ABOUT US

Background | Activities | Facilities

THE EGYPTIAN SOCIETY OF   SOUTH AFRICA

P.O Box 66, Table View. 7441. South Africa
Tel. +27 (0)21 557 5082
Email: scarab@telkomsa.net

Background
Following a series of Egyptological lectures in Cape Town and having escorted a number of tour groups to Egypt, I became aware that there was clearly a place and a need for an Egyptian society in South Africa.

At the time, no such organisation existed in the country.  Just two years earlier in 1994 the new South Africa had emerged and South African passport holders were once again able to visit Egypt.

On November 4th 1996 (coincidentally the anniversary of the discovery of the first step to Tutankhamun’s tomb), an inaugural meeting was held and the Cape Town Egyptian Society was initiated with 143 people joining that same evening – the enthusiasm was palpable. Soon afterwards members joined from across South Africa and in a very short time it became apparent that this was a Society with national interest and six months after its founding in April 1997 the Society’s name was changed to THE EGYPTIAN SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA which also provided a useful acronym – TESSA.  A year later we formed and welcomed a branch of the Society in Johannesburg which sadly ceased to exist in 2000.

Activities
In accordance with the name it is incumbent on the Society to pursue both a national identity and international visibility. Accordingly, outstanding events have included national lecture tours of South Africa by Professor Kent Weeks (American University in Cairo & Theban Mapping Project), Professors Mostafa el Abbadi and Azza Kararah (University of Alexandria).

To mark the 10th anniversary year of the Society in 2006, the redoubtable Dr. Zahi Hawass (Secretary General – Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities) was invited to address audiences in Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Johannesburg.

Mention should be made of Dr. Toby Wilkinson‘s (Durham & Cambridge Universities) visits to the Society.
A wealth of lecturers from the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and the Western Cape has graced our podium, as well as a multitude of external lecturers and many in-house lecturers.

In 2003 a literary exhibition called Egypt Described: Herodotus to Hawass was arranged in association with the University of Cape Town at Cape Town’s Irma Stern Museum.

Facilities
TESSA boasts a comprehensive Lending Library and Reference/Archive Library with several hundred volumes including rare books. Well supported monthly meetings are arranged in Cape Town at a central meeting place – St George’s Grammar School, Mowbray.

An annual Day School in July has  been a feature of the Society’s calendar since the inauguration.

A quarterly newsletter, SHEMU, containing news and information is circulated to members across South Africa and abroad. It is also distributed to embassies, South African universities, schools, public libraries, press and media organisations as well as British and American Egyptological institutions – a further example of the Society’s focus on national and international communication.

Our logo, designed by the late international artist Angus McBride, symbolises the connection between South Africa and Egypt, using two iconic images which are internationally identifiable with our two countries. The South African component is an outline of Table Mountain in Cape Town – with Egypt represented by the Great Pyramid of Giza and its three satellite pyramids. The logo is redolent of the familiar expression “from the Cape to Cairo” which epitomises the breadth of the goals, aims and objectives of TESSA and of its loyal members.

Keith Grenville

20 July 2008

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Chairman’s annual report presented to the annual general meeting, November, 2015

I extend a warm welcome to all members and visitors to this the 19th annual general meeting of The Egyptian Society of South Africa.  As you have been told, I am no longer in a position to continue as Chairman and am stepping down.  I have too many stresses in my life at this point to do what I would regard as an adequate job and also to implement some of the adaptions to the Society resulting from the input from the questionnaires which members have completed over the last couple of months.  That said, however, I think it is safe to say that, generally, we had a successful year.  This, like in preceding years is largely thanks to the various highly committed committee members who have served the Society.  I think here of Jean Smith who has always served as Vice-Chairman and Secretary, John Lombard who, similarly, was on the committee before I joined.  We have had several Treasurers – Mike Beaumont, David Wolfaardt and, latterly, Dianne Norman.  Shirley Beaumont was our Caterer and she has been succeeded by Elaine Weckesser.  Lila Komnick served for a few years and was succeeded by Bill Weckesser when, if I remember correctly, Mike and Shirley Beaumont left the committee.  The dedication of this group of people is reflected in the fact that all our meetings were quorate. Although not a member of the committee, we have called on advice from our Patron and Founding Chairman, Keith Grenville, whenever necessary, for which we are always grateful. 
Shemu remains an integral part of TESSA and our editor, Nerine Dorman, has maintained her exemplary standards.  She is still ably assisted by Jean Smith as Shemu content manager and Lila Komnick as Shemu copy editor, who source material and often need to adapt it to our particular house style.  Jean commissions original lead articles for Shemu.  Notable contributors this year are Jane Mulder, Sofia Aziz, Francesco M. Galassi, Lorenzo Lazzarini and Hutan Ashrafian, as well as the ever-regular Maria Nilsson and John Ward.
Our Society website continues to be a success in making our existence known to the outside world.  We had 14 983 unique visitors, slightly down from 19 189 last year.  Our Facebook page was, however, more active with 1289 members, by 31st October, pleasingly,  members from around the world.  Enormous thanks are due to Jean Smith for all her hard work in maintaining a steady flow of posts.
An interesting development, initiated last year, has been the “twinning” of TESSA and the Ancient Egypt Society of Western Australia (AESWA).  We have been exchanging newsletters and members have been receiving copies electronically.  Our members are also able join their Facebook page.
As we are all aware, the economy is not in good shape and everything is going up in price.  TESSA is not immune to this situation so we have had to increase our annual subscription rates for ordinary members to R110.00.  Although we have broken through a psychological barrier, I still believe that we offer value for money.  R11.00 per lecture session is not bad going!  Distance members and student members both now pay R50.00.
Our membership is precisely the same as last year – 167.  New members are reflected in each issue of Shemu for existing members’ information and by way of a welcome to TESSA.
Thanks, yet again, to the tenacity of our Organiser, John Lombard, we were able to enjoy the following presentations:
January: Once Brother and Sister in Ancient Egypt but now Divided by Wolfgang Lange;
February: Ramesse lll’s Temple and Palace at Medinet Habu by Keith Grenville;
March: The Life and Times of Senenmut and the Influence of Hatshepsut by Anthony Humphreys;
April: Sound – the Forgotten Force by Gillian Russell- Johansen;
May: The use of geomatics in archaeology by Heinz Ruther;  
June: Breaking News June 2015 by John Lombard;
August: Inventing Egypt: Modern Fantasies of the Ancient World of the Pharaohs by Robin Derricourt;
September: Napoleon in Egypt by Eve Dunnell;
October: The Persians in Egypt by Johann Cook;
November: Egypt through a Victorian Camera – a Miscellany of Rare Vintage Photographs by Keith Grenville.

The Members’ Platforms were similarly varied and consisted of the following:
January: Visiting Egypt by Wolfgang Lange;
February: A Governor of the Oryx Nome by Jean Smith;
March: Creation by Roeland Middlekoop;
April: The Tutankhamun Exhibition at GrandWest by Charlotte Damgaard;
May: Rock Art, a Neglected Aspect of Egypt’s Heritage by Anthony Humphreys;
June: The Imhotep Museum at Sakkara by Jean Smith;
September: Textiles in Ancient Egypt by Anlen Boshoff;
October: Looking for Nefertiti in Tutankhamun’s Tomb by Jean Smith.
Mireille Farah continues her essential task of ensuring that our meetings are always advertised timeously in the various media.  Thank you, Mireille, for your constant dependability.  Jean Smith was interviewed on FMR to promote the Day School and, of course, TESSA in general.
The Annual Day School was held at Belmont Square in Rondebosch this year.  The theme was “Aspects of Ancient Egyptian Art.”  Keith Grenville spoke on “Symbolism in Ancient Egyptian Art.”  Anthony Humphreys addressed “‘Art and nature thus allied’: Physical Beauty in Ancient Egypt.”  And Sakkie Cornelius wrapped things up with “Emotions in Ancient Egyptian Art.”  Despite an irritating start to proceedings thanks to Eskom, Belmont Square put on a magnificent show.  Unfortunately, however, the Day School was not well attended by TESSA members.  This is one of the reasons for the questionnaire which is currently being circulated.  A fuller report on the Day School is available on our website.
Our Library continues to be run in the most professional way by Colleen Cox and Jackie Weitsz. We are extremely appreciative of their sustained and dedicated services during the last 15 years, a real mile-stone, for which we are all very grateful.  They maintain a fundamental part of our offerings to members.
An exceptional donation of 32 excellent quality books this year was from Alan Bamford of Grahamstown, for which we are most grateful.  We are also grateful to Dianne and Andrew Norman who, via their business, Triptych Resources, conveyed the boxes of books from Grahamstown to Cape Town at their own expence.  Many thanks are due to all.  Another non-member, Lewis Walter, generously donated six original Wallace Budge books dating to the early 1900s.  We are equally appreciative of this donation.  And there is even more.  Penny Holmes, widow of Anthony Holmes, donated 58 magazines and 64 books from the collection of Anthony Holmes.  Again, our grateful thanks for this gesture.
TESSA member Wendy Amyot made a very generous monetary donation to the Library’s Sundries Account.  This was, indeed, an unexpected and most welcome gift.  Our deepest gratitude to you, Wendy.
Thanks are also due to Jean Smith, Lila Komnick and Jane Mulder for press cuttings and articles for the Society’s Scrapbook, which is on display at the Library Desk during the AGM, along with two bound albums, commissioned by the TESSA committee, of “Ancient Egypt” and “Egyptian Archaeology” magazines which will be installed into the Lending Library next year.
Because our Library is expanding at such a rate, the TESSA committee commissioned the construction of another cupboard.  Our Librarians’ policy is not to have more than three copies of any particular book.   As a result of the generous donations mentioned above – and there are more to come, which I will list later – we have some titles over and above the limit of three.  Sometime next year, our Librarians plan to have a sale of the excess books to raise funds for the Library Sundries Account.  This will also constitute a little celebration of 20 years of the Society’s existence.
The Librarians would like to point out that we no longer have a video library as all existing videos have been replaced with more updated DVDs.
Sincere thanks are due to Allison Feinhauer and Keith Grenville who each donated a magazine.  Book donations were received from the following: Beverley Burchell (six), Keith Grenville (four), Allison Feinhauer (seven), Soretha Smithers (twenty two), Wendy Staedtler (four), Marilie van der Walt (four), Carol Prior (thirty one), Cherry Howell (one), Jackie Weitsz (one), Mike and Shirley Beaumont (eleven).  Thanks to the generosity of all these good people, our holdings have gone up from last years’ total of 839 to 1 010 books in all.  An excellent way to celebrate 20 years by breaking through this psychological barrier!
  GENERAL THANKS
Over and above the people mentioned above, the committee is indebted to the following:  Corporate Member “Egypt Today CC” for its continued support; our auditor, Ralph Pond for sustained interest and support over many years; the St George’s Grammar School people – Headmaster, Julian Cameron; Liaison Person, Stephen Bornman and Estate Manager, Ivan Smith.  Master Photographer Gunther Komnick provides technical advice whenever required.  We are also most indebted to Andrew Norman for some invaluable legal advice (not forgetting some ‘muscle’ when packing up after a meeting!).  Most importantly, of course, thanks are due to all the speakers for sharing their knowledge with us and for the effort involved in researching their topics and putting together the PowerPoint presentations which now inevitably accompany the presentations. 
Finally, of course, thanks are due to you, our loyal members, for your continuing support, which makes TESSA the vibrant society that it is. 
May I conclude by wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday period until we foregather for the beginning of our 20th year next January to resume our exploration of “things Egyptian.”
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CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT
PRESENTED AT THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
 25 NOVEMBER 2014

