Rob Douglas Presidential Citation Award – Celebration Video at CIS Toastmasters

CIS Toastmasters joined in the celebrations for Rob Douglas’ Presidential Citation Award. The celebrations were hosted at the Waverly Sports Club on the 20th of October 2015.

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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1024 – 12 January 2016

CIS Toastmasters held its first meeting of 2016 on January the 12th 2016. 27 people graced the meeting with a fair turn-out of guests and visitors alike. The President, Michael Silberman opened the meeting with a fitting quote as people start with their new year’s resolutions. “Someone once told me not to bite off more than I can chew, I told them I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity“. The quote set the tone for what was to be a great evening of 6 prepared speeches including 3 advanced deliveries.

Ms. Thato Radebe kicked off the evening with her CC2 speech titled, The Addiction to Conforming. A great speech well beyond her years but a reminder that the country is in good hands as long as it continues to produce great future leaders of Thato’s caliber. Julian Blonski followed with a CC3 speech titled, El Nino – The devastating effect of the current drought. The speech was well received as it served to remind the audience not to take fresh water for granted and to conserve this limited resource. Julian layered his speech with great humour particularly on tips to save this precious resource including more communal showering activities. The last speech from the prepared speeches was delivered by Christine Kwok. The title of Christine’s speech was Shaken not Stirred which paid tribute to the author of the James Bond stories, Ian Fleming. She finished off her speech with a great quote fitting of what Toastmasters is about. ‘Never say no to adventure’. For her efforts Christine walked away with the best prepared speaker of the evening.

The speakers for the advanced speeches session were Billy Radebe, Judith Taylor and CIS’ bright spark Ms. Linda van Deventer. Billy titled his speech Takers and explained that life in essence is about giving and taking with the latter seemingly more dominant. Billy’s speech was entertaining. Judith gave a short talk which was a presentation of a floating trophy, The Bright Spark Award which Linda duly accepted. CIS Toastmasters is very proud of the service Linda provides to the club and Toastmasters at large for it is from her industry that the club continues to prosper. Well done Linda, you are an inspiration to all of us who aspire to serve this great organization.

The impromptu session followed, presented by the colourful Mr. Kazik Blonski. Kazik picked on the visitors, John, Bonke and Queen. The visitors took on the challenge with aplomb. Queen’s task was to tell the audience what makes her smile. She took us through her day job which brings about positive change to people living with HIV and Aids. For her efforts, the room voted her the best impromptu speaker of the evening. A great accolade for any visitor to receive.

Other notable contributors to the success of the evening were, Mr. Rob Douglas who served as Grammarian and gave the room the work of the day, Castigate. A great word that almost all the speakers could use.  A great lesson on how to pick a world that allows everyone to participate. Nomonde Booi performed the role of General Evaluator, with CIS’ new member Ebrahim doing a sterling job as the Uhm counter. Colbert Nengovhela was the evening’s Toastmaster. Cyril Chessex took home the evaluator of the evening award.


Judith Taylor presenting Linda van Deventer with the Bright Spark Award


The President, Michael Silberman with the evening’s Toastmaster


Best evaluator award went to Cyril Chessex


Our visitor, Queen Makwela took home the best impromptu speaker award


Christine Kwok was honoured with the best speaker of the evening trophy

All in all the evening was a great success. A good start to the new year with the club aiming to re-energize itself by recruiting new members to take this great club forward.

The next meeting is scheduled for the 26th of January 2016. CIS looks forward to seeing you all there.

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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1023 – 01 December 2015

We had our very last meeting for 2015 last night and what a wonderful meeting it was. We were lucky enough to have as our guests, Division Director Lazola Belle as well as Thando Shabalala from Rosebank Toastmasters and Bruce Stewart from Westrand Toastmasters as our guests.
The prepared speaking session kicked off with a superb CC2 by Warren Sitari. Warren speech was all about lost and found, and the need to loose ourselves in order to find/discover ourselves, it was a very cleverly crafted speech with lots of hidden meaning and an occasional burst of humour, very thought provoking indeed! Then it was over to our Guest Thando Shabalala with a magnificent example of what a CC4 should look like or should I say sound like.
Very vivid images of Thando struggling to dig his car out of the sands in the Western Cape and Mozambique from not being adequately prepared for the challenges he was about to face. The message could not have been clearer, “Life is a Patient and Painstakingly Persistent Teacher” and it teaches us that if we don’t properly prepare for life challenges, then we will find ourselves in more then a spot of bother. Billy Radebe was up next with a very funny personal story about the relationship between husband and wife, Billy’s great line was “If a man says he will fix it, he will fix it, there is no need to remind him every six months” Lol! Next up was Bruce Stewart with a “Prepared Impromptu Speech” Selected by his Evaluator Lazola Belle entitled “Frustration” Bruce kept us entertained with stories of being stuck in traffic and the immense frustration that it can cause. His advise to us all was to take control of this frustration by getting up a bit earlier and giving ourselves a bit of extra time to reach our destinations, rather then rushing at the last minute.
Congratulations to Bruce Stewart for winning our Prepared Speaking Session

