Brief word of congratulations by Trustee Deon van Zyl on Twenty-Year Achievement of Chrysalis Academey

The management and board of trustees have suggested that each of the current trustees offer a brief word of congratulation to the Chrysalis Academy on its special achievements during the first twenty years of its existence, commencing in June 2000. I am happy to do so.

After my retirement as a judge of the High Court of South Africa in 2008, I was approached by Mr Gideon Morris, the CEO of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services, to make myself available as Inspecting Judge for a period of three years from 2008-2011. After his appointment as Head of the Department of Community Safety in the Western Cape, he once again approached me, this time with a request that I make myself available as a trustee of the Chrysalis Academy in Tokai, an appointment I willingly accepted in view of my great interest in youth literacy and development during my year as District Governor (DG) of Rotary District 9350 in 2011-2012.

After completing my year as DG I chaired the district literacy committee for some three years until 2015, before being appointed as a Chrysalis trustee from 2016-2018 and then being reappointed for the periods 2018-2020 and 2020-2022. My total period of service has hence been restricted to little more than five of the twenty years of its existence hitherto. Needless to say I have, within this relatively short period, been hugely impressed by the achievements of Chrysalis and am truly proud to be associated therewith.

At the outset I should mention that the management of the Chrysalis Academy has been particularly impressive from the time of my joining the board and has continued to go from strength to strength in its conduct as a truly magnificent team. The leadership demonstrated by CEO, Dr Lucille Meyer, and the members of her management team has, to say the least, created an outstanding Chrysalis Academy and made me and other members of the board of trustees proud to be associated with it. In this regard I make particular reference to the annual and quarterly reports issued by Dr Meyer and her team, who have continued to render superb service even during the challenging times created by the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of young people who have passed through the portals of Chrysalis has been ever increasing through the years and have, by grasping the opportunities offered to them,  managed to achieve their full potential  

I do not wish to speak on behalf of the other members of the board of trustees who have each made a personal contribution, but would like to give thanks to the chairperson of our board, Dr Marlene le Roux, the CEO of Artscape and a human rights activist who has focused on disabled persons and on the empowerment of women and the youth. She has received recognition for her efforts by being awarded two honorary doctorates, one most recently from the University of Stellenbosch. She commenced her message contained in the annual report of 2019-2020 by stating that “…we can turn the tide, so to speak, by enabling young people to achieve their dreams and aspirations”. Most appropriately she concluded her message by quoting from USA President Franklin D Roosevelt when he stated: “We cannot always build the Future for our Youth, but we can build our Youth for the Future”.  Most importantly she paid homage to Dr Lucille Meyer “for her dedication, passion and unwavering commitment to youth development”. I fully agree with her that Dr Meyer has been truly inspirational.

Let me conclude by presenting my warmest congratulations to all at the Chrysalis Academy for the extraordinary achievements they have succeeded in attaining during the first twenty years of its existence. I have no doubt that this will continue for many years to come.

DEON H VAN ZYL

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