On November 1, the SAVA held its first National Gathering, generously hosted by Coven d’Eir in Durban. The venue was the Winston Pub, and aside from the members of Coven d’Eir, some of the other local VC participants also attended, as well as some of the local Gothic society, as well as some interesting seekers who had been keeping up with the local VC wanting to make contact with us for some time.
The Winston is an alternative/metal/Gothic club in central Durban, and on the 1st, the club held its Halloween party – with the Gathering of the Damned and those in attendance blending in very nicely.
The Master of Ceremonies was none other than Coven d’Eir’s ubiquitous and engaging personality, the Lady Serephim Lena Karayan herself. After the opening round of drinks, introductions and chatter, Lena introduced the Regent of the SAVA, Octarine Valur, who said a few words before being surprised with a magnificent gift presented by the Primus of Coven d’Eir, Lady Lunah Valur Eir. Handcrafted by coven member Vadim Bonthuys, this exquisite item will be given pride of place in House Valur!
In the first of hopefully many Gatherings for the SAVA, the Regency instituted a system of awards in the form of certificates of thanks and appreciation to be given to general participants of the local VC, to SAVA members, as well as to other friends of the local VC, wherever they may be.
Below is the awards speech by the Regent, delivered to the Gathering:
“Since this is the very first SAVA National Gathering, we thought it appropriate to take this opportunity to have an awards ceremony. Because we’ve been on the go since 2011, and because we’ve never had the opportunity to have such an awards ceremony, we have a little catching up to do in formally thanking the people who have helped to build and shape our community into the vibrant and growing thing it is today!
I would like to start the listing of Awards with our friends who are not a part of our community. They aren’t Vampyres, and technically they have no reason to support the SAVA or the local VC, but they do and they have.
FRIEND OF THE SAVA AWARDS
The Friend of the SAVA award is given to individuals who are not members of the SAVA, and not necessarily members of the SA VC, but who have demonstrated their concern, friendship or willingness to help the SAVA or the SA VC in various ways, by contributing to our cause, our development, and our continued growth and existence.
Back in 2011 when Vampyres first “came out” to the local Pagan community, there was a huge upset about it, but a few prominent Pagan figures stood up against the hate and fearfulness being directed at Pagan vamps and our community, restored calm, and also have supported our work in combatting ignorance and misinformation about Vampyre kind ever since.
The first “Friend of the SAVA” award goes to –
Damon Leff, a South African human rights activist, CEO of Penton Alternative Media, and former Director of the South African Pagan Rights Alliance.
Damon can’t be with us tonight, but his certificate will be mailed to him.
At the same time when people were literally looking for Vampyres in Pagan groups in order to remove them, the call for tolerance in the Pagan community was strengthened by the calm voice of a highly respected lady at the helm of the South African Pagan Council.
The second “Friend of the SAVA” award goes to –
Lady Morgause Fonteleve’.
Lady M can’t be with us tonight, but her certificate will also be mailed to her.
Next, I would like to give some attention to individuals who form part of our community, and who have played a special part in our growth, support and development. Some of them are locals, some of them are not. Some of them are former SAVA members, some of them have never been SAVA members. These certificates are given in recognition of the friendship and/or appreciation for the support of these individuals.
Back in 2010, when I was little more than a blundering noob who had no mentor, no elders to look up to, and a lot of fancy ideas about the VC and about what the VC could and should be, I stumbled across someone who shaped my perceptions, guided me, and inspired me to take this path. Without him, things might have been very different in the global VC, but also here in South Africa. He has been a source of news to most of us, an enigma – and most of all, a moral compass, and a conscience for our community.
My friends, the third “Friend of the SAVA” award goes to –
The next set of awards are awarded under the auspices of South African Vampyre News.
Starting with the local articles category. This category is open to all SAVC participants who contribute to SAVN articles. The Editor and staff of the SAVN are NOT eligible for any of these awards.
The first award for local content is the award for “Most SAVN Article Contributions” for 2014, going to –
Lunah Valur Eir who wrote 4 articles for SAVN in 2014, and they were: “Taking The SAVC To New Heights”, “Vampyre Erotica Write-Off Steals The Show”, “How I Feel About Being A Vampyre and Dealing With The Hunger”, and “The Donor & Vampyre Relationship”.
The second award is the “Most Significant SAVN Article” for 2014, and it goes to –
Cian Ashling, for “Lessons From Apartheid – A cautionary tale of segregation”
The next section of these awards focuses on the SAVA itself, and on our members. This is a time where we give public recognition, thanks and praise to our members for the work they have done for the community in the past year, and to honor them for their efforts, their dedication and for their achievements.
