjing also interests him. The tree was grown from seed in a seed tray and then transferred onto the very rock by means of selecting two prominent roots that were each placed in separate crevices going through the rock. These two roots then began the process of keeping the seedling alive and with that over the years it developed a couple of more roots, spreading downwards. There was also a degree a wiring on the branch formations some years later. During the years it had its fair share of vervet monkey damage done to it in form of a broken branch but recovered from that, perhaps the little fellow thought he was in the young talent competition.
Entry no 2: Ben Herman Pieterse. This little Ficus natalensis is 18cm tall and the base is 30cm in circumference. His retired secretary gave him a cutting from a massive fig growing in their garden. He grew it in a container for 2 season, and repotted it this year. The pot comes from Willow Bonsai. Ben Herman is from CW Bonsai club.
The 3rd Indigenous entry was from Tobie Kleynhans from Kat Rivier Bonsai Kai. It is a Ficus burtt-davyi. It is 45cm high and the base is 15 cm wide. It has been in training for 8 years.
The one and only entry for the Exotic category also came from Tobie Kleynhans and scored a consistent 4. Tobie is still a winner in this category.
The tribe has spoken and the official SABA judges and the public agree. Tobie Kleynhans is the winner for both categories. Congratulations, Tobie. AND, the public and the judges were in agreement. You deserve the win.