U3A East London Newsletter

Our apologies to those of you who have been disappointed by the ‘non-appearance’ of the speakers you had expected to hear over the past couple of months. Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world, and those who were to have spoken have had their reasons for not being able to make it. We, as your U3A committee, have also been disappointed, after all our best efforts to get certain people to speak, but that, as they say, is life. We are hoping to have Marlene Neumann in September, as she was unable to make it on 13 July, owing to a great opportunity to have an international ‘shoot’. Surely no-one would have denied her that opening , even though it popped up at the last moment.

We had good and very interesting meetings in June, with Paul Hirst showing us a penny used for the ferry across the Buffalo River in the 1800’s. He and others gave us information on all sorts of coins. By the way, if you have in your possession a 1959 crown, it is now worth R3 000! The one I have is dated 1960, so I just missed the boat!

Melanie Gobel, on 15 June, enlightened us on what is going on concerning abused women, right on our doorsteps. Shocking statistics, but we need to know about the very great needs out there, and what we can do to help.

While I was away in Johannesburg, two ladies from Hospice very kindly stepped into Marlene Neumann’s place for the day, and I believe that was also a very informative time for all who attended.

And now, it’s almost August and time for ...wait for it...(roll of drums)...our AGM!! Kudos to our University of the Third Age for turning what usually amounts to a rather dreary meeting one would rather avoid at all costs, into a most enjoyable time. And you can make it even more enjoyable by bringing along something yummy to eat (sweet or savoury) , sit back and enjoy Nita Laing’s Drama Group entertaining us, then meet with all our good U3A friends around a nice cup of tea or coffee with some lovely food. Catch up on the news with those you may not have seen in a while, then go home feeling really glad that you made the effort to come!

To fill you in on what Nita has been doing with her group:

“Our Drama Group has been very busy this year. We have twelve members and meet on the fourth Tuesday of each month.

At the beginning of the year after reading ‘The Caliph’s Minstrel’ - a short one-act play of the Arabian Nights stories, we impulsively decided to work on it for a presentation. One of our members, Ralph Anley, inspired the group with his mastery of an Indian accent. Before long, members were listening to TV Bollywood and picking up the accent. This just added to the fun and humour of the story. We presented the play in our make-shift Valley Theatre at the end of May and it was well received. The residents and members of The Valley trustees are very tolerant of our group and allow us liberal use of the Indaba Room for rehearsals. For this we are most grateful as one cannot present a play without rehearsals.

I have worked with this little group of Drama members for a few years now and have noticed how their competence and confidence have developed. No longer do I need to remind them of basic acting techniques! We have formed a happy little group with often many laughs at rehearsals!

At the beginning of this year, I was asked if the Drama Group would present some form of entertainment at the U3A AGM on 10 August. For this we are practising a poetry collage which we call ‘Celebrating Age’. It is a group of poems about men and women – our age group – their thoughts and actions all intertwined with music and movement.

We are looking forward to presenting this to you at the AGM.”

So...what are you waiting for?

Get there early to get a good seat!

Thanks, Nita and Company – we’re really looking forward to it!!


At present, our membership stands at 195. A warm welcome to Alan Brent, Dave Bell and Jenny Farr.

Birthdays: Congratulations to each one of you, and may you enjoy a really special day!

August: 3 Marlene van Wyk; 7 Jenny Alsop and Liz Bricknell; 10 Janet Gould; 12 Carol Keep; 13 Hugh Braithwaite and Norah Wingreen; 18 Elizabeth Nass; 19 Janet Calder; 20 Viv Mostert; 22 Marion Victor; 27 Marguerite Botha; 28 Mervyn Zwicky; 30 Esme Hall and Jean Naylor

September: 5 Lorrna Thompson; 6 Barry Gibb; 9 Jean Tew; 10 David Homann; 16 Jennifer Posthumus; 17 Joan Muller; 20 Duncan Mapham; 21 Rose Anley; 26 Anne Stamp; 27 Doreen Pearson; 28 Paul Hirst


Armchair Travel: John Stoddard will be speaking on his recent trip to Cambodia, entitled “Snippets from Siem Reap and the Temples”. This will take place on Monday, 7 August. All the talks have been most successful. Thank you to Rob and Janet for their fascinating Eastern Turkey presentation! On the 4th September, Nancy Tietz will be giving the talk that will be entitled “Scandinavian Scrapbook”

Film club: 2nd August “Rob Roy”; 6th September “ The devil wears Prada”

Music Appreciation: Carol Keep says that this course is fairly well attended. “The Cello” and world-renowned cellist, Yo Yo Ma, were featured. Another classical music experience was held in July. This is an open course, and all are welcome.

Community Singing: Carol has compiled a pleasant singing list of happy, nostalgic songs, such as “When Irish eyes are smiling”; “I’ll Walk with God”, and a host of old favourites. Do come along and ‘relax with the voice of singing’. By the way, somehow Carol’s cell number has got mixed up with that of her son in law Jay Kruuse. Carol’s number is 072 508 0936, so please diarise this.

Creative Writing: Nancy Tietz says that the group celebrated its 10th anniversary in June this year. Well done! They write mostly short stories and essays, but also wrote a novella in 13 chapters. Each one of the group contributed a chapter. They also wrote a drama in 12 scenes in the same way. They hope to publish their third volume of “Tales of All Kinds” towards the end of the year.

Desert Island Discs: Dave Donkin selected a number of nostalgic, happy and also some tear-jerker songs last month. The idea is to have a member choose about 20 songs of their choice and play them to the group. John Stoddard has his turn in July. Remember that this group begins at 9.30am. A time for nostalgia.

Shirley Baxter’s Walks are most enjoyable and educational. Her knowledge of trees in the Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve was impressive. August is historic West Bank.

Poetry, Garden Club, the JSE and Cookery are continuing successfully as are Mahjong and Film Club.

Ann and Toni are back and they have some new ideas lined up. Drama and Book Club are going ahead. We are so pleased to have Pam Hobson back with her successful Computer Club.

Thank you, Course Leaders, for the time that you put into leading your courses.

Jenny Alcock and Barry Chapman

Course Co-ordinators

PRIME TIME An author and broadcaster by the name of Johannes Jordan has kindly allowed us to reproduce a summary of his book entitled “Prime time- enjoy your life after 50”. The summary, plus a summary of the first chapter is included as a separate page “Prime Time” on our website. Further chapters will follow in later months


10 August: AGM at 9.30am
Venue: 1) the Indaba Room at The Valley (for our meeting and entertainment)
            2) the Blue Room at the Valley (for tea afterwards)

17 August : Current Affairs at 10am
Subject : This will be an open discussion on the affairs of the moment. Goodness knows, there will be plenty to discuss.

14 September: General Meeting at 9.30am
Speaker: Marlene Neumann

21 September : Current Affairs at 10am
Subject : To be advised

And lastly, a quotation from Henry Ward Beecher:

The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.

Looking forward to seeing you all in August and September!

Kind regards
Marion Victor and the Newsletter Team.