I extend, once again, a warm welcome to all members and visitors to this the 18th Annual General Meeting of  The Egyptian Society of South Africa.  We have enjoyed yet another successful year.  This is thanks to a team of highly committed Committee members who filled the following portfolios:  Jean Smith, Vice-Chairman and Secretary; Dianne Norman, Treasurer; John Lombard, Organiser; Bill Weckesser, Co-ordinator, and Elaine Weckesser, Catering.
 Unfortunately towards the end of last year David Wolfaardt, our previous Treasurer, had to resign as the nature of his work – as a professional Tour Guide – became incompatible with keeping the Society’s books. I should like to thank him most sincerely for all he did during his two year stint and for the relaxed humour that he brought to our meetings – all very much appreciated. Thank you, David!  Dianne Norman has proved to be a highly organised successor and has blended very well into the Committee.  It goes without saying that our Patron and Founding Chairman, Keith Grenville, continues to maintain his interest, and is a source of valuable advice, for which we are always grateful.
Shemu is an integral part of TESSA and our Editor, Nerine Dorman, has maintained her usual exemplary standards. She is still ably assisted by Jean Smith as “Shemu content manager” and Lila Komnick as “Shemu copy editor” who source material and often need to adapt it to our particular house style.  Jean commissions original lead articles for Shemu.  Notable contributors this year include Keith Payne, Jane Mulder, Francesco M. Galassi and Jasmine Day, as well as the ever-regular Maria Nilsson and John Ward.
Our Society website continues to be a great success in making our existence known to the outside world.  We had 19 189 unique visitors, virtually a thousand more than last year.  Our Facebook page is also very active with, by 31st October, 1 148 members from around the world. Enormous thanks are due to Jean Smith for all her hard work in maintaining a steady flow of posts.
An interesting development is the “twinning” of TESSA and the Ancient Egypt Society of Western Australia (AESWA). We will be exchanging newsletters and members will receive copies electronically.  Our members can also join their Facebook page.

MEMBERSHIP

Economic pressures have again forced us to increase our subscription rates to R95.00 for ordinary members. We have kept the rate at R45.00 for distance members but have increased student rates to R50.00.  I believe that TESSA is still one of the best value for-money societies in the country if we look the subscription rates of other societies.  Our membership as of 31st October is 167.  New members are reflected in each issue of Shemu for existing members’ information and by way of a welcome.
It is with great sadness that I have to record the passing of TESSA members.  The first is Anthony (Tony) Holmes, who, although resigning after relocating to Somerset West, made an enormous contribution to TESSA while with us, giving talks and writing anonymous articles for Shemu entitled “Ink on my Fingers.” The second is Founder Member, Frances Bean, who, together with her husband Sandy, was an enthusiastic supporter. Appropriate messages of condolence were conveyed to the respective families on behalf of TESSA. A third loss was Michael Foden, shortly after joining TESSA.  Our sympathies go equally to his family and friends.

SPECIAL MEETINGS AND ADJUSTMENTS

A Special Meeting was held in January to approve our Financial Statements which could not be presented at our November AGM.  A second Special Meeting was held on 22nd April to approve a Public Liability clause for our Constitution absolving the Society from any injury, etc. which might arise to people participating in our activities.  This is in line with other similar societies and the precise wording can be found on our website.
We have been reassessing our insurance cover and, among other things, having regard for the heavy security at St George’s, have taken advantage of that security by cancelling our cover for equipment.  Thieves are more likely to target St George’s sophisticated high-tech equipment than our large old fashioned speakers!

LECTURES

A high-light this year was a lecture evening by Dr Huub Pragt of Leiden in Holland. Free wine / fruit juice and biscuits were provided and thanks are due to John Lombard, Elaine Weckesser, Diane Norman and Jean Smith for this treat. A fuller report can be found on our website.
John Lombard, our Organiser, continues his magnificent work in seeking out speakers.  Thanks to his dedication we
were able to enjoy the following presentations:
January: Partying in Ancient Egypt and Caesar’s Statue of Cleopatra by Anthony Humphreys;
February: Royal Crowns of Ancient Egypt by Keith Grenville;
March: Making Wine in Ancient Egypt by John Moore;
April: Impressions of India by Gunther Komnick;
May: Faience, Ancient Egypt’s First High-tech Ceramic by Jean Smith;
June: Egyptian Expeditions to the Land of Punt by Anthony Humphreys;
August: Egyptian Portraiture: Bridging the Real and Ideal by Jessica Nitschke;
September: Ancient Egypt in the ‘Crystal Palace’ by Keith Grenville;
October: The Hidden Tomb by Huub Pragt;
November: After these formalities, John Lombard will again be bringing us up to date with Breaking News in Egypt 2014.

The Members’ Platforms were similarly varied and consisted of the following:

February: Dendera Temple: Cleaned and Revealed by Keith Grenville;
March: Cheese Making in Egypt by Anthony Humphreys;
April: Peru Through My Lens by Gunther Komnick;
June: Breaking News 2014 by John Lombard;
August: The Excavation at Ancient Thmuis (Tel Timai) by Jessica Nitschke;
September: The Significance of Eye Make-up in Ancient Egypt by Anthony Humphreys;
October: The Theft of Amarna Art by Huub Pragt.

Mireille Farah continues her essential task of ensuring that our meetings are always advertised timeously in the
various media.  Thank you, Mireille, for your constant dependability. Jean Smith was also interviewed on local
 radio stations – FMR and Voice of the Cape – to promote particular lectures and, of course, TESSA itself.

ANNUAL DAY SCHOOL

The Annual Day School, still the high point of our year, was held on 19th July, again at Kelvin Grove.  This year’s theme was Religion in Ancient Egypt and consisted of the following three lectures:                                                                                                                                                     “The Many Faces of the Deity: Iconography of the Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt” by Sakkie Cornelius, and It’s All in a Name – The Dawn of the Aten” and “Conflict and Compliance: Egyptian Religion in the Ptolemaic Period” by Keith Grenville. A full report on the day is available on our website.

