The South African Fuchsia Society - Founded in 1972
On the 13th November 1972, various fuchsia enthusiasts met at Helené Goligorsky’s home in Gillits (Kwa Zulu Natal) and The South African Fuchsia Society was formed with Helené elected as Chairman. She also took on the responsibility for producing the bi-monthly newsletter.
Information about the formation of the new society was forwarded to many publications and by 1974, three new fuchsia societies were formed. These were the Natal Fuchsia Society, the Midlands Fuchsia Society and the Transvaal Fuchsia Society; they were all affiliated to SAFS and membership countrywide totaled 144.
During the 1980s, the Dundee, Howfu (Howick), King Williamstown, Port Elizabeth and Western Cape societies were founded. The Western Cape Fuchsia Society held its first show in Kirstenbosch at the end of November 1984.
In the 1990s, Kempton Park and Imbali societies in Gauteng opened their doors and in the 2000s, they were followed by Alberton, Swingtime and Fourways, also in Gauteng.
SAFS celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1997, with a display at the Keith Kirsten nursery in Fourways. To celebrate the occasion, a fuchsia was named in honour of Helené Goligorsky – she asked that it be called Helené G; this was a gesture she always treasured.
In 1995, John Atkinson, an approved judge of the British Fuchsia Society, ran a judges’ course in Gaugeng. The next course took place in 2007 at the Lady Beth Nursery in Fourways and again in Cape Town in 2011. In both these instances, it was presented jointly by Jan Wiggelinkhuizen from the Western Cape Society and Beth Middleton of the Fourways Club.
Unfortunately in recent years, in line with gardening generally, there has been a significant drop in interest in fuchsias and, sadly, we are now left with only two societies in South Africa: The Western Cape Fuchsia Society in Cape Town and the Fourways Fuchsia Club in Gauteng .
As of February 2018, the SAFS ceased to exist. However, both the Western Cape Fuchsia Society (in Cape Town) and the Fourways Fuchsia Club (in Johannesburg) continue to thrive and welcome new members. Both these organisations are active the fields of encouraging people to grow fuchsias and are concentrating on keeping a good, strong healthy stock of plants which will be with us for years to come. Both “clubs” would like to increase their membership and invite new members to join them. Contact details can be found in the clubs' pages.