The history of South Africa’s beekeeping associations is sparsely scattered in various publications. However, interactions and discussions with various individuals within the industry does help in putting a few timelines into place. According to records from the South African Beekeepers’ Journal, the Western Province Bee Journal and du Preez (2010), the Western Cape Bee Industry Association (WCBA) was established in 1911. It was formed under the name Western Province Beekeepers’ Association (WPBA), which was then changed in 1995 to the current name (WCBA). The WCBA was one of the first three (3) associations to be established in South Africa. The first being the Transvaal Beekeeper’s Association (1907) and the Natal Beekeepers’ Association (1909). All three associations were represented under the South African Beekeepers’ Association (SABA), which later became the South African Association of Beekeepers (SAAB).
Individuals that have been instrumental in the formation and running of the association in the early years include (but not limited to): J.J Michau, W.J.S. Welsh, L. Hardwick, W.E. Moore, A.J Attridge, G. Brand, J. Flack, J.A. Garner, A.J. Hopper, W. Perry, W. Terrell, R.H. Anderson, E.H. Nellmapius, H.W. Ruger, and J.W. Marriner. Other well-known individuals that served as chairpersons: Doug Barnwell, Nico Langenhoven, Robert Post and John Moodie. Among others, there are those individuals that have long term association with the committee, namely: Dawid Smit, Lynette Barnes, Brendan Ashley-Cooper and Danie Vorster.
The association highlights include, but not limited to the following:
- Establishment of an association apiary in Constantia (1968-1974);
- Strong stance against the cutting and removal of gum trees (Eucalyptus);
- Upholding the association publication, The Capensis Newsletter;
- Constructive, educational, informative and practical field days for members;
- Continuous promotion of professional pollination services, which includes determining the annual pollination tariff (recommended);
- Instrumental in safeguarding honeybees from pesticides related deaths; and
- The development of the Beekeeping Industry Strategy (BIS) in 2017.