In February 1997, the Cat Federation of Southern African (CFSA) was established, by a group of widespread, dedicated pioneers, namely Abe Wagner, Arthur de Freitas and Julius Eichbaum. The objectives of the CFSA are to be a recognised innovative leader, efficient, accurate, friendly and respectful in its services to members and breeders and to have a genuine interest in the welfare of all cats. CFSA’s goal to encourage and appreciate the exhibition and competition of all cats, has been well reflected in all activities associated with the CFSA over the years.
In 1997, the National Cat Society hosted the very first all breeds championship show under the CFSA banner. Each year has culminated in the prestigious Cat of the Year finals and awards ceremony; and in 1999, an additional first was introduced in the equally prestigious Gold and Ruby Show. This event, run on the same day as the annual Cat of the Year event, is a wonderfully successful way of honouring even more of the top cats, who competed in CFSA shows in any one year.
The ladies who carried CFSA from 1997 and who helped establish the foundation of CFSA deserve special mention:
April Bac, was a founder member of CFSA and after heading up several departments within CFSA, she was elected as CFSA President and held this position for almost a decade. April also devised CFSA’s unique and fair Cat of the Year points' system, whereby exhibits' best 3 shows are tallied together and count towards COTY qualification and placement – this system is still used today. April stepped down as President of CFSA at the end of 2011 and handed the reins over to Deon Scheepers. She bred with Persians and British Shorthairs, she was an exhibitor and an all breeds judge. She retired from breeding, exhibiting and judging. She was awarded Fellowship of CFSA in recognition of her lifelong involvement with the South African cat fancy and also received the CFSA Lifetime Award in 2011. After a long battle with heart disease, April sadly passed away on 20 February 2014.
Joan Blaettner, another founder member of CFSA, served in various departments of CFSA and also assisted in the CFSA Registrar’s office since its establishment. She was elected as CFSA Chairperson in 2002, when she took over from Bruce Welchman and held the position of CFSA Chairperson for more than a decade. In 2014 she handed over the reins to Etrecia Bester, CFSA’s current Chairperson. She also managed the CFSA Judges Forum from inception and eventually handed over that responsibility to Esther Barlow-Kearsley, who since retired. In addition to all of this, Joan also bred with Persians; she was an exhibitor and a highly respected all breeds judge for many years. Joan retired from judging at the end of 2014. Joan was appointed CFSA Registrar from March 2016 and retired officially on 31 October 2019.
Ann Cubley, also a founder member of CFSA and she managed the CFSA Registrar’s office from 1997 to 2008, with the help of April Bac, Ev Prowse and Joan Blaettner. In those days more than 500 breeding catteries were registering with CFSA. In 2009, Ann retired and handed over the reins to Daniel Germishuys, who has managed the CFSA Registrar’s office until February 2016 when he resigned. Ann also bred with Persians, with her first love always being the Colourpoints, she was an Exhibitor and a highly respected all breeds Judge for many years. Ann has retired from breeding, exhibiting and judging.
Ev Prowse, another founder member of CFSA, established the National Cat Society club in 1997. In addition to running the CFSA finances for many years, Ev bred with Siamese and Orientals, she was an exhibitor and also a Siamese, Oriental and Foreign judge.
Hans-Dieter Blaettner, also deserves special mention. He was co-opted as CFSA's Treasurer in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He has also been instrumental in developing a software application, specifically designed for processing all CFSA's registration requirements. Furthermore, he developed a COTY programme to automate the calculation of exhibits’ titles and points towards COTY qualification and placement. Over the years he has maintained the programme and enhanced it as technology improved. Hans Dieter has now retired from this role.
We salute you all! Without your dedication and drive, CFSA would not be the organisation it is today!