Western Cape Scouting History
Scouting spread to South Africa only a few months after its birth in Britain in 1907. Several troops formed in and around Cape Town and as in most British Colonies, it was originally segregated by race. Much of the documentation below has been retrieved from the Scout Archives in Cape Town.
The History of European Scouting in the Western Cape.
This early history of Scouting in the Western Cape is sourced from a single document created by the late Carl Rayner. It must have been a huge time-consuming task, and for the period following his passing the archivist has unfortunately not been unable to find any dedicated follow-on.
The origin of scouting in South Africa followed the classic route, the seed was planted in 1907 when a group of boys read the periodical for boys, the "Union Jack" which included articles by Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement. It is reportedly they who took the initiative and wrote to Baden-Powell who replied with a 28-page letter!
In the beginning
Part of his advice was to find a Scouter, which they did, in early 1908. The boys, pupils of the Feldhausen School, approached Mr. William Baker, an electrician, whose son Joseph was amongst the group. Joseph became the first Scout in South Africa. Simultaneously, Mr. George French started a troop in the Claremont Public School, where he was a teacher; (he was reported to be keen on snakes and always had one in his pocket) together they were inaugurated on St. Patricks Day 1908. Mr. French's troop was 1st Claremont and Mr. Baker's troop was 2nd Claremont and they both had green in their scarves having been started officially on 17th March 1908, St. Patricks Day, and registered together with 1st Simonstown in August 1909.
In the meantime, 1st Cape Colony, (later 1st Observatory) was registered in London. In August 1909 the 1st Cape Town, 1st Green Point and 1st Sea Point (they amalgamated in 1911) and 1st Rondebosch were formed. In September 1909 1st Woodstock, 1st Muizenberg and 1st Bellville and in October 1909 1st Paarl were registered. The movement spread rapidly and by 1911 even Robben Island had a troop.
Baker and French were the first South Africans to receive Scouter's warrants which were dated 22nd October. 1909.
Other well-known men amongst those who took up scouting in those early days were Colonel Hornibrook, the Rev. E. Lasbroy, Mr. L.T. Gay, Mr. M. Wilson, the Rev. Coles and Mr. AE. Percy.
Because Scouts carried staves they were, even in those days, subject to ridicule and were known as the "Broomstick Warriors!"
Scouting very soon earned it's reputation as a positive force, when on the Easter Weekend in 1908, three Scouts, Mackenzie, Blandenberg and Seaton, on a weekend hike, rescued a person trapped under a boat in the surf at Kommetjie. They subsequently received medals for life-saving, having caught the attention of the Governor-General, Lord Gladstone.
In about May or June 1908, a meeting was held in a Mission Hall above Milton Road Observatory and at this meeting were representatives from Claremont, Simonstown, Rondebosch and Observatory. Mr. Shelly was elected Chairman. This meeting was called the District Committee and consisted of all Scouters of the Peninsula. Rules were formulated - including the colour bar - and sent to England where they were approved by Baden-Powell. This started the whole organisation of Scouting in the Cape Province. Major Hanna was the first president and afterwards first Commissioner for the District, which stretched from Cape Point to Kimberley.
1910 – 1919
We now come to the formation of the Cape Peninsula Scoutmaster's Association. The inaugural meeting was held on the 24th August 1910 at the Drill Hall in Cape Town with eleven Scouters present. One of the first duties of this Association was to arrange for ambulance service at the opening of the First Union Parliament Celebrations. On that day about six hundred Scouts lined the streets of Cape Town. In addition to this, a pageant was held where the railway yard was opposite Monument Station. A hundred Scouts were provided daily to act as ushers, telephonists, messengers and signallers. Scouts were granted free entry to all pageant entertainments.
BP Visits Cape Town
To meet the Founder for the first time in August 1912 a huge Scout Rally was held at the Summer House on the Groote Schuur estate in Rondebosch. There were no university buildings there then, just mountainside.
This visit engendered such enthusiastic support that by 1913 we had our own page in the "Weekly Times and Farmers Record."
