Club was founded in 1962 when a group of keen river
paddlers decided to form a club whose focus and
underlying mission was that of a family oriented club
with a reputation for river paddling. In short,
they wanted to form a club with a strong social
spirit. Please check out our picture gallery for photo's
from our various social events and some of the many
races our club members participate in.
iFezela is the
isiZulu name for the water scorpion, which at that
time were found in abundance in the rivers of
social spirit has remained strong since the club's
inception, with Fezela Canoe Club still being one of
the most social of the KZN canoe clubs. The
emphasis on socialising in canoeing still being the
strongest attraction of becomming a Fezela
member. If you're interested in joining Fezela,
please look in our Admin
section, above, for membership forms
which can be downloaded. Here you will also find
membership forms and CSA Affiliation
Soon after the club was founded, a young man joined the club who was to become our most celebrated paddlers. Roly Alborough joined Fezela Canoe Club in March 1962. He subsequently completed 43 consecutive Dusi Canoe Marathons, a significant achievement. The highest number of consecutive Dusi finishes is currently 46, a significant record held by "The Pope", Graham Pope-Ellis when he sadly passed away in June 2010..
Fezela Canoe Club members, Viv and Sheila Whitfield, started the first Dusi Dice that was held in Alexandra Park, long before the construction of Camp's Drift, where a Dice is held every Thursday evening at 17H30.
meetings were originally held at committee member’s
homes. Eventually, in an initiative led by
Vice-Chairman Andre Hattingh, an effort was made to
find a permanent home for Fezela. Andre was also
one of the primary driving forces in the initial
stages of securing land for use by canoeists at Camp's
Drift, before Natal Canoe Club made it their own.
Fezela Canoe Club soon found accomodation within walking distance (with a boat!) of Camp's Drift. The club bought a house at 65 Prince Alfred Street, which allowed for access under the West Street Bridge to the popular Pietermaritzburg canoeing training facility of Camp's Drift. Fezela Canoe Club successfully operated from this clubhouse for 15 years, before making the decision to move onto Camp's Drift itself in order to attract more junior members, as it had become inconvenient and dangerous for children and other club members to move between the club-house and the Drift.
members have been, and still are, some of the great
names in SA Canoeing. Included in these are Dusi
Winners, SA Champions, South African representatives
at International level, as well as other significant
three very successful races every year. These
include the Jock
Claasens river race from Albert’s Falls weir to
the Wartburg Road, and the Midmar Marathon on
Midmar Dam, which are two of the premier events in
Club has always had close links with the Robert
Lembethe Canoe Club, which has it's home at Nagel
Dam. We have assisted in securing sponsorship
for boats and equipment for this club. Robert
Lembethe Canoe Club has grown substantially in recent
years, and has produced a number of South African
paddlers who have qualified on merit.
Unfortunately the Nagel Dam area is still neglected
and largely underdeveloped. People living in the
area battle to send their children to school due to
lack of funds, and many children leave school to seek
work before getting their Matric certificates.
Fezela has identified this social problem and has
arranged for some of the paddlers to move to
Pietermaritzburg where they have managed to secure
jobs through Fezela membership contacts. Fezela
Canoe Club budgets a substantial amount of its funds
to development, and was instrumental in starting
canoeing in both Maritzburg College and Merchiston
Schools, and has close ties with Epworth School.
For a number of years, we have had a running club affiliated to KwaZulu-Natal Athletics Association, which enables our club members to register with Fezela Running Club and run without the additional hassle of having to join yet another club. Fezela Canoe Club has recently affiliated with the Natal Rowing Association, which has enabled interested members to row as well. This has also enabled Fezela to share a home, in the Rowing Clubhouse, with the rowing clubs at Camp's Drift.