I welcome all who have joined us on E-Glasser and I pay tribute first, since each group shall be lovingly acknowledged, to South Africa because of my fond and loving memories of seven participants who always loved and supported Dr. William Glasser, and of the deep friendships I made there over the years. The reference to the folktale, The Crocodile Who Swallows the Sun, is more than Africa’s bond with the night sky. It is also a vivid portrait of the profound strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love.
I have always dreamed about Africa, longed to see its peoples, the rich land, the unequalled surf and beaches, the myriad of wildlife and flora. Exploring northern Africa did not prepare me for the long flight along the western coast with the southern skies that offer an extremely clear window to the universe. As the hours passed, the video clip onboard offered places to see but it was only when the sun set over Jacobsbaai (Route 27) on the Cape West Coast did I sense I was truly in the land of pristine beaches, fishing villages, land-colonized penguins, guest-houses and sites I had never seen before.
Mitchell Messina, consultant and the prime mover of establishing the WGI South Africa, drove me to the West Coast “Westkupluch” that early March morning. Jacob’s Bay is an exposed beach break that has reasonably consistent surf that comes from groundswells offering both left and right hand waves. This setting in a quiet cove of Saldanha Bay was to house us for professional development training. C’était magnifique!
Listening to Afrikaans beside the huge fire, discussing schools and school systems, and dreaming of the realization of a vision which shall bring South Africa and environs Choice Theory® matched my picture of what training is all about. My journey and that of six remarkable individuals blended into a common purpose with laughter and fun and much learning.
The dynamic group, who completed Certification and embarked on the training phase of the Practicum Supervisor Program in March 2007, were Cornelius (Bossie) Boshoff, Norman Cloete, Nicholas (Bobby) Links, Mitchell Messina, Gerhard (Roy) van Schalkwyk, Henry van Wyk. This group of dedicated Principals and Consultant were the visionaries who shared the same dream of teaching Dr. Glasser’s ideas not only within their schools but to other districts in South Africa and also to neighbouring countries. Mitchell has already visited Nigeria and spent time there with teachers, helping them to understand Quality School concepts.
The main strength that this group shared was the ability to inspire others and to offer Dr. Glasser’s ideas with great energy and fun and with practical and direct applications to the individual lives of teachers, learners, parents, administrators, and the community at large. The principals faced challenges similar to other countries: class size, special needs, curricula, that are relevant and interesting for students, ongoing teacher training and also multiculturalism in finding ways to pursue excellence and quality within diverse environments, language, and culture. Hats off to Linda Harshman, Brad Green, Andrea van der Laan, Lisa Rogers, and Kaye Mentley for laying a solid foundation!
The first to work on the online site were Levenia Pretorius and Elsa van Nieuwenhuyzen who offered their skills in the fields of marketing and funding and were optimistic that South African business organizations would continue to realize that investment in training that speaks for a strong South Africa educationally and economically in the future.
I met Denzyl Witbooi later on and had the privilege of teaching him. Denzyl is the current President of the Member Organization: Association for Choice Theory – South Africa [ACT – South Africa]. Denzyl wrote a paper on International Business: WGI AND ITS STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT TO ACT-SA AS A MEMBER ORGANIZATION in July 2019. ‘Hats Off’ to you, Denzyl, for a remarkable study.
1The Crocodile Who Swallows The Sun is a wonderful collection of South African stories showing Africa’s bond with the night sky. 2 Complimentary Image of book title and cover retrieved September 10, 2020: