Starting and finishing our term of service online, under the Covid-19 pandemic, presented mixed opportunities. On the challenging side, we were confronted with an avalanche of leadership challenges. We started our term as a team of strangers serving as Division leaders; the lockdown regulations and concerns about our health and safety kept us physically away from each other.
Zoom fatigue, inability to connect online and unstable internet connections become some of the daily challenges for our members, which led to declines in club meetings attendance across the Division. We lost a significant number of our members. In December 2020 we had about 290 paid members, down from 419 in July 2020. Many of the members we lost were experienced Toastmasters. We also lost some of our members to Covid19, in particular, Distinguished Toastmasters Frances Boshoff and Peter Kuhn; may their souls rest in eternal peace.
All the challenges intimated above notwithstanding, we had a relatively successful year as a Division. We were the first to launch and charter a club fully online and went ahead to charter two more clubs online. We opened our virtual doors of learning to new members, which led to our membership rising to 403 paid members. All our clubs are paid up. We hosted the biggest online open house event in District 74, which won the Hall of Fame award for the Public Relations Event of the Year. All these milestones were made possible by the hardworking team of Area Directors, the Club Officers and our most important stakeholders, Division A members.Vusi Maupa – outgoing Division A Director
The acceleration of Division A this year has built momentum and is a good springboard to build from. We are not about to stop the momentum; we aim to rather Advance the momentum. As we Advance our momentum to exceed expectations, we will ensure that no one is left behind, because every member matters. To achieve that we will be working with clubs to help them form comprehensive mentorship programs. While we build new clubs we will ensure the existing clubs achieve excellence through collaboration between the strong clubs and clubs that need support. Like an army, let’s Advance together, all Toastmasters in Pretoria, Rustenburg and Hartbeespoort.Bhekisisa Ngomane – Division A Director elect