As you may know, the SAVA is managed by a dedicated team of individuals, called the Shadow Senate. This is a time where I would like, as Regent, to thank and give praise to this team, for their volunteer spirit, for their generosity, for their selfless dedication to their responsibilities, and for their passion for our community. They are my right hand, and my left. Like me, they are both leaders and servants of our community, and they are our friends.
The SAVA elects its representatives every year, and henceforth, all serving members of the Regency and the Shadow Senate will receive certificates of thanks for their terms of service. While five of the group are elected on an annual basis by SAVA’s members, four are not. Three of them are appointed to the Regency team by myself, and they are
Psion Valur De Nocte, Praetor to the Regent.
Kay Valkir Noctem, Praetor to the Regent.
Lunah Valur Eir, Secretary for the Regency.
Our elected representatives, the Senators of the Shadow Senate, have served the SAVA and our community faithfully from 20 March 2014, and will continue until their term ends in the new year, 2015. They are –
Jezebel Strigoi-Saet Khefer, who served in the Senate, but resigned after good service.
Serephim Lena Karayan.
Next, we come to an assortment of awards given to individual members for their contributions during the past year:
The “Most Significant Proposal” award for 2014 goes to –
Dagan Nightalon, for his proposal which led to the founding of 7 social activity Orders internal to the SAVA.
The “Most Proposals” for 2014 award goes to –
Samael Anathan, for his 2 Proposals submitted during 2014.
The “Most Events For The Year Award” goes to –
The “Most Socially Active Member” Award goes to –
Danae Valur Draco.
The “Design Award” for 2014 award goes to –
Samael Anathan, for his revision of the SAVA logo being used currently on SAVA sites, groups and in SAVA documents.
The “Biggest Shoulder” Award goes to –
Psion Valur De Nocte, for the member who most often acts as a therapist, counselor, advisor, healer or comforter to those in need within the community.
Now we come to the more fun part of the awards!
We start with the “Biggest Noob” Award. It goes to –
Dagan Nightalon, a new SAVA member of 2014 who grew, participated and contributed the most to the activity and growth of the SAVA.
The “Drama Queen” Award, for providing some of the most entertaining drama in FOSAV, with his posts, comments, personal drama, multiple profiles, profile suspensions, profile bans, and for always keeping our Admins on their toes. It goes to –
The “Biggest Lurker” Award for the member from whom the least, or almost nothing was heard from during the year, and whose existence, while usually considered a rumor, is sometimes confirmed by the odd “hello” or appearance on Facebook – and whom we would definitely like to see more of in this sad old dump! It goes to –
The “Most Terrifying Admin” Award for the most terrifying, thorough, strict, uncompromising, hard-to-fool group or forum Administrator of 2014 goes to –
Serephim Lena Karayan.
The “Fruitbat of the Year” award – for the member who made us laugh the most, goes to –
We’re coming to the close of the awards ceremony for 2014. Ladies, and Lords, back in 2010, when I started looking for locals to help me start building the local VC, I found someone who I had no idea would play such an important part in the future of the SAVA. His contributions to our local culture alone, and his dilligent efforts in the daily running of various groups and forums, his input and problem solving, his assistance during some of the difficult periods of our history, and his graphic design talent, helped make the SAVA structure what it is today.
This person is no longer a SAVA member, but because he is so special to us, the Senate decided they wanted to give him something special. The recipient of the “Achievement Award”, which recognizes him for his service as a co-founder of the SAVA, a former Magister of the High Council, and a former Senator of the Shadow Senate, is –
Last, but definitely not least, it is my honor and privilege to present the Thanks & Appreciation Award to Coven d’Eir – for outstanding planning as Hosts of the 2014 SAVA National Gathering. Your hard work has created something very special, and everyone who couldn’t be here tonight is going to be even more sorry that they didn’t make it here tonight! You’ve set a standard that will be hard to follow. Thank you – and thank you all. Enjoy the rest of the evening.”
It was truly an honor – and above all, an EPIC event worthy of note as the first ever SAVA National Gathering. A sincere note of thanks to Coven d’Eir for all they have been doing to build the community in their region, and for the hard work and resources that went into making it all happen!
Awards given to those unable to attend will be forwarded via mail or email. Look here for a complete visual listing of (unsigned copies of) awards given.
Images of the event will be posted in selected forums and groups on Facebook for those who need to know!