Origins of SFFSA (née S.F.S.A)In early 1969 Tex Cooper of Pretoria became interested in the possibility of founding a South African Science Fiction Club.
He wrote to a letter, "Calling S.F. Fans", to the Sunday Times newspaper expressing his desire to form such a club. This was published on 13 April 1969. There were 37 replies from all over South Africa.
A meeting was held at the home of Tex Cooper in Pretoria on 6 June 1969. Nine people attended, and a further nine extended their apologies. At the meeting a decision was made to form a club, and a temporary committee was elected.
A "thank you" letter was sent to the Sunday Times. It was printed under the heading, "S.F. Club Formed" on 29 June 1969. This resulted in another 25 letters from interested people.
The committee held meetings at the homes of members, prepraring the stage for the first AGM. Two newsletters were published during this time.
The first annual general meeting of the newly-created Science Fiction South Africa club was held in Johannesburg on 3 October 1969. The first committee was elected, a lending library with 200 books was established and newsletter #3 was published.
Club NameThe minutes of the inaugural meeting, held at the home of Tex Cooper on 6 June 1969, was titled South African SF Fan Club. Two options for the name of the club were proposed at the meeting:
1. SFSA (Rick Johnson)
2. Sci-Fi SA (Simon Scott)
At the second meeting, voting was inconclusive (11 votes each). At the first AGM (3 October 1969), held at the home of Simon Scott, the name S.F.S.A. was adopted by 18 votes to 11.
Mark Floyd wrote (2nd Newsletter):
Regarding the suggested names, I feel than neither of the two titles are fully representative as today's trend is most certainly veering towards the 'light fantastical'. SFSA is concise, but maybe too concise. It is likely that I am among the youngest of the Club, but as time passes there will be more emphasis on the fantastic aspect of SF. The words 'Science Fiction' and their abbreviation 'Sci-Fi' are reminiscent of little green men and H.G. Wells' school of thought. Besides, man has reached the Moon, so space travel no longer holds the mystery of 10 yrs ago. We are in a progressive age – so why not be progressive? It is my contention that the word 'Fantasy' should be incorporated in the title of the club formed along modern lines. Furthermore, the trend in reading habits favours not only the hypothetical, but the unknown.
Nicholas Shears responded in the 3rd newsletter:
I must disagree with Mark Floyd about the name of the club. I do not see why the word 'Fantasy' should be used. Fantasy is now hopelessly combined with S.F. The latter is used more than the former in the majority of works and should be the focal point of the title. To use both would cause a very clumsy and unwieldy title. As for saying that 'Fantasy' is being progressive, science, and not fantasy, will be the foundation of future generations, and to say that S.F. writers do not contribute to this or predict future world events would be to defy proven facts.
Newsletter 4 (Bernie Ackerman):
I would also like to drop the Fan from the name and rather than use 'Club' would like to see 'Society'. To me Fantasy is even more reminiscent of little green men and BEM. What about S.A.S.F.S/A. South African Speculative Fiction Society or Association?
The Editor replied:
The use of the term 'Fantasy' was discussed at the A.G.M., and it was decided to omit it in the Club name, along with the word 'fan'
The name Science Fiction South African, along with the acronym S.F.S.A. (later adopted simply as SFSA) remained. But the notion of acknowledging the Fantasy element and Fantasy fans refused to go away.
In January 2006, the suggestion to incorporate Fantasy into the official name of the club once once again proposed. The split between Fantasy and hardcore Science Fiction fans was almost 50-50, whilst many members enjoyed both genres. "Fantasy" was added unofficially in various communications over the next few years, until the name was officially changed from Science Fiction South Africa (S.F.S.A.) to Science Fiction / Fantasy South Africa (SFFSA) in 2009. Probe 150 (November 2009) was the first to use the acronym SFFSA, and to record the website as www.sffsa.org.za.
Articles on Club HistoryA Brief History of SFSA By Simon Scott.
History of SFSA and N3F Writeup
NewslettersNewsletter #1 Q3 1969
Newsletter #3 1st AGM 3 October 1969
Newsletter #4 Nov/Dec 1969
Newsletter #5 Jan/Feb 1970
Newsletter #6 April 1970
Newsletter #7 May 1970
ConstitutionFirst Constitution December 1969
Constitution of Science Fiction South Africa - as amended January 1982 (Third Amended Edition)
Constitution of Science Fiction South Africa - as amended June 1997 (Fourth Amended Edition)
Constitution of Science Fiction South Africa - as amended March 2020 (Fifth Amended Edition)
ClippingsView all clippings in one page, or download them individually:
Calling SF Fans
SF Club Formed
SF Fans Meet in the City
Letter to Scope Magazine
Letter to Personality Magazine
"Ray Bradbury" by Charlese Foley