The history of Cape Bonsai Kai is enriched by the many bonsai artists who have over the years of its existence contributed in some way to what it is today. Individuals appearing in the following pages will remind many of cherished memories, to others they remain legend. Unfortunately those of us who were not around during the early years will never have the opportunity of meeting many of these individuals, but through these pages it is hoped they will learn a little about the person behind the name.


John Naka

JOHN YOSHIO NAKA was born August 16 1914 in Ft. Lupton Colorado. When he was eight years old his parents decided to return to Japan to look after his father's elderly parents. John became very close to his grandfather and it was through him that John learned about bonsai. Of course being just a boy, he did only the things that he was told to do, such as watering the trees and weeding until he was older.


Melba Tucker

by Lionel Theron

On the 10th of September, 1999 we received an email from Mariana Haug, the daughter of Melba Tucker, informing us of the death of our wonderful friend.


Peter Hattingh

Introducing the then Kai's Master Artist: Surely everyone has heard of the almost legendary Peter Hattingh. Few of us have met him or know him intimately but most of us know at least some of his trees.

Peter was a horticulturist and was working for Durban municipality - Parks Development - when in 1962 he became fascinated by the novelty and uniqueness of bonsai after reading about these little trees. His first efforts were by trial and error, but in 1965 he was awarded a scholarship from Kirstenbosch to Longwood Gardens in the U.S where an important collection of bonsai are kept. Peter also saw the collection at Brooklyn Botanical Garden and in Japan he spent some time at the Bonsai Village of Omiya.


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Year Programme

We have an exciting calendar of club meetings, events and public exhibitions planned for 2017/8.

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Southeaster hustles

an adventurous ant

on his tireless search.

Random Bonsai Tip

If your trunk lacks taper split the base of the trunk from below and plug the ends open with a piece of wood or a small stone.