The Whale Crier’s Kelp Horn was first heard in Hermanus in August 1992. Pieter Claasen, then an employee of the Old Harbour, was our first Whale Crier. Little did he realise when he agreed to dress up in the now familiar regalia what he was letting himself in for. His friends and associates all felt that he was making a fool of himself dressing up as a “papegaai”. With constant encouragement from Jim Wepener his mentor, he stood his ground and as his reputation spread abroad (literally), they slowly changed their tune. Trips to Cape Town and Johannesburg followed and one of the highlights of his time as Whale Crier was surely his trip to Topsham in the UK where he was Guest of Honour at the annual Town Crier’s competition. He opened the proceedings with a call on his famous kelp horn and then shouted his greetings from Hermanus in true Town Crier fashion. He received a resounding applause. Later in the afternoon he led the colourful procession of Town Criers, floats from far and wide and a large crowd of onlookers down the Main Street of Topsham.
On that trip he also participated in a presentation on Whale Watching in Hermanus and the Whale Route at the South African Embassy in London. Subsequently a letter received from the Ambassador said that the invited guests had enjoyed the presentation tremendously and congratulated the delegates saying it was one of the best presentations given at the Embassy.
As the information has spread far and wide about the wonderful whale watching in Hermanus, so has the media interest increased both in the Whale Crier and Hermanus. Pieter has given literally dozens of press and TV interviews and these have continued to publicise Hermanus as an important tourist destination.
Pieter was succeeded by Wilson Salukazana a well respected and dignified figure from Zwelihle, Hermanus. He took the Whale Crier icon to greater heights and is arguably the most photographed South African after Nelson Mandela! One of his highlights was his visit to Great Britain, representing Hermanus as the only whale crier in the world in the city of Manchester. He walked the cliff path beat for 8 years imparting his vast knowledge of the whales and Hermanus. At the same time he has always been very closely involved with the Zwelihle community. He started his own township tours called Ubuntu Tours which are thoroughly enjoyed by visitors. At the age of 66 Wilson retired as he said it was time to slow down a little. (Needless to say he only “slowed” for a few months!)
Godleck Baleni was the following person to show off the Whale Crier boards and blow the kelp horn! He had very big shoes to fill and did a sterling job. His huge smile and charming character was a great attraction to visitors. Sadly the pressure of holding such a prestigious position overwhelmed him and he too resigned.
At this very time Pasika Noboba was looking to grow his career. It is clear that he was born to carry the name of Worlds only Whale Crier’ and started in September 2008. His personal profile shows his great dedication and great achievements. He bears tremendous knowledge of Whales and Hermanus but is so keen to learn more. We envisage him expanding the brand of the Worlds only Whale Crier’ to an even greater platform.
Eric Davalala followed Pasika and next came Ricardo to be replaced by the current Bravo Thembinkosi Sobazile.