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A Brief Look at Fencing in the Cape

Fencing was first introduced to the Cape by the officers of the British army during the Anglo-Boer war. It was pursued at local schools such as Bishops and SACS but not formally given concrete expression until the 1950s and 1960s. A Royal Navy officer, Captain Barber, serving at the Cape station at Simonstown later to become a full blown Admiral in the RN, introduced serious gymnastics into the Cape in the 1950s and along with it, came fencing.

Mr Len Davids recalls the really serious boost to fencing emanating (appropriately) from a leadership conference held in the Western Cape in the mid 1960s which introduced adjudication training in gymnastics, fencing and jujitsu. Out of this conference organized fencing in the Cape took a more coherent form in the shape of the Amateur Fencing Association of the Cape Province. At that time the Cape Province covered a vast area and included such remote outposts as Kimberley, Upington and Grahamstown with all their attendant responsibilities. Schools and universities played a leading role in generating interest and recruiting new fencers into the sport.

It was this organization which evolved into Fencing Western Cape (FWC) and ultimately Fencing Western Province as we know it today. Although the geographical definition of the province is much smaller, the responsibilities are just as serious as in the past, with UCT and Stellenbosch University playing a leading role in sustaining the sport for graduates from schools such as Bishops, SACS and Fish Hoek. Moreover, regional interest has grown with the growth of clubs in George, Boland and Cape Town.

We extend a very warm welcome to all our contestants and our visitors to the Western Cape and trust that your sojourn with us will prove stimulating, enjoyable and memorable.