On the outbreak of war in 1914. the Scout Movement soon supplied boys for various duties; i.e. telephone operators, messengers etc and a plan was drawn up by which after so many days service, Scouts were entitled to wear the" 1914 War Service Badge." At the midday pause each day during the war, Scout buglers sounded the Last Post and Reveille at various points.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for War in the United Kingdom authorised the following publication.
"In view of the many public services which are being rendered by the Boy Scouts Association to the War Office and Police Authorities, the uniform of the Boy Scouts (BP hat or Sea Scout cap and fleur-de-lys badge essential) is recognised by His Majesty's Government as the uniform of a public service non-military body."
Scout War Service badges could be awarded for being a messenger, coast watcher, etc.
Records show that world-wide, about 854 Scouts of all ranks had served in the Great War, the number killed being 99, while 27 awards were gained.
In this same year London Headquarters issued a booklet on "Regulations" which was soon replaced by "Policy Organization and Rules" commonly called POR. In these early days the Scout Movement in the Union of South Africa had no central authority, each Province as they were in those days was self-contained and under the direct authority of the Boy Scouts Association, London.
In October 1918 the terrible influenza epidemic broke out and the Scouts in South Africa performed truly great services in many directions, helping with postal deliveries, manning railway stations where staff had been reduced to a minimum, visiting many sick homes and nursing patients. These efforts were acknowledged at a special parade convened by the Mayor, in the Drill Hall in Cape Town, when he publicly thanked the Scouts for what he described as outstanding and unselfish work carried out in the best traditions of the Scout Movement. The Governor-General, Viscount Buxton, the Postmaster General and the Rt. Hon. John X Merriman also paid tribute.
Mrs. M. L. E. White became the first Lady Cub Master in the Western Cape and South Africa when she unofficially established the 7th Cape Town (Gardens) Wolf Cub Pack in 1915. Cubbing only officially started Worldwide in 1916 and to aid Cub Masters the Wolf Cub's Handbook' was published. In 1919 the first Edward Shield Cub Competition was held with 7th Cape Town winning it for the first 8 years in a row.
In October 1919 the first edition of "On Trek" the official organ of the Boys Scout Association of the Cape Province made its appearance. Throughout the years there has always been a regular edition of an official magazine and it ended in September 1922.
1920 – 1929
A strong contingent sailed to take part in the first Jamboree held at Olympia, London in 1920. Enthusiastic crowds lined Adderley Street as the boys marched down to the ship.
In this year the first Western Province Patrol Leaders Conference was held in the Red Triangle Club, in Cape Town, and as was expected, about 70 Patrol Leaders attended.
It was in April 1921 when the first Swimming Gala was held in Long Street Baths, Cape Town.
In April 1922 Scouter training courses on the lines of those held at Gilwell started when Deputy Camp Chief, Rodney Wood, from Gilwell, England ran the first Scouter's Woodbadge Course in the grounds of St. John's Hostel in upper Kloof Street, Cape Town, and in 1924 Mr. Carl Rayner was appointed as Deputy Camp Chief in South Africa.
In January 1926 the first recognised Pack Scouter course was also held at St. John's Hostel and was run by Mrs. Carl Rayner and ever since regular training courses for adult leaders have been held.
BP Visits again
It was also in 1926, that Sir Robert Baden-Powell again visited South Africa and was greeted by over 1000 excited Scouts. To mark the great occasion a Camp Fire was held at Rosebank, Cape Town.
It was in 1927 when the Provincial Organization ended and the Divisional Organization came into being.
The Cape Province was divided into four separate Divisions:
- Cape Western Division, headquarters in Cape Town
- Cape Midlands Division, headquarters in Port Elizabeth
- Cape Border Division, headquarters in East London
- Cape Griqualand Division, headquarters in Kimberley
Each Division was run by an Executive Commissioner.
