March 2018 Newsletter

April 16, 2018

It has been an extremely busy period in bonsai in South Africa and much has happened. Based on the SABA EXCO meeting in April, we are asking for your input on a lot of items.  


We listened to you, and tried to effect most of the common suggestions.  The various competition score sheets have been amended and tested at the BRAT meeting on the 14thof April. The new, amended and improved score sheet is available to comment through the various clubs and has been sent to the chairs or secretaries.   May I remind you that the document is a working documentand is therefore not cast in stone.  We support positive contributions and by that we do not mean consent, but solutions to your criticism.  Please contact your chair if you want to view the score sheet.


The website and Facebook page has grown exponentially.  Traffic on increased by 41.7%.  Facebook membership increases by 115 people per month.  Instead of looking for a tree on the profile, we ask people a question to join.  This is to ensure that the request does not come from fake profiles or robots.  We also allow membership to Facebook, if the member is referred by someone, has similar friends or friends in the group or has answered the question: what does bonsai mean?.  If you have a Facebook page and post about bonsai, please share it to the SABA Facebook page.  It creates traffic for us and you.  If you have a blog, please share it to SABA Facebook, it is good for both of us.  If you have a business affiliated to a club that is affiliated to SABA, you may promote your business once a week for free. It creates traffic for you and me.  Please do not spam.  Spam is unsolicited advertising.  If you over-share, you may be blocked.


It was decided at the 2017 AGM that we will look for a new logo as the old one was not very professional, nor representative of bonsai in South Africa.  We had a competition and received NO entries (no further submissions are accepted). Individuals were approached to design something and the EXCO selected 3 submission.   The mandate was to find:

  • A tree/grouping/planting that represented South Africa or South African styles

  • History associated with the tree.

The font in the pictures are not definitive and once we have an agreed logo, a professional will complete the design. Please click on the photos and they will enlarge.

Please look at the following link and cast your vote:

 by no later than 30 April 2018. If you do not like any, you do not have to vote.  


We have had two resignations and are looking for nominations from all SABA affiliated clubs.  Once we have received the names, I will ask for a vote.  If no suitable names are submitted after 14 days after this notice, I will, as per point 9.4.8 nominate suitable members through the EXCO. So: if you are a dedicated, passionate person involved in bonsai, with lots of time to spare (we do not like dead wood), please get your club to nominate you. Clubs belong to SABA: not regions! 


We would also like you to look at the proposed protocols for the various competitions.  Your comments and input are valued.  You can view all the protocols at: and comment on the document by no later than 30 April 2018.


Finally, the present SABA EXCO, decided that we would like to know where we are going and doing in the next two years.  Terence o Flaherty has been driving the vision, mission and objectives of the EXCO and has done an amazing job.  I am therefore proud to present to you, our (the EXCO) two year plan.  (Please note that this pertains to the EXCO and not SABA!) Of course, we have an open door policy and if there is anything you want SABA to do for you, please contact us. (Also available on

  1. Vision – 

    1. Become recognised as a significant world association (artists and material) and make a positive contribution to developing bonsai in South Africa. 

  2. Mission – 

    1. To represent, promote and unite all bonsai and associated arts, clubs and associations, to the benefit bonsai in South Africa. 

    2. To create a platform for, representation, promotions and unification of all bonsai clubs, to develop, train and nurture clubs, artists and bonsai in South Africa into a world leading organisation by gaining world recognition for South African styles, artists and trees.

    3. To keep the Constitution current and updated.

  3. Objectives by end 2019

    1. To formalise nomination, voting and election procedures

    2. To develop transparent and fair participation in Social Media Engagement, New Talent competitions and Lifetime Achiever awards.

    3. To increase club participation 

    4. To increase SABA memberships by 5% per year.

    5. To host an African convention (ABC5) every 4 years.

    6. To host of a National convention each year (mini and major alternative years)

    7. To introduce and establish SA styles as world recognised styles.

    8. To increase participation in the New Talent competition which is held a regional level and finally at National level.

    9. To standardise judges, and judging formats

    10. To update the logo

    11. To review the Constitution

  4. Strategies

    1. By developing clear nomination, voting and election protocols

    2. By consulting and developing Social Media Engagement, New Talent and Lifetime Achiever protocols

    3. By affording non-SABA members an opportunity to join SABA as individuals or SABA affiliated clubs

    4. By creating a division for workshops, working groups, social clubs, ie Ballito (fledgling clubs)

    5. By exposure via TV, media, social media

    6. Drawing up policies for New Talent judging, etc.

    7. By promoting New Talent participation at club and regional level through communication in newsletters and exposure of winners.

    8. By setting formalised standards for judges and judging

    9. By designing a new logo, using a signature tree with history pertaining to bonsai in SA.

    10. By engaging with clubs and regions on inclusions and amendments of the Constitution.

  5. Action Plan

    1. Protocols for nomination, voting and election procedures (ALL)  Done

    2. Protocols for 

      1. Social Media Engagement                                                     

      2. New Talent                                                                             

      3. Lifetime Achiever                                                                   

      4. Judges and judging                                                                 

      5. Scoresheet for Photographic Competition                             

      6. Scoresheet for New Talent                                                    

    3. Market survey (done), target non-clubs.  (CH)                                   Done (and ongoing)

    4. Draft social marketing plan                                                                CH (done and ongoing)

    5. Source sponsorship for conventions, “spreading the load”