TRIBUTE TO ROB DOUGLAS, DTM PDG
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