The Cape Western Division was then divided into six Districts: -
- CP1 From Green Point to Llandudno
- CP2 Cape Town Area from Green Point to Woodstock
- CP3 Maitland to Bellville, Durbanville and Milnerton
- CP4 Rondebosch, Rosebank, Mowbray, Observatory and Pinelands
- CP5 Claremont, Retreat, Lansdown and Wetton
- CP6 Being the remainder of the Peninsula
It was in December 1927 that the official constitution for Rover Scouts was drafted.
The Island of Tristan da Cunha was included in the Cape Western Division in 1932.
The Scout Movement has since the beginning, always been short of funds and through the years Scouts, Cubs, Rovers, Scouters and Lay members have been busy trying to fill the coffers by holding dances cake sales, rummage sales, bazaars, Buzz for funds, Bob-a-Job, Gang Shows, concerts etc. and the many donations from many generous people and companies. In addition a proposal that a compulsory levy of 2 pennies (1 cent) per boy per month for each registered member was adopted in 1928 and ever since an annual levy is still paid.
Scouty News made its appearance in 1929 and ran on until 1937.
1930 – 1939
In August of 1930 the Divisional Emblem of the Ostrich was approved and the Scouts were soon proudly wearing them.
The Chief Scout and his wife who was the Chief Guide at the time, also visited the Cape in 1931, expressed appreciation of the progress made since his last visit.
In April 1934, on behalf of South African Headquarters the Second Rover Scout Indaba (gathering) was run by Cape Western at Stellenbosch.
Peter Baden-Powell attends Training Course held at Gilcape
This year is best remembered for the 7th Scout Training Course held at Gilcape which was attended by The Hon. Peter Baden-Powell. Peter was spending a month in the Peninsula before joining the British South African Police in Rhodesia. Another highlight of the year was the visit of H R.H. Prince George in February.
Towards the end of the year Captain PFF White was appointed Divisional Commissioner for Pathfinders and by 1935 had 22 Pathfinder Troops.
BP's last visit to South Africa
In 1936 The Chief Scout of the world and his wife, the Chief Guide of the world once again visited Cape Town. They were given a civic luncheon at the City Hall before sailing for England on the Llandovery Castle. Massed Scouts signalled farewell from the slopes of Signal Hill where they also formed a huge arrow. Sadly, this was to be his last visit to South Africa.
By September 1936 transfer was completed on ground at Diep River and the Cape Western Division was finally in possession of their own training ground and it was known as Gilcape. During the 1930's the address for the Headquarters office was Scottish Chambers, Chancery Lane, 91a, St Georges Street, Cape Town.
In 1936 a contingent was sent to the first South African Jamboree held in East London, where the municipality gave its strong support in very practical ways, even to the extent of spraying many acres to exterminate ants! It was a most enjoyable and successful first effort attended by the Founder B-P and his family. Best remembered for the never-ending rain showers Since then regular South African Jamborees have been held.
The first Scout Week was held to publicise the Movement in 1938 and the event has been held annually for many years.
S A Scouts become self-governing
As from January 1937 a new constitution was adopted in which the Boy Scouts Association of the Union of South Africa became a self-governing and autonomous association without the authority of any kind over it by the Boy Scouts Association in England, and became registered with the International Bureau.
In 1937 the European Council decided to establish parallel Boy Scout movements for any of the non-European communities in the Union and Territories, who wished to form them. These Movements were parallel and separate from the European Section but were to be given the status of Boy Scouts and were permitted, under the Constitution to be granted to them by the European Council, to use the words "Boy Scouts" and to wear Boy Scout uniform and to be eligible to qualify for all Scout badges and awards.
All these associations were self-governing with their own Headquarter Councils and their own Chief Commissioners. The Chief Scout, South Africa, who had no executive power was the Chief Scout of all sections. The movements were parallel and they were not inferior to each other, were Boy Scouts and were full members of the International Bureau.
Owing to the politics at the time it was not possible in South Africa to form one Association embodying the principle that there shall be no distinction of race. But the work of the Movement, through its four sections so far as it goes, contributed in a practical way to goodwill, co-operation and better understanding in the field of race relations.
