A family of service, sea and Scouting.

Written by Tahirah Abrahams, 2nd Plumstead Scout Group

Gilzean “Gilly” Reid Sasman is a well know Sea Scouter in Western Cape Scouting. His life revolves around family, community, the sea and Scouts. Gilly hails from a long line of sea-faring Scouts. I sat down with him to find out how Scouting has impacted the Sasman family’s heritage.

“For most of my life I have lived close to the sea”, explains Gilly. “My parents grew up in Kalk Bay and both of my grandfathers were fishermen. They would spend hours out at sea. But one of them, David Gomez, was a Scout in 1930 and he later joined the Rovers. At the time, the Kalk Bay Scout Group only consisted of Scouts and Rovers. In the late 1950’s Cubs were introduced and in 1958 my grandfather became the Troop Scouter (Skipper) at Kalk Bay Scouts. When he was not running activities at the Scout hall located on the beach close to the station, he was training at Gilray and working towards his Woodbadge, after which he became the Sea Scout Commissioner”, says Gilly proudly. “In the 1960’s my grandmother, Mary Gomez, joined the Pack as Baloo and then later became Akela. Ma Mary also attained her Woodbadge and then toured South Africa with the Wynberg Scouters, after which she became District Commissioner of Cubs. In November 1974 my grandparents moved to Gilray. It is said that they ran activities every weekend” he says with a smile.

“Even though I was never a Scout myself, my grandfather David would sit and teach me Scouting games and the skills that he had learnt. David, would get all of the grandchildren together and take them for beach, mountain and fishing trips. He taught all of us how to make compost and how to make food gardens.

My own Scouting journey started in 2011 when my son Kyle became a Cub and I came in as a parent helper at 1st Bergvliet Sea Scouts. During a Scout sailing regatta in October 2014 I decided to help the Scouts move the boats. After the event I was looking at the safety boat when Western Cape RTC Water Activities David Roux asked me if I wanted to have a look at the engine. Before I knew it I was asked to become a safety officer which I happily agreed to do. At the same time I stepped into uniform as an ATS at 1st Bergvliet. At the beginning of 2017 we moved to Plumstead and when my daughter Hannah asked the join the Cubs, I transferred to 2nd Plumstead Sea Scouts as an ATS, and then in March of the same year I became Troop Scouter. In 2019 I completed my Woodbadge and took up the role as Scout Group Leader at 2nd Plumstead. Scouting has taught me life skills which I have been able to pass that down to my children.

My daughter Hannah was introduced to sailing as a Cub and later through the Jewish Maritime League (JML), was given a chance to learn to sail. This has blossomed into a sailing career which has taken her to 2 World Championships. Last year at the World Tera Sailing Championship she ended 16th and was the 2nd girl in the world. She is currently the South Africa Tera Sport Champion as well as the South African Champion.”

As a Scout with 2nd Plumstead I have personally experienced his leadership. I have found Gilly to be a brilliant Scouter as well as a fantastic father who has been able to support his children in all their endeavours. He has given so many of us the opportunity to learn how to sail, to learn about the water and all the safety precautions that come with it. The Scouting heritage runs thick in the Sasman family and we hope the legacy will continue.

Gilzean’s family members in Scouting:

  • His dad Cecil Ralph Sasman, along with his brothers Paul and Owen were members of the Scout Movement.
  • His mom Yolanda Sasman, was Hathiat Kalk Bay Cubs, and a helper at Wynberg Cubs.
  • His uncles Desmond and Donald Sasman also grew up in Scouting. In fact, his uncle Donald got married at Gilray!
  • Gilly’s aunts Velda Smith and Shirley Jacobus were Akela’s at the Kalk Bay Cub Pack.
  • His grandma Maria Sasman was a Committee member.
  • Gilly’s mother-in-law Carol van Reneen was a Baloo and her grandfather was the late Mr Africa who was also a District Commissioner.
  • His son Kyle is a Scout and in 2018 was selected for the Cape Town to St Helena sailing race. Currently Kyle has completed his 1st class and was working on his Springbok when Covid 19 hit.

#scoutssouthafrica #SeaScout #Skills4Life #volunteer #Leadership #YouthEmpowerment #Scoutgenerations #ScoutFamily #SAScouts