Rotary International’s District 9350, which comprises the Western Cape, Namibia and Angola, has a new district governor (DG) in Rotarian, Ian Pursch.
Mr Pursch, a Pinelands resident, took over the reins from Geraldine Nicol at the end of June, and has already placed his focus on entrepreneurial development, Early Childhood Development (ECD) and youth empowerment in keeping with the organisation’s theme this year, “Rotary Serving Humanity”.
“I want to keep the momentum going from the very successful economic development conference that was hosted earlier this year in Cape Town.
Entrepreneurs are incredibly important for our country’s economy, and we as Rotarians need to empower them with as much knowledge and support as we can to help them to become successful, independent and profitable businesses,” he said.
Mr Pursch, 64, boasts an intriguing career background.
After serving as a purser on board the Union Castle Mail ships, he worked with the Holiday Inn Group before spending 25 years with Fedics (now Tsiba), managing the company’s Business Select Division, which saw him providing catering services to large corporates.
Looking ahead, he said a lot of travelling would be involved during his term.
“We will be travelling 3 000km to our northernmost club in Lobito, Angola and 500km to Knysna, and will visit all of our 58 clubs by December.
“(However), there will be far more opportunities than challenges,” he said.
“Rotary is now more flexible to continue to be attractive for members in a busy and fast-paced world as well as to remain a relevant force for good in our communities.
“This means less accent on formality and meeting requirements and more on sustainable projects, especially early childhood development, youth programmes and entrepreneurial support. It is an exciting time to be a Rotarian.
“It’s important that we arm our youth with leadership skills from a young age. At Rotary we have a number of youth development programmes such as Interact (students between 12 and 18) and Rotaract (adults between 18 and 30) designed to empower them with different skills. These youngsters will be our future Rotarians and leaders in industry.”
Ms Nicol, who has been involved in Rotary for five decades, said the greatest opportunity in the district lay in the commitment of the region’s1 300 Rotarians.
“The challenge was to motivate Rotarians to maximise the huge opportunities within
“Rotary, for us, is to work in partnership with other clubs and with communities to plan bigger and bolder projects, in order to develop a more holistic and sustainable approach towards building communities of excellence,” she said.
“We kick-started the Rotary involvement in the entrepreneurial field by hosting the Rotary International Presidents’ Economic Development conference in February this year.
“Already we have district-wide and individual Rotary club task teams beginning the new Rotary year with great excitement as they plan a wide range of entrepreneurial activities including mentoring and training and education, in all three levels of education from pre-school through to tertiary.”