In October 1937 the magazine Rucsac was launched and ran until February 1939.
At the end of 1937 the Pack Scouter's held their first South African Cub Palaver, later known as Pow Wow. It was held at Bishops Preparatory School in Cape Town where the Pack Scouters had a few days of relaxing, exchanging ideas and sightseeing together. The Pow Wow's later became a biennial event.
In February 1938 the Cape Western Headquarters moved to very comfortable offices on the six floor Garlick's Building in St Georges Street.
1940 – 1949
On the outbreak of the Second World War Scouters and Rover Scouts at once joined up with various units and a special monthly letter "On Service" was forwarded to all known members on Active Service. The last edition being the "Victory" number in May 1945.
In Cape Town Scouts rendered regular assistance at the First Aid Post at the Castle and letters of appreciation were received from "King Edward Nurses" and the St. Johns Ambulance Association for services rendered by Scouts.
On 8th January 1941 Lord Robert Baden-Powell, aged 84, passed away in Kenya and was buried at Nyeri in full view of Mount Kenya in a land he loved and in June of the same year, the first Annual Scouts Own Service was held in Cape Town. Each year since on the nearest Sunday to his birthday (22nd February) the Cape Western Area holds a B.P Memorial Service.
A tribute aired on the S.A.B.C. went as follows: "The world owes Baden-Powell a debt it can never repay, but he will be amply rewarded if the path that he has blazed will be followed in ever-increasing numbers by the youth of the world that he loved so well. To his earthly remains the world and its peoples say farewell, but as long as a boy and girl remain in a free country anywhere, as long as they desire self-reliance, independence of thought, and clean clear thinking, so long will there be a memorial to him - a memorial more lasting, more stable, more enduring than time itself"
During 1947 noteworthy progress was made by the Sea Scouts who received help in money and kind from the Navy League. Eight boats were acquired in 1946 the last being a 27 toot whaler which was sailed for the first time in December.
The most important event in 1947 was the visit to South Africa of their Majesties the King and Queen of England and the two princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret. They arrived in the ship Vanguard and were enthusiastically welcomed by the crowds lining the streets of Cape Town. Noticeably in front lines were Guides, Scouts and school children.
On 23rd April, Princess Elizabeth's 21st birthday, a huge rally was held and attended by over 2000 Guides and 2000 Scouts. There were songs shows and pageants enjoyed by all.
The crew of the Vanguard were not forgotten and about 500kg of sweets, collected by Divisional Headquarters from Cubs and Scouts were given to them to take back to England for their families who did not know what a sweet was because of war rationing.
The highlight of Scouting in 1948 was the Scouts Own Service held at Westbrooke and attended by some 1500 Cubs and Scouts and a large number of parents. The address was given by Field-Marshall J C Smuts, the then Prime Minister.
1950 – 1959
It was in 1949 that Gilcape in Diep River was sold and in 1950 a piece of land in Forest Road, Eerste River was acquired and also called Gilcape. A borehole to approximately 170 ft was drilled, a dam and several buildings were erected as well as an outdoor chapel. Sadly, as urbanization occurred Gilcape became unsuitable for outdoor scouting and training and so it was that in about 1985 it was sold and a new property was sought and found in Wellington. Hawequas Scout Adventure Centre is a farm situated just outside and is perfect for Scouting adventures, camping and training.
In March 1950 Lord Rowallan, Chief Scout of the Empire, was given an official welcome at the airport in Cape Town where he attended conferences, dinners, lunches, a rally and a Scouts Own. Through the medium of the S.A.B.C. he made a national appeal for scouting and closed his talk with these never to be forgotten words:
"We are not here to make good little boys, but to the glory of God and the making of men.
"Scouty News" magazine that re-started in February 1946 added a supplement of two yellow pages for "Cubby News" and was introduced in January 1950.
