The Mensa Members of the Pretoria Chapter were treated to an unforgettable evening filled with excitement, inspiration, and awe-inspiring stories. The guest speaker, Rob Thomas, a true renaissance man, delighted the audience with his remarkable journey as a rescue technician and trainer, helicopter rescue crew member, FLIR operator, mountain guide, stunt rigger, former army officer, and medical software developer. As the author of the acclaimed book, "Helicopter Rescue Techniques: A Training Handbook for Rescue Practitioners," Rob Thomas has no shortage of experiences to share. From dangling people on ropes as a stunt rigger to risking his life in helicopter rescue missions, his passion for saving lives and living life to the fullest shone through every word he spoke.

The topic of the evening was centered around a particular rescue mission that demanded incredible bravery and skill from Rob and his team. The mission involved rescuing a couple trapped in an aircraft that had flown into a 2-kilometer-long zipline suspended about 200 meters from the ground. The risks were immense, as the aircraft could break free from the zipline at any moment, posing a fatal threat to its occupants. Every second counted, and Rob and his team faced the challenge head-on.  There were so many factors and risks to consider, but with adrenaline pumping through the rescue team’s veins, Rob tackled the rescue head-on, and without flinch or fear, he rescued both lives that were at stake. From the time of reaching the stranded couple on the zipline and securing them safely on the zipline where they could be pulled to safety, only took Rob 13 minutes. It was indeed a race against time and an ultimate test of expertise and courage. The Mensa members listened in awe as Rob described the moments of intense focus and the joy of successfully saving precious human lives.

Following the rescue story, Rob shared heartwarming anecdotes of gratitude from folk who he has had the privilege of recuing in the past. One particular gentleman messages the entire team every year on the anniversary of his rescue, and thanks each one for another year of life. There was also a lovely moment where a member of the audience, recalled a particular rescue. Rob remembered it and they discovered that they had both been at the same rescue, and she had done coordinating work on the ground. She had the opportunity to thank him for the rescue work that he does.

Aside from his remarkable achievements, Rob Thomas impressed the audience with his interactive and engaging communication style. His ability to narrate his experiences in an engaging manner, combined with a genuine passion for his work, kept the members captivated throughout the evening. Every word he spoke drew them into the high-stakes world of rescue operations.

The evening wasn't just about thrilling rescue stories; it was also an opportunity for the Mensa members to come together, bond, and enjoy each other's company. The shared experiences and shared interests formed a sense of camaraderie among the 20+ attendees. As wine flowed and stories were exchanged, the event showcased, once more, the power of community and connection.

Furthermore, the Speaker Evening with Rob Thomas left an indelible mark on the Mensa Members of the Pretoria Chapter. From thrilling rescue tales to heartwarming encounters, Rob's presentation was nothing short of inspiring. His unwavering dedication to saving lives, combined with his engaging storytelling, had the Mensa members fully engaged. The event exemplified the power of shared experiences and the importance of recognizing those who risk their lives to protect others. As the evening came to a close, the members departed with hearts full of admiration and gratitude for the remarkable man they had the honor of meeting.


The first Wednesday of July 2023 marked a significant event for the Pretoria Chapter of Mensa as they hosted their Annual General Meeting (AGM). Led by the dynamic duo of Karen Nel, the new Special Events Coordinator, and Grant, the talented musician from The News, the evening proved to be a resounding success. From the delightful Sherry and Soup setup to the engaging speeches and lively interactions, the AGM showcased the true essence of Mensa's intellectual community. In this blog post, we recount the highlights of the event and celebrate the bonds formed among members.

Karen Nel's Initiative Sets the Stage:

With her fresh perspective and enthusiasm, Karen Nel, in her role as Special Events Coordinator, took the initiative to organize a memorable AGM for the Pretoria Chapter. She curated a Sherry and Soup evening, featuring tables laid out in an elegant herringbone pattern, adorned with black tablecloths and  beautiful lighting, and adorned with the essentials for enjoying soup and bread rolls. This thoughtful arrangement included Mensa-themed coasters, made by Marina, also a committee member, all of which created an inviting atmosphere for members to connect and engage.

