The Women’s Agricultural Association (WAA) of Milnerton celebrated its 60th birthday on Friday May 20. A celebratory brunch, consisting of home-made quiche and other delights, was held at Hirsch’s in Milnerton along with a few (WAA) members of other branches in Cape Town.
WAA chairwoman Denise Smith said when people heard of the WAA a common response was “I didn’t know there were farms in Milnerton”. She explains, however, that the only thing the association has in common with farming is the name.
“The Woman’s Agricultural Association came about as a result of men who were farmers and they had their own association. The wives of these men decided they should have an association too and that’s how it came about,” said Ms Smith.
She said in 1956 the WAA started in the Dutch Reformed Church and later moved to the Milnerton library where they meet on the first Tuesday of every month. Their activities include cooking competitions, needlework, knitting and adult education, where they keep up to date with current affairs and what is happening in the community.
“We do charity work for places like Cheshire Homes and the Brooklyn Chest Hospital. We usually knit baby clothes, bed socks and blankets for them,” she said.
Ms Smith became a member of the WAA in 1993 after she and her husband moved from Sea Point to Table View.
When her husband decided to move back to Sea Point, she continued to be a member.
Five years ago, they moved back into the area and are now settled in Flamingo Vlei.
There are WAA circles across South Africa and six branches in Cape Town: Fish Hoek, Strand, Hottentots, Rondebosch, Plumstead and Milnerton.
Ms Smith, who has chaired the association for the past 14 years, said it was unfortunate their numbers had dwindled to 10 members.
“We are the smallest group in the Cape Town circle, and we would like to change that. Mostly people move to other places or pass away and we are getting older and older. We would like more people to join and get some fresh blood in the group,” she said.
On Friday, dwindling numbers did not stop the group from enjoying their brunch and chatting over fresh fruit salad as starters.
Mary d’Argent, 83, has been with the WAA for more than 20 years.
Originally from Port Elizabeth, Ms d’Argent said she had first belonged to the WAA in PE but stopped when she had children.
When she moved to Cape Town, she joined the Milnerton branch and she had been with them ever since.
“I enjoy it because we meet people and every meeting has a different speaker.
“You can learn something. It keeps you out of mischief,” said Ms d’Argent.