In 1952 John Thurman, Camp Chief of Gilwell came to South Africa where he spent three months enjoying his time with Cubs, Scouts and Scouters but had one criticism of Cape Western Scouting. In a message to C.W. published in the February edition of "Scouty News" he added a P.S.: "I crave one parting consideration. Please, please stop calling things Scouty and Cubby. These really are nauseating adolescent words."
And so, it was that in the following month (March 1952) the magazine appeared as the Cape Western Scouter and ran until August 2008.
It was in this year that the three hundredth anniversary of the landing of Jan van Riebeek and his party to settle here and found the first Dutch Colony, a halfway house between Java and Holland, was celebrated.
A special Guide and Scout programme was prepared for the eve of 1st April at the stadium in Rosebank and special emphasis on the world wide nature of Scouting and Guiding included a march-in of Scouts bringing the "world" with them in the form of a large balloon painted like a geographical globe. A twelve-foot balloon takes some handling in the Cape southeaster, but they managed it and the show went well.
In June 1953 the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II took place, and because she was a Girl Guide, and had been with the Cape Western Guides and Scouts on her 21st birthday, there was an enthusiastic response when coronation Services were arranged in the Peninsula. On Sunday 7th June the local Girl Guides and some 700 Scouts and Rovers assembled on the Grand Parade Cape Town where they formed three parties and marched to St. George's Cathedral, The Metropolitan Methodist Church or the Grand Synagogue.
The highlight of 1954 was the visit to Cape Town by Prince Bernhardt of the Netherlands. where he was welcomed by a scout guard-of-honour.
It was in 1955 that a Sea Scout Base was established in the Duncan Dock and a lease of land for 25 years, was granted on a piece of land adjacent to the Royal Yacht Club on which a Sea Scout hall and boathouse were built. This development laid a good foundation for Sea Scouting.
In 1958 a plan to enhance the status of non-uniformed ranks, adults who wished to enrol as Lay members, registered at Divisional Headquarters and paid five shillings per annum and a "Lay Training Course" was developed.
And it was in 1958 that the first JOTA (Jamboree on the Air) took place and each year since, JOTA has been held.
In 1959 the Divisional Headquarters in Progress Lane was demolished to make way for a car park in the Strand Street called the Parkade.
1960 – 1977
Headquarters was then moved to the 6th floor of 96 Long Street which was far too small and so in 1960, number 86 Bree Street was purchased for £10,750 and Headquarters moved in where they remained for 31 years.
The 1963 Kirstenbosch Jubilee was celebrated with a Camp Fire on the 26th September and attended by Scouts, Cubs, Girl Guides and Voortrekkers. Campfire songs and some enjoyable items were connected by a theme which was "our floral heritage". Starting with a torch procession, the making of a back-drop which was a South African Flag, and a set-piece firework of a Protea. It was attended by between two and three thousand supporters.
In 1965 work started on creating a formalised Western Cape Scout Archives. This venture into the past consumed many hours of sorting, reading and creating a pathway that others would follow.
One of the first projects was the writing up to this point, the History of Scouting in the Cape. Good progress was made cataloguing the many items, but work came to an end in 1982 when Carl Rayner the Archivist retired and passed away in August of that year.
In 1976 the Cub Diamond Jubilee celebrating 60 years of Cubbing was held Gilcape Eerste River with displays, plays on the Moon landing, fancy dress, firefighting demonstrations, march pasts and Edward Shield all combined into one huge event. The Chief Scout of SA Charles Martin visited the event for the day to the delight of all and laid a stone opening the Cub Jubilee Campsite.
This brings to an end the detailed paper-based history recorded by Messrs Rayner and Shinton
In 1977 a new constitution was adopted integrating all four Associations into one organisation.
The History of Coloured Scouting in the Western Cape
In the beginning
The first Coloured Troop was the 1st Cape Town Pathfinder Troop (Silvertree) and they were invested on the 16th September 1933 in the grounds of Hope Lodge School in Roeland Street.
Scouting was spreading rapidly among the Coloured community and it was officially formalised when on the 27th June, 1934 Captain Piffy FF White founded the Pathfinder Council of the Cape Division and became their first Divisional Commissioner.
