About the DAA Association
The Durban Alumnus Association has widened membership of the Association to include alumni as well as anyone who has been connected with the University in any way or simply has an interest in the University or the activities.
The activities arranged cover a wide range of interesting visits and talks and all take place in KwaZulu-Natal. The talks are held on the Howard College campus and the tours/outings are within the region.
Outings are arranged that members would not ordinarily do on their own, and perhaps the greatest advantage of the Association is the opportunity to interact with enthusiastic and knowledgeable members from a vast variety of backgrounds and interests. The cost of membership in 2017 is R50.00 per person – which simply covers postage of invitations. If you would like to be included on the membership list, please contact Nomcebo Msweli by either emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or on telephone 031-260 2016 or complete the Membership Form.
We look forward to welcoming new members and receiving ideas on interesting events to arrange.
Chairman's Report 2016
Unfortunately my report for 2016 has to start off on a sombre
note. During the course of the year we lost three stalwart members. The first
to die on the 30 April 2016 was my old friend and colleague of some 37 years,
Bob Youngleson. He regularly attended our meetings and his wife Anne has been
on our committee for the last number of years. He was to be followed by Joan
Law who died well into her 80’s and was therefore one of our older Alumni. She
was a member of the committee for quite a number of years and always held the
affairs of our University very close to her heart. The next person to die was
Hugh Thompson on the 27 July 2016. Of course Hugh was our official Orator and he
always thanked the speakers at the end of our meetings. He did it with gusto
and verve and had a wonderful way of weaving into his vote of thanks
appropriate references back to the talk which we had enjoyed. We extended to
their families and friends our sincere condolences.
2016 started off with our Annual General Meeting which was held on
the 22 February 2016. I myself was not present and it had to be chaired by Hugh
Thompson. We were addressed by Robin Opperman who is a UKZN Alumnus and he is
the creative director of Umcebo Designs. Robin was able to trace his history
through the University and the fact that he had graduated with a Social Science
degree and a Post Grad Diploma in Applied Social Science. He worked as a Maths
teacher and decided that teaching was not for him and then he went into the Art
field and has been able to create Umcebo Designs which are handmade artistic
articles made from recycled or reclaimed materials.
That was followed by a talk by another alumnus namely Cecile Levin
on the 18 April 2016. She gave a delightful address on the book that she had
just published, A Piece of Cake. Cecile was able to do some marketing of her
book which had delightful stories and a number of useful recipes at the
end! Our thanks go to Cecile.
On the 26 May 2016 we toured the Holocaust Museum down at the
Jewish Club. This was a very sobering experience because it highlighted
the horrors that were inflicted on the Jewish people and went further than that
because it showed the genocide is still a worldwide menace and specifically
mentioned in the African context Rwanda and before that Bosnia. We were taken
around by Maureen Caminsky and our thanks must go to Maureen for a highly
informative tour of the Centre. What was unique to the Museum was the exact
replica of the room in which Anne Frank was to hide from the Nazis in Holland.
That was followed by a delicious lunch at the restaurant which adjoins the
From that we went on to something totally different and that was a
talk by one of the youngest doctoral alumni of the University, Dr Craig Widdows
on the 1 August 2016. This revolved around his research in his doctoral thesis
which involved genet cats in urban areas and also included other small mammals
which could be found in many gardens and especially in the Kloof/Pinetown area.
I personally never met Dr Widdows before but as someone said when I enquired as
to who he was: “just look for the young chap over there who does not have grey
hair”! Dr Widdows gave a very interesting address and it was very
illuminating to see the audience participation because it was quite apparent
that quite a number of our members who were present also have genet cats and
other interesting creatures living either in their gardens or on their roofs.
The following meeting involved Mr Peter Adams of the famous Adams
bookstore when he came to talk to us. Of course this resonates with all of us
being Alumni of the University because at some stage or another we have had to
approach Adams for some of the textbooks that we required for our various
studies. It was interesting to note that the Adams bookstore was established
151 years ago and Peter is now the Managing Director as well as the third
general bookseller. He is also an alumnus of the University. He did a B.Comm
which he added to his BA and also studied Botany and History when he had time.
He has been the mastermind behind growing the family business from one shop to
several shops. A highly interesting and informative address and our thanks go
to Peter Adams.
Members might recall that at the AGM on Monday, 16 February 2015
Dr Elsa Pooley gave a talk on “The practical use of South African plants for
landscape, gardening and rehabilitation – with the Durban beachfront as the
That address was enthusiastically received and Dr Pooley promised
a walk around the beachfront so that we could see how her theory had translated
into reality. This walk along the beachfront took place on Wednesday, 19
October 2016 and it was very informative to see the way in which the dunes have
been rehabilitated and what plants were appropriate for the circumstances and
how she planned the entire rehabilitation of the beachfront in time for the
Soccer World Cup in 2010. Our thanks go to Dr Pooley for a very
interesting address. Thereafter many of us retired to Circus Circus for a
The last function of the year is the Christmas lunch held at the
Durban Country Club. We switched from the Durban Club for the first time
last year and I think the general consensus was that the Country Club had done
us proud. The main reason for the switch was simply because of parking issues.
Particularly during December parking in the centre of town becomes something of
a nightmare for those of us who thought we had left with plenty of time and
then ended up scrabbling for parking on the top roof of the Royal Parking
Garage. There was no such problem with the Durban Country Club and we are
pleased to return having had a very happy experience the first time round.
There is one thing that I think should be mentioned and that is it
will be noted from the remarks about the talk of Dr Craig Widdows that it was
easy to identify him because he is a good many years younger than the rest of
us. This does raise an important issue and that is continuity. This
report started with the sombre news of death of three stalwart members. The
problem is that they have not been replaced and if we go on in the same vein in
the future, it will spell long term problems for the Association. Younger generations
have simply not shown an inclination to become involved with our affairs. I had
three daughters going through the University and none of them have been
involved with our activities although one can escape criticism because she
resides in London! This is I believe a fact which we should bear in mind for
Finally, I must thank members of the Committee for their stalwart
work during the year. Nomcebo Msweli has been ever efficient and is always one
jump ahead. Every time I phone to find out how things are going, everything has
been arranged with her normal aplomb and with an eye for the finer detail.
Rosemarie von der Meden has still been able to cater at our functions and we
thank Rosemarie very sincerely. She says that she enjoys our company and of
course it is a memorial for her husband Eric who was Chairman of the
Association for many years. Also, I must thank Denis O’Leary. He has kept us
solvent and it is very good to have someone with the finer points of finance at
his fingertips. Also, Finn Christensen has been a tower of strength at all
Despite the sadness we experienced this year with the death of our
stalwart members, it has nevertheless been an interesting year and I am sure
that in 2017 we will go from strength to strength.
For more information on the Durban Alumni
Association please contact Nomcebo
Msweli on +27(0)31 260 2016 or email@example.com