Views of Simon’s Town

By Mike Berger

Was it Picasso who said “good artists, copy; great artists, steal?” Maybe it was TS Eliot? Maybe Madame Apo Cryphal? It doesn’t really matter since it conveys the basic idea that no artist, of any level of talent or ambition, is an island.

You learn to write by writing and reading, and it is the same with photography. My affair with photography started while I was studying medicine at Wits. I acquired an excellent Penguin primer on the basic physics of photography and light, a camera and hied myself down to the zoo. Those images were the start of thousands of slides, collected over the years on trips of various kinds or as records of family holidays or events. Like most such they generally rotted quietly away in drawers, boxes, envelopes; a few made it into albums and scrapbook collections of writing, postcards and personal photos which I still treasure.

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Our Citizen of the Year 2013 Yvonne Mawhinney

We are all familiar with the expression “the power behind the throne” and all it conveys.  Our 2013 Citizen of the Year can best be described as “the power behind the Simon’s Town community”. There are the upfront people whose names appear in the press and on letters, and then there are those valuable, dedicated, hard-working people without whose effort none of it would happen.

Our Citizen of the Year this year is one such person. She has been an active participant in civic and community organisations in Simon’s Town for decades, quietly and efficiently ‘making it all work’.  Our 2013 Citizen of the Year is the person whom every organisation dreams of having on board.

It is hard to think of a Simon’s Town organisation that Yvonne Mawhinney has not played an active organisational and supportive role in. Over the years she has tirelessly given of her time, experience, wise advice and skill to:

  • Simon’s Town Civic Association – Secretary and Exco member
  • Friends of Simon’s Town Museum – Friends Representative
  • Simon’s Town Historical Society – Hon Secretary
  • Simon’s Town Methodist Church – Volunteer
  • Simon’s Town School – Liaison with the STCA and other organisations
  • Simon’s Town Community Policing Forum –  Treasury and Secretary
  • Simon’s Town Trust – Secretary

Yvonne’s passion, cheerfulness and efficiency during her many years of service to the Simon’s Town Community are greatly appreciated. The Simon’s Town Civic Association is honoured to recognise her as its Citizen of the Year, 2013.

Well done, SAPS Warrant Nicholas Spreeth


At their AGM on 19 February 2014, the Simon’s Town Civic Association presented SAPS Warrant Nicholas Spreeth of the Simon’s Town precinct with a Certificate of Commendation for his sterling work within the community. The commendation was presented by Mark Wiley, Chairman of Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport Committee, who expressed his thanks to the community for recognising the efforts of the police who face unpredictable dangers on a daily basis.

Warrant Spreeth was born and bred in Simon’s Town, schooled in Simon’s Town and has served the residents of Greater Simon’s Town for many years.

His job entails the inevitable paperwork, meetings, administrative tasks, training and mentoring of students, dealing with crime and with the public, often in distress. Regardless of these pressures, Nicholas remains cheerful and optimistic and his interactions with the public are always positive and constructive. At all times he retains dignity and a sense of humour.

Despite the lack of resourcing and changes in the criminal character which brings incumbent dangers to daily life in the police, his dedication, sense of duty and sheer professionalism are exemplary and are highly appreciated by his colleagues and the general public.

The community of Greater Simon’s Town are very fortunate to have him in their midst.

We are proud of you.

Simon’s Town Civic Association

Greening the Town

From local Simon’s Town resident Alison James

Wild Rosemary IndigenousFor some years now STADCO has been helping with keeping the Simons Town public spaces around Jubilee Square in an attractive condition. One garden near Driegebroeders Road, a sandy and degraded site, was not in that     group,so in 2011 I adopted it, and tried to keep it looking more presentable by cleaning the area with the help of Trust and Carlos from STADCO. This site presented a challenge due to the sandy soil and the lack of water availability, but this was overcome by the use of hardy water wise plants which were planted in the winter.

Even more exciting is the new ”aloe garden” near Pisces. A stone wall has been constructed and the land filled with all sorts of rocks, stones, sand and even tar. Plants came from all over – Kirstenbosch, Deon Brink, my Mother’s garden and some of your gardens too, to beautify this space.

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STADCO: Keeping up Appearances from Glencairn to Simon’s Town

From Ian Allen, Simon’s Town Amenities and Development Co.

Annual winter maintenance is in full swing with the painting of walls, cannon, anchors etc including the wall outside the Naval Museum, the renovation of the wall at the whale viewing site at Glencairn and the renovation and provision of new signage on the plinth at the bottom of Clan Stewart street in Glencairn Heights.

Financial assistance has been provided to the Simon’s Town Museum to cover the cost of moving the “Cornwall” stone from the mountainside to the ramp garden on Jubilee Square. The ship’s badge sculpted thereon in 1946 will be restored to its original colours very shortly.

While daily cleaning of the streets and regular cleaning of the historical lanes continues together with maintenance of the town gardens we have upped our monthly contribution to the town policing to R2000 per month. All this from the ongoing support for paid parking on Jubilee Square which also provides employment for 10 disadvantaged people.

We encourage you to inspect the considerable improvements to the Town Jetty largely paid for by funds raised by STADCO by way of mooring and sundry fees. More on that next month.

Coastal Law Enforcement

Successful law enforcement on our coasts require speedy response and effective cooperation between various agencies to close gaps in coverage at sea.

MarineLawEnforcement2This was the case in early July when suspicious activities were noticed on the water in the vicinity of the naval harbour wall. Prompt action and good liaison meant that the SA Navy, SAN Parks, SAPS Water Wing and the Institute for Maritime Technology were able to work together to successfully identify and apprehend these suspected perlemoen poachers.

In the future we will also have the City’s Marine Law Enforcement Unit based on the Simon’s Town coast, so that our threatened marine resources will be increasingly well protected.

Suspicious activities at sea can be reported to:
021 596 1999