1930 – 1940
On the 15th March 1933, Thomas J Paries joined the movement in the first Patrol of Pathfinders in Cape Town. He was invested on the 17th June of the same year as a member of the 1st Cape Town Troop.
He was a member of the Silvertree Boys' Club and proudly he had indicated on his application form that Scouting was the form of activity he most wished to enjoy. The 15th March 1933 could thus be said to have been the birthday of the Pathfinder Movement, although only formally registered in 1934, the 1st Cape Town Pathfinders Group was born.
'Tom' Paries remembers receiving a booklet 'First steps in Scouting' and being instructed to delete the word Scout and replace it with the word Pathfinder.
Another man inextricably woven into the tapestry of Cape Western Scouting is Charles Thebus, 'Skipper' to all, who 'went home' in 1972, having spent the last years of a very full life as Warden of Gilray, the Cape Western Training Ground in Plumstead.
This gentleman creditably represented his country at World Conferences and reached the rank of Chief Scout's Commissioner.
Charles Thebus's introduction to the Movement was at 79a Roeland Street, Cape Town where Thomas Paries had started a while before him. Charlie had been sent there to get ideas to start a boys' club and arrived at the Silvertree Club on a Pathfinder meeting night.
He became so interested that through him the Movement reached the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. He was responsible for the formation of the 1st Wynberg. Troop which was one of the oldest and longest running troops having celebrated a 40th Anniversary.
Other pioneers of the Movement in were James Gallant, Alex "Jakala" Philander, Gerard Hermans, Arthur Williams, Jack Allies - the first Chief Scout's Commissioner in the Association - and 'Attie' Arthur Pietersen who took Scouting to the country areas and established the first Troop at Paarl. Martin Lewis was in the 1st Paarl Troop and was an Assistant Divisional Commissioner for the Country Areas.
1940 – 1950
The Cape Western Division, which originally wore as a divisional emblem the Dassie of the Cape Pathfinders, was with the forming of the Coloured Boy Scouts Association on the 12th January 1945 changed to a Bokmakierie, while the National Symbol was an Arrowhead used in addition to the Scout Fleur-de-lis.
Heading up the Coloured Boy Scout Association was the Chief Scouts Commissioner, and the Chief Scout of South Africa held this position for all four parallel (Coloured, Black, White and Indian) Scouting Divisions.
The Divisional HQ of the Association was in an old building in Caledon Street in the city - but unfortunately the building burnt down and many of the records of the Association were lost.
The Divisional Secretary at the time, Winston Adams recalls that for the next two years and more he worked from home - his parents' telephone was the official phone of the Association. Later they were able to secure an office in a building in Athlone and then launched a campaign to build their own Scout Headquarters.
1950 – 1960
In 1951 the first Gallant Shield (donated by Mr James Gallant, the Divisional Commissioner for Cubs) an annual Coloured Cub Competition was held and won by 5th Cape Town.
In 1954 the Coloured Scout Association acquired a lease from the Cape Town City Council for a Camping and Training Centre which resulted in Gilray being officially opened by the Cape Town Mayor Mrs Joyce Newton-Thompson in 1958.
Initially Scouter training was provided by the Training Team of the European Division and in 1949 the first two Coloured Scouters qualified for all three parts of the Scout Wood Badge.
In 1952 this Training Team ran the first Scout Course solely for the Coloured Division. Later the Cape Division had its own team for the training of Scouters and a fine training ground, Gilray, in Plumstead.
The South African Scout Movement quietly and often with little recognition pioneered racial integration at a time when the political situation militated against this. In the process it gave many thousands of young people their first opportunity of interracial contact in the field of Scouting activities. In 1957, when a contingent of South African Scouts sailed to Great Britain to attend the 50th anniversary World Jamboree, it included boys of all races. Everyone travelled together as one unit; everyone wore the same uniforms and was mixed in non-racial patrols.
