I have been a committed environmentalist for most of my adult life and a sometime entrepreneur. Those convictions were also responsible for me being a co-founder of ecoafrica.com – an inbound ecotourism website – way back in 1995 (other web properties included krugersafari.com and krugerpark.com). Ecoafrica and the web properties were sold during and before 2009 and it has been sad to see some of them disappear recently. Originally I graduated with a degree in electronic engineering from Stellenbosch in 1979 and followed it up with an MBA in 1994. I am something of a permanent student, so in line with my “green” interests completed an MPhil in Environmental Management in 2004 and a BPhil in Renewable and Sustainable Energy at Stellenbosch’s Sustainability Institute in 2009. My personal philosophy is outlined here.
I was employed by Stellenbosch University‘s IT division as Director: Institutional Software Solutions. My role entailed technical responsibility for the design, development, procurement and maintenance of institutional (large) software solutions and information systems. My 35-year career at the university came to an end upon retirement in 2022.
As I entered what I call the “community phase” of life, I joined Jonkershoek Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) as a volunteer wildfire-fighter, but resigned after 5 years’ service. A lifelong love of hiking and mountains led me to become a member of the Stellenbosch section of the Mountain Club of SA .
I am married to Marion who hails from the Koo, and we have been blessed with two lovely daughters, Leigh and Heather, and now, two grandchildren so far. Leisure time is spent windsurfing, reading, travelling, sea kayaking, cycle touring and hiking. The university has generous leave conditions and I work hard at exploiting them optimally. My motto for this phase of my life is: ¨Play hard, work smart¨.
My father, Felix Pina, was Dutch, from Wassenaar. He emigrated here with his parents and brothers after WWII and settled at Koelenhof near Stellenbosch. There was a romantic theory that we are the descendants of Sephardic Jews, but my brother’s recent research into the roots of the Pina family indicates that we descend from French Huguenots who fled to the Low Countries. My mom, Cynthia Pina (Visser), was a Capetonian through and through and I was born on the slopes of Table Mountain as well, but lived most of my adult life in Stellenbosch, before retiring to Rooiels on the Kogelberg coast.
I am a football fanatic. World Cup 2010 was an absolute highlight, a spectacular and uplifting experience. I played competitively for almost 30 years, and coached too. I have always followed Ajax Amsterdam, Oranje and FC Barcelona – it’s a football philosophy thing.
I would have loved to have been a virtuoso jazz pianist – or a rock star – but sadly the love of music was never matched by raw talent. So although I took piano lessons in my mid-thirties for three years, I ended up frustrating myself no end. There has been a recent, enjoyable re-acquaintance with the guitar, however.
Above Kasteelspoort, Table Mountain (photo by Peter Groves)
visited 29 states (12.8%)
I haven't posted in a while, so those who believe that if an outdoor activity hasn't been posted on digital media somewhere then it didn't occur, might think that I have been idle. Although there have been other distractions - like grandkids arriving for a long visit,...
Simonsberg has been a looming, brooding presence in my life for almost fifty years. It towered to starboard daily on the short walks to engineering classes, and later on the cycle commutes to work. In stressful times when I needed calm and to gaze at something...
As with most hikes on the Cape Peninsula, this traverse is visually spectacular. It can be walked in either direction, but on this occasion the MCSA trail leader thought it better to tackle the steep section in the morning because high northerly winds were expected...
The Kogelberg Trail is a circular, 24 km hiking trail in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve. Last weekend's walk was fifth time that I have done it, as I remember. All the gradients are gradual, there is no exposure nor scrambles and the trail has few obstacles. It is...