LIBRARY

Our Library continues to be run in the most professional way by Colleen Cox and Jackie Weitsz. We are extremely appreciative of their sustained and dedicated services during the last 14 years.  They maintain a fundamental part of our offerings to members.
Our librarians report as follows:
Thanks to Jean Smith and Lila Komnick for Press cuttings and articles for the Society’s Scrapbook.  Lila also donated two magazines.
The TESSA Life Membership Certificate issued to the late Founding Treasurer, Desmond Caywood, has been returned to the Society by his family, and has been integrated into the Scrapbook alongside the photographs depicting his last day in office, and his receiving the Certificate.
Thanks also to John Lombard for his contribution to the Scrapbook of the two posters used to grace the Tutankhamun Vin Blanc and Vin Rouge wines from the Tel el-Amarna Vineyards which were offered to members on two evenings this year.
We are grateful to non-member Rheina Epstein for donating a colour photograph of the sadly neglected grave of Egyptologist Howard Carter (taken in 1991 before the recent upgrade) to our Archives.
We are also grateful to the visiting Dutch Egyptologist, Huub Pragt, for kindly donating to the Library, a copy of his book, “The Language of the Pharaohs,” which is an easy guide to learning Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Thanks go also to Jackie Weitsz who donated three DVDs to the Library.
The Society also received one Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, and two Egyptian Archaeology Bulletins (along with Newsletters and flyers) from the British Egypt Exploration Society, through TESSA’s membership of the EES.
Two A4 size clear acrylic bookstands were purchased for the Library to highlight books of interest to members, as well as displaying the latest EES Bulletins and Journals. Six bookends were also purchased for the Library’s expanding needs.
We are also grateful to the following members for their book donations to the Library.
Alison Feinhauer (7), Beverley Burchell (6), Keith Grenville (4), Karen Vermeulen (3, which she acquired from her sister), Robert Mulders (1, a non-member who donated the book in memory of his late wife, Jan Mulders) and John Lombard (1)
Warm thanks are due to all who contributed to the expansion of our Library.
At the end of 2013, 817 books were registered in the Library. The tally of new books added to the Library is 22, bringing the total to 839 books in all. The Committee is hoping to have an additional cupboard installed in the near future to relieve the pressure.

GENERAL THANKS

Over and above the people mentioned above, the Committee is indebted to the following:  Corporate Member “Egypt Today CC” for its continued support; our auditor, Ralph Pond; the St George’s Grammar School people – Headmaster, Julian Cameron; Liaison Person, Stephen Bornman and Estate Manager, Ivan Smith. Master Photographer Gunther Komnick provides technical advice when required.  Most importantly, thanks are due to all the speakers for sharing their knowledge with us and for the effort involved in researching their topics.
Finally, of course, thanks are due to you, our loyal members, for your continuing support, which makes TESSA the vibrant society that it is.  May I conclude by wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday period until we foregather for the beginning of our
 19th year next January to resume our exploration of “things Egyptian.”

PROF ANTHONY HUMPHREYS
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CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT
PRESENTED TO THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
 26 NOVEMBER 2013

Once again I extend a hearty welcome to all members and visitors to this the 17th Annual General Meeting of The Egyptian Society of South Africa.  We have had yet another eventful and successful year.  This is thanks to  team of highly committed Committee members who filled the following portfolios:  Jean Smith, Vice-Chairman and Secretary; David Wolfaardt, Treasurer; John Lombard, Organiser; Bill Weckesser, Co-ordinator, and Elaine Weckesser, Catering. Their dedication is indicated by the fact that every monthly meeting was quorate.  Our Patron and Founding Chairman, Keith Grenville, continues to maintain his interest, support and wise council, for which we are always grateful.

Shemu is an integral part of the TESSA “package” (about which, more later) and our Editor, Nerine Dorman, has maintained her usual exemplary standards. She is still ably assisted by Jean Smith as “Shemu content manager” and Lila Komnick as “Shemu copy editor” who source material and often need to adapt it to conform to our particular house style.  Jean commissions original lead articles especially for Shemu.  Notable contributors this year include Anthony Cagle (with thanks to Dinah White who condensed the article), David Furlong, Keith Grenville, Joyce Filer and Jane Mulder, as well as the ever-regular Maria Nilsson and John Ward.

We are greatly indebted to John Lombard who always makes his own personal laptop available at meetings.  We are still grappling with our erratic sound system. The acquisition a microphone which attaches to the speaker’s head has gone some way towards solving this problem.  Many thanks, John, for your on-going technical input and experimentation.

Our Society website – www.egyptiansociety.co.za – has continued to be a great success in making our existence known to the outside world.  We had 9413 unique visitors – 2400 more than last year.  Our Facebook page is also very active with, to the end of October, 377 members from, literally, all over the world.  Please think of joining in as you are missing a valuable resource.

MEMBERSHIP

Economic pressures have forced us to increase our subscription rates to R85.00 for ordinary members, though we have kept the rate at R45.00 for distance and student members.  We managed to hold the rate at R80.00 for ordinary members from 2004 until now – no less than 10 years!  Despite this small increase, I believe that TESSA is still one of the best value-for-money societies in the country.  We offer ten lectures a year; the Annual Day School with its three lectures and traditional Egyptian-style buffet lunch, where members pay the basic cost-per-person rate (non-members being required to pay slightly more); four issues of Shemu; free access to our ever-expanding Lending Library now consisting not only of books but a solid collection of DVDs; and, of course, Jean Smith’s electronic “TESSA Bulletins” with updates on developments relating to finds and events in Egypt.  Our membership remains fairly constant at about 200, though it is impossible to quote precise figures. We are now in the midst of the annual renewal of subscriptions and new members are always replacing those who fall away for whatever reason.  New members are reflected in each issue of Shemu for existing members’ information and by way of a welcome.

It is with great sadness that I have to record the passing of two stalwart members of TESSA.  The first is Clive Oosthuizen who was a member for 14 years and regularly participated in our activities, along with his wife Heletia. The second is Founder Member Doreen Davis who was an equally enthusiastic supporter, as was to be expected. Appropriate messages of condolence were conveyed to the respective families on behalf of TESSA.

LECTURES

An exceptional high-light this year was a lecture by Prof Salima Ikram, Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo.  As a result of a happy set of circumstances, Prof Ikram was in the country at the end of April to engage in a research project with Prof Sakkie Cornelius of the Department of Ancient Studies at Stellenbosch.  TESSA contributed financially to making the visit possible, thereby subsidising some valuable research into an intriguing aspect of Ancient Egypt. A fuller report and some photographs taken at the meeting can be seen on our website.