Cyril Chessex was the Toastmaster of the evening and did a sterling job, explaining the process of the evening very clearly to the guests

One of our guests Ibrahim all the way from Egypt showed us how it was done with a very funny impromptu speech and took the honours for the table topic prize.

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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1022 – 17 November 2015

CIS Toastmasters met for the 1022nd time at the Waverly Sports Club, 126 Stirling Road. Seventeen (17) people attended the meeting. Five speeches were delivered, 2xCC2, a CC5, CC8 and an advanced speech.

Sibu Xaba kicked off the evening with a CC2 speech titled, Challenges faced by African Banks. The speech was well received. Michael Silberman followed on with a well crafted humourous CC8 speech titled, “If an Alien came to visit”. This was a good display of how to use visual aids. Julian Blonski (Dream, Explore, Discover) and Alon Davidow (Conquering fear with your eyes closed) delivered their CC2 and CC5 speeches respectively with Billy Radebe (I am a man) closing off the evening.

The table topics session was chaired by Puleng Lephondo. The theme for this segment was wrapping up the year” with titles ranging from Highlight of the year, toastmaster journey in 2015, one lesson learnt and one memory you will most like to forget which was delivered by Nomonde who was in the end voted the Best Impromptu Speaker.


All the speakers who delivered their CC speeches were successful. Michael and Alon tied for the best prepared speaker of the evening.

Alon and Michael

Linda van Deventer was the evening’s Toastmaster. Kazik Blonski took home the Best Evaluator of the evening.


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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING 1021 – 03 November 2015

CIS Toastmasters held its 1021 meeting last night.
It was a meeting of new beginnings with 3 new members beginning their Toastmasters Journey with some very entertaining CC1’s.
Vivek Madhav took us on an intrepid journey across the world following his development as a star cricketer and more recently to the travel bug which he has caught and which has taken him to the sunny beaches of Brazil and soon to Vietnam, we look forward to hearing more stories from his travels. Then it was over to Julian Blonski “The Son of a Toastmaster” who described what it was like growing up as the son of the now famous Toastmaster and Club Treasurer Kazik Blonski. He also told us about his love for running and some major marathons which he has completed. We also got to meet Julians Fiancé Lisa and wish them both congratulations for their up coming wedding.
Running was a theme that ran quite strongly through these speeches for when Julian handed the proverbial baton over to Sibusiso Xaba. We were to meet yet another runner. Sibu gave us the winning speech of the evening, inspiring us with his passion for running. We were all very taken in by Sibu’s description of how he felt when he runs and how running takes him to a very magical place. We were all keen to put on our running shoes after these two speeches. Then it was over to Alon Davidow with an insightful and highly entertaining speech on how to conquer your fears with your eyes closed. We were all very gripped by frightening experiences of bungy jumping and sky diving. Our Toastmaster Christine Kwok handled the job like a pro, adding some insightful feedback and comments in between the speeches. Then it was over to Rob Douglas who took the reins as Table Topics Master and stirred a very interesting discussion/debate regarding the recent student protests about university fees. It was great to hear differing perspectives, especially those coming from some student visitors and in fact Aviwe Mgoqi (Student and Visitor) took the prize for the best impromptu speech.
Congratulations to Sibu Xaba for winning best Prepared speaker of the evening

Congratulations to Puleng Lephondo for winning best Evaluator

 Congratulations to one of our Guests Aviwe Mgoqi for best Impropmtu Speaker

Thank you to Christine Kwok for a sterling Job as Toastmaster of the evening
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CIS Toastmasters held its 1020th meeting on the 20th of October 2015. The meeting was simply titled, Tribute to Rob Douglas, DTM PDG in honour of Rob’s Presidential Citation Award received in Las Vegas in August 2015. CIS enjoyed its best attendance at its new venue with 71 guests, yes seven one. As a testament to the contribution Rob has made to Toastmasters and District74 in particular, the list of guests included the District Director Paul Jensen, Eric Kaila, Eric Viedge, Njabulo Thela, David Preece, Keith Bowen, Karen and Richard Armour, Sandra Cooper and Division L Director Lazolla Belle amongst others. Toastmasters flocked from as far as Harare, Centurion and Emalahleni to pay tribute to Rob.

