Dear Members
When I was a kid, I had loads of friends from other countries …. But they were called “pen pals” back then. I absolutely loved writing long detailed letters about England and then, with our family emigration, even longer letters as I fell in love with my new adopted country South Africa. Even more than that, I relished the arrival of bulky envelopes filled with pages of information from exotic countries far away and bearing – hopefully – a beautiful and exciting foreign stamp. This week I was watching my 17-year-old son communicate with his “pen pals”. They come from Hong Kong, England, Chicago, Portugal, Beijing and Scotland. They don’t write a single letter to one another but they definitely know each other better than I ever got to know my pen pals, for they communicate via Skype, text messages, FaceTime and in our home, on the inevitable gaming environment. I know what they look like and what they sound like. I have met them! Not in the flesh of course and yet these international boys are a part of our family life as much as the real flesh and blood friends are. My goodness the world has changed.
A few months ago, together with Anne-Sophie Richter, our Open Door representative, I thought it would be fun to reach out to our sister clubs around the world. One of the reasons was simply to communicate and learn about their culture but another was a hope to invite them to share stories specifically about their endeavours to become a paper-less 21st century club. When the replies and letters started to come in, I was expecting … well, different!  Instead, as I read the words sent by women from Asia, America, Europe, north, south, west and east, I was reminded over and over again that in fact we are more similar than we are different.
This month,  I would like to share one of those greetings from shores afar. Maureen Collins, the president of IWC Portugal, described a club that sounded exactly like ours! They do similar activities and events and structure themselves very much like we do. I was amused to hear that they call their Area Representatives “Amigas”! I rather like that! Maureen specifically sent best wishes to you as she apparently spent 41 years living in Johannesburg and was thrilled to hear from a country that she clearly loved and still loves. The Small World Syndrome kicks in once again!
Every month, as you all arrive at Kelvin Grove and our Ballroom becomes ever busier and ever more noisy, I love to take a moment to stand back and listen to the extraordinary mix of accents. We really do sound like the United Nations Womens’ Group! And yet, when I tune into the merry voices and the laughter, I marvel at how the differences in our upbringing and culture, our different belief systems and our different education, our different careers and our very different life stories disappear as we simply enjoy being with other like-minded women.
Celebrate your uniqueness, relish your cultural roots … but enjoy and take comfort from the truth that at the end of the day, we are all just women living and loving our lives, regardless of our birth place or our accent.
M.Scott Peck, particularly famous for his wonderful book “The Road Less Travelled”, said “Share our similarities, celebrate our differences”. Now that’s worth remembering.
I wish you a wonderful September month with as much laughter and joy as you can pack into the weeks ahead.
Wendy Coetzee
President 2018

P.O.Box 587
Constantia 7848
Cape Town
Republic of South Africa
Wendy Coetzee
(083) 285-5933
Website powered by Plusto