Zandvlei Trust

Tribute to Joye Gibbs -  June 2012.

Joye was born in East London in 1931. Some of her early rememberances of herself was reading books from when she was about 3 years old. She also recalls being told, her mother had received a phone call one day, to say her "daughter was roaming the streets again" at 4 years old. Obviously someone with an independent spirit from her young days.

Her forefathers came to the Eastern Cape as setllers in the 1820's. Her Grandfather was a Councillor of the East London Municipality and her father also worked for the Council furthering the tourist destination of East London. They lived for an enjoyable time at rural Bonza Bay with nature all around them, after staying in the central Selborne area. She remembers great times rowing the family boats on the Qinira River, in particular the white painted "Snow Goose" with 3 rows of seats.
Joye went to high school as a border to Collegians Girls and her brothers went to St Andrews in Grahamstown. She enjoyed netball and was good at swimming and liked art classes after school at the tech.

In 1949 her father decided to move to Cape Town as a career change, and Joye recalls driving the second car with some of the family belongings, behind her father all the way from East London. The family settled in Rondebosch and she recalls her father became the Chairman of the Rondebosch Historical Society.

Joye was married to Brian in 1951and went to live with him, in the then Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia, while working on the mines in rural areas. They lived in a small corragated iron building with very basic ammeities. She made all her own families clothes and enjoyed crafts as a creative outlet, which also helped with the family income.

In the 60's and now with two sons and having moved back to Rondebosch, Cape Town, Joye trained as a secretary at the tech and then worked half days. She also did a part time Unisa BA with history, social and arts as major subjects, writing being a strong point.
She remembers looking around the Muizenberg, Lakeside area for a better place to bring up a family. They liked the rural looking plot at Zandvlei which was close to nature and Brian built most of the house. She remembers having to move into the house with her young sons on the 31 May 1966 without Brian, as he had to go to an army camp on the same day. She became a Sunday school superintendent and was with the 6th Rondebosch and 2nd Muizenberg Cubs, becoming Arkala. In 1967 she gave up the Scouts and started a social group they called The Lakeside Ladies Club, who met at each others houses and make clothes and crafts. Crafting in the 60's had seen a strong revival in the western world. They have recently celebrated their 44th anniversary!

On family holidays the historical sites in the country were the places to visit, to help educate the family. Brian was interested in military history and Joye more the local history.
She worked full time for 16 years as the PA to the Director of the Perishable Fruit Export Board. This was the shipping of fruit for export. Containerisation changed the method of transporting perishable food, which moved from railway to road transport, and from government to public business control.
In 1988 she handed in her notice, as she had been nominated by the Muizenberg / Lakeside Ratepayers Association (MLRA) to stand as a Councillor for Muizenberg.

She had been attending MLRA meetings since 1968, and was very active and interested in community activities. In 1984 she was elected Chairman. The MLRA was largely made up of local business people, a historical, and an environmental section of the community. With her encouragement and direction these 3 groups eventually became the False Bay Business Association, The Muizenberg Historical Society and Zandvlei Trust with Geoff Bailey as the initiator in the environmental sector along with others. Something she recalls from 1974 was the MLRA getting the City to install water pipes to supply the Vrygrond residents.

In 1988 Joye was elected Councillor along with Abe Katz to represent Ward 17. Joye produced, her own Newsletter called the Muizenberg Chatter. This she wrote, printed and delivered herself with a little help from family and friends. It was a means of communicating with the electorate. One of her first portfolios was adult education and she eventually took on CAFDA as the councillor for the South. She has served on this board for many years and is still involved.

The flowers in the photo are from CAFDA for her recent birthday.

Some highlights Joye remembers as a Councillor;
1. 1989 Cape Town and Taiwan were working to twin the Cities. She remembers watching a dragon boat race with the then Mayor Muller delegation. The group were admiring the boats and with an immediate spontaneous offer was made by the Mayor of Taiwan to give them to the delegation, there and then. How to get them back to Cape Town? They bumped into the South African diplomat whom Joye knew from St James, he made a few calls and Safmarine brought them back to Cape Town. They are still being used at Zandvlei and other water bodies around Cape Town, including the Waterfront in the harbour.

2. Joye was the only Councillor who officially opposed the Centuary City development proposal because of the Blouvlei component, which would be destroyed in the process.
It had a very large and important heronry in the middle of the vlei.

3. She was instrumental in fighting the railway stageing yards, proposed to extend across the Westlake Wetlands. This would have been a massive shunting yard to park the southern suburbs trains overnight. It would have extended from Retreat station southwards.

In 1996 after leaving the City as a Councillor she joined the Housing Committee, and then moved to the Provincial Development Council as the Civil Society representative.
In 2003 she became interested in promoting Product Development with arts and crafts as a feature to promote home industry and self employment. This is still a major activity at CAFDA. With lotto money raised, 3 CAFDA representatives were sent to the Grahamstown Festival in 2011 to learn more about crafts, marketing and selling. This was a valuable learning experience and has helped broaden thier horizons.

Joye is still involved with the Muizenberg Historical Society and also helped receive lotto money to develop the Muizenberg Battle Site. When she was a Councillor the process was initiated to have this ground transferred from the National Forestry Dept to become City owned land. The Post Huys is the oldest domestic residential building in RSA. The society also looks after the Rhodes Cottage. She relates how surprised a group of recent Rhodes Scholars were, when they toured the buildings, to learn more about their benefactor.

Joye served on the Zandvlei Trust Exco for a number of years in the late 1990's and early 2000's. For a time we used to meet at her house for monthly meetings. Her input was invaluable as she knew the systems of the Citys operation and function like the back of her hand. She was instrumental in promoting the Exco to work with City officials to attain changes required for the environment around Zandvlei. As she also knew many of the officials, it made an easier introduction for Zandvlei Trust Exco members into the then still very formal City corridors. This philosophy is still in practice today, as Zandvlei Trust has earned a reputation of working with officials for change, rather than being demanding, doing no research and solution finding for the issues which need change.

Joye has always tried to live a life with strong values as a basis, she is a peoples person and has always enjoyed helping others to achieve. She says family values are very important. By nature she is a teacher and she believes if she had had the opportunity to go to university after school, she would have studied law to be an advocate. She describes herself as an academic and has an artistic side to her makeup.

So in reading this article one can see the many common threads of interest and influence which she has been involved in through her very productive life.
And she is still busy at it.

Gavin Lawson.

                                                                                                                                              

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