The club President, Mr. Michael Silberman opened the meeting before Kazik Blonski stepped up to assume the role of the evening’s Toastmaster. The other stars of the evening were the prepared speakers, Thato Radebe, Warren Sithari and Lee Roebeck. Thato and Warren delivered their CC1s with Lee delivering his CC8. All prepared speakers were successful in their attempts to move to the next level. Thato at only 18 years of age, demonstrating the impressive pipeline that CIS Toastmasters has, titled her speech, “Armed and Dangerous”. As if the room only had 7 instead of 71 people, she delivered her speech with absolute poise and grace well beyond her years. As Thato unleashed quote after quote, the audience was left agape. With her proud dad in the audience she went on to say that she plans to continue making mistakes and learning from them as she has successfully done in the past. The fact that she is still alive is testament that she has everything she needs. As she walked off the stage she had time to squeeze in a One Direction quote, “dreams are like stars. you may never touch them, but if you follow them, they will lead you to your destiny.”

After the incredible Thato left the stage, up stepped Warren to also deliver his CC1, well at least that’s what it said on paper. After his was done, some members of the audience had their hands on their heads in shock at the quality of his speech titled Me, Myself and I, a delivery well beyond CC1 level. Warren spoke about having an a ssignment he had to complete in 72 hours after having procrastinated for 7 months. The speech was hilarious, it was insightful and confronted the audience to look within themselves as they were reminded of the contracts we, as humans sign with ourselves from time to time and that at the end of it all it is up to no one but me, myself and I to live up to the commitments made. On this day, October the 20th 2015, a star was born, its name, Warren Sithari. Lee Roebeck wrapped up the prepared speaking session with a CC8 titled “In a state of fun”. We were taken on a ride through different provinces on a bike he demonstrably adores. As usual, Lee delivered punchline after punchline which left the audience in tatters.

The main act of the evening, Mr. Rob Douglas was then called up by the District Director to receive his numerous awards. With his family in the audience it really was a special evening for a special man who has selflessly served the course that is Toastmasters since 1983. In his response, Rob took us down memory lane, relaying stories of all the 34 clubs he has helped form, the clubs that failed, some dismally but more importantly the lessons learned from the process and the clubs that still stand proud today.

All in all, it was an evening of fanfare, great speeches, a congregation of some of District74’s most distinguished Toastmasters. What a fitting place to celebrate such a legend. CIS Toastmasters remains Rob’s home club. Although he has travelled the world in his Toastmaster’s journey he has always returned to the club he joined some 32 years ago. From all of us at CIS, we couldn’t be more proud to have amongst our member list, a Toastmasters legend in Mr. Rob Douglas. Congratulations. You have made us as a club proud; you have proudly flown the flag for Distric74 all these years. Toastmasters, Where leaders are made.



These photos are courtesy of JP Gernaat


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CIS TOASTMASTER MEETING NO.1019 – 06 October 2015

CIS Toastmaster held its 1019th meeting on the evening of the 6th of October. The turn out was the best it has been at the new venue. Four speeches were delivered, a beautiful CC2 by Winston Beckford giving us the low down on the advantages of marriage. Lu Myeza delivered his CC3 which brought forth the incredible energy that only Lu seems to posses. After talking about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle most of us felt like hitting the gym the next morning. Colbert and Linda van Deventer delivered CC9 and Advanced Speeches respectively. Linda’s speech was a Roast of Christian Nyakanyanga.

The Toastmaster of the evening was Lee Roebeck whose stint was layered with quirky commentary topped with witty jokes.


Michael Silberman took the best Table Topics Speaker.


The best Evaluator went to Christine Kwok.


Linda van Deventer walked away with a well deserved Best Speaker of the Evening Trophy.


The next meeting will be on the 20th of October.

