May 2018 SABA Newsletter

Dear SABA-member,

Things are very wet and chilly here in KZN at the moment.  We had 280mm of rain in 48 hours and that does not include the period I did not empty my rain gauge. My reservoir is full of water and so is the pool, we really can’t complain.  I hope things are looking up in the Cape.

Firstly, a huge welcome to Phil Levitt from Oyama Bonsai Kai and Ben-Herman Pieterse from CW Bonsai Kai for putting their hands up and joining SABA EXCO. There is a lot of work to be done, but I am sure they are up to it. 

Our social media presence is growing.  The way we thought about marketing and (re)presenting ourselves have changed so much in the last year alone. Facebook is no longer just a means to stay in contact and post pretty tree pictures. It is a way to create awareness and promote businesses and yourself.  Our Facebook page is very popular and we get very strange requests from other people.  I have therefore established a panel to help me approve and monitor posts.  We do not allow just anybody on the page. The reason why we ask a question is to make sure that the ‘friend’ request is not from a robot.  We accept requests from people who answer the question, have similar groups or have been referred by someone in the group.  We also do not allow random posts from all bonsai businesses either.  The poster must be affiliated to a SABA Club. Posts are only allowed once a week so as not to create spam. All other non-SABA member posts will be removed. We also ask all other Admin and Moderators of pages to pleaseshare bonsai posts on SABA’s Facebook page and you are welcome to share your own club info on SABA. That way we generate traffic for all.

Our website is also very popular.  We have regular people who return and engage with the post (iow click on other links) and we have a whole lot of newcomers. The most popular page is the Club Page. People often search for clubs near them, so please keep us updated on your news. The second most popular page is the Blog. Send us some articles or information to share. We both get exposure that way.  Maybe you do not know it, but there is a calendar on the Eventspage.  If you ‘join’ the calendar on Google, you will get regular reminders and updates on bonsai events in South Africa. We also recently started using the website as an archival site and is busy uploading all old minutes and newsletters. If you go to the Historypage, you will see a list of all old winners of talent competitions, etc. There are some gaps, so let me know if you have any information to fill the gaps.

The search for the new logo ended in an overwhelming public vote for one image. The image was  forwarded to a professional Graphic Designer for refinement and  final editing as a logo.  The final images will be presented at the AGM in Bloem for vote by the Board of Representatives. We would like to thank everybody who took part, made submissions AND voted. Over and over again.

Option 1 – Submission by Tobie Kleynhans

Option 2 – Submission by Hannes Fritz

Option 3 – Submission by Antony Smith

Option 4 – Submitted by Phil Levitt

Option 5 – Submitted by Robbie de Witt

Option 6 – Keep the old one

Option 7 – None of the above.





Congratulations to Antony Smith and his submission of Dereck Veldhuizen’s Commiphora. This tree was collected in 1986 in Kwazulu Natal and was part of 3 that was dug out on the day. Dereck just removed a stump, no branches were present. One tree was given to Charles Ceronio after the dig.

 Dereck grew this tree from that point and developed all the branching we see today by cut and grow pruning. The tree has won many awards in the BRAT region plus has Won National awards for the Baobab style.


A list of some of the awards the tree has won over the years:

  1. Golden Award for Baobab style 1999

  2. Certificate of excellence 1999 Top 10

  3. Certificate of excellence 1999 Top 5 (Won the competition this year)

  4. Certificate of supremacy Top 5 2000 (Won the competition this year)

  5. Certificate of excellence Top 10 2009 (Won the competition this year)

  6. Charles and Elsie Ceronio Best African style 1999

  7. Part of the ABC1 show in 2002

  8. Award of excellence Tzaneen 2007 and 2010

  9. Southern bonsai society certificate of excellence 2006


Antony says that the tree has a big meaning in his life as it is one of the first trees he saw when he started Bonsai in 2000. Dereck has inspired him with this naturalistic styled Baobab. This tree is one of the best if not the best Baobab style bonsai in the country.


I am using a new voting platform for the photographic competitions, so I will do away with the SABA Photographic Facebook page as everything will run off the SABA Facebook page.  How do you feel about a Beginners Photographic platform? One where newbies (or people who have never entered before) can get a chance to show their trees. (Same rules apply). Just for fun! Let me know.

We are still requiring clubs to send us the names of able local demonstrators with contact details, specialities or special interests, availability,  etc. As far back as 2015, Willem Pretorius asked for nominations, names, etc. I have started the list off with some names, so let’s get this going now. If your name is not on it, do not be offended, send me an email!!!

If you are not receiving all the emails from your club chairs or secretaries, please register on the Blog to receive all updates. Every time something is posted on the Blog, you will receive it first.

Recently there was a discussion on Facebook regarding the ownership of trees. It was decided at an EXCO meeting that the current owner can exhibit the tree as his own, enter it into exhibitions as his/her own, regardless of how much time has elapsed. The comments were analysed and 63% of commentators agreed that the owner is the owner with no restraint.  Clubs can have their own constraints as SABA cannot prescribe to clubs.

The new financial year commences on 1 July 2018 (refer constitution cl 11.1) and subs are payable within 60 days of that date (refer cl 11.6). 

Furthermore we would like to bring the following to your attention in terms of the SABA constitution:

  1. Refer cl 8.2 Clubs are to submit a list of names of the members they are paying for

  2. Refer cl 8.3 Registered members may benefit from SABA events and associated discounts 

  3. Refer cl 9.1 Club delegates (votes at an AGM) are determined based on the number of members registered by the club.

It therefore stands to reason that to fully meet your registration requirements you need to pay the subscription due for each member (refer below for the amounts) and provide the registered person’s name to SABA EXCO. Failure to meetboththese requirements will mean that the person cannot be registered as a SABA member and the individual and club will forego the associated benefits. Examples will be the cost of the SABA conventions where affiliated members will pay a reduced price for attendance and will not be able to vote at an AGM. When this clause was proposed and voted in at an AGM, there were no objections.  The constitution was initially approved subject to some minor changes and therefore the submission of names was not enforced by SABA in 2017. The updated constitution was updated and signed by the then President, Willem Pretorius and is now binding. 

We recently had a formal objection to the submission of names.  If your club will not comply or has objections, please can you do so in writing (with detailed motivation for the decision) before the AGM in November, so a motion to change/remove the clause can be effected. Please send all objections or comments to  A non-response will be considered as in agreement with the existing clause.

If it is agreed that names of club members will not be submitted to SABA, we must then:

1.       Omit all clauses re expulsion/termination of membership  from SABA as membership cannot be controlled

2.       Omit offing benefits to members as we don’t know who they are

3.       Omit indemnification of members as we don’t know who they are

4.       Delete all clause relating to fully registered/ accredited members


This will all involve (another) major rewrite of the constitution. 

Subscriptions, per annum, are as follows:

  • Club members R40per member (no reduction applicable for family, pensioner, scholars etc.

  • Individual members R100, 

  • Commercial organisationsadvertising through SABA or claiming affiliation to SABA R200

The bank details are:

Bank : FNB

Branch : Westville  224326

Account number: 62444063078


We would appreciate it if you do not pay by cash deposit as the charges are high, so please use EFT

To those clubs and individuals who have paid already, thank you for you payment however please remember to submit the list of registered persons names to complete the registration process or lodge an objection.

Thank you for your co-operation in advance and we wish you a successful year ahead. (Terence, The Bean Counter)

Lifetime achievement awards

Nominations for this prestigious award is now open. Please make your submissions, with a detailed motivation to: 30 September 2018.

I hope you all watched Kwela, channel 144 for the Autumn Bonsai Festival in George. I think they made us look good.

Please, please and please communicate with us!  Hope you all stay safe and keep on bonsaiing!

Caroll Dewar Hermann

President: SABA.



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