John Lombard, our Organiser, continues his sterling work in seeking out speakers.  Thanks to his dedication we were able to enjoy the following presentations:

January: The Last Cleopatra – The Life and Times of Cleopatra Selene II and The Nefertiti Centenary by Anthony Humphreys;
February: Mummifying Alan: Egypt’s Last Secret – A DVD version of the award winning TV documentary by Joann Fletcher and Stephen Buckley;
March: Ancient Egypt in Victorian Art by Keith Grenville;
April: Mummies in Ancient Egypt by Salima Ikram;
May: Journeying through the Faiyum by Lambert Vorster;
June: The Scourge of the Sea Peoples by Patricia Weckesser;
August: Ancient Egypt – What Happened Before the Pharaohs? by Alexandra Sumner;
September: (Double Lecture) Uncovering a Graeco-Roman City in the Delta – The Excavation at Ancient Thmuis (Tel Timai) by Jessica Nitschke;
October: Unite or Die: What Happened to the Royal House of Nekhen by Gillian Russell-Johansen;
November: After the formalities tonight, John Lombard will again be bringing us up to date with More Breaking News in Egypt 2013.

The Members’ Platforms were similarly varied and consisted of the following:

March: Ancient Egyptian Shabtis by Jean Smith;
May: More of the Western Desert by Lambert Vorster;
June: Breaking News 2013 by John Lombard;
August: Helen of Troy – An Egyptian Connection? by Anthony Humphreys;
October: Rise of the Rebels, and a 2nd Unification: it didn’t take long for the dream to fade … by Gillian Russell-Johansen.

Mireille Farah continues her vital job of ensuring that our meetings are always advertised timeously in the various media.  Thank you, as ever, Mireille, for your consistent behind the scenes reliability. Anthony Humphreys and Jean Smith were also interviewed on local radio stations – FMR and Voice of the Cape – to promote particular lectures and, of course, TESSA itself.

ANNUAL DAY SCHOOL

The Annual Day School, which remains the high point of our year, was held on 27th July, this time at a new venue, Kelvin Grove Club. This year’s theme was Female Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt and consisted of the following three lectures: Hatsepsut – Betrayal or a Royal Cover-up? by Keith Grenville, Tausret – The Unknown Pharaoh by Jean Smith, and Arsinoe II – A Valid Pharaoh? by Anthony Humphreys.  A full report on the highly successful day is available on our website. Particular thanks are due to Andre Bakkes of the TygerBurger for pre-Day School publicity and for a comprehensive report on the event in the paper, as well as a video feature on their website.  This is all still available on our website – click on the TygerBurger website address just above my report on the Day School.

LIBRARY

Our Library continues to be run smoothly as ever by Colleen Cox and Jackie Weitsz. These two ladies put an enormous amount of work into the Library – and have done so for the last 13 years – and we are extremely grateful for their sustained and dedicated services.  They maintain a fundamental part of our offerings to members.

Our librarians report as follows:

Thanks are due to Lila Komnick, Jean Smith, Ria Robinson and Graham Rodgers for both press cuttings, pamphlets and articles of historical interest, which they donated to the Library for the Society’s Scrapbook. Thanks also to Jane Mulder for donating a large packet filled with Egypt-related articles and cuttings from the Estate of her friend Richard Boberg. We also received a large poster portraying Queen Nefertari kindly donated by Wendy Cranston.

We are also grateful to the Egyptian Embassy for donating a dozen miscellaneous items and two books to the Society, which have been incorporated into the Library.

Two VHS videos were anonymously given to the Library earlier this year. They are the last as we no longer possess a VHS Video Library. Owing to the progression of technology, last year we upgraded to a new DVD Library instead. It gave us great pleasure to present the contents of our former VHS Video Library to our oldest TESSA member, Graham McPetrie, who is almost 95 years old, and unfortunately no longer able to attend our monthly meetings. All of us at TESSA wish him well for the future, and trust he that will have many hours of watching pleasure ahead.

An anonymous donation of R20 was made to the Library Sundries Account this year, in the form of a note discovered lying under the Library desk! A book was also donated to the Library by an anonymous gentleman.

The Society received one Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (along with a Newsletter and flyers), and one Egyptian Archaeology Bulletin from the London-based Egypt Exploration Society, through TESSA’s membership of the EES.

38 books were donated to the Library this year. Of these, the TESSA Committee purchased three. These were: “Cleopatra the Great” by Joann Fletcher, “The Great Pharaohs” by T.G.H. James, and “The Encyclopaedia of Ancient Egypt” edited by Helen Strudwick.

Other book donations came from Keith Grenville, Wendy Cranston, Soretha Smithers, Karen Douglas-Elliott, Jennifer Engelbrecht.

At the end of last year 781 books were registered in the Library. The grand total is now 817 books. 

Warm thanks are due to all who contributed to the expansion of our Library.

GENERAL THANKS

Over and above the people mentioned above, the Committee is also indebted to the following:  Corporate Member “Egypt Today CC” for its continued support; our auditor, Ralph Pond; the St George’s Grammar School people – Headmaster, Julian Cameron; Liaison Person, Stephen Bornman and Estate Manager, Ivan Smith. Master Photographer Gunther Komnick provides photographic and technical advice when required.  Most importantly, thanks are due to the various speakers for sharing their knowledge with us and for the effort involved in researching their topics.

Finally, of course, thanks are due to you, our loyal members, for your continuing support, which makes TESSA the vibrant society that it is. 

May I conclude by wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday period until we foregather for the beginning of our 18th year next January to resume our exploration of “things Egyptian.”

PROF ANTHONY HUMPHREYS

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CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT
PRESENTED TO THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
 27 NOVEMBER 2012

May I extend a hearty welcome to all members and visitors to this the 16th Annual General Meeting of The Egyptian Society of South Africa.  I am pleased to be able to report once again on an eventful and successful year.  This is due in the first place to a team of highly committed Committee members who were as follows:  Jean Smith, Vice-Chairman and Secretary; David Wolfaardt, Treasurer; John Lombard, Organiser; Bill Weckesser, Co-ordinator, and Elaine Weckesser, Catering.  David, as our new Treasurer, has introduced some innovative banking and book-keeping procedures, while Elaine has ensured that we are well catered for at tea/coffee time, quite apart from providing valuable input at meetings.  Our two new members have slotted in well, and I think it is true to say that you have a balanced and congenial Committee.  Our Patron and Founding Chairman, Keith Grenville, has continued to provide unfailing interest, support and wise council, for which we are always grateful.

