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.
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.
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
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;
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.
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.
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.