Grant and The News: Musical Magic:

Adding a touch of enchantment to the evening, Grant and his band, The News, serenaded the attendees with their mesmerizing music. As the speeches took breaks, the band's soulful melodies filled the air, fostering a warm and lively ambiance. The rhythmic beats and soothing tunes contributed to the sense of celebration and camaraderie that permeated throughout the event.

Portfolio Presentations and Notable Insights:

During the AGM, each committee member had the opportunity to present their portfolios, sharing their achievements, goals, and plans for the future. These presentations highlighted the dedication and commitment of the Mensa Pretoria team in serving its members and promoting intellectual growth.

Among the noteworthy moments of the evening, the statistical data presented shed light on an interesting observation. Contrary to any perceived gender differences, the pass rates in the Eligibility Test were quite similar between men and women. The numbers revealed that both genders displayed comparable levels of success, failure, near misses, and uncertainties. This finding underscores the fact that intelligence knows no gender boundaries, reinforcing the inclusive and egalitarian spirit of Mensa.

A Night of Friendship and Bonding:

Beyond the speeches and statistical insights, the true essence of the AGM emerged through the genuine connections and camaraderie among the attendees. The dimmed lights, delicious soup, and rolls served as catalysts for lively conversations and the forging of new friendships. As the evening progressed, the event transformed into an enchanting party that lasted until midnight, allowing members to revel in the joy of intellectual engagement and shared interests. 

The Success of the Mensa Community:

The success of the Mensa AGM extended far beyond the formal proceedings of the event. It embodied the spirit of Mensa, emphasizing the value of intellectual exploration, inclusivity, and the forging of meaningful connections. The conversations stimulated by Pieter van der Vyver on Computational Neuroscience serves as an excellent example of this. The AGM not only provided a platform for members to celebrate their accomplishments but also reinforced the sense of belonging and community that lies at the core of Mensa's ethos. This was further reiterated by the connections formed between the children of Mensa members who attended the event. 


The Mensa Pretoria AGM 2023 was a resounding success, thanks to the vision and dedication of Karen Nel, Grant and The News, and the entire committee. The evening of Sherry and Soup, accompanied by delightful music and engaging speeches, midst an awesomely decorated setting, fostered an atmosphere of celebration, camaraderie, and intellectual stimulation. The statistics showcased the equal achievements of both men and women in the Eligibility Test, further emphasizing the inclusive nature of Mensa. This memorable event reinforced the bonds between members and underscored the unwavering commitment to intellectual growth and friendship within the Mensa community.


Mensa Pretoria, the intellectual powerhouse of South Africa, recently welcomed our newest member, Gert Geringer to its esteemed community. The New Member's Evening, a highly anticipated event, was held at Capital Craft—a renowned restaurant that combines delectable cuisine with the finest craft beers in the country. This blog post aims to capture the essence of the evening, highlighting the exceptional culinary experience and the warm camaraderie that unfolded among the intellectually curious minds of Mensa.

Capital Craft: A Gastronomic Haven:

Nestled in the heart of Pretoria, Capital Craft is widely celebrated for its commitment to serving quality food alongside an extensive selection of craft beers. As the venue for the New Member's Evening, it provided the perfect backdrop for members to mingle, connect, and savor a memorable culinary journey.

Culinary Delights and Craft Beer Pairings:

The evening kicked off with an array of delectable dishes carefully curated to tantalize the taste buds, being made available to the Mensa members on the Capital Craft menu.  The menu featured a diverse range of options, catering to various dietary preferences and ensuring there was something for everyone to relish; from tantalizing appetizers to mouthwatering main courses and irresistible desserts, Capital Craft showcased its culinary prowess.