1960 – 1977
In 1963/64 the Division were hosts to a National Jamboree held at Gilray with around 300 Scouts attending. Several excursions were arranged for the Scouts. These included a tour of the Cape Peninsula and a trip to the Wemmershoek Dam and the surrounding Country Districts, and another to the Strandfontein Beach. Many saw the sea for the first time in their lives.
The Athlone Scout Centre was built between 1975 and 1978 and was officially opened in 1978 when the first National Scout Council of the four combined Associations was held in the Athlone Scout Centre with Colin Inglis as the new Chief Scout of the united South African Scout Association.
From 1968 to 1975 Aaron Domingo was Chief Scout's Commissioner for the Coloured Association, a position he had held with distinction and in 1975 attended the 14th World Jamboree in Norway, and the World Scout Conference.
In 1972 at the invitation of the Chief Scout, forty Scouts of the Coloured Association camped with him from 4th until 8th April, on the farm "Loch Lynne" in the Koue Bokkeveld district, Ceres. The boys came from Cape Western, Transvaal, Orange Free State, Cape Midlands and Natal Divisions.
A very important part of the work carried on, with far too little publicity, was that among handicapped Scouts. There were two Districts where these Groups exist. At the Maitland Cottage Home for cripples, the yeoman service of Mrs Connolly could not be praised too highly. A member of the 1st Claremont Parents' Committee, she was in 1974 awarded the Medal of Merit for organising Scouting at this home single-handed for many years. Later Scouts from the 1st Wynberg Group ran the Troop at the Home.
There was also a Troop at the St Joseph's Cripple Home in Philippi in the Northern Suburbs which did well under Scouter David Trout.
In 1977 a new constitution was adopted integrating all four Associations into one organisation.
The Boy Scouts of South Africa
In 1977 the Quo Vadis initiative brought about a unified Scout movement in South Africa with the merging of the four separate Coloured, European, Black and Indian Scout Movements to form the Boy Scouts of South Africa.
Membership of The Boy Scouts of South Africa was now open to all boys and adults who accepted the Scouting principles. Well ahead of Government and public opinion. Scouting was the first large organisation in South Africa to become non-racial.
A Scout Tattoo (Scouting in action display) was held in the Good Hope Centre Cape Town in 1983 and saw many Scouts, Cubs and adults participate in a great well performed marching sequence to the delight of the audience and main organizer Alan Shinton. A second Tattoo was held in 1985 saw 100 Cubs, neatly dressed in red T-shirts with the Scout Tattoo logo on them, giving a mass display of gymnastic exercises done superbly in sequence. Only two Scout Tattoo's took place under Alan's guidance.
First Cub Fun Day (combined with Cubbing 70th birthday) was held in 1986 at Gilcape Eerste River, with loads of fun events for the day. It was one of the last events at Gilcape and the following Cub Fun Days were held at various locations.
In 2000 the South African Scout Movement opened its doors to girls too, making the Movement open to all genders and the name over the years changing from 'Boy Scouts' to Scouts South Africa.
Cub Centenary Celebrations celebrating 100 years of Cubs were held in 2016 and continued through the year with many various events tying in with the celebrations. Western Cape Heritage Museum sets up a Cub 100 display depicting many Cub memories over 100 years.
The Scout Museum
The work on the Archives started by Carl Rayner was revived 1990 when Alan Shinton took over as Archivist.
It was Alan's idea to create a Museum within the Headquarters' and display Scouting's hidden treasures.
The Scout Museum was started in the Headquarters' building in Bree Street, but in January 2001 Headquarters (and the Museum) was sold and moved to the 1st Goodwood Scout Hall in Milton Street, Goodwood.
Later that year on Sunday 25 November 2001 we saw the re-opening of the Scout Museum by Andre Bredenkamp the Area Commissioner. The Scout Band was in attendance and guests were able to view the exhibits.
In 2013 there was a major restructuring of the Regional head office and they relocated to Claremont to share office space with the National Office.
The Museum, Library and Archives remained in Goodwood and are now part of the integrated Gilwood Training and Heritage Centre.