Twenty years ago this month, in March 1997, MOTSUMI BUSH COURSES became a FGASA endorsed Training Provider. Those days, not many such providers were around, and we fondly recall the August 1998 edition of “Field News” – then still a B&W 20-pager – posting the results of the latest FGASA exam… Of the 40-odd students passing it, 28 were trained by us!
Today, of course, there are many more endorsed providers, all of them centres of excellence. We all have different niches, and the FGASA brand has become a household name. At MOTSUMI, we take in having grown with FGASA.
When Chantalle and I started, guides still registered with SATOUR, and there were no National Qualifications for guides. FGASA was there to fill the niche. The stormy years when THETA started to stir, then the 2004 alignment of FGASA with THETA… We were there,
Today, we proudly continue, and while SATOUR became DEAT which became NDT, and THETA was replaced by CATHSSETA, Motsumi remained Motsumi, and FGASA remained FGASA… The names you can trust!
Of course we have evolved over the years, keeping up with the times. One thing has remained: we passionately train passionate Field Guides.
Our alumni are everywhere: from Botswana, Kenia, Namibia and Mozambique; from the Lowveld, Western Cape, North West, even the Northern Cape and KZN, and the thickets of the Eastern Cape, through the grasslands of Gauteng and the goeie ou Vrystaat… The voice of Motsumi rings out from the guides we have trained.
Many of our students have become legendary guides themselves. To mention names here would be unfair, there are so many. We shall, over the next few months, profile a few volunteer ex-Motsumis from our past, starting with 1996-graduates (yes, we had to operate for a year and have several visits before endorsement finally came in 1997), and ending off with recent success stories.
Our children were also born after Motsumi; Casper is now in matric, and Boris in grade 11, both leaders and academic and sport achievers.
Congratulations, therefore, to all who have been Motsumi students, contributors and friends over the years. You made it possible!
We had a dream, and we have lived it. Thanks to all of you!
A final tale, illustrating the Motsumi spirit:
In 1998, we were, of course, dirt poor. Whilst conducting training at Bakubung Lodge in Pilanesberg, one of my lenses fell out of my spec frame. As I was quite myopic, I could not operate without glasses, but had no Money to get a new pair. So, for the next nine months, I had one fractured lens fixed with super glue. One day, my dear friend Mark Milne approached me. He handed me a cheque for R1000, and told me, in no uncertain terms, to get new glasses! I duly accepted, and the world was a spider web no more!
Such was the spirit of Motsumi, and that feeling of Goodwill remains today.
Lastly, I am not sure whether it is sad or funny that, of my 5 best friends, 4 are “old” Motsumi students!
If you are thinking of doing a Field Guide Course this year, there are some compelling reasons to choose Motsumi!