To complement the culinary delights, Capital Craft offered an impressive selection of craft beers—each brewed with passion and expertise. Members had the opportunity to explore a myriad of flavors, from hoppy IPAs to smooth stouts, all carefully paired to enhance the dining experience. For those preferring non-alcoholic options, the restaurant also provided an assortment of refreshing beverages.

Warm Welcomes and Intellectual Connections:

As the old members and the new member interacted at Capital Craft, they were encompassed by a welcoming atmosphere filled with the buzz of intellectual curiosity, and an environment encompassing inclusivity, acceptance, and intellectual camaraderie.

Conversations flowed effortlessly, with lively discussions on a diverse range of topics as always. The New Member's Evening provided a unique opportunity for individuals from various backgrounds and walks of life to connect, exchange ideas, and forge friendships that, experience has shown, extend far beyond the event itself.


The New Member's Evening at Capital Craft proved to be an extraordinary event, surely leaving a lasting impression on the new member of Mensa Pretoria. The combination of exquisite cuisine, exceptional craft beers, and engaging intellectual discussions created an ambiance that celebrated both the senses and the intellect, making it a night to remember. 

As new connections were forged and intellectual bonds were strengthened, the event exemplified the spirit of Mensa—a community dedicated to fostering knowledge, embracing diversity, and nurturing lifelong friendships. Capital Craft provided the perfect setting for this memorable occasion, ensuring that the New Member's Evening of Mensa Pretoria would be cherished as a truly unforgettable experience. Welcome, Gert!! 

        Pretoria's Capital Craft was filled with joy and camaraderie as Mensa members gathered to celebrate the induction of new members during a special evening event. The gathering, which took place one week after the candidates successfully passed the eligibility test, provided an opportunity for both seasoned members and fresh faces to come together and enjoy a variety of beers, fostering an atmosphere of intellectual stimulation and friendship. As the evening progressed, the attendees reveled in each other's company, engaging in conversations that transcended conventional boundaries and reflecting the diverse range of intellectual interests that Mensa embodies.

        However, amidst the jubilant atmosphere, the gathering took a poignant turn when one of Mensa's esteemed members, Pieter van der Vyver, a long-standing and loyal member, shared that his father had passed away earlier in the month. Pieter's father, Johan David van der Vyver, was an iconic figure in the realm of human rights and a renowned anti-apartheid activist. He held the esteemed position of I.T. Cohen Professor of International Human Rights at Emory University School of Law. Even at the age of 89, he continued to dedicate himself fully to academia, remaining an active scholar and teacher throughout the spring of 2023. Every law student knows his name, since he is the author of South Africa's Family Law.

        Pieter's father was undeniably a giant in the legal academy. He leaves us with a lasting legacy of unwavering commitment to justice and equality. As the evening unfolded, Pieter shared a touching anecdote of his daughter receiving a birthday card and flowers from an American President at her birth, who happened to be a dear friend of the little girl's grandfather. The heartfelt story served as a reminder of the profound impact that Johan David van der Vyver had on both individuals and institutions, transcending borders, and forging meaningful connections. 

In the face of this loss, the Mensa community offers its unwavering strength and support to his son Pieter. On this particular occasion, the Mensa New Member's Evening was more than just a celebration of intelligence; it was a reminder that Mensa fosters a community of individuals who are there for one another, supporting each other through life's triumphs and tribulations.

In the spirit of inclusivity and intellectual growth, Mensa continues to provide a platform for exceptional minds to connect, inspire, and support each other. In the world of Mensa, brilliance goes beyond IQ scores and academic achievements. It lies in the ability to create a community where intelligence and compassion coexist harmoniously, where new members are welcomed with open arms, and where existing members stand by each other as a family.


The Pretoria chapter of Mensa International recently hosted a highly-anticipated chess tournament at the prestigious Pretoria High School Old Boys Club. The tournament featured ten exceptionally talented contestants, each of whom played nine thrilling games over the course of the event.