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We had our second meeting at our beautiful new venue. Linda van Deventer was the stand-in President once again proving her worth and living up to her motto ofIf serving is below you, leadership is beyond you”.

Two visitors in Vivek and Phillip joined in the proceedings with the latter taking on the role of time-keeper. Colbert, the prodigal son returned home to serve as the Toastmaster of the evening. Gladys gave the Toast to TMI.

Lu Myeza delivered his CC2 speech titled ‘The greed of man”. He took us through a geographical lesson and a voyage from Cape to Cairo. Lu’s speech was laden with facts and factoids alike and spoke with confidence and control well beyond a CC2 level. If Lu’s speech is anything to go by the future of CIS Toastmasters is in good hands.

Lu was followed by Mpumi Xaba who titled her speech Funny Business and in a businesslike fashion she went on to deliver line after line of amazing content. This was the epitome of how a CC4 speech should be put together. Line after line after line. Well done Mpumi on pulling this off. It was a captivating piece.

The ever smiling Christine Kwok closed off the show with her award winning speech titled ‘There are many fish(es) in the sea”. She took us into the deep blue sea and skillfully connected the struggles of finding a mate, the similarities between men and fish and the ups and downs of trying to catch that elusive species. It was a beautiful speech, so much so that when the green light came on indicating she was approaching the end there was a collective grumbling of the crowd. Absolutely mesmerizing speech. Now she marches on, or in her case, swims on to CC7.

After the prepared speakers Werner Redelinghuys facilitated Table Topics and invited Puleng, our visitors Phillip and Vivek, Billy, Winston and Warren to talk about anything from rugby to pop music. The visitors in particular did incredibly well.

Kazik ran the general evaluation session with aplomb as always.

Toastmaster of the evening: Colbert


Warren walked away with the best impromptu speaker award. He seems to be making a habit of this.


Christine was honoured with a well deserved best prepared speaker prize.


All in all it was a typical CIS evening full of laughter, banter and camaraderie that only CIS can provide. Our next meeting will be on the 6th of October and it sure promises to be a spectacle as all CIS meetings always are.

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Our Club President is a CHAMP!

Michael Silberman
for winning the

Show your support at the Division Contest on 17 September hosted by The Sages Toastmasters club at Marks Park.

AreaL3 michael

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CIS TOASTMASTERS MEETING NO 1017 – 8 September 2015

Celebrating our first meeting in our NEW home at WAVERLEY SPORTS CLUB was 21 members, guests and visitors.


In his opening message Michael Silberman, Club President, expressed his sincere gratitude towards Mandy Labuschagne and her team at Waverley Sports club for welcoming us to their venue. Several members commented on the lovely setting and made special mention of the very helpful gate guard who directed everybody to the right building. Helping us to make the move even easier was Craig Brandt’s father, Kenny – thank you for your assistance.

I love this remark made by Mandy “I believe in what you do and I want to support you”

Alan Rosenmeyer delivered a very inspirational message in his Toast to Toastmasters International “We are here to develop – you decide what your goals are and how fast you want to achieve them”

As Toastmaster, Alan continued with the theme of “new beginnings” as he explained that new beginnings can be approached with a positive attitude or a negative attitude. Change happens all the time and one should continue to move forward and we as a club should continue to grow the club and ensure that each member achieve their goals.

Congratulations to Ivy Skosana, Lu Myeza and Winston Beckford for presenting their ice breaker speeches. I love these words by Ivy – “I decided to join Toastmasters and conquer the world”

“What would you like to tell your younger self if you could go back 10 years?” This was the question Cyril Chessex had to face when called to take part in the table topics sessions. As the experienced and passionate Toastmaster he is, Cyril replied: ” Join Toastmasters now – don’t wait till you are 30 40 or 50! join while you are still in school!”

We were also honoured with a beautifully delivered speech by our Division Director Lazola Belle who made delivering a CC6 look “seemingly easy”


Billy Radebe, VPM, once again encouraged all that we should attempt to win the travelling gavel “George” from Oasis club. For more information on traveling gavels and to “raid” Oasis, please contact Billy for arrangements.

Our next meeting will be on 22 September. We are aware that the very important Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur begins at sundown on 22 September. For those that can attend our meeting, please do so.


Best Table Topics Speaker – Nomonde Booi (at her first ever Toastmasters meeting! well done!)


Best Evaluator – Billy Radebe


Best Speaker – Craig Brandt


Toastmaster – Alan Rosenmeyer



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