1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Dewald Bester, I live in Cape Town, South Africa. I first joined the TS Adyar about 23 years ago when I was 19 or 20. I left the local lodge after about 5 years in solidarity with a Theosophical mentor who had been asked to leave the lodge by the existing president. I joined the TS Pasadena and remain a member. Two years ago I was approached by the Cape Town Adyar Lodge to be president, which I did for 9 months or so. After being re-elected, I resigned as president, realising I could not function from the heart in the environment as it existed.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
In terms of the Adyar Cape Town Lodge, I have been librarian, president, and given talks when invited.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
As a young man I was searching for something, I was not aware of what at the time. I came across the Theosophical Society after reading about the Golden Dawn. A check in the phone book revealed a Theosophical lodge in Cape Town which I joined. I first learnt about actual Theosophy from various mentors associated in various ways with the local lodge.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
Theosophy is a way for me to explore and challenge myself through a set of flexible guidelines which I have found intellectually and spiritually satisfying. After more than 2 decades of work and fun with Theosophy it remains fresh and inspirational to me.
5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?
The Secret Doctrine is my favourite book, as it is the work which allows you most freedom to be yourself and to explore yourself and the world in an unrestricted way.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS facing at the moment?
I feel I can only speak to the local level, where I have some experience. Lodges must be active, constantly trying new methods to stay relevant. Leaders should only be elected on a specific plan of action for a year, at the end of which they should be called to account by the membership, or those in authority positions above lodge president and committee. The TS must not be allowed to become an ‘old boys club’, and president terms should be limited.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
I wish the responsibility of leadership (local and international) were profoundly understood by those in leadership positions. I wish members would accept nothing but action and results from elected leadership, and actually hold leaders accountable for the status of their portfolios.
From the editor:
Opinions and ideas expressed in the mini-interviews are exclusively of those who are being interviewed. They don’t necessarily represent the ideas and opinions of the compilers of Theosophy Forward. The responses of the interviewees are not edited for content. Some contributors give short answers to the questions while others touch upon the subject more elaborately.