As the contestants strategized and made their moves, onlookers watched on in amazement, keeping track of the wins and losses over a glass of wine. The level of skill on display was truly remarkable, and it was clear that each contestant had countless hours of practice under the belt.

After nine rounds of intense competition, Kolver emerged as the winner of the tournament, having displayed a remarkable level of strategic thinking and tactical skill throughout. Kolver's victories were hard-fought, however, with several of his matches going down to the wire and requiring him to make some bold and decisive moves to come out on top.

One of the most interesting moments of the tournament came when Mike, who had arrived late after competing in another chess tournament, agreed to challenge Kolver for the title. Despite the intense pressure and the high stakes involved, Kolver maintained his composure and ultimately came out on top, cementing his status as the reigning champion of the Pretoria Mensa International Chess Tournament.

Overall, the tournament was a great success, showcasing the incredible talent and dedication of some of the best chess players in the area. The event was a testament to the enduring appeal and popularity of this timeless game, and it was clear that all those involved had a great time testing their skills against one another. We can only hope that future tournaments will be just as thrilling and exciting as this one was.

 The Mensa Easter Banquet: A Formal Discussion on the Resurrection

On a recent evening at the Pretoria Boys High School Old Boys club, a group of 22 individuals gathered for the Mensa Easter Banquet. The event was a formal discussion on the topic of the resurrection and all the theories surrounding it. As guests enjoyed chicken schnitzel for supper and Italian kisses for dessert, they engaged in a lively and intellectual discussion on the topic at hand.

Before sitting down for the formal discussion, attendees participated in a pre-social that was described as "a great deal of fun." To break the ice, guests followed a Greek tradition and battled with boiled eggs that had been brightly colored by various dyes. This set the tone for an evening of lively discussion and intellectual engagement.

Once seated, the discussion began in earnest. Attendees brought a wide range of perspectives and ideas to the table, leading to a thought-provoking and insightful conversation. The topic of the resurrection has been debated for centuries, and this event provided an opportunity for attendees to engage in a rigorous and respectful exploration of the various theories surrounding it.

As the evening drew to a close, guests left feeling intellectually stimulated and energized by the evening's discussion. The Mensa Easter Banquet provided a unique opportunity for individuals to engage with a complex and important topic in a formal and intellectual setting.

Overall, the event was a great success. Attendees enjoyed not only the intellectual stimulation but also the delicious food and the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals. The Mensa Easter Banquet is an excellent example of the kind of intellectual engagement and community-building that can occur when individuals come together to discuss complex ideas in a respectful and engaging manner.

 Mensa Ladies Lunch (with some men in attendance)

In November 2022, Mensa hosted an inspiring and engaging Ladies Lunch Event for Mensa members at The Blue Crane, located in the Austin Robert's Bird Park. The topic of discussion for the day was Bowen's Family Systems Theory, specifically the concept of differentiation. The attendees were given A2 size papers filled with quotes and notes from academic papers, which they discussed in detail.

The event was attended by both male and female members who were keen to explore and understand the topic at hand. The lively discussions were insightful and thought-provoking, with attendees sharing their personal experiences and insights about the theory.

The Ladies Lunch Event was a great opportunity for Mensa members to network and engage with like-minded individuals while also learning about an interesting topic. The event was not only intellectually stimulating but also a lot of fun, as participants were able to bond over shared interests and passions.

At the end of the lunch, the ladies were asked to share their experience of Mensa and suggest ways that the organization could better meet their needs. Many attendees expressed their desire for more light socials that cover topics on personal growth, similar to the one presented at the Ladies Lunch event. The event had been successful in bringing together individuals with similar interests and passions, and the attendees were eager for more opportunities to connect and engage with each other.

The Ladies Lunch Event at The Blue Crane was a great success, providing Mensa members with an opportunity to learn, network and have fun.

 Mensa Members Gather For T-Shirt Printing Event and Summer Fun

The Pretoria Old Boys Club was buzzing with creativity and excitement as Mensa members gathered for a social event where they got to print their own designs on t-shirts. This event showcased the unique and imaginative minds of the members. As they gathered around the printing station, they eagerly discussed their design ideas and shared tips and tricks with each other. Some designs were funny, some inspirational, and some just plain quirky, but they all showcased the diverse and imaginative minds of the group. The printing process was a collaborative effort, with members helping each other with each step of the process. From choosing the perfect font and color to placing the design just right on the shirt, the Mensans worked together to create unique and eye-catching t-shirts.

The event was not just about printing t-shirts, though. It was also a chance for Mensans to socialize and connect with each other. They exchanged stories and ideas, discussing everything from the latest scientific discoveries to the latest books they had read. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, with a sense of camaraderie and shared interests permeating the room. The Pretoria Old Boys Club provided the perfect setting for the event, with its spacious and well-lit room and comfortable seating. Food and drinks were available on order from the club's friendly and accommodating staff. After the t-shirts were designed and printed, the Mensans proudly showed off their creations to each other. The colorful and creative designs displayed a range of interests and personalities, highlighting the individuality of each member.

The event was so popular and so many people wanted to print t-shirts that some of the committee members who held back and let others print first, were unable to print their designs on the day of the event, so they planned a second printing event. A month or so later, some of the committee members gathered for a Mongolian Braai filled with laughter, creativity, and summertime joy at Marina Van Tonder’s home, who was the master mind behind this event. They fired up the grill to prepare the traditional Mongolian Braai and prepared to flex their creative muscles and enjoy the company of their like-minded peers.

While the adults were busy with their t-shirt designs, the children took advantage of the great Pretoria weather by jumping into the pool and splashing around. It was a perfect day for both children and adults alike to enjoy some summer fun in the sun. The Mongolian braai was a lot of fun, and each person cooked their selection to perfection, while discussing their t-shirt designs, each one more unique and creative than the last.

Both printing events were not only fun and relaxing for the members, but they also showcased the creativity of the Mensans and brought them closer together as a community. It's a reminder that even the brightest minds need a break from the demands of everyday life and can enjoy some fun in the sun with their friends and family. The memories of these special events, filled with laughter, creativity, and summer fun, will last a lifetime.

 High IQ Christian SIG

Are you a Christian looking for a group of like-minded individuals who share your passion for learning and growing in God's Word? Look no further than the Mensa Special Interest WhatsApp Group, called High IQ Christians.

Run by a Mensa member, Tersia Voskuil, who is studying a Doctor of Ministry in Christ-Centered Counseling, this group is focused on exploring and discussing theological concepts in depth. The group admin mostly shares summaries of theological books, allowing members to learn and engage with new ideas even if they don't have the time to read full-length books.

Chapter summaries of six books on the topic of Soteriology and Election were shared in August and September 2022. The six books were: God’s Provision For All, by Leighton Flowers; Salvation By Allegiance Alone, by Matthew Bates; The Chosen People, by A. Chadwick Thornhill; Perspectives on Election, Five Views, edited by Chad Owen Brand; The Nature of Atonement, Four Views, edited by Beilby and Eddy; Chosen to Serve, by Shawn Lazar.

Chapter summaries of four books on the topic of Counseling Adolescents were shared in September and October 2022. The four books were: Real Teens, by George Barna; Helping the Struggling Adolescent, by Dr Les Parrott III; Age of Opportunity, by Paul Tripp; When Good Kids Make Bad Choices by Fitzpatrick, Newheiser, and Dr. Laura Hendrickson.

The group also spent a few weeks looking at Bates’ ten steps of the gospel. Recently, the group worked through an 8-part series by Andy Stanley called Christian. They investigated the difference between the concept of Christian, which is not defined in the Bible, versus the concept of disciple, which is clearly defined in the Bible. This kind of in-depth exploration of theological concepts is typical of the information shared in the High IQ Christians group.

