PowWow: 1937 Report
First Cub Pow Wow / SA Cub Palaver 1937
Held at Rossall (Diocesan College), Duke Road, Rondebosch. Monday 27 December 1937 to Sunday 2 January 1938 Attended by: 40 Delegates of which 2 were male Cubmasters. Theme: Look Up – Look Out
This account of the first PowWow is an edited version by André Foot of a 60 page logbook, handwritten by many of the participants. Filled with sketches, songs, souvenirs, newspaper cuttings, letters and photo’s, it was presented to George Moir Peake Assistant Divisional Commissioner Cubs in 1938 as a ‘Thank You’ and in turn years later presented by himself to the Cape Scout Heritage Centre.
Photo’s by Mrs Longman (Nushka).
Monday 27 December 1937 by Miss Spindler (Hathi)
The Palaver was informally declared open by ADC Peake (Rama) when the Cubmasters gathered round the tea table at 4 pm. After welcoming the Cubmasters, Rama made suggestions regarding the formation of the Palaver and it was agreed that there should be a representative from each Division in Sixes formed. Having made these arrangements, the Cubmasters then fell in for a Pack Meeting run by Rama.
Program of Pack Meeting
For convenience, the Sixers were formed according to dormitories as well. The Grand Howl was taken after which Rama suggested we should try it in Afrikaans. Then followed a game called ‘Jumping Jacks’. A questionnaire in the form of a relay was then given on Jungle names – the more common ones used in the Jungle story.
Each Sixer was then asked to choose a Jungle Dance which he/she could control for the whole Pack. The following were done – ‘Kaa, ‘Shere Khan’ and ‘Bagheera’.
By this time a quiet game was indicated and the following chosen – a story telling. Sitting in a huge circle, someone would start the story and stop, the person to their right would then continue. This proved hilarious and fun as imaginations ran array.
The Pack Meeting was then closed with the Grand Howl in Afrikaans.
Official Opening of the Palaver
The official opening was at 8 pm and there was a good gathering on this occasion, and after Rama had introduced Woodpecker, (Mr Cederic Withinshaw Divisional Commissioner Cape Western Province) greetings were received from the various Provinces and Associations.
Woodpecker, in a happy speech, then declared the Palaver open. In the course of his remarks, he stressed the need for discipline in our work. He hoped all the delegates would have a happy and profitable stay at Rossall. As a representative of the SA Scout Council, he gave us his blessing.
Mrs Withinshaw, Mr J.H. Johnson (Divisional Secretary CWP) and Mrs Johnson were welcomed as visitors. After Rama had thanked Woodpecker, the program arranged by CWP of a social was carried out. A very pleasant evening drew to a close with prayers, after all joined in the singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.
Tuesday 28 December by Miss Doreen Smyth
On waking this morning, all the Owls were tremendously interested in the weather; they threw occasional glances out of the windows, which affords a fine view of the mountains, but alas! The mountain could not be seen before breakfast. However, after we had satisfied the ‘inner Lady-Cubmaster’, we were glad to see our old friend the mountain again.
Participants went out for the day by coach to Hout Bay via Sea Point, Camps Bay, stopping at Bishopsford Tearoom for morning tea. Thence on to Kommetjie, over Chapman’s Peak Road, where lunch was waiting in 1st Claremont Troop Camping grounds was laid on by courtesy of GSM George Fowler. Journey resumed to Cape Point where the old lighthouse was visited. Ginger Beer and cakes were enjoyed at the Outspan and then direct return through Muizenberg and Prince George Drive. We had a wonderful day, motoring all around the Peninsula, but did not spend all our energy, as we were expecting His Worship the Mayor in the evening, and were anxious to show him what healthy, happy and divine Cubs we are. He duly arrived and seemed more than satisfied. But whoa, oh, where were his spats and Top hat? Perhaps being a male, he was self-conscious?!
Wednesday 29 December by Beatie Baker
We were jolly glad to see that the weather was kind to us when we awoke, as we had a free day until 5.30 pm. After an interesting and enjoyable Pack Meeting run by Sona in the morning, a few of us went to Fish Hoek. We arrived back in time for the specimen Pack Meeting, which was run by District Cubmaster Adamo and Cubs, drawn up from the Rondebosch Packs. The meeting was very interesting and many were the remarks passed that evening. Lunch was Salmon, salad, fresh fruit, bread, jam, yellow cheese, tea or Adams Ale.
Dinner prepared by us was Roast Beef, potatoes and marrow, apple pie with custard, tea and yellow cheese. Our Chef was Miss Powell, who was also our housekeeper. In the evening a paper was read by Snowy ‘Scouting under God control’. We ended the day with coffee and then to bed. ‘Old Wolves’ taking it all in; Pack Akela and new chum; Bagheera yarns on SA Union Flag
Thursday 30 December by Miss Margaret Thompson
Only 14 of us saw chance for this outing, the rest remained behind to relax or travelled around Rondebosch. The party left Rossall in three cars at 10.15 am, arriving at the Lower Cable Station at 11 am. A Cable Car was soon available and the ascent made.
From the summit station, we walked to the top of Platteklip Gorge, then down the back of the mountain and down Fountain Ravine to a spring. There water for tea was collected and further down at a cave we stopped for lunch, where various ‘Jungle sounds were made’ to test the echo.
Leaving the cave at 1.30 pm, the party set out back to the top of Platteklip and on to Maclear’s Beacon, dropping some tired Cubs by the way. Dahinda’s clothing required some attention here. Returning from the Beacon the more energetic Cubs found that the weary ones had tea for us on the way to the place of refreshment. The Cable Car was once again boarded, the cars occupied and we returned to Rossall at 5.15 pm.