MEMBERSHIP

We have been able to maintain our subscription rates unchanged at R80.00 for ordinary members and R45.00 for distance and student members since 2004, making TESSA one of the best value-for-money societies in the country.  This R80.00 which is less than the equivalent of two Cavendish cinema tickets (and you can now forget about the popcorn!), buys you ten lectures a year plus the basic price for the Annual Day School with its three lectures and traditional Egyptian-style buffet lunch (for which non-members have to pay more), four issues of Shemu, free access to our Lending Library now consisting not only of books but also an ever expanding collection of DVDs, as well as Jean Smith’s frequent electronic “TESSA Bulletins” with news on developments relating to finds and events in Egypt.  Our membership remains fairly constant but it is difficult quote precise figures here and now as we are in the midst of the annual renewal of subscriptions and virtually every monthly meeting yields a few new members to replace those who fall away for whatever reason.  New members are always recorded in Shemu for existing members’ information.

SOME NEW DEVELOPMENTS

Shemu continues to develop from strength to strength and recently underwent a face lift making it even more attractive. The Editor, Nerine Dorman, has maintained her usual excellent standards, while she is ably assisted by Jean Smith as “Shemu content manager” and Lila Komnick as “Shemu copy editor” who source material and often re-write it to conform to our particular house style.  Jean has been able to commission original pieces written especially for Shemu by active Egyptologists.  Some notable contributors this year include Stephen Buckley, Maria Nilsson and John Ward, Donald Redford, Per Storemyr and Anthony Holmes. 

We have acquired our own laptop to accompany our data projector.  We are greatly indebted to John Lombard who always made his own personal laptop available at meetings.  We have also tried to revamp our erratic sound system by purchasing a microphone which attaches to the speaker’s head.  We are hoping that we can beat this recurring gremlin once and for all.  Many thanks, John, for all your technical input.

Our Society website – www.egyptiansociety.co.za – has continued to be a great success with 7 014 unique visitors to 31st October.  We have, moreover, added to our digital profile by launching our own Facebook page which has generated considerable interaction among members – and others – who have access.  I appeal to members to seek it out, if you are able, as it is a source of some fascinating information and beautiful pictures.   If you don’t want to be inundated by emails every time something is posted, this facility can be switched off and you can simply visit our Facebook page when it suits you. Jean Smith, who is knowledgeable about these things, has offered assistance and advice to those who require it.

After a year’s break, we resurrected the November “Egypt in …” outings and this year we returned to the Swartland and were warmly welcomed to his farm by founder member Lambert Vorster with his magnificent “you name it, I’ve got it” collection including a significant component of “things Egyptian.”  Many thanks for your hospitality, once again, Lambert. Things were rounded off with a wine tasting and lunch at the Herehuis Restaurant in Malmesbury.

LECTURES

Thanks to the dedication of John Lombard, our Organiser, our regular monthly lectures are always wide-ranging and this year was no exception.  We enjoyed the following presentations:

January: “I am for the sky … I sour cloud-wards to the sky like a heron” – The Pyramid Texts of Ancient Egypt by Keith Grenville;
February: Pandora’s Box? Indo-European Markers Spotted in Tut’s DNA Report by Gillian Russell;
March: Portraying Cleopatra: Her Image on Screen, Stage and in the Media by Anthony Humphreys;
April: The End of the Hyksos Era and the Beginning of the Great 18th Dynasty by Jean Smith;
May: (Double Lecture) The Western Desert: A Pictorial Journey Through the Great Oases of Bahariya, Dakhla, Farafa, Kharga and the Faiyum by Lambert Vorster;
June: (Double Lecture) Preserving Our Ancient Heritage: 3D Techniques by Heinz Ruther;
August: How to Treat the Enemy: Binding, Smiting, Trampling in Ancient Egypt by Sakkie Cornelius;
September: Soldiers of the King: The Military in Ancient Egypt by Jean Smith;
October: Ancient Egyptian Mathematics by Peter Loyson;
November: After the formalities tonight, John Lombard will be bringing us up to date with Breaking News.

The Members’ Platforms were similarly varied and consisted of the following:

January: Quiz 2012: A Quiz with a Difference by John Lombard (Congratulations are due here to Alison Feinhauer for winning with a near perfect score);
February: Witches in Ancient Egypt by Anthony Humphreys;
March: Upper Palaeolithic Art in Ancient Egypt by Anthony Humphreys;
April: Ancient Egypt and the Greek Connection – Art by Pat Weckesser;
August: Looking inside Votive Creatures. Results of Computed Tomography Scanning of Egyptian Mummified Animals in Iziko Museums of Cape Town by Sakkie Cornelius, Ruhan Slabbert and Anton du Plessis;
September: Beth Shean – An Archaeologist’s Paradise or Nightmare? by John Lombard;
October: Egypt in South Africa by Keith Grenville.

Mireille Farah continues her essential service of ensuring that our meetings are always advertised timeously in the various media – local daily newspapers, community papers and on Fine Music Radio.  Thank you, as ever, Mireille, for your consistent behind the scenes reliability. 

Yvonne Viljoen, Chairperson of the Western Cape Branch of the South African Archaeological Society, maintains a permanent reminder of TESSA details in their regular newsletters, which is greatly appreciated.  Observant members will have noticed that we reciprocate in Shemu.

DAY SCHOOL

The annual Day School, which continues to be the high point of the year, was held on 28th July. This year’s theme was The Great Archaeologists and their Legacies and consisted of the following three lectures: Bravo Belzoni! by Keith Grenville, Petrie: Archaeology in Long Johns by Anlen Boshoff, and The Carter-Carnarvon Combo by Anthony Humphreys.  A full report on the day is available on our website. As always, the day was a sell-out, numbers now being dictated by the size of the Baxter Restaurant.  Thanks are due to Theresa Peters, the new restaurant manager, for continuing the Egyptian-style buffet lunch.

LIBRARY

Our Library continues to be run most efficiently by Colleen Cox and Jackie Weitsz. These two ladies put an enormous amount of work into the Library – and have done so for the last 12 years – and we are extremely grateful for their sustained and dedicated services.  They maintain a vital part of our offerings to members.

Our librarians report as follows: 
A total of 45 books were donated to the Library this year. Of these, the TESSA Committee purchased three, in response to members’ requests. These were, “Ancient Lives – Daily Life in Egypt of the Pharaohs” by John Romer, “The Harem Conspiracy – The Murder of Ramses III ” by Susan Redford and “Valley of the Golden Mummies” by Zahi Hawass.
The Society also received two Egyptian Archaeology Bulletins, and one Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (along with attendant newsletters and flyers), from the Egypt Exploration Society.
Marina Robertson donated a rare book, dating to 1915, entitled “Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt” by Lewis Spence, which has been housed in our Archives, while author Rod Tritton donated an autographed copy of his own published book, “Exploring Mystery” to the Library.
The other book donations came from Doreen Davis, Sandy & Frances Bean, Wendy Kerby, Keith Grenville, Wendy Johnstone, Carrol Prior, Jackie Weitsz. Oonah Kühn and non-member Marion Portuesi.
At the end of last year 744 books were registered in the Library. However, of the additional 45 books donated this year, eight books exceed the number of copies of any particular title that the Society can accommodate, owing to space restrictions. These must therefore be subtracted from the total, which reduces the tally to 37 books added to the Library, bringing the total to 781 books in all.
Thanks are due to Lila Komnick and Jean Smith for their contribution of press articles of TESSA events for the Society’s Scrapbook, which is available at the Library Desk for members’ casual perusal.
Thanks, too, to Keith Grenville for donating the original TESSA logos designed by the late Angus McBride, who was a well-known international illustrator, founder member of TESSA, and eloquent lecturer on the subject of Ancient Egypt, which he loved. He will be long and fondly remembered by TESSA members as a man of great warmth and charm, and is indeed sadly missed. The two logos, (one in colour, and one in black and white) are now framed and on display in the Library Archives.
All DVDs processed by, and received from, Keith Grenville, who very generously transferred our videos to DVD format, were categorised, and their boxes covered and coded for the official launch of our DVD Library this year.
Two DVDs were donated to the Library this year. One was by Freda Heese, on the subject of the pyramids and Petra in Jordan. The other, by Joann Fletcher, is a copy of the BAFTA award winning documentary entitled: “Mummifying Alan: Egypt’s Last Secret.” 
20 videos were donated this year. The breakdown is as follows: Doreen Davis, Wendy Steytler and Soretha Smithers.
Doreen Davis also contributed two magazines, and Keith Grenville provided a booklet and a magazine.

As you can see, many people have contributed to the extension of our Library.  Warm thanks are due to all for their generous support of TESSA and its Library.

GENERAL THANKS

Apart from the people mentioned above, the Committee is also indebted to the following:  Corporate Member “Egypt Today CC” for its continued support; our auditor, Ralph Pond; the St George’s Grammar School people – Headmaster, Julian Cameron; Liaison Person, Stephen Bornman and Estate Manager, Ivan Smith. Master Photographer Gunther Komnick provided valuable photographic assistance and technical advice.  Most importantly, thanks are due to the various speakers for sharing their knowledge with us and for the effort involved not only in researching their topics but in putting together the now obligatory accompanying PowerPoint presentations which, in themselves, take up a considerable amount of time.

Finally, of course, thanks are due to you, our loyal members, for your continuing support, which makes TESSA the vibrant society that it is.  To conclude, may I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday period until we foregather for the beginning of our 17th year next January to resume our exploration of “things Egyptian.”
PROF ANTHONY HUMPHREYS

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 CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT 22 November 2011

 Once again, may I extend a warm welcome to all members and visitors to this the 15th Annual General Meeting of The Egyptian Society of South Africa.  As we reach another mile-stone – 15 years of existence – I am pleased to report on yet another eventful andsuccessful year.  This is due in the first place to a wonderful team of highly committed Committee members.  At the beginning of theyear we welcomed Bill Weckesser to the Committee and Bill has proved to be a valuable and congenial asset.  Bill replaced Lila Komnick who resigned because of being over extended and we are grateful to her for her service on the Committee and for the innovations which she introduced.  Her commitment to TESSA has not diminished, however, and, as will become evident later in this report, she continues to serve the Society in other capacities.  The Committee members and their portfolios were as follows: Jean Smith, Vice-Chairman and Secretary; Mike Beaumont, Treasurer; John Lombard, Organiser; Bill Weckesser, Co-ordinator and Shirley Beaumont, Catering.  From my side, it has been a pleasure working with such dedicated people and I can assure you that TESSA owes a great deal to them all. As always, every one of our monthly meetings was quorate. After 10 years as Treasurer, Mike Beaumont has decided to retire from the Committee. We are extremely indebted to Mike for his devoted service and good humour at meetings.  Shirley Beaumont has also decided to call it a day and we are equally grateful to her for her 10 years of service in maintaining a steady flow of tea and coffee at TESSA meetings and for the benefit of her wisdom and insight at our monthly Committee meetings. Over and above these good people, we are, as ever, grateful to our Patron and Founding Chairman, Keith Grenville, for his unfailing interest, support and wise council.

 Shemu continues to develop as an academic resource of which we can justly be proud. The Editor of Shemu, Nerine Dorman, maintains her usual high standards, while she is ably assisted by Jean Smith as “Shemu content manager” and Lila Komnick as “Shemu copy editor” who source material and often re-write it to conform to our particular style.  Jean Smith has been able to commission original pieces written especially for Shemu by active Egyptologists. Some notable contributors this year include Maria Nilson, Kent Weeks, Colin Reader, Anthony Holmes and Joann Fletcher.  Jean Smith does a sterling job in issuing occasional electronic “Bulletins” with cutting-edge reports on developments relating to finds in Egypt.  These have been particularly important this year given the political unrest in Egypt and the alleged looting of sites.

 Our Society website – www.egyptiansociety.co.za – has continued to be a great success.  We had 15 152 hits during the year with the main countries being South Africa, Britain, the United States and, interestingly, Malaysia. Jean Smith is our webmaster and is continually updating the information on the site. Anyone who has not visited the site is missing out on another valuable resource as we have links to a number of important Egypt-related sites.  There is also a variety of sites which are temporarily automatically linked to our site, so a daily visit is almost a must.

 MEMBERSHIP

 TESSA, as I have always maintained, remains the best value for money society in the country.  We have been able to maintain our subscription rates at R80.00 for ordinary members and R45.00 for distance and student members for a number of years.  This R80.00, which is much less than the equivalent of two cinema tickets and a box of popcorn, buys you ten lectures a year plus a substantial discount for the Annual Day School with its three lectures and now famous Egyptian-style buffet lunch, four issues of Shemu and free access to our Lending Library. Our membership remains fairly constant at just under 300 members but, as always, it is difficult quote precise figures here and now as we are in the midst of the annual renewal of subscriptions and virtually every monthly meeting yielding three or four new members to replace those who fall away owing to developing other interests or leaving town.  New members are always acknowledged in Shemu for members’ information.

LECTURES

 Thanks to the persistence of John Lombard, our Organiser, our regular monthly lectures have spanned a wide range of topics and this year we were able to enjoy the following presentations:

 January: (double lecture) Secrets of the Pyramids: Latest research about how they were built by Peter Loyson;

February: Jackal Among the Tombs by Keith Grenville;

March: Cleopatra and the ‘Race’ Debate – Some reflections by Anthony Humphreys;

April: The State of Egypt’s Antiquities Following the Recent Turmoil by Jean Smith;

May: More than Words and Images by Gillian Russell;

June: The Phoenician and Egyptian Connection by Robin Hammond;

August: In the Beginning: Egypt Before the Pharaohs by Lambert Vorster;

September: Morocco Through My Lens by Gunther and Lila Komnick;

October: (double lecture) Classical Music in Ancient Egypt Revisited by Jos Koetsier;

November:  After the formalities tonight, John Lombard will bring us up to date with Breaking News in 2011.

 The Members’ Platforms were similarly varied and consisted of the following:

 February: Alexander’s Sarcophagus in Istanbul by Keith Grenville

March: Agatha Christie and Ancient Egypt by Anthony Humphreys;

April: Capitals and Pharaohs by John Lombard;

May: Egypt Through My Lens by Gunther Komnick;

June: Napoleon’s Egypt and the Empire Style by Patricia Weckesser;

August: When is an Asp an Asp? by Anthony Humphreys;

September: Horse and Chariot in Ancient Egypt by Jean Smith.

 Mireille Farah continues her invaluable service in ensuring that our meetings are always advertised timeously in the various media – local daily newspapers, community papers and on Fine Music Radio.  She even manages to maintain appropriate advertising while on visits overseas!  It is this type of quiet behind the scenes work that keeps the Society running smoothly.  Thank you, as always, Mireille, for your consistent reliability.  

 Yvonne Viljoen, Chairperson of the Western Cape Branch of the South African Archaeological Society, maintains a permanent reminder of TESSA details in their regular newsletters, which is much appreciated.

 DAY SCHOOL

 The annual Day School continues to be the highlight of the year and was held on 23rd July. This year’s theme was The Great Pyramids of Ancient Egypt and consisted of the following three lectures: The Emergence of the Early Pyramids by Anthony Humphreys, The Giza Family of Pyramids by Keith Grenville and The Era of the Decline of the Pyramids by Jean Smith.  A fuller report is available on our website. As always, the day was a sell-out.

 Thanks are due to “The Forum” for continuing the traditional Egyptian-style buffet lunch and to Craig Dobson for his usual invaluable technical input. 

 LIBRARY

 Our Library continues to be run most efficiently by Colleen Cox and Jackie Weitsz. Few people, I think, realise how much work these two ladies put into the Library – and have done for the last 11 years – and we are extremely grateful for their sustained and dedicated services. 

 Our librarians report as follows:  Thanks are due to Lila Komnick, Graham Rodgers and Robin Hammond who contributed various cuttings and articles both for the Scrapbook and the Egypt File, lodged in the Archives. Also to Joan Engelbrecht, who kindly donated R5 to the Library Sundries Account, and through the sale of an excess-stock Library book, another R20.00 entered the coffers of the Library Sundries Account.

 28 videos were donated this year; of these, 22 were donated by Freda Heese and six by Wendy Johnstone.  Keith Grenville donated 21 National Geographic magazines, with Egypt-related articles.  23 books were donated to the Library, of which three were Egyptian Archaeology Bulletins, and one was an Egypt Exploration Society Journal, which was received through the Society’s membership of the EES in London (along with various Newsletters and Events flyers). The book donations are as follows:  Karen Vermeulen, Keith Grenville,  Carrol Prior, Wendy Steytler and Thea Grobbelaar

1 TESSA Committee purchase: “The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt” by Toby Wilkinson.

 At the end of last year 721 books were registered in the Library; along with the additional 23 acquired this year, the tally now stands at 744 in all.

 Last year ended with our Librarian issuing three copies of John Tunstall’s book “Vanishing Kingdoms” as prizes to loyal members as a commemoration of 10 years of the TESSA Lending Library.

 A flash-drive was also purchased towards the end of the year, as an update for storing Library data.

 Profound thanks are due to Keith Grenville for volunteering and willingly undertaking the arduous task – which has taken almost two years – of personally transferring the videos in the Library to DVD format.  These were delivered to him in batches of six at a time, almost every month, during the course of these two years.  It now it remains for the new DVD Library to be launched after the re-sorting, re-categorizing and cataloguing of the collection, as well as the preparation of the new DVD boxes with their illustrated and coded covers. This should all be in place by the first TESSA meeting next year.

 As you can see, many people have contributed to the development and building up of our Library.  It is this sort of dedication and commitment to TESSA that encourages and motivates the Committee.  Warm thanks are due to all for their generous support.

 GENERAL THANKS

 Apart from the people mentioned above, the Committee is also most grateful to the following:  Corporate Member “Egypt Today CC” for its continued support; our auditor, Ralph Pond; the St George’s Grammar School people – Headmaster, Julian Cameron; Liaison Person, Stephen Bornman and Estate Manager, Ivan Smith. Master Photographer Gunther Komnick provided unfailing photographic assistance and technical advice.  Most importantly, thanks are due to the various speakers for sharing their knowledge with us and for the effort involved in putting their presentations together.

 Finally, of course, thanks are due to you, our loyal members, for your continuing support, which makes it all worthwhile.  It now remains only for me to wish you all a happy and safe holiday period until we foregather for the beginning of our 16th year next January and further exploration of “things Egyptian.”

 PROF ANTHONY HUMPHREYS

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