Currently, the group is working through chapters from Joe Dallas' book, Christians in a Cancel Culture. They are focusing on topics such as Abortion, Critical Race Theory, Homosexuality, Transgender, and Progressive Christianity. We are also going through Irreversible Damage, by Abigail Shrier, who is not a Christian, to broaden our discussion of the topic. These are all topics that can be difficult to navigate in today's society, and the group provides a safe and supportive environment for Christians to explore these issues and deepen their understanding of the Bible's teachings.

Tersia started a blog for the group this month, called Theology Stuff. The intention of the blog is to provide a space for members to share their own thoughts and insights on theological topics, further fostering a sense of community and also to provide a place that members can come back to. The WhatsApp thread tends to disappear into oblivion, and it is difficult to go back to interesting topics. The blog overcomes that limitation.

 Mensa Christmas Banquet 2022

The Mensa Christmas Banquet held in December 2022 at the Pretoria Old Boys Club was a night to remember. The banquet hall was decorated magnificently, and the banquet-style table looked amazing. The festive atmosphere was heightened with great Christmas music playing in the background, adding to the joviality of the evening.

The Mensa members who attended the banquet were all dressed to impress. They were asked to wear interesting headgear, and this added an element of fun and laughter to the event, with some attendees donning Santa hats while others wore reindeer antlers. It was a unique and exciting way to celebrate the Christmas season.

Apart from the stunning décor and the fun headgear, there were also brain teaser puzzles that were passed around to challenge the members. These puzzles were a great way to keep the conversation flowing and to test the mental acuity of the attendees. It was a great opportunity for the Mensans to showcase their intelligence and problem-solving skills.

The Christmas banquet was not only a fun and festive occasion but also provided an opportunity for members to network and socialize with like-minded individuals. The evening was filled with great conversations and engaging discussions, making it a memorable experience for all who attended.

Overall, the Mensa Christmas Banquet at the Pretoria Old Boys Club organized by Tersia Voskuil was a resounding success. It was a night of fun, laughter, and mental stimulation, all in one. The event showcased the brilliance of the members and provided an opportunity for them to connect and engage with each other. The success of this event is proof that Mensa is more than just a high-IQ society; it is a community of individuals who enjoy learning, socializing, and having fun together.

Mensa Special Interest WhatsApp Group Shares Love for Creepy Crawlies

If you're someone who's fascinated by the world of tiny creatures, then you might want to check out the Mensa Special Interest WhatsApp Group called the Creepy Crawly SIG. This group is made up of Mensa members who share a passion for all things creepy, crawly, and tiny.

The members of this group love to share photos of the creatures they come across, and they help each other identify them. This is a great opportunity for anyone who's interested in learning more about the fascinating world of insects and other small creatures.

But the group's interests go beyond just sharing pictures of these little critters. The members were recently encouraged to participate in the iNaturalist project, which is a global project between a university in California and National Geographic. This project encourages people to share observations of the natural world, including plants, animals, and insects.

For the members of the Creepy Crawly SIG, this is a great opportunity to put their passion for photography to good use. By participating in this project, they can contribute to a global database of observations that will help scientists better understand the natural world.

In addition to their involvement in the iNaturalist project, some members of the group also recently attended the Arachnid and Reptile Expo held at the Monty Casino. Some members even purchased their own creepy crawly to take home! One member even bought a Curly Hair tarantula, which is sure to be a conversation starter at the next group meeting.

If you're interested in joining the Creepy Crawly SIG, you'll need to be a member of Mensa first. But for those who are already members, this is a great opportunity to connect with others who share your passion for the tiny creatures that inhabit our world. Whether you're a photography enthusiast or simply someone who finds these little critters fascinating, you're sure to find a welcoming community in the Creepy Crawly SIG.