Friday 31 December by Cleaton-Jones (Sona)
After breakfast a naming Ceremony was taken by ‘Sona’, at which several young women changed their names(!?). An informal discussion on various points of Cubbing interest was then held. The day was then left free for the Wolves to make their own arrangements.
The ‘Wrens’ and the ‘Cuckoo’ went their way down to Fish Hoek, where they spent a most enjoyable day bathing and eating Darzee’s sandwiches which were well sprinkled with Fish Hoek sand. (Unlike two of the Owls, we did get out at our correct destination and did not ‘follow the fleet’!) Strangely enough, our ‘self-conscious’ young men were also there! In order to see the old year out in approved style, a social was held at which dances and games were the order of the night. There was a bountiful supply of Mistletoe, which was well patronised! The grounds of Rossall were thoroughly scavenged, to say nothing of the danger to neighbouring properties.
At midnight when the bells were ringing in the New Year, we renewed our Scout Promise and sang ‘Auld Lang Syne’. A most delightful late supper was then partaken, and after the toasts of the King, Chief Scout and visiting delegates, the morning was brought to a close with community singing.
Saturday 1 January 1938 by Miss Esther Allen (Ikki)
The day dawned fine and clear, at last the bus was here. The Palaver with much palaver, were seated and counted by ‘father’. With Doug at the wheel, we were off with a squeal. The Cape Westerns' determined you see, to show off their grand scenery. The visitors both large and small, at the sight of the rock so tall, gazed spellbound in awe, at the sights which they saw. When at Hell’s Hoogte arrived, scones and tea we survived. Our destination was Jonkershoek, where we disported in the brook. And were those peaches posh, handed to us at Stellenbosch! Many a tune we lustily sang, while coming home with a bang!
On our return from the jaunt in the country, a very pleasant surprise awaited us, for on entering the dining-room, we were amazed to see the tables beautifully decorated and set for a scrumptious feast. While Wantolla was busy carving the turkey, we observed Sona and Tickey gnawing bones. With mutual assistance we were just able to rise from the table and stagger to the awaiting cars, that were to convey us to the Savoy Theatre where an enjoyable evening was spent.
Sunday 2 January
The day dawned light and clear and all looked forward to a visit to Gilcape and for a Cubs Own. (This would have been the first Gilcape, basically Carl ‘Serpent’ and Doris ‘Gilkela’ Rayner’s back yard). Once breakfast was over, the cars were ready at the door.
The DCC and Akela Leader (Mr and Mrs Rayner) welcomed us on arrival, and we made our way to a very attractive Open-Air-Chapel. The following was the order of the service, led by Palaver Akela - Grey Wolf - Miss Pinkerton (Border).
- Hymn – As Scouts meet here for worship.
- Prayer – By Hathi – Miss Spindler (Natal)
- Reading Psalm 24 – Nushka – Mrs Longman (OFS)
- Hymn – Father in Heaven Who lovest all
- Scout Laws – Lone Wolf – Miss Gunning (Transvaal)
- Renew of Promise – ‘Gilkela’ Mrs Doris Rayner (CW)
- Talk – ‘Hawkeye’ Dr Frederick Dommisse (CW)
- Hymn – Look down O Father on our Native land
- Blessing – Rama – George Peake (CW)
At the close of the service we were entertained to tea at the Rayners home. Among new visitors were AC Commissioner H. Murray Letchworth – Wiltshire, on his way to Australia and New Zealand. Later under the guidance of DCC Rayner and Troop Leader Hepworth, all were conducted over the very interesting and attractive camping spot. All were greatly impressed by the very Scouty atmosphere which invaded Gilcape. The password for entering the camp was ‘Palaver’. The morning was now spent, and although the cars were awaiting us, we were loath to tear ourselves away from such congenial surroundings.
An open Palaver Session was held at 4 pm. Rama opened discussions by reading articles from the ‘Jamboree’ on the subject of the forthcoming International Cub Palaver to be held in Great Britain in July 1938. Many comments were made and Ideas exchanged. The question of the next SA Cub Palaver arose. It was suggested that this should be held in Cape Town again, possibly in January 1940. Nushka proposed a hearty note of thanks to all CW Packs whose efforts had made such elaborate entertainment possible. Every Wolf proposed thanks to the House Mothers, Margy and Danzee, for their yeoman service, and to Rama for his services. Rama in turn thanked many involved in planning, assisting in making everything possible. The session was then adjourned, after which photographs were taken on the front steps.
In the evening, we were free to do as we wished and most of us attended various places of worship. When we had gathered together again, coffee was served, after which the final session of the Palaver was held. This closed sadly at 10 pm with a note of encouragement from Skipper (Mr J.H Johnson) read by Rama. A sing song then followed and the evening ended with prayers.
The following day Monday 3 January, saw a gradual departure of those still left. Many of the delegates from up-country were assisted by CW delegates to their departures, some boarding the Union Castle Mail ship ‘Winchester Castle’ or bus or train on route back home after a memorable get-together.
Then on Friday 7 January, six delegates journeyed to St James to present Mrs Powell with a snake skin handbag with a Wolf Head addition, bought from money collected at the Palaver. This was in appreciation of her sterling efforts carried out so joyfully as housekeeper at Rossall, to the success of the 1st SA Cub Palaver.
Scout Heritage 2017