Home Articles Reunions The Jozi Jol
The Jozi Jol Print E-mail
Written by Jill Masterton   
Tuesday, 07 April 2009 15:24

The Jozi Jol – Cradle of Humankind 2008

2006 – or thereabouts – I posted off an email to my friend Linda Dore Hayes and said “I am getting desperate now – I need to see you again – what must I do – hold a Zambian reunion or something?”  That is how the Jozi Jol was born.   Linda lives in Texas and I live here in The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, close to Johannesburg.

Linda does do the aeroplane thing – I don’t.  Linda has been to many reunions, especially those held in Mud Island.  I went to the memorable Livingstone Lark in 2003, in fact, I named it.  It was a really good party and I met loads of people who I had never known in Zambia and made life-long friends.

Anyway – the Jozi Jol was on – and so many people were fabulous in getting on board and assisting us with the details.  Linda took on the role of mother and made sure that all our on-line Zambian friends knew about it and Hartley Heaton set up a website for us to use – or abuse – as the case may be.

What an amazing experience organizing the jol turned out to be.  First problem was that there was a lot of resistance from ex-Zambians living here in RSA – “too expensive, they cried!”  You won’t believe what an uproar my original price of R300 a head for a dinner dance caused!  This necessitated changed venues no fewer than three times – as I went from venue to venue begging for a better deal and for just about nothing!

“But you don’t have to pay for the musos,” cried the naysayers – maybe not, but I DO have to pay for their meals and actually ask them to pay in full for their partners – and does anyone know how much musicians of our ex-Zambians standard can actually be paid for a party such as ours – you don’t want to mess them about too much – they want to be part of our party, of course, but they are sacrificing big money to play for us.

Eventually, numbers started mushrooming – and I had a last-minute change of venue to Ekudeni – R250 a head all in!  From an originally estimated 80 people – the final count was 196 for the dinner/dance.  The golf was not very well supported – but those who supported the Golf Day on the Friday had a fabulous time and found Hartley to be a fun and brilliant host.  If anyone had another Golf Day as part of a reunion, I feel that it would be much better supported because the players had such a fantastic day and came home glowing!

The Jozi Jol dinner/dance was absolutely fabulous, darlings!  So many people volunteered to register guests, we had a traditional Zambian meal and we had THE BEST MUSOS ever!  And of course, being Zambians – we had THE BEST PARTY-GOERS ever!  The slightest twang of a guitar and there were couples on the floor giving their all!  It is NOT difficult to organize a Zambian party – the people are all brilliant – and know how to have a bunch of fun!  We had some fun prizes and a quiz to get everybody talking – but we didn’t really have to – our Zambians just went out there and had a Jol!  It was really fabulous and an occasion that many of us will never forget.

Roan Antelope - Rhino and Lion Park Johannesburg But that’s not all folks!  The following day we had a Braai in the Rhino and Lion Park.  There were long queues of Zambians waiting to get in through the gates, and we were all eventually together at the braai area – and all making our own fires and grabbing our braai packs and engaging in more fellowship with both new friends and old – it was a magical day to end off the Jozi Jol Reunion.  One of the best moments for me was when a Roan Antelope seemed to take unusual interest in our party and ventured closer and closer to the celebrations.  Hartley took photos of him and these are featured in the Africa Wildlife gallery on this site.  If you know your Copperbelt history, copper was found near Luanshya when a hunter shot a Roan Antelope and found traces of copper ore where the Roan lay.  Remarkable coincidence that!

We had people from all over the world attend our reunion.  Australia and New Zealand were well-represented. The UK put in a good performance and we had Lynn Szeftel as our Zambia Representative – and she brought us some lovely Zambian flags.  Of course, the majority of jollers came from South Africa, but we did have a good showing from the USA (one being our fantastic deejay for the night) and we got messages of good will from people all over the world – it was intoxicating!  Okay – so that was the Klippies and Coke!

A lot of the Jozi Jollers who came from overseas went on to visit the beaches and wildlife sanctuaries of this beautiful country, and I think that their eyes were opened to just how stunning South Africa really is.

I do encourage you to support reunions – even if you think you don’t know anybody – you will have a fantastic time and meet people who have shared the privilege of living in one of the most fabulous countries in the world – Zambia!