Member Speeches/Articles /Achievements

Published author in our midst

Transformers Toastmasters Club is proud to recognise one of our members as a published author. Njabulo started Toastmasters while still at university in 2012 and transferred to our club when he moved to Johannesburg. I think he would credit his father for his courage to succeed, and he will also speak of the role the Toastmasters programme has played in his achievements.


Kirstin Bosworth on conflict management skills

Have a look at this video of Kirstin Bosworth on the TV show Mokapelo. Kirstin is our Club President for 2017-18 and has used the leadership skills learned through Toastmasters to shape her professional work.

Listen to your people

A new and original tale presented as an advanced speech to meet the objectives of project 3 - The Moral of the Story - of the Storytelling manual by John-Peter Gernaat.

Before King Olof died he divided his kingdom between his two sons Björn and Gustav. King Björn was a very diligent king and very concerned about the welfare of his people. He spent many hours in his council chamber with his advisors planning and receiving reports on the progress of the many projects he initiated to improve the lives of his people.

However, every year when the time came to gather the taxes from his people they grumbled at the taxes they were asked to pay. One year King Björn happened to hear his people moan and grumble. He called his finance minister to him and asked if this was common that his people, for whom he did so much, grumbled at taxing time. “Oh yes”, said his minister of finance, “people are never grateful, they moan like this every year. We simply ignore it.” King Björn was not pleased with this answer and he sent his finance minister to speak with the finance minister of King Gustav.

The finance minister reported back that in King Gustav’s kingdom the people paid their taxes with a smile. Immediately King Björn sent spies into King Gustav’s kingdom to find out what King Gustav did differently. When the spies returned King Björn was even more puzzled. The spies reported back that things in King Gustav’s kingdom were not nearly as well developed as in King Björn’s kingdom: there were no big water purification plants piping clean water to every home. In King Gustav’s kingdom water was fed from fresh springs to cisterns in the town squares and people would gather at the cistern to collect water and waste a good part of their day. In King Gustav’s kingdom there were no supermarkets, farmers brought their produce to market and sold directly to the public so that the public could never be certain of a steady supply of fresh produce.

“How can it be that I work so hard to provide the very best for my people and in return they grumble every year at taxing time,” King Björn asked his advisors, “and in my brothers kingdom things are pretty much as they were when my father was still alive and yet the people seem to be content?” His advisors puzzled over this for a long time but could not give him an answer. So King Björn sent his spies back into King Gustav’s kingdom and instructed them not to return until they had an answer as to why King Gustav’s people were so content.

Three months went by before the spies returned. King Björn was already becoming concerned that the spies had found the answer and decided to remain in King Gustav’s kingdom and not return home. Finally, one day the spies returned and came to give their report to King Björn in his council chamber with his advisors all present.

“We were not sure where to look”, said one of the spies. “We went into taverns and listened to the people’s conversation, but we were none the wiser as to why these people gave their taxes with joy and were generally content. We sat in the market places and watched and listened to the farmers and traders and to the people who came to buy. They were all content with their lives and carried the burden of their simpler lives with joy. We sat at the village cisterns and listened to the people coming to fetch water and talking for long periods of time. We thought they spent an inordinate amount of time just talking at the village cisterns and were obviously less productive than our people at home.

“Finally, a morning dawned and we noticed that everyone was making their way to the palace of King Gustav. So we followed them. King Gustav has a very large courtyard in the centre of his palace and everyone of his people gathered in this courtyard where there is good shade and a cistern of fresh water and farmers had brought a lot of produce and villagers were preparing meals that smelled really good.

“In the middle of the courtyard a dais had been erected and here King Gustav and his council sat. When King Gustav spoke he did not tell his people of great ideas that he had had and how he planned to implement them. He asked his people how their lives were and what could be done to improve their conditions. What happened next really surprised us, one by one every one of his people come forward to the dais, from where it was possible to speak so everyone in the courtyard could hear clearly, and spoke of their lives and the good things that had happened in the last six months and then spoke of their needs. The King and his advisors just sat and listened. Three hours after nightfall some people went home and others unpacked bedding to sleep in the courtyard and the next morning the council continued. It progressed without haste and everyone had enough time to speak. Finally, when everyone had spoken the King and his advisors spoke with each other and then King Gustav addressed his people. He spoke for many hours and in his speech he made mention of all the points he had heard from his people and when he spoke of what he and his advisors would do we could hear that he had included all the wishes of his people. The projects that he proposed were modest and did not disrupt the lifestyle that the people were accustomed to but brought relief in all the areas that caused hardship as identified by the people.

“Finally we thought we had the answer, so we went to the tax collectors and asked them if we were correct. They confirmed for us that King Gustav’s people are happy to pay taxes every year because they were part of the decision making as to how these taxes would be used to positively affect their lives.”

And so it was that King Björn realised that the most import thing of being a king is to get to know your subjects and to listen to them and not to impose on them the ideas he had, but help them to fulfil the desires they have for the betterment of their lives. From that day on King Björn changed his ways and started listening to his people.

Broken brain

The reason for the title is that I would like you to consider that the brain is an organ of the body such as a leg or arm. Many of those who have little understanding or impatience with depression say to those suffering depression is “snap out of it”. The person uttering these words is attempting to distance themselves from the emotional effect they would experience in engaging with the person with a mental problem. Would any of you tell someone who has a broken leg to “snap out of it”?
It is easy to empathise with someone who has an illness or injury. I am sorry about sprained ankle. I am sorry about you broken brain (?) Doesn’t really work, does it?
For those who do suffer from depression, the world looks very different. The blazing sun has no heat the richest red rose is grey and without perfume. There is no joy in anything. In severe cases, the depressed person is at the bottom of a deep, dark hole with no way out.
For those who are close to a depressed person, many are exasperated and feel emotionally drained. The person closest to the depressed will be targeted. The depressed person will not know how to alleviate the depressant will tend to blame the circumstances, the people close by and life in general. Professional help may be needed.
I would like to compare a depressed person with a black hole described in physics and astronomy. If you stay far away there is little understanding of the condition of the black hole. If you get too close, you will be sucked in and can be destroyed. Your loved one is in this deep dark hole and needs your help to get out.
You have little pebbles of love in heart, we all do. Stay far enough away so that you are not dragged in, but close enough so that you can feel the effect and toss these little love pebbles in. The pebbles will form a rising floor which the depressed person may step on and slowly rise from total darkness to the bright world. With clinical depression, the depressed person will fall into another deep dark hole and will need more of those pebbles.
The reason that most people reject the depressed person that it s a matter of emotional survival for the non-depressed person. Psychologists and psychiatrists also do not fully understand depression. As research continues, the more that is discovered about the brain, the more avenues of doubt are opened up.
Famous people that have suffered from some form of depression are:
Abraham Lincoln
Virginia Woolf
Tennessee Williams
Van Gogh
Vivien Leigh
Charles Dickens
Robin Williams
Spike Milligan
Symptoms of a depressive include:
Persistently sad
Loss of interest
Hopelessness (it will not succeed)
Worthlessness (I have nothing to give)
Appetite change
Drugs and excessive alcohol use
Suicidal tendencies
Unable to concentrate, remember or decide
Persistent illnesses
Social deterioration
The estimate from surveys is that 20% of people will suffer from major depression at some stage, twice as women as men. This is understandable as you women have to deal with us men. 2% of children become depressed. 5% of adolescents become depressed. There are contributing factors such as abuse, neglect, assault or bereavement.
85% of mothers experience temporary depression known as baby blues which starts 2 days after the birth and ending 2 weeks after the birth. Sometimes this persists and may need medication.
80 to 90% of those with depression respond to treatment. The effects are sometimes not evident for 6 weeks. It is important that the medicine is continued for up to 6 weeks. The first medicine might not work and an alternative might have to be tried.
A broken leg will take 6 weeks to mend. A broken brain will take longer, maybe it will stay a lifetime as diabetes or many other illnesses
For those who are fortunate enough not to suffer from depression, keep those pebbles of love in your heart to give to those who need them.
Mr Toastmaster

Timeshare trap

The telephone is the preferred weapon of entrapment.
Many of you have been called stating that you have entered a competition and won a prize.
Often the main prize is a car!
The catch is that you have to go to a presentation to get the prize.
You will agree to the place, day, date and time.
You have to bring your spouse. This is for the emotional blackmail.
When you enter the venue you will see a very impressive video. You will fill out a form that will give the agent all the buttons he needs to press.
After the video you will be assigned an agent.
The agent will help you to relax.
The agent will confirm that go on holidays. The agent will agree with you that the holidays are expensive. You will be shown that his company is offering a very affordable holiday for life.
The figures look good, maybe only R200 a month on credit card budget.
This is a special offer that is only available now. You don’t have time to think about it. Emotional blackmail will be applied when you are told that you are letting your family down if you don’t take this great offer. That is why your spouse is there.
The contract is very detailed. You will be told it is a standard contract. You want a cheap holiday, you want a holiday for life, you do not want to let your family down, you sign.
When you are driving home you will convince yourselves that you have made a good purchase but there is a niggling doubt.
Two weeks later you will take phone out of pocket and dial
You state your membership number. You are told you have not paid the levy. This is in the standard contract. Then you have to pay a yearly fee to belong to the club. This is in the standard contract. You have to pay a booking fee. This is in the standard contract. You don’t have enough points. You buy more because you want the holiday. Now the space available for the time you want to take a holiday or the size of unit that you want or the place you want to be
So you go on the holiday but it is not really what you wanted.
Next year you receive an invoice, take the phone out of your pocket and dial
You are surprised that the charges are going up more than inflation and the points are getting less holiday each year. You want to sell them back. You can’t and you must keep paying, even without service. If you bring the payments up to date you will let them go for nothing.

There are 3 forms of Vacation ownership. I have just described the points system.
The other 2 forms are Timeshare and Share block
Timeshare and Share block are similar in that you purchase a week in a unit that is the same every year.
The technical difference between Timeshare and Share Block is that with Share Block you also become a shareholder in the company that owns the property
The points system gives a flexibility of units and time each year. Seems a perfect system.
I have Holiday ownership in the form of Share Block at Chaka’s Rock Chalets in Ballitto
The previous Chairman took 20% of levies paid as commission without a resolution and used staff employed by Chaka’s Rock to do the collections. The pension fund was raided. Weeks were taken after invoices were not sent out and the director claimed them for himself.
Previously, owners were approached and a letter was produced saying that there was a special levy of R4000 per week for upgrades. The offer was to transfer the week to Flexi Club, buy extra points for R7000 and work through Flexi Club. It was a scam. Land was sold off at a very cheap price without the required 75% of shareholders.
The levies have gone up 13% this year. The system has changed where the management has been allocated to First Resorts, (Club Leisure Group, Flexi Club) for R430,000 per year.
The legislation for Share Block, Time Share and the points system is very weak and needs to be similar to the Sectional title Act. The Consumers Act should help protect buyers
The tactics that have been employed are detrimental to the holiday ownership business. There are organisations that are run well and give great holidays. Southern Sun and the Vacation Club provide a good service. Be very careful when entering into a Holiday ownership

